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Before Socrates, philosophers sought explanations for naturally-occurring phenomena from earthquakes and eclipses to the existence of the entire cosmos. But the Socratic era saw a great shift towards questions much closer to the human experience. Philosophers became concerned with life and how to live it, the nature of knowledge and reality, the soul and its relation to the body, and the place of human beings in the universe.
Ancient philosophy expert, William J. Prior elegantly guides readers through philosophy’s formative years, from the pre-Socratic to the Stoic and Epicurean schools. Combining a general discussion of movements with analysis of key passages from ancient texts, it is an enthralling insight into the evolution of philosophy and how the great thinkers of centuries gone by can still send our minds reeling today. For students and interested readers alike, this is the ideal introduction, opening the door to the philosophy's classic works and fascinating in its own right.
William J. Prior is a professor of philosophy at Santa Clara University in California. Aside from ancient philosophy, he is also particularly interested in ethical theory, the history of skepticism and the philosophy of Wittgenstein. His previous books include Virtue and Knowledge: An Introduction to Ancient Greek Ethics.