History of Ancient Philosophy - Early Greek Philosophy I: introductory lectures

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These lectures are aimed at both ordinary and PhD students. A good working command of ancient Greek is desirable, but not strictly indispensable. 


On the basis of a philologically and philosophically rigorous examination of the texts, we shall attempt to reconstruct the doctrines and arguments of some of the main early Greek thinkers, the so-called ‘Presocratics’. We will address methodological questions concerning the analysis of the ancient testimonies and investigate the reception of these authors in Plato, Aristotle and Hellenistic philosophy.

A further series of specific inquiries into individual passages, themes or authors will be proposed in the seminar papers delivered by the students of both the ordinary and the PhD course. 

Obiettivi formativi

The course will propose a detailed examination, in seminar form, of fundamental philosophical texts and issues from classical antiquity, considered from various points of view: historical genesis and fortune, conceptual substance, philological issues. 

Riferimenti bibliografici

General collections:

  • J. Barnes, The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd edn, Routledge 1982.
  • H. Diels, W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, sechste Auflage, Berlin 1951–2.
  • G. S. Kirk, J. Raven, M. Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd edn, Cambridge 1983.
  • A. Laks, G. W. Most, Early Greek Philosophy, 9 vols, Cambridge (MA) and London 2016 = Les débuts de la philosophie, 2e édition, Paris 2018. 

Some editions and translations of individual authors:

  • A. H. Coxon, The Fragments of Parmenides, 2nd edn, Las Vegas, Zurich and Athens 2009.
  • P. Curd, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae: Fragments and Testimonia, Toronto 2007.
  • B. Inwood, The Poem of Empedocles, 2nd edn, Toronto 2001.
  • C. H. Kahn, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, Cambridge 1979.
  • W. Leszl, I primi atomisti, Firenze 2009.

Further bibliographical information will be provided during the course.