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‘Socrates was one of that small number of adventurers who, from time to time, have enlarged the horizon of the human spirit.’ In this book, F. M. Cornford explains why the life and work of Socrates stand out as marking a turning-point in the history of thought. He shows how Socrates revolutionized the concept of philosophy, converting it from the study of Nature to the study of the human soul, the meaning of right and wrong, and the ends for which we ought to live.
This is, in fact, the story of the whole creative period of Greek philosophy—the Ionian science of Nature before Socrates, Socrates himself, and his chief followers, Plato and his pupil Aristotle. It tells of the different contributions each made, and shows how within three centuries the Greek tradition grew to maturity and the fullness of intellectual power.
‘Refreshing and stimulating...it is not only a masterly piece of condensation, nor only a delightful introduction to further reading; it is more, and it claims the attention of every serious student of the subject.’—Journal of Hellenic Studies
‘It can be confidently recommended to those who wish for a competent statement in a short compass of what the Greek philosophers believed and why.’—C. E. M. JOAD in New Statesman
‘Provides a clear insight into the development of Greek philosophy and a brilliant commentary on the Greek mind and its attitude to life. The first chapter forms one of the most attractive introductions to philosophy that it is possible to find.’—The Times Literary Supplement