Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought

Paperback | October 1, 2001

byR. J. Hankinson

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R. J. Hankinson traces the history of ancient Greek thinking about causation and explanation, from its earliest beginnings around 600 BC through to the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era. The ancient Greeks were the first Western civilization to subject the ideas of cause andexplanation to rigorous and detailed analysis, and to attempt to construct theories about them on the basis of logic and experience. Hankinson examines the ways in which they dealt with questions about how and why things happen as and when they do, about the basic constitution and structure ofthings, about function and purpose, laws of nature, chance, coincidence, and responsibility. Such diverse questions are unified by the fact that they are all demands for an account of the world that will render it amenable to prediction and control; they are therefore at the root of bothphilosophical and scientific enquiry. Hankinson draws on a wide range of original sources, in philosophy, natural sciences, medicine, history, and the law, in order to create a synoptic picture of the growth and development of these central concepts in the Graeco-Roman world.

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R. J. Hankinson traces the history of ancient Greek thinking about causation and explanation, from its earliest beginnings around 600 BC through to the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era. The ancient Greeks were the first Western civilization to subject the ideas of cause andexplanation to rigorous and detailed analysi...

R. J. Hankinson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:516 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.1 inPublished:October 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199246564

ISBN - 13:9780199246564

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Presocratics2. Science and Sophistry3. Plato4. Aristotle: Explanation and Nature5. Aristotle: Explanation and the World6. The Atomists7. The Stoics8. The Sceptics9. Explanation in the Medical Schools10. The Age of Synthesis11. Science and Explanation12. The NeoplatonistsAppendix; Bibliography; Index

Editorial Reviews

`'It is a masterpiece of synthesis which bears the fruit of many years of detailed work on causation and explanation. It covers the whole of ancient philosophy (from the Presocratics to Neoplatinism), science (i.e. medicine, the mathematical sciences) and astrology.'' Keimpe Algra, Phronesis