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Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought [Paperback]

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Item Number 159938  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   119
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.16" Height: 1.11"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 13, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0199246564  
EAN  9780199246564  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
R. J. Hankinson traces the history of ancient Greek thinking about causation and explanation, from its earliest beginnings through more than a thousand years to the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era. He examines ways in which the Ancient Greeks dealt with questions about how and why things happen as and when they do, about the basic constitution and structure of things, about function and purpose, laws of nature, chance, coincidence, and responsibility.

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More About R. J. Hankinson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! R. J. Hankinson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is editor of Galen: On Antecedent Causes (1998, 2004) in the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series.

R. J. Hankinson currently resides in Austin, in the state of Texas. R. J. Hankinson has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Texas, Austin.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Superb  Jun 23, 2009
How did ancient intellectuals think about what we'd call "scientific phenomena"? How did they go about explaining natural events? What kinds of observations might begin to undermine reliance on the folk explanations of nature found in works by Hesiod or Homer? This book attempts to give intellectually honest and textually defensible answers to these questions, using some of the most rigorous tools of the modern study of scientific explanation (not to be confused with modern science itself).

It's a sad thing that this book hasn't generated more reviews. The book is both treat and feat. It manages to combine fairly precise modern analyses of causation and explanation with the sometimes damnably obscure (some would, less charitably, say "incoherent) work of early Greek philosophers, including even some of the most exact work on the Hellenistic schools yet done. It is probably the most extensive focused discussion on Ancient (Greek) theories of explanation available in English. It extends from a brief but very lucid introduction to scientific explanation in general, to a short chapter on the Presocratics, through Plato and two very good chapters on Aristotle's philosophy of science (in my opinion, the best part of the work), and on through the major Hellenistic schools, and even the Greek medical tradition (a specialists' specialist's topic).

To be sure, the going in this volume is rough and occasionally tedious (though certainly no more so than the subject matter that informs it), but the prose is exceptionally lucid, especially given the great variety among the different styles of explanation on offer. I wouldn't recommend this book for beginners, but for specialists in Ancient Greek philosophy, or people with a good background in the philosophy of science who would like to extend their awareness to the Ancient Greek tradition in more than a superficial way, this volume should be of particular interest.

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