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The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece$
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Maria Michela Sassi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180502

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180502.001.0001

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Writing Experiments

Writing Experiments

(p.64) Chapter Three Writing Experiments
The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece

Maria Michela Sassi

, Michele Asuni
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the role that writing in the modalities of philosophical formulation in ancient Greece. It first considers how the rise of the polis intertwined with the beginnings of Greek philosophy, taking into account the theses of Jean-Pierre Vernant and Geoffrey Lloyd, before discussing the range of interactive elements that may have contributed to the development of that particular critical life that characterizes the first expressions of philosophical rationality. One such element is the particular character of Greek religion. The chapter goes on to analyze the combination of egotism and innovation as an integral component of Greek cultural style, and the role of writing technologies in this regard, as well as how literacy and writing contributed to the development of critical thinking in the Greek world. Finally, it explores three different approaches to philosophical writing attributed to Anaximander, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus.

Keywords:   writing, polis, Greek philosophy, philosophical rationality, egotism, innovation, critical thinking, Anaximander, Xenophanes, Heraclitus

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