The Presocratics and the Supernatural: Magic, Philosophy and Science in Early Greece (Paperback)
  • The Presocratics and the Supernatural: Magic, Philosophy and Science in Early Greece (Paperback)
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The Presocratics and the Supernatural: Magic, Philosophy and Science in Early Greece (Paperback)

(author)
£28.99
Paperback 296 Pages / Published: 23/04/2015
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This book examines the relationship between magic, philosophy and the investigation of nature in presocratic Greece. Did the presocratic thinkers, often praised for their rejection of the supernatural, still believe in gods and the divine and the efficacy of magical practices? Did they use animism, astrology, numerology and mysticism in their explanations of the world? This book analyses the evidence in detail and argues that we need to look at each of these beliefs in context.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781474234771
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 413 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Overall, Gregory provides a thorough introduction to the debates on Presocratic naturalism. He successfully shows that, in many instances, what may seem at first glance to be supernatural was actually carefully integrated into a naturalist conception of the world. His inclusive approach should be particularly invaluable for those who have not yet ventured beyond the confines of the standard philosophical canon. -- Stephanie Magowan, Royal Holloway * Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
This work studies a neglected aspect of Presocratic thought: how did the naturalistic approach deal with allegedly supernatural and magical entities and events? Through a careful analysis of the sources, Gregory shows how the divine and numinous were not necessarily banished, but were often accommodated within a naturalistic framework of explanation.Gregory invites us to rethink standard categories of philosophy, religion, science, and magic and consider new conceptual connections. -- Daniel W. Graham, Brigham Young University, USA
This study of the supernatural in early Greek philosophy focuses a clear beam of light on the obscure boundary between science and religion in the period. Informed and sensitive historical imagination is brought to bear on the relation between scientific or rational accounts of nature and their clash with inherited notions of the gods. Without forcing the material into a crude narrative of scientific progress, Gregory argues that the first Western philosophers did target certain inherited religious notions, but that the lack of a unified conception of nature allowed far more diverse and subtle responses to the divine than a simple rejection. Sensitivity to that diversity is a central strength of the work. -- Simon Trepanier, University of Edinburgh, UK
Andrew Gregory's book is a clear and sympathetic treatment of the current debates about naturalism, supernaturalism, and scientific rationalism in early Greek thought. Well-written and carefully structured, its non-polemical arguments and explanations are useful for students of Greek philosophy and of the history of ancient science, medicine, and mathematics. The volume is an admirable supplement for courses in any of these areas, and a fine introduction to the issues for the general reader. -- Patricia Curd, Purdue University, USA

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