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Before and after Socrates Paperback – January 3, 1932

ISBN-13: 978-0521091138 ISBN-10: 0521091136

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 3, 1932)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521091136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521091138
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.3 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Admirable in both tone and content ... 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.' New Statesman

'Professor Cornford's small book is not only a masterly piece of condensation, nor only a delightful introduction of further reading; it is more, and it claims the attention of every serious student of the subject ... full of suggestive ideas and arresting phrases ... refreshing and stimulating'. Journal of Hellenic Studies

Book Description

"...a brilliant commentary on the Greek mind and its attitude to life." TLS

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hearne on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I received this book, I was expecting a more comprehensive survey of Greek thought, but I was nonetheless pleasantly surprised. This very slim book (109 pp) is actually a series of lectures delivered by Cornford on the development of Greek philosophy from Ionian science to Socrates, his pupil Plato, and his pupil Aristotle (with nods to others such as Pythagoras and Democritus along the way). Cornford delivers in very plain language what he considers to be the essential differences between these thinkers. I found this to be a very enjoyable introduction to Greek (and Western) philosophy that can be read within an hour or two. If only more philosophers would deign to present their theories to the laity as clearly as Professor Cornford!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Fowler on February 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are no doubt countless introductions to Greek philosophy, but amidst the vast sea of choices this book easily floats above the rest. Professor Cornford's writing is rare, he displays a clear mastery of the subject and conveys his vast knowledge in a manner that is refreshingly lucid. There is no complex language to unpack or needless detail to confuse his presentation of the material. Cornford approaches the subject by addressing the general themes associated with the Ionians, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. This is a nice approach because the beginner, rather than being lost in detail, is given the "big picture" with which he can then orient the details of further reading. This is the greatest virtue of Cornford's book, and it is for that reason that I so highly recommend it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
But I do know that I love the writings of F.M. Cornford. He explains the writings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in such a way that it becomes entirely relevant to these days in which we live. Why are we the way we are? What were the beliefs of the ancient thinkers? Some of them were so tenacious in their beliefs that they were willing to give their lives for them. As a searcher of truth, this book spoke to me. Explains the "laws of nature" vs. the "laws of state" and why the former is more preferable than the latter. Cornford is a genius.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although it is expensive for how short it is, it is truly a great introduction to philosophy, and worth its cost for the first two chapters alone. If you want a short introduction to early Greek philosophy, buy this book. AJB.
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Format: Paperback
Conford's 1932 classic is still one of the most useful books for students of Greek philosophy. The book is only 113 pages: Pre-Socratics - 28 pages; Socrates - 26 pages; Plato - 30 pages; Aristotle - 26 pages; Index - 3 pages. Presto! All the essential points are covered in easily understood, large print, accessible writing. Conford was a Cambridge don who really knew his stuff. He himself translated many of the works discussed. Thus, one gets an accurate basic reading. Another excellent feature is that the book focuses on the development of these powerful ideas in relation to each other. This inexpensive little volume can be read in a couple of sittings and will give the reader the basics on one of the most important subjects in the history of thought in high style, with a minimum of effort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for someone interested in the basics of Western philosophy. It covers the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in a compact 109 pages.
It is true that all Western philosophy is "footnotes to Plato." Later authors expand and improve on Plato, but his texts are the beginning.

This text gives you a very readable intro to Plato's main thoughts and his inspiration, i.e., his teacher--Socrates.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael P. Neary on August 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
After reading this book, I realized that this is the book I wish I had read earlier in my life. My understanding of my culture and society would have been accelerated. With this book Professor Cornford has succeded in delineate major features of the evolution of Western thinking with impeccable scholarship and with great eloquence. His prose are exquisite, perfectly suited for his thinking on complex ideas. A reader of this book will obtain a new and illuminating perspective of the role of the thinking of Socrates, Plato and certain other Greek philosophers in modern life.
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