The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $5.22 (35%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by -Daily Deals-
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This Book is in Good Condition. Used Copy With Light Amount of Wear. 100% Guaranteed.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – May 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0199539093 ISBN-10: 019953909X

Buy New
Price: $9.73
38 New from $7.00 38 Used from $5.53
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.73
$7.00 $5.53
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (Oxford World's Classics) + Plato: Complete Works + The Basic Works of Aristotle (Modern Library Classics)
Price for all three: $75.01

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953909X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199539093
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robin Waterfield was commissioning editor at Penguin between 1988-91, and now works as a consultant editor for Collins Harvill, freelance translator, and writer of children's books. His acclaimed translations of Plato include Philebus (1982), Theaetus (1987), Early Socratic Dialogues (1987), Republic (1993), and Symposium (1994). He lives in Teddington, Surrey.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
6
4 star
1
3 star
4
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 11 customer reviews
Robin Waterfield's writing and translations are superb.
Steven Davis
The book forms a short introduction to, and a well-selected reader of, early Greek thought.
Ian M. Slater
I like this book very much and assign it in my introductory classes on ancient philosophy.
Michael Pakaluk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By noeton on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are few widely-available compendiums to choose from of the Pre-Socratics that include the Sophists, who are crucial for understanding Plato. Penguin has another that's not bad. This one is slightly better and more complete, hence if you want one and only one this is the way to go. Together they are complementary but in many ways redundant unless you want to compare translations.

This book provides a plethora of the available fragments from all the important figures of the age, though it is not entirely exhaustive. Together with fine standard view introductions which ably assist the reader in navigating these complex and diverse materials, one effectively cannot go wrong in purchasing this useful, tidy, and cheap but sturdy little book (in this way its a good example of the Oxford World Classics series, and again, on this front they have the edge on Penguin, who seems to prefer to save a buck in printing costs).

To get more of this material one must to go to the expensive dual-language Loeb series' and/or an Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, as well as many other secondaries. For a single, solid starting place, W.K.C. Guthrie's large, pricey, multi-volume history of Ancient Greek Philosophy is quite good and certainly the standard in handy reference works concerning this period - especially volumes I-III (III is mostly available now in the form of two books, simply called "Socrates" and "The Sophists".) His Plato books are fairly good, but mostly as starting points and reference guides to the dialogues, and the Aristotle volume is honestly not worth the money unless you can don't mind springing for a decent general, though not strictly light, intro or are consummately scouring secondary source material).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Murphy on April 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was helpful in getting a general idea of who the presocratic and sophist philosophers were. The are a lot of source texts available so most of the book is Waterfield summarizing the views of the main people that we have some fragments and testimonials of. At this point philosophy wasn't really a systematic field of study, so most of what you learn from this is historical views on the different philosophers, you don't really learn much about their specific positions, if they even had definite ones. In fact, Waterfield mentions that scholars don't often agree on what a given philosopher's view was. That being said I think this book is useful to read to get an idea of the history of philosophy and the general environment that existed at the time and give rise to people like Plato and Aristotle.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Pakaluk on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I like this book very much and assign it in my introductory classes on ancient philosophy. Waterfield translations are very congenial, and accurate. His commentary is sensible, with just the right amount of detail for an introduction. The focus is on the fragments and reports of what those early philosophers said, rather than the commentary.

I regard this volume as similar in spirit and approach to Barnes' wonderful little book, but better because it has less of a "view" to put forward. Barnes is a very strong intellect, of course, and he cannot but take strong positions. Some people like that, of course: I'd rather take the strong positions myself, in lectures. ;-)

I find McKirahan's translations and commentary both a bit clumsy, in the Hackett alternative. His commentary is too intrusive, too: the "presocratics" have not enough chance to speak for themselves.

Yes, of course, everyone should be directed to Kirk, Raven, and Schofield, but their minimalism and "postivism", separating sharply sparse evidence from theory, will hardly attract anyone to the "presocratics." If that is your only book, you can hardly see why those early philosophers are so important. I studied only Kirk and Raven at first, and it wasn't until many years later, when I read Popper on the "presocratics," that I understood -- "ah, now I see!"
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven R Rider on January 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work is very comprehensive but as with many works on this era, it is difficult to really know what the Presocratics thought because so much of their philosophy is reported by subsequent authors. This is particularly problematic for me because the reports by Plato on the Sophists is tainted by his disdain of this group. This leaves one with a bit of a distorted view of them. The author has done a good job of summarizing the thinking of each philosopher though, and I would recommend the book for those interested in the Presocratics.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alffie on November 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hard to read because of small print. Format is confusing at first because of much bibliography, references, foot notes, codes, explanations, etc. But once you get accustomed to the "clutter" the book will give you excellent insight into the thinking process of these pioneers of philosophy and how they influenced subsequent generations of thinkers. This is a good book for those who have basic knowledge of the first philosophers and want to penetrate deeper layers of understanding of their thoughts.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Dengrove on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Robin Waterfield tells, in academic but readable prose, about a little known group of philosophers, who had a great influence on the famed philosophers Aristotle and Plato. Who, in turn, have influenced philosophy to this day. I only wish that he had divided what these philosophers wrote from their influence more sharply. The way the Ancients read them has differed greatly from the way we read them; and it is important to know both.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?