Originally published in 1843 as portions of the author’s larger “Famous Men of Ancient Times,” and equivalent in length to a physical book of approximately 32 pages, this Kindle edition describes the lives and work of three great ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Sample passages: (from Socrates) The two chief accusations against Socrates were, firstly, that he did not believe in the religion of the state; secondly, that he was guilty of corrupting the minds of young men, and of disseminating the disbelief of the established religion. Socrates did not reply, in a direct manner, to either of these charges. Instead of declaring that he believed in the religion of his country, he proved that he was not an atheist; instead of refuting the charge of instructing youth to doubt the sacred tenets of the law, he declared and demonstrated that it was morality which he taught; and instead of appealing to the compassion of his judges, he did not disguise the contempt in which he held the means practiced by parties accused, who, in order to excite sympathy and compassion, brought their children and relations to supplicate, with tears in their eyes, the mercy of the judges. (from Plato) When he had finished his travels, Plato retired to the groves of Academus, in the neighborhood of Athens, and established a school there; his lectures were soon attended by a crowd of learned, noble, and illustrious pupils; and the philosopher, by refusing to have a share in the administration of political affairs, rendered his name more famous and his school more frequented. During forty years he presided at the head of the academy, and there he devoted his time to the instruction of his pupils, and composed those dialogues which have been the admiration of every succeeding age. (from Aristotle) The characteristic of Aristotle’s philosophy, as compared with that of Plato, is, that while the latter gave free scope to his imagination, and, by his doctrine that we have ideas independent of the objects which they represent, opened a wide door to the dreams of mysticism—the latter was a close and strict observer of both mental and physical phenomena, avoiding all the seductions of the fancy, and following a severe, methodical, and strictly scientific course of inquiry, founded on data ascertained by experience. About the Author: Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860) was an American author better known by his penname, Peter Parley. Other works include “Peter Parley’s Tales About America and Australia,” “Peter Parley’s Book of Fables,” and “Peter Parley’s Tales About Great Britain.”