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Essays in Ancient Philosophy Paperback – March 2, 1987
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Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Michael Frede (1940-2007) was one of the most important scholars who worked on ancient philosophy in the 20th century. This much, I dare say, is more or less unanimously agreed upon by scholars working in the field. For those not convinced I might add that The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Ted Honderich ed.) contains only four entries on historians of ancient philosophy: Frede is one of them. The entry describes Frede as a "historian of ancient philosophy who is sensitive to the methodological distinction between writing history of philosophy as history and writing history of philosophy as philosophy. His approach entails locating ancient texts in a causal network of other `histories': medicine, law, religion, politics, for example, and attempts to exhibit philosophical problems as they were conceived and treated by the ancients themselves." And the entry goes on to cite this very collection as a notable publication of his. The description of him in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy is fitting. Frede was indeed very sensitive to the way in which one studies ancient thought, and the description, moreover, applies to every essay contained in this volume.
Having said that, I must now confess that it is not always easy to understand Frede's essays on first reading. His style can be terse: These essays were written in English by a native speaker of German. I do not mean to suggest that the text is not readable English, but it does not always flow smoothly and effortlessly. But style is one thing and content is another. The interpretations and ideas contained in Frede's essays aren't always easy to understand either: This is by no means introductory material, light reading.Read more ›