Studies in Early Greek Philosophy

A Collection of Papers and One Review


The collection of nineteen articles in Jaap Mansfeld’s Studies in Early Greek Philosophy span the period from Anaximander to Socrates. Solutions to problems of interpretation are offered through a scrutiny of the sources, and also of the traditions of presentation and reception found in antiquity. Excursions in the history of scholarship help to diagnose discussions of which the primum movens may have been forgotten. General questions are treated, for instance the phenomenon of detheologization in doxographical texts, while problems relating to individual philosophers are also discussed. For example, the history of Anaximander’s cosmos, the status of Parmenides’ human world, and the reliability of what we know about the soul of Anaximenes, and of what Philoponus tells us about the behaviour of Democritus’ atoms.

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Jaap Mansfeld is Professor Emeritus of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy in the University of Utrecht. He has published on Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Late Commentators, with a particular focus on ancient historiographical traditions relating to philosophy.
"Throughout Mansfeld’s new collection of papers on early Greek philosophy, we are reminded both of the achievement of Diels, and of the need to maintain a critical attitude to even such an august tool of philological, philosophical, and historical scholarship. Mansfeld is one of the best scholars to remind us of this point, as he, like Diels, and David Runia (Mansfeld’s colleague on the important Aëtiana project), is a master of the historiography of ancient Greek philosophy (not limited to the earliest Greek thinkers). This new volume brings together nineteen discussions of the Presocratics and of the history of scholarship dealing with them." - Patricia Curd, in: Gnomon 93.1 (2021)

"Ces études de la réception sont remarquables par leur précision et leur érudition, à la fois en ce qui concerne les textes anciens et les interprétations modernes ; en témoignent l’abondance des notes en bas de page et des bibliographies. [...] Dans l’ensemble, les études proposées dans cet ouvrage sont stimulantes et solidement argumentées, et le plus souvent convaincantes. Leur richesse et leur insistance sur les détails a certes parfois le défaut d’en rendre la lecture ardue (malgré un style toujours clair et agréable), mais cette difficulté est souvent inévitable dans le domaine des études préplatoniciennes, auquel le travail de Jaap Mansfeld, dans cet ouvrage comme ailleurs, a apporté une contribution exceptionnelle." - Mathilde Brémond, in: Philosophie antique 19 (2019)
1 Detheologization Aëtian Chapters and Their Peripatetic Background
2 Insight by Hindsight Intentional Unclarity in Presocratic Proems
3 Bothering the Infinite Anaximander in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond
4 Anaximander’s Fragment: Another Attempt
5 Anaximenes’ Soul
6 Minima Parmenidea Exegetical Notes on 28B1.22–23a, B2.1–5, B6.3, and B8.38–41 DK
7 Parmenides from Right to Left
8 Parmenides on Sense Perception in Theophrastus and Elsewhere
9 Heraclitus on Soul and Super-Soul With an Afterthought on the Afterlife
10 Alcmaeon and Plato on Soul
11 The Body Politic Aëtius on Alcmaeon on Isonomia and Monarchia
12 Aristotle on Anaxagoras in relation to Empedocles in Metaphysics A
13 “Das verteufelte Lastschiff” Philolaus 44B12 DK
14 Democritus on Poetry Fragments 68B18 and B21 DK
15 Out of Touch Philoponus as a Source for Democritus
16 The Presocratic Philosophers A Discussion of a New Handbook
17 Protagoras on Epistemological Obstacles and Persons
18 Aristotle on Socrates’ Contributions to Philosophy
19 Hermann Diels (1848–1922)
Index Locorum Index Nominum et Rerum
All graduate students, specialists, libraries and other institutions interested in the Presocratics, the Sophists, Socrates, ancient historiographical traditions relating to philosophy, reception studies, and Ancient Philosophy in general.
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