Pythagoras and Early Pythagoreanism
Published: December 1966© 1966
216 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans of the fifth century are cast by historians of philosophy in four important roles: they are reputed to have originated the mathematical disciplines, harmonics, and, in a large measure, astronomy; they are said to have propounded theories of the nature of our universe to which, in differing ways, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus reacted; they are reputed to have made the alliance between religion and philosophy that made philosophy in the ancient world a way of life; and their thought is alleged to have exerted a major influence on Plato, and particularly on the metamathematical theories of his later years.
Professor Philip here examines the evidence for these assertions, both in its general lines and in particular instances. As a basis for his own reconstruction he has taken what Aristotle tells us of the Pythagoreans, on the grounds that Aristotle is our earliest important witness, that the extent of his own testimony is considerable, and that he is not touched by the pro- or anti-Pythagorean bias of later writers. As a result of this investigation it is argued that substantial modifications must be made of generally accepted views of the role of Pythagoras and early Pythagoreans, and in consequence of the history of thought.