A Short Account of Greek Philosophy [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):575-576 (1969)


Parker obviously has a warm fondness and a deep empathetic understanding of this period of history, and they are offered to the reader in every carefully worked sentence. In a narrative style that presents the human dimension as well as the central ideas of the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Parker imaginatively reconstructs the phenomenological, empirical, and the homely rationale for their theories. He depicts the Presocratics as organized around the question "What is the universe made of?" and Socrates around "What is Truth, Justice, Goodness?" There is a chapter giving a profile of Athens and Sparta. The three chapters on Plato cover the theory of forms, the Republic, and the Laws. The four chapters on Aristotle, besides the biographical inclusions, cover a scheme of his works, his view of nature, The Ethics, The Politics, and his lasting impact on the rest of intellectual history. The book ends with a brief treatment of Hellenism and a conclusion that takes its cue from the awe and excitement of Keats in On First Looking into Chapman's Homer. Altogether it is a simplified yet sympathetic, thoughtful, and sensitive introduction.--S. O. H.

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