Sources of the history of pre-Socratic philosophy
Sources of the history of pre -ocratic philosophy are divided into three groups:
1) the writings of the thinkers themselves, which reached us mainly in the form of fragments;
2) evidence and comments of late-antique philosophers and doxographers;
3) research literature, which includes articles and monographs of modern researchers.
For the first time interest in the early Greek, or pre-Socratic, thought was expressed in a separate edition, which was published in 1573, which was prepared by the French scientist Henrius Stephanus, one of the largest representatives of the late Renaissance philology. He several years later prepared the publication of the corpus of the works of Plato (Corpus Platonicum), providing it with a so-called pagination, which is still used by the publishers of the works of Plato all over the world. One interesting fact attracts attention: his collection of works by early Greek philosophers Henri Etienne called "Philosophical Poetry" (Poiesis Philosophica), the collection included not only thinkers who preferred poems in a prose form, like Parmenides, but also the obvious prose writer Democritus, as well as Heraclitus, who gave his wisdom a kind of rhythmized prose, close to verse.
Friedrich Nietzsche , in his original education a classical philologist, was perhaps the first who contributed to the revival of interest in the pre-Socratic thought, or, as he called it, at the end of the XIX century.
F. Nietzsche reasoned with some reason that Socrates' philosophical position, which inspired his pupil Plato, contributed to the mortification of the original spirit of Greek culture, the embodiment of which, according to the German philosopher, was the archaic poetry and tragedies of Aeschylus (525-456 BC). What drives, according to Nietzsche, Socrates, forcing him to rebel against tradition? The answer of Nietzsche is this: he is moved by that indestructible belief that thinking guided by the law of causality can penetrate into the deepest abysses of being and that this thinking not only can know existence, but even "fix" it " . Thus, cognitive optimism - this is what contributed to the destruction of the secrets of the world, the most appropriate language for expressing which was poetry. The pre-Platonic philosophy, or, in the terminology of F. Nietzsche, philosophy has not lost its essential connection with poetry, and therefore it is necessary to return to the poetic and tragic origins of Greek thought.
The most important moment in the history of the study of pre-Socratic philosophy was the collection of fragments prepared by two German philologists Hermann Diels and Walter Kranz and who saw the light under the name "Fragments of pre-Socratics" (Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker) in 1903. This edition consists of two volumes: the first includes excerpts from the writings of Greek poets and prose writers, whose contents are the accounts of various cosmogonies and ethical maxims, as well as fragments of the works of philosophers of the 6th-5th centuries. BC. The second volume includes surviving fragments of the works of thinkers of the 6th-5th centuries. BC. among which Anaxagoras (about 500 - 428 BC), Archelaus (fifth century BC), Democritus (460-370 BC) and the Sophists. On the basis of the third edition of Diels-Krantz, the United States researcher AO Makovevsky translated the fragments into United States; This translation was published under the title Pre-Socratics .
In 1989, in the publishing house "Science" another edition of the writings of the pre-Socratics was published. Its author, A. V. Lebedev, also took as a basis the classical work of Diels and Krantz. As a result, the reader was able to get acquainted with the ideas of pre-Socratics in the book "Fragments of the Early Greek Philosophers" .
In addition, there are publications on the legacy of individual philosophers, pre-Socratics. Such publications were awarded, for example, Democritus and Heraclitus. The collection of the fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus, published in 2012, is a short edition of (editio minor) it was prepared by S. N. Muraviev on the basis of his grandiose work but the restoration of the philosophical heritage of Heraclitus.
Now let's say a few words about the tradition of transfer and reception of pre-Socratics. The works of the pre-Socratics have come down to us in the form of fragments. This means that we do not have complete finished texts on the basis of which we could recreate the authentic course of thought of their authors. Obviously, this state of affairs leads to a number of hermeneutical problems, i.e. problems of interpretation. What we call the fragments of the early Greek philosophers, for the most part, is restored by philologists on the basis of quotations in the works of other, later authors. And given the specifics of citation, as it was done by ancient writers, the complexity of restoring the original text to a truly dramatic scale. What is this specificity? In that, quoted, as a rule, from memory, without concluding with the foreign text in quotation marks. In connection with the practice of citing, one more question arises: why should one author in his work quote from another? First, to confirm their own thoughts or someone's authoritative maxims is no less authoritative statement of the predecessor, which created the effect of an uninterrupted tradition. Let us cite as an example a fragment of the work entitled "Stromata", whose author, Christian apologist of the 2nd c. AD Clement of Alexandria, quotes Heraclitus:
And if you want to bring the famous saying "He who has ears to hear let him hear" [The Gospel of Matthew, 11:15; Gospel of Luke 8: 8, etc.], then you will find it from Ephesus in the following form: "Those who heard, but did not understand, are deaf to the deaf:" when they are present, they are absent, "says the proverb" .
Secondly, you can quote for the purpose of reconstructing this or that philosophical doctrine. Aristotle's historical and philosophical excursions, as well as the anthology of sayings and opinions created by Diogenes Laertius (II-III centuries AD) , can serve as examples of such reconstruction, - About life, teachings and sayings of famous philosophers . Aristotle, when quoting, demonstrates a frank bias: he views the thinkers preceding him in the perspective of his own philosophy. Diogenes, at first glance, "just" sets out the information collected and ordered by him. However, the attentive reader will also notice here the author's philosophical predilections.
Finally, there is the problem of time distance. If you look at the publications, for example, Diels-Krantz or AV Lebedev, the writings of writers of what time served as sources for extracting from them quotations of early Greek philosophers, we will see that these are all the authors who, from the thinkers they cite, separate one or several centuries. Exceptions are extremely rare. All these circumstances, of course, make it difficult to reconstruct an authentic one, i.e. genuine thought of the early ancient philosophers.
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