Jacques Maritain Center : A History of Western Philosophy Vol. I / by Ralph McInerny

Part I: Presocratic Philosophy

Chapter I

Before Philosophy

In presenting the history of philosophy from its beginnings to Plotinus, we are assuming that philosophy did indeed have a beginning and that it is possible to pass a more or less satisfactory judgment as to when this took place. In the records and tradition which have come down to us, Thales of Miletus is said to be the first philosopher; accordingly, if we examine what he is said to have done and taught, we can formulate a notion of what philosophy meant for the Greeks -- even before their word "philosophy" existed. In doing so, however, we are explicitly or implicitly contrasting Thales with his predecessors, by definition non-philosophers. An examination of the prior state of affairs will sharpen our understanding of what philosophy itself is.

The procedure suggested seems wonderfully simple, but it is no easy matter to follow it out to the desired term. An examination of the activities and writings of the predecessors of Thales turns up a good many ways of viewing man and the world not wholly different from those which have come to be called philosophical. In the absence of a sharp line of demarcation in the documents and tradition, we might approach the past armed with our notion of what philosophy is and, when we find something answering to it, say: here is where philosophy begins. Obviously such a method could produce as many opinions on the identity of the first philosopher as there are different contemporary views on the nature of philosophy. The method may be made less arbitrary by accepting the view of some important Greeks that philosophy arose out of myth, religion, or poetry. Yet it is possible -- and indeed frequently done -- to understand this opposition in terms of what we mean by myth, religion, and poetry, and doubt arises as to whether the transition described is the one that historically occurred.

The fact that some ancient Greeks themselves spoke of oppositions between philosophy and other pursuits, for example, myth and poetry, and seem to imply, when they do so, that non-philosophy and philosophy are related not only absolutely but chronologically as well, suggests the possibility of a defensible statement of what philosophy was for the Greeks, as well as of the state of affairs out of which it arose. By pursuing such oppositions we will not find ourselves provided with so clearcut a distinction that all philosophy can be placed on one side of a line and all non-philosophy on the other, but we will have poles which will enable us to evaluate particular documents. And then we will be able to see why the Greeks thought Thales was the first philosopher. All we shall do here is to briefly document the opposition in question, say a few things about the supposed non-philosophers, and leave it to the sequel to show whether early philosophers are set off from their predecessors in the way claimed.

A. The Quarrel Between Philosophy and Poetry

In the tenth book of the Republic, having decided that poetry will have to be banished from the ideal city he is describing, Plato says, "But, lest poetry should convict us of being harsh and unmannerly, let us tell her further that there is a long-standing quarrel between poetry and philosophy." (607B; Cornford) It is not difficult to document this quarrel from the side of philosophy.{1} Xenophanes says: "Homer and Hesiod have attributed to the gods everything that is a shame and reproach among men, stealing and committing adultery and deceiving each other."{2} "But mortals consider that the gods are born, and that they have clothes and speech and bodies like their own." (#170) With Xenophanes and Plato, the charge against the poets is reduced to the way the gods are treated; this suggests that philosophers speak more accurately of the gods, that theology and philosophy are somehow ultimately connected. Heraclitus also criticizes the type of religion which is celebrated by Homer and Hesiod.

They vainly purify themselves with blood when they are deified with blood, as though one who had stepped into mud were to wash with mud; he would seem to be mad, if any of men noticed him doing this. Further, they pray to these statues, as if one were to carry on a conversation with houses, not recognizing the true nature of gods or demi-gods. (Kirk and Raven, #224)

Thus very early philosophy entered the arena of public opinion to correct the abuses and practices of religion and to make statements about the gods. Equally it showed a concern with the actions of men, and thus implied that philosophy provides a guide for conduct, if not a way of life.{3} Philosophy, then, is not so much ordered to expunging religion as it is meant to purify it by its rationally defensible statements about the gods and rites which would not demean man in his worship of the gods.

If philosophers are critical of the poets' theological remarks, they take no single attitude towards poetic myths. "I can tell you, Socrates, that, when the prospect of dying is near at hand, a man begins to feel some alarm about things that never troubled him before. He may have laughed at those stories [mythoi] they tell of another world and of punishments there for wrongdoing in this life; but now the soul is tormented by a doubt whether they may not be true." (Republic, 330D) There is a juxtaposition of poets and makers of myth (Ibid., 329D), such that one can state the opposition between philosophy and poetry as one between philosophy and myth. And all mythos means in these remarks of Plato is a story or narrative. Still because myth is grouped with poetry and poetry with statements about religion, we must inquire into both the poetry in question and the religion it reflects. In Plato the opposition between philosophy and myth is not clear, since his own employment of myth is notorious and self-avowed. The following exchange from the Protagoras is a good example. "Shall I, as an elder, speak to you as a younger man in an apologue or myth, or shall I argue out the question? To this several of the company answered that he should choose for himself. Well then, he said, I think that the myth will be more interesting" (320G). Whatever his own practice, however, Plato here and elsewhere (e.g., ibid., 324D; Gorgias, 523A; Timaeus 23E) distinguishes between mythos and logos. The latter is characteristically philosophical whereas the former is poetical.

When we turn to Aristotle, the opposition between philosophy and myth sharpens, but there is also present an indication of what they have in common. Note how the following text states the opposition.

The disciples of Hesiod and all the theologians have been satisfied with explanations that seem to them credible, but that make no sense to us. For when they present the principles as gods and say that anything that has not tasted nectar and ambrosia is born mortal, it is clear that they are using words which, though familiar enough to them, are explanations completely above our heads. If the gods take nectar and ambrosia for the sake of pleasure, their doing so does not explain their being; and if the gods do so for the sake of their very being, how could beings who need nourishment be eternal? But why should we examine seriously the spurious wisdom of myths? We must look for information to those who use the language of proof, and we must ask them why it is that if all things consist of the same elements some are by nature eternal, whereas others perish (Metaphysics, 1000a5-23).

Those who fabricate myths do not use the language of proof or demonstration; the opposition is between speaking mythically and apodictically. When one fails to make use of the "language of proof," talk becomes like that of the poet, a lapse of which Aristotle thought Plato had been guilty. (See Metaphysics 991a18 ff.) As we shall see later, Aristotle also argues that myth and Philosophy have things in common; his final position seems to suggest a graded scale of argumentation with poetry at one extreme and apodictic proof at the other. Aristotle quotes with approval the line "Bards tell many a lie" (Metaphysics, 983a3), but his developed view on that point must be sought in the Poetics (Chaps. 24-5).

B. The Theological Poets

Notice that it is Homer and Hesiod who are the object of the critical remarks the philosophers direct at poetry, although popular religion also comes in for criticism. Why do the philosophers consider Homer and Hesiod important enough to be singled out for special attention? The answer to this question sheds light on Greek culture both before and during the golden age of philosophy. Until recently students in America usually knew Homer only through laboriously wrestling with a small portion of the Greek text of the Iliad, often reproduced in editions containing one or several books (of the twenty-four) surrounded by learned notes, ingenious word studies, and a general aura of Teutonic scholarship. Sometimes despite the method the student caught glimpses of the poem's beauty and could therefore perhaps appreciate that the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed for oral delivery and were to be memorized. It was not unusual for the Greek schoolboy to have his Homer by heart, that is at least substantial portions of the two epics. There is nothing comparable in our own times to the influence Homer had on the Greeks. Even Plato, to whose criticism we have already alluded, is forced to acclaim Homer as the most divine of the poets. Another ancient view, that of Herodotus, pays tribute to Homer and Hesiod. "Homer and Hesiod composed a poetical theogony for the Hellenes, gave the gods their significant names, assigned to them their proper honors and arts, and indicated the various kinds of them."

The Iliad, concerned with the fall of Troy, opens with a quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles over two captive girls. Achilles loses both the argument and his girl, and enraged at the Greeks for the injustice, withdraws from the battle. Things go badly for the Greeks and Agamemnon asks Achilles to rejoin the battle. He refuses, but lends his armor to his friend, Patroclus, who does brilliantly until he is killed by Hector, son of Troy's king, Priam. The death of Patroclus moves Achilles to return to the battle; he slays Hector, and drags his body around the walls of Troy. His grief undimmed, he returns the body of Hector to Priam for burial out of pity for the old man.

The inadequacy of these remarks cannot be conveyed simply by saying that no great poem can be replaced by a paraphrase. Obviously, we have not even begun to suggest the richness of action in the epic nor will we try to do Homer's poetry the poor service of our praise. What we have hinted at may be termed the terrestrial or human plane of the epic; there is another plane, that of the gods, whose actions, rivalries and involvement in the acts of men is an essential part of the story Homer is telling. The names of these Olympian gods are familiar to everyone: Zeus, his wife Hera, Aphrodite, Ares, Athene, etc. The world of Homer fairly swarms with gods and not very exemplary gods at that. They quarrel, they fight, they deceive one another; they are at once involved in human affairs and disclaim responsibility for the evil men do. All this may seem perplexing to a modern man, much more so than it did to Homer's critics in antiquity. For while Zeus has some sort of supremacy over the other Olympians, he is not the oldest of the gods and has surprising limitations on his power. Thus his deception by Hera is an element in the beginning of the Trojan war, and he is confessedly limited by fate or moira. (Il. XVI, 431 ff.) The parents of the gods are Kronos and Rhea, and their three sons are Zeus, Hades and Poseidon, each of whom has been allotted a portion of the world as his province (moira). Thus Poseidon speaks (Il., XV, 185 ff.):

For we are three brothers, born of Kronos and Rhea, Zeus and I and Hades, the lord of the dead. And in three lots were all things divided, and each took his appointed domain. When we cast the lots, to me fell the hoary sea, that I should dwell therein forever; and Hades drew the misty darkness, and Zeus the broad heaven among the bright air and the clouds: the earth and high Olympus are yet common to all.{4}

Fate or destiny is above the gods and all must bow to it. In Homer, fate is not something which detracts from the freedom and responsibility of human acts; it is rather an expression of the seriousness of our acts, all of which we will be held accountable for. Particularly is this true in the case of pride (hybris); when a man transcends the limits of his estate an inevitable retribution follows. We should not be misled, then, by the intervention of the gods in the epics of Homer. Such intervention is never looked upon as fixing the human action in a set pattern. The evil consequences of a man's actions cannot be blamed on the gods. Zeus says in the Odyssey (I.26), "Alack, see how mortals lay blame upon the gods. For they say that evils come from us; but it is they who, from the blindness of their own hearts, have sorrows beyond what is ordained."

Recognition of the divine dimension in the Homeric epics does not mean there is a systematic theology in Homer, nor that all gods are Olympian personalities. Although the genealogy just sketched could lead us to believe that Kronos is the origin of all the gods, yet Homer speaks of Okeanos as the source (genesis) of all the gods, and Okeanos as a river which surrounds the world. So too the sky (Ouranos) and earth (Gaia) are gods, sleep is a god, the winds are gods, as is justice, and so on. Is it possible to find the divine in Homer? Hack{5} suggests that any power or influence on human life is likely to be called divine, and that such powers are immortal and always have cosmic significance; they play a role in the history of the universe. But it is not Homer's purpose to develop a theory about the divine and the interrelationships between the gods. He is telling a story about human conduct seen against the background of a world where injustice does not go unpunished, where the deeds of men have consequences which are inexorable. This motif is clear from the opening lines of the Iliad.

Sing, goddess, the destructive wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus, which brought countless sufferings upon the Greeks and hurled many valiant souls of heroes to Hades and made them the prey of dogs and birds and yet the will of Zeus was all the while being done. (I, 1-5)

Achilles' wrath at the loss of Briseis to Agamemnon leads to his refusal to fight, and is destined to have consequences which cannot be avoided. Many will die because of his refusal, among them his friend, Patroclus; and Achilles himself, when he has dragged the body of Hector around Troy and delivered it to Priam, feels compassion for the bereaved father. The will of Zeus mentioned in the passage is not the arbitrary will of Hera's husband but rather that to which Zeus too is subject -- fate or destiny. In the Odyssey also, the punishment of the suitors and Odysseus' reunion with Penelope show the triumph of justice. The world of Homer is above all a moral world -- a world of law and justice, both of which transcend the quarrels of the Olympians. Moreover, his later criticisms of the gods he depicts remind us that Homer does not always approve of their activities.

What in Homer is hardly more than the background of human action becomes in Hesiod's Theogony the major object of concern. Who are the gods; what are the relationships between them; how did the world and man come into being? The muses, daughters of Zeus and Memory, provide the answers.

And they, uttering their immortal voice, celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from the beginning, those whom Earth and wide heaven begot, and the gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the goddesses sing of Zeus -- the father of gods and men, as they begin and end their strain -- how much he is the most excellent among the gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men and strong giants, and gladden the heart of Zeus. . . . (Theogony, 43-51).{6}

The poem has a threefold burden. First, the coming into being of the world, the cosmogony which is spoken of in terms of the first race of the gods. Secondly, the sequence of generations of the gods is given, the theogony proper. Thirdly, the story of how Zeus gained supremacy over the other gods. We are faced here with a shifting notion of divinity. Hesiod puts us on guard against confusing the first race of the gods with the anthropomorphic gods most prominent in Homer. Indeed, we find in the prologue to the Theogony evidence of a critical attitude towards what the muses sing, since the muses themselves observe, "We know how to speak many false things as though they were true; but we know, when we will, to utter true things." (27-8)

These lines indicate a critical attitude toward the traditional stories concerning the gods, and Hesiod's approach to the Olympian gods is such that the preceding cosmogony is seen as all but identical with the later efforts of the Philosophers.

We have seen that Homer speaks of Okeanos as the source of all the gods. The word he uses (genesis) suggests a giving birth, and we might feel that the other gods are sons of Okeanos in the way that later gods are said to be sons of Zeus. Hesiod does not put Okeanos first, but he too speaks in terms of generation.

Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosommed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Love, fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night: but of Night were born Aether and Day whom she conceived and bore from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bore starry heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long hills, graceful haunts of the goddess-nymphs who dwell among the glens of the hills. She bore also the fruitless deep with her raging swell, Pontus, without love or marriage. (116-132)

By saying that Chaos first came to be, Hesiod clearly does not mean that first there was chaos in our meaning of that term since chaos is not unqualifiedly first -- it came to be. What is Chaos? The only meaning it has here is gap or opening and Hesiod is probably saying that the beginning of the world as we know it occuired when earth was separated, presumably from sky, though sky is later spoken as if its becoming were distinct from that of earth. Despite this reduplication, we can understand Hesiod as saying that at first earth and sky were one and then were separated -- that is, chaos, or the gap between them, came to be. Elsewhere (Theogony 700) he speaks of chaos in this sense, and Aristophanes uses the word to mean that in which, or through which, birds fly. (Birds, 192) Thus, "came to be" (genet') seems to mean "to be separated," or the phrase can mean, separation came to be. This is a straightforward kind of remark which leads us to conclude that, although Earth and Sky and the rest are spoken of as gods here, they are nevertheless plain old earth and sky as well. That Hesiod, in this passage, is striving for a non-anthropomorphic explanation is also suggested by the denial accompanying the description of how earth gives birth to the sea without love or marriage. In other words, here is a birth which is not a birth in the human sense, but results in the separation of sea and dry land. Perhaps this passage should be collated with that in which the muses tell of the ambiguity of their tales.

Hesiod is not necessarily spurning, in some sharp and definitive way, the mythical and anthropomorphic approach of Homer. The very passage before us is one of mixed quality since, if the giving birth to sea by earth is said to be without love or marriage, earth bore Aether and Day from a union in love with Erebus; what is more, Love or Eros is also spoken of as coming into being as if things once separated needed a principle of union to beget other things. Nevertheless, the non- anthropomorphic picture of the world which emerges from these lines is one with earth below and sky above. In the gap between, night and day come to be; the sky is starry and the earth hilly with dry land separated from the sea. This picture must also accommodate Eros and the goddess-nymphs in the glens. In other words, while we seem to be reading of sky and earth, hills and sea, night and day, stars and atmosphere, we are also told of nymphs and love, the former personified, the latter almost so. This ambiguous cosmogony prompts the judgment that Hesiod deserves to he numbered among the philosophers, though his description trails mythical elements. Resistance to this interpretation is sometimes based on a failure to recognize troublesome elements in unquestioned philosophical accounts, while insistence on the mythical in early philosophical statements has led to an important generalization concerning the origins of philosophy, the relation of philosophy to myth.{7}

Immediately following the cosmogonical passage quoted, the theogony proper begins; earth and heaven become parents in the usual sense and their progeny is listed. In this third generation such familiar gods as Okeanos, Rhea, Themis, Memory, and Kronos are born. Sky, or Ouranos, is not unequivocally proud of his offspring and keeps some hidden away in earth (Gaia), an outrage the latter finds difficult to countenance. She urges Kronos to revenge the injustice; he does so by castrating his father as he lies upon the earth, throwing his members into the sea. In their flight, drops of blood fall on earth and giants spring up, and from the drowned members Aphrodite rises from the foam of the sea. The generations of the gods are stars and planets, winds and seasons, the emotions of man and the evils which plague him, and the familiar Olympians. All in all, it is an attempt at a systematic theology which can account for everything and everyone hitherto called divine and which ends with Zeus as the chief god of Mount Olympus. As in Homer, Zeus, together with Hades and Poseidon is a son of Kronos and Rhea. Kronos is depicted as devouring his sons as soon as they are born lest someone replace him as king of the gods. Predictably Rhea looks darkly on this and when she is about to give birth to Zeus; seeks for some way to prevent the usual outcome for her offspring. She consults her parents, earth and sky, who presumably are familiar with such marital difficulties, and they spirit her away to Crete where she gives birth to Zeus. In place of the new-born Zeus, a wrapped stone is rushed to Kronos; he swallows it. Subsequently Rhea induces him to cough up all his sons; and when the stone comes forth first, it is set up by Zeus for the veneration of mortals. All that now remains for Zeus is to vanquish the Titans and Typhaeus, the fire- breathing monster. When he does so, his supremacy is complete.

We have still to consider the origin of man as the Greeks saw it. A somewhat melancholy account is given in another poem of Hesiod, Works and Days. A famous passage (11. 110-201) tells of the five ages of man. First, the gods made a golden race of men who lived when Kronos reigned supreme; their life was without toil or care but eventually they died out. Their spirits still dwell on earth and they are kindly guardians of mortals. Secondly, a silver generation, less noble than the first, was made. It took a hundred years for a child to reach maturity, and their prime was brief and filled with sinning because of their foolishness. Their spirits dwell in the underworld and are worthy of men's honor. Thirdly came a race of bronze men, a war- like breed. These killed one another off and were sent to Hades. As with the second and third, the fourth generation of men was made by Zeus, and it was a race of heroes, god-like men. These are they who fought at Troy, for example, and some of them live now long the shores of Okeanos, ruled over by Kronos; their life is similar to that attributed to the golden race. Lastly comes the race of iron, those men of whom Hesiod is one, though to his great sorrow. Upon these men the gods lay troubles, though some good is given with evil. This race will degenerate to the point where children will be born old and grey-haired and then die out. In the meantime, they are known for their injustice, their lack of respect, the ease with which they break their oaths. The time will come when the gods will desert this race, and only evil will remain.

This story of the races of men parallels in its way that of the races of the gods, and in Works and Days Hesiod urges his brother, a prodigal son, to turn himself to hard work -- farm work, which is not romanticised, though it is preferred in no uncertain terms to the life of the seafaring man. Man's lot is one of toil, of doing what he has to do; let the knowledge of that be its own reward.

The position of Hesiod vis-a-vis the beginning of philosophy is difficult to assess. While the Theogony gives a story of the coming into being of the world in terms which reveal the priority of certain deities other than the Olympians, Hesiod is not simply giving an account of how things came to be. For if the latter stages of the Theogony embrace the Olympian gods, the cosmogony is a rational account of a religion more primitive than the Olympian; it is the depiction of a myth of creation which antedates the Olympians and has much in common with non-Greek views of the origin of things. Viewed as a defense of a more fundamental myth -- one originally embodied in ritual -- this cosmogony appears to separate itself quite definitively from philosophical accounts. These do not so much constitute interpretations of myth as replacements of it. Nevertheless, it has been argued that it is just the relation of Hesiod's cosmogony to myth which makes it so much like philosophical accounts.

C. Greek Primitive Religion

The myths and rituals of the barbarians (in the Greek sense) contemporary with Homer make a grim and depressing story, and we turn from them to the bright world of Homer with no little relief. How unlike other ancient peoples the Greeks seem. For all their anthropomorphic defects, the gods of Olympus are out in the open, probably not really believed in, but a conscious and convenient poetic fiction to overlay the mystery and difficulty of human life. It all seems so sun-bathed and reasonable -- unlike the dreary rites of Egypt and Babylon so dark and primitive and inhuman for being all too human.

This attitude towards the Greeks -- the conviction that they had, so to speak, no dark, irrational, and primitive side -- is one that has been dispelled by recent additions to our historical knowledge. The Olympian religion, the state festivals, are seen to cover, but not wholly conceal, a religion which is literally of the earth, earthy. We can see an indication of this in Hesiod's account of the generations of the gods in which Zeus and the other Olympians are represented as replacing an earlier generation of gods, gods whose mother is the earth. The victory, moreover, involves the imprisonment of various Titans, giants, and monsters in the darkest regions below the earth. This suggests a polar opposition between the Olympian and the subterranean or earth gods or, as it is usually put, between the Olympian and Cthonic or earth religions. The point to remember is that the Olympian gods do not so much replace the underground gods as that their cults are grafted on those of the Cthonic deities. It is noteworthy, too, that Hesiod reserves the appellation "givers of good things" to the Olympian deities, for the Cthonic gods are rather looked upon as doers of evil to be placated.

In such works as Jane Harrison's Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion,{8} ample evidence is presented for the view that the cults of the Olympian deities were grafted on to an already existing cult which was that of a local deity, and very often a Cthonic or underworld god. The Olympian rite seems to have consisted in an offering to the god, say, of an animal, part of which was burnt in sacrifice and the rest eaten so that the day was turned into a feast and various contests were held. This offering to the god was made to enlist his help. But there is another side to such rites, where the attitude is rather that of urging the god to leave the cultists alone, not to heap evils on them. For example, an examination of the feast of Zeus Meilichios -- Zeus of placations -- reveals that the original ceremony had nothing to do with Olympian Zeus at all, but rather is a cult of a snake, an apt underword god, and the idea was to get rid of the snake god and the evil he represented. The sacrifice of an animal was not to share the meat with the god, but to burn it entirely; and the whole business was carried out, not with an air of cheerful festivity, but with revulsion. Thus, by adding Meilichios as epithet to Zeus, we see how the Greeks gradually replaced the of the Cthonic deity with that of the Olympian, of the primitive superstition with that of the above board anthropomorphic god. With their imperfections, these Olympian deities form an important part of what sets the Greeks off.

Further, the layers of gods systematized in Hesiod's Theogony, for instance, represent successive invasions of what became Hellas. Zeus and the other Olympians represent the ascendancy of the Hellenes whose gods were then grafted on to the objects of superstitious cult of the conquered peoples. This explains the hyphenated deities which abound in Greek mythology, whereby local deities are identified with Zeus or another of the Olympians. This pre-eminence of the Olympian is visible in Homer, while in Hesiod another step is taken which brings us to the threshold of what came to be called philosophy.

What precisely is the step Hesiod has taken? The movement is from Cthonic or underworld gods -- objects of superstition and placation and aversion -- to the Olympian gods, full-blown anthropomorphic projections, recognizable persons if somehow supermen are more or less conscious personifications of natural forces. In Homer all this is background, part of an interpretation of what is basically the human world, the stage of actions whose consequences have to be accepted. In the Theogony, the gods are themselves the objects of concern and they are invoked to explain, not just the realm of action, but the make-up of the world around us. In the cosmogonical passage we analysed, the world of nature is explained; but the gods and what become gods are the principles of explanation. Perhaps this is what Aristotle has in mind when he calls Hesiod a theologian.

The myth and ritual, then, which precede philosophy are, respectively, anthropomorphic and emotional attempts to adjust to the world; the sympathetic magic of the rite, the attribution of the observed world to deities, represent a first attempt at an explanation. Moreover, in Hesiod, there is a preoccupation with putting order into the chaos of existing mythical accounts. If the attempt is unsuccessful, it nevertheless provides a relatively stable jumping-off point for the efforts which came to be called philosophical. As we turn next to the earliest philosophers, notice the imperfect line of demarcation between the Ionian thinkers and their poetic and theological predecessors. Anything like a precise elucidation of the distinction between myth and philosophy must await our consideration of the figures of the classical period and its sequel.

{1} See R. L. Nettleship, Lectures on the Republic of Plato (London: Macmillan, 1937), pp. 340ff.

{2} From G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (Cambridge, England: University Press. 1957), #169.

{3} See C. J. de Vogel, "What Philosophy Meant for the Greeks," International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 35-57.

{4} For these passages from Homer, see F. M. Cornford, Greek Religious Thought (London: S. M. Dent & Sons, 1923).

{5} R. K. Hack, God in Greek Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1931).

{6} We cite Hesiod from H. G. Evelyn-White, Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1943).

{7} See F. M. Cornford, From Religion to Philosophy (New York: Harper Torchbook, 1957).

{8} (New York: Meridian Book Edition, 1955); also see Gilbert Murray, Five Stages of Greek Religion (Garden City: Doubleday Anchor, 1955), and A. J. Festugiere, Personal Religion Among the Greeks (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954).

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