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An new view of reality in ancient thought

A new look at two ancient Greek philosophical schools and thinkers offers insight on metaphysical indeterminacy.

Climate Change and Environment

The fifth to the end of the fourth century BC was a crucial period in philosophical thought. Yet, modern traditional scholarship has overlooked the importance of the philosophers Protagoras and Pyrrho as well as the Socratic schools of the Cyrenaics and the Megarians. Progatoras (490–420 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and one of the Sophisists. Pyrrho (360–270 BC) was a Greek philosopher of classical antiquity and is known as being the founder of the school of scepticism. The EU-funded IAGPH project worked to uncover their importance in the realm of metaphysical indeterminacy. This is the notion that reality has no ontological structure, so that things are without any intrinsic essence on their own. The research aimed to reconstruct the logic of indeterminacy in the context of these philosophers and schools of thought. Beyond that, it proposed that these figures and schools provided a metaphysical model of reality that was philosophically appealing. Thus, they offered an alternative to the Platonic/Aristotelian view of reality. Part of the reason their importance has been overlooked thus far is because the evidence is fragmented. Therefore, a significant part of the project involved a full historical and philosophical assessment of the theoretical contribution of both the schools and the philosophers. This included examining ancient philological texts as well and philosophical ones. As a result of these efforts, major works and information have been generated that are available to the public. These include two books and an edited collection on the Socratics. The project also hosted an international conference on the Socratic schools.

Keywords

Ancient thought, philosophical school, metaphysical indeterminacy, Protagoras, Pyrrho, Cyrenaics, Megarians, Greek philosopher, Sophisist, scepticism

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