This week and next will be dedicated to the pre-Socratics.
In Russell, feel free to read the chapter on “The Rise of Greek Civilization” and “The Milesian” school; but I’d like to start with Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Parmenides, as well as introduce two great resources we’ll be using throughout the course, the Philosophy Bites podcast and Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
So required reading for this week is Pythagoras through Parmenides in the Russell (pp. 38-59). (Who do you agree with more? Is Heraclitus right that “everything changes”, or is it Parmenides: “all is one and unchanging”?)
- Listen to Philosophy Bite’s podcast on Parmenides
- Also read the entry in Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Zeno of Elea (Are his paradoxes convincing or not? Why?)
A suggestion: Philosophical writing can be dense. It must be read slower, and requires more repeated readings, than other reading. A suggestion from one professor of mine is to read the text aloud. This helps with comprehension…
- You may want to read Stanford’s entry on Heraclitus ane/or on Pythagoras
- More on Zeno’s Paradox by Numberphile on YT (only relevant up to the 7th minute)
- More on Zeno’s Paradoxes from Stanford’s Encyclopedia.
- More math by Numberphile (more on infinite series, Grandi’s series mentioned in the Stanford article on Zeno)
- More on the context-dependency of words — some neuroscientific research on language ambiguity, for those of you who are interested
The Week 2 Presentation is also available for viewing!