From, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. I, The early Presocratics and the Pythagoreans, Cambridge University Press, 1962, pp. 1-25.
Elpenor's noteThe opening paragraphs of Guthrie’s introduction to his history of Greek philosophy express the character of the acceptance/interpretation of ancient Greece by the western mind, as is forcefully manifest in the general course of western history. To summarize it, myth is an immature or at best a secondary form of thinking, while rationalization is or should be the goal of man and his principal theoretic ambition. Thus ancient Greek thinking is of interest to us, to the degree that promotes rationalisation.
In this course, Aristotle, the most un-Greek of Greek philosophers, the closest the Greek mind got to being a Calculator, becomes, as he indeed became in the general course of western thinking, the peak of ancient Greek philosophy – he, who was but a marginal figure, a stranger in the philosophical-poetical unity of Greek philosophy. I can’t give in a brief note the details to be found at a large text on the Ancient Greeks (in Greek only, without translation). Let me just say that if rationalisation is the core of the ancient Greek achievements, then we should stop reading the ancients – we have gone much further: reading the ancients from such a point of view, would be almost equal to studying the apes in order to understand man.
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