In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London introduces the podcast as a whole, and the thought of the early Greek philosophers called the Presocratics. He also discusses the first Presocratic philosopher, Thales of Miletus.
The first thinkers of antiquity are referred to as the "Pre-Socratics", even though some of these thinkers were in fact contemporaries of Socrates. The first podcasts in the series look at the beginnings of Greek philosophy in the 6th century BC in the city of Miletus, on the coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). There, Thales and his successors Anaximander and Anaximines developed theories sometimes referred to as "material monism," deriving the entire visible cosmos from a single stuff or principle (water, the infinite, air). The following episodes look at the critique of Homer and Hesiod at the hands of Xenophanes and the more ambitious philosophical reflections of Heraclitus and Parmenides (though Peter casts some doubt on the simple opposition often drawn between these two). Further installments look at the reactions to Parmenides' monism in the 5th century BC, and cultural developments around the time of Socrates -- Hippocratic medicine and the sophists. Also look out for interview episodes with MM McCabe and Malcolm Schofield.
J. Barnes, The Presocratic Philosophers (1982).
V. Caston and D.W. Graham (eds), Presocratic Philosophy: Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002).
P. Curd and D.W. Graham (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy (Oxford: 2008).
D.J. Furley, Cosmic Problems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
D.J. Furley and R.E. Allen (eds), Studies in Presocratic Philosophy, 2 vols (1970, 1975).
G.S. Kirk, J.E. Raven and M. Schofield (eds), The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (1983).
A.A. Long (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy (1999).
A. Mourelatos, The Pre-Socratics (Garden City: Anchor, 1974).
J. Warren, The Presocratics (Stocksfield: 2007).