Potamo of Alexandria and the Emergence of Eclecticism in Late Hellenistic Philosophy

Potamo of Alexandria and the Emergence of Eclecticism in Late Hellenistic Philosophy

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Eclecticism is a concept widely used in the history of ancient philosophy to describe the intellectual stance of diverse thinkers such as Plutarch, Cicero and Seneca. In this book the historical and interpretative problems associated with eclecticism are for the first time approached from the point of view of the only self-described eclectic philosopher from Antiquity, Potamo of Alexandria. The evidence is examined in detail with reference to the philosophical and wider intellectual background of the period. Potamo's views are placed in the context of key debates at the forefront of late Hellenistic philosophical activity to which he contributed, such as the criterion of truth, the first principles in physics, the moral end and the interpretation of Aristotle's esoteric works. The emergence of eclecticism is thus treated in connection with the major shift in philosophical interests and methods that marked the passage from Hellenistic to Imperial philosophy.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3 b/w illus.
  • 1139102060
  • 9781139102063

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Eclecticism in modern and ancient thought; 2. Eclecticism and Alexandria in the first century BC; 3. Potamo of Alexandria, life and work; 4. The eclectic system of Potamo's Elementary Teaching; 5. Potamo and Aristotle's On the Heavens; 6. Further references to Potamo; 7. Conclusions.
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Review quote

'The book is handsomely produced, in keeping with Cambridge's characteristic high standards ... well worth the purchase price for all specialists in Hellenistic philosophy.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'This volume helps to rehabilitate 'eclecticism' which for so long has been interpreted in negative terms, at least as far as ancient philosophy is concerned.' Carl O'Brien, The Journal of Hellenic Studies
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