By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest objective of its writer to universal acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English. Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of large erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers was once reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect by way of writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who provides full place to every philosopher, providing his suggestion in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went sooner than and to those that came after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
Heraclitus speaks of the One as God, and as wise: "The wise is one only. "* God is the universal Reason (A6yo<;), the universal law immanent in all things, binding all things into a imity and determining the constant change in the universe according to universal law. Man's reason is a moment in this universal Reason, or a contraction and canalisation of it, and man should therefore strive to attain to the viewpoint of reason and to live by reason, realising the unity of all things and the reign of unalterable law, being content with the necessary process of the universe and not rebelling against it, inasmuch as it is the expression of the all-comprehensive, all-ordering A A ^ or Law.
65. * Diog. , 9, 8-9. * Frag. 30. " 1 Thus, while the substance of each kind of matter is always changing, the aggregate quantity of that kind of matter remains the same. But it is not only the relative stability of things that Heraclitus tries to explain, but also the varying preponderance of one kind of matter over another, as seen in day and night, summer and winter. " Thus "the bright exhalation, when ignited in the circle of the sun, produced day; and the preponderance of the opposite exhalation produced night.
B y stressing universal law and man's participation in Reason, Heraclitus helped to pave the way for the universalist ideals of Stoicism. This conception of universal, all-ordering Reason appears in the system of the Stoics, who borrowed their cosmology from Heraclitus. But we are not entitled to suppose that Heraclitus regarded the One, Fire, as a personal God, any more than Thales °r Anaximenes regarded Water or Air as a personal God: Herac itus was a pantheist, just as the Stoics in later times were pantheists.