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The Origins of Philosophy in Ancient Greece and Ancient India

The Origins of Philosophy in Ancient Greece and Ancient India
A Historical Comparison


  • Publication planned for: January 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from January 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108499552

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Why did Greek philosophy begin in the sixth century BCE? Why did Indian philosophy begin at about the same time? Why did the earliest philosophy take the form that it did? Why was this form so similar in Greece and India? And how do we explain the differences between them? These questions can only be answered by locating the philosophical intellect within its entire societal context, ignoring neither ritual nor economy. The cities of Greece and northern India were in this period distinctive also by virtue of being pervasively monetised. The metaphysics of both cultures is marked by the projection (onto the cosmos) and the introjection (into the inner self) of the abstract, all-pervasive, quasi-omnipotent, impersonal substance embodied in money (especially coinage). And in both cultures this development accompanied the interiorisation of the cosmic rite of passage (in India sacrifice, in Greece mystic initiation).

    • Proposes an entirely new way of understanding the genesis of philosophy in Greece and India
    • Exposes the origins of the divergence between European and Indian philosophy and spirituality
    • Argues for the interrelation of intellectual and socio-economic processes
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: January 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108499552
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from January 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introductory:
    1. Summary
    2. Explanations
    Part II. The Earliest Texts:
    3. Sacrifice and reciprocity in the earliest texts
    4. Self, society, and universe in the earliest texts
    Part III. Unified Self, Monism, And Cosmic Cycle in India:
    5. The economics of sacrifice
    6. Inner self and universe
    7. The powerful individual
    8. The formation of monism
    9. The hereafter
    10. Reincarnation and karma
    Part IV. Unified Self, Monism, And Cosmic Cycle in Greece:
    11. Psuchē and the interiorisation of mystery-cult
    12. Monism and inner self
    13. Money and the inner self in Greece
    14. Community and individual
    15. Plato
    Part V. Conclusion:
    16. The complex imagining of universe and inner self
    17. Ritual, money, society and metaphysics.

  • Author

    Richard Seaford, University of Exeter
    Richard Seaford is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Greek at the University of Exeter. His books include commentaries on Euripides' Cyclops and on Euripides' Bacchae, as well as Reciprocity and Ritual (1994), Dionysos (2006), Money and the Early Greek Mind (Cambridge, 2004), and Cosmology and the Polis (Cambridge, 2012). A volume of his selected papers has recently been published entitled Tragedy, Ritual and Money in Ancient Greece (Cambridge, 2018).

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