Philosophy, Psychology and Humanities Web Site

Diccionario filosófico
Voltaire. Complete edition.


Diccionario de Filosofía

Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


 A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms  Francis Garden


Biografías y semblanzas  Biographical references and lives of philosophers.


Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset


History of Philosophy Summaries


Historia de la Filosofía

Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises... 


Historia de la Filosofía

Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes


Historia de la Filosofía

 Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González


Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres

 Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos



Introductory Paragraph

Early Ionic Natural Philosophers

The Pythagoreans

The Eleatics


Later Natural Philosophers

General Character of the First Period in the History of Greek Philosophy

The Sophist


The Followers of Socrates

The Lesser Socratics

Plato. Life. Works

Plato. Philosophy

The Disciples of Plato

The Old Academy

Aristotle: Life and works

Aristotle: Theory of Knowledge

Aristotle: Metaphysics

Aristotle: Physics

Aristotle: Psychology

Aristotle: Practical Philosophy

Aristotle: Rhetoric and Poetic

Aristotle: Sources

Aristotle: Unity of Plato and Aristotle

Aristotle: result

The Peripatetic School

Three Leading Post-Aristotelian Schools

The Stoics and Stoicism

The Epicureans and Epicureanism

The Sceptics

The Common Ground of the Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics

Philosophy in Rome: Eclecticism

The Later Peripatetics

The Later Academics

The Later Stoics

General Character of the Second Period

Standpoint and Schools of the Third and Latest Period of Greek Philosophy

Jewish-Alexandrian School


The Eclectic Platonist

Neo-Platonism. Plotinus

Neo-Platonism. Porphyry. Jamblichus

Neo-Platonism. Proclus



A Brief History of
Greek Philosophy

B. C. BURT, M.A.,

Formerly Fellow and Fellow by Courtesy in the
Johns Hopkins University


To  H. G. B.  and  E. S. McK.


The following work had its beginning in a series of essays written for one of the ethico-religious periodicals of the country. To these —at the suggestion of friends whose counsel seemed to be as valuable as that of any could possibly be and could not well be disregarded— others were added to make a brief account of Greek speculation from its beginning to its end. This account has been prepared in the belief that the problems of philosophy are in a large measure always the same, and that the Greek solutions of the cardinal problems, by reason of their simplicity and freshness (for they are solutions that were found when the world's thought was comparatively in its youth, and are, in larger measure than those unacquainted with the history of thought begin to suspect, the only original solutions of those problems), and by reason of their remoteness from the prejudices of the present, have a certain value not possessed by any others, particularly for the beginner in philosophical thinking.


Most of the works treating of the subject of which this volume treats are learned and extensive, overwhelming the general reader, and even the student, almost, with a sense of the superabundant wealth of the ancient thought in particular and the world's thought in general. It is hoped that the present work will render accessible in convenient form and quantities some of the noblest portions of the intellectual wealth of Greece.

An attempt is here made not merely to expound and elucidate, but also to present in their historical connection, and give a just estimate of the validity of the leading standpoints and categories of Greek thinking. Much reading and not a little original study have been given to the task.

The writer takes the liberty to express here his sense of obligation to G. S. Morris, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Michigan, and formerly Lecturer on Philosophy in the Johns Hopkins University, and to G. S. Hall, late Professor of Psychology in the Johns Hopkins University, and now President of Clark University, for suggestions and encouragement received from them. A word of thanks is due also to John Dewey, now Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Michigan University, and Professor Elect of Philosophy in the University of Minnesota; and to a college-classmate who has become a life-companion.

ANN ARBOR, June, 1888.


General Table of Contents

Brief Bibliography

Introductory Paragraph


§ 1. The Hylicists, Hylozoists or Early Ionic Natural Philosophers: Thales; Anaximander; Anaximenes; Result.

§ 2. The Pythagoreans: Pythagoras and the Pythagorean Society; Pythagorean Philosophy; Number-Theory and Doctrine of Contraries; Theories not purely Pythagorean; Miscellaneous Theories; Result.

§ 3. The Eleatics: Life of Xenophanes; Philosophy of Xenophanes; Result; Life of Parmenides; Philosophy of Parmenides; Result; Life of Zeno; Philosophy of Zeno; Result,; Melissus; General Result.

§ 4. Heraclitus: Life of Heraclitus; First Principle; Physical Doctrine; The Soul and Reason; Result.

§ 5. Later Natural Philosophers: Life of Empedocles; Theory of Nature; Theory of Knowledge; Result; Life of Anaxagoras; Theory of Nature; Theory of Nous or Mind and Knowledge; Result; The Atomists; Leucippus and Democritus; Theory of Nature; Theory of the Soul; etc.; Result.

§ 6. General Character of the First Period in the History of Greek Philosophy.


§ 7. The Sophists: Life of Protagoras; Theory of Protagoras; Life of Gorgias; Theory of Gorgias; Result; Hippias and Prodicus; The Sophists as a Class (Result).

§ 8. Socrates: The Sophists and Socrates; Special Sources of Information regarding Socrates; Life of Socrates; Personality of Socrates and its Relation to the Subsequent History of Greek Philosophy; Philosophy of Socrates; Spirit of the Socratic Philosophizing; The Socratic Method; The Doctrines of Socrates (their general character); Physical Philosophy of Socrates; (Ethical Philosophy of Socrates) Relations between Knowledge and Virtue; General Consequences of the Unity of Knowledge and Virtue; Classification of the Virtues; Temperance; Friendship; Right Citizenship and Justice; Piety; Wisdom; Beauty; General Result.

§ 9. The Followers of Socrates.

§ 10. The Lesser Socratics: The Megarians (Euclid, Eubulides, Diodorus, Stilpo and their doctrines); The Cynics (Antisthenes, Diogenes, —their doctrines); The Cyrenaics (Aristippus, Theodorus, Hegesias, Anniceris, —their doctrines); Result.

§ 11. Plato: Life of Plato; Plato's Works; Plato: Philosophy:  Plato's General Conception of Philosophy; The Divisions of Philosophy; Dialectic as a Twofold Science; Dialectic as a Theory of Knowledge and Method; (Dialectic as a System) Thought and Being; The World of Ideas; Relation of the Ideal to the Phenomenal World; (Physics or the Theory of Nature) The Method of Physical Speculation; The Cosmos; Body and Soul; (Plato's Ethics) General Basis; The Method of Ethics; Nature and End of the State; The Parts of the State and the Virtue of Each; Virtue in the Individual; State Administration; False Forms of the State and their Genesis; The Eternal Life; Beauty and Art; Later Form of Plato's Philosophy; Result.

§ 12. The Disciples of Plato.

§ 13. The Old Academy: Speusippus, Xenocrates; Other Members of the Old Academy.

§ 14. Aristotle: Life of Aristotle; Aristotle's Works: General Character of Aristotle's System and His Chief Philosophical Works; Theory of Knowledge: Kinds of Knowledge; Scientific or Philosophical Knowledge; Demonstration; The Syllogism (Deductive); Definition and Predicables; The Categories; Syllogism (Inductive); Probable Proof and Dialectical and Rhetorical Method; First Philosophy or Metaphysics: Being and Plato's Ideas; Matter and Form; Potentiality and Actuality; Causes or First Principles (άρχαί); Kinds of Real Substance; Immovable Substance; God, Physics or the Philosophy of Nature: Essential Character of Nature; Method of the Philosophy of Nature; Motion, Space, and Time; The Visible Universe; Graduated Scale of Being in Nature; Psychology as a Science: Body and Soul; Parts or Faculties of the Soul; (General Analysis, Sense-Faculties, Phantasy and Memory, Reason, Desire and Locomotion); Practical Philosophy: Method of Practical Philosophy; End of Practical Philosophy or "Political Science"; Psychological Basis of Ethics; Sources and Conditions of Virtue; Definition of Virtue; Deliberate Choice; The Ethical Virtues; Right Reason, Prudence and the Intellectual Virtues, Generally; Self-Control and its Opposite; Friendship; Pleasure and Happiness; "Practical" Ethics; Origin of the State; The Family; Criticism of Certain Theories and Forms of State (Plato and Others); The End of the State; The Nature of the Citizen; A Polity and its Kinds; Who Should be Rulers; The Best Polity; Characteristics of Different Polities; Methods of Establishing and Maintaining the Various Forms of State; Causes of Political Revolutions; The Most Permanent Polities; Plato's Theory of Revolutions; Rhetoric and Poetic: Rhetoric; Poietical Philosophy; Sources and Genesis of Aristotle's Philosophy; Substantial Unity of Plato and Aristotle; Result.

§ 15. The Peripatetic School: Theophrastus; Strato of Lampsacus; Diæarch of Messene.

§ 16. Three Leading Post-Aristotelian Schools.


§ 17. The Stoics and Stoicism: Zeno; Cleanthes; Chrysippus and Others —Lives; Stoic Conception of the Nature and Parts of Philosophy; Stoic Logic; Origin of Ideas; The Criterion of Truth in Ideas; System and Logical Method; The Categories; Physics or the Theory of Nature; Ethics and its Parts; The Chief Good, —Life according to Nature; Nature of Virtue; Classes of Virtue; Classes of Goods; —the Summum Bonum; The Wise Man; The Stoics and the Popular Religion; Historical Sources of Stoicism; Result.

§ 18. The Epicureans and Epicureanism: Epicurus and his School; The Parts of Philosophy; (Canonics) Criterion of Truth in Ideas; Method of the Study of Nature, Physics —Aim and General Character; First Principle; Atoms; Properties of bodies; The Visible Universe; The Gods; The Human Soul; Ethics —First Principle (Pleasure); Kinds of Pleasure; The Wise Man; Friendship; The State; Religion; Historical Sources of the Epicurean Doctrines; Result.

§ 19. The Sceptics, PyrrhonistsPyrrho, Timon of Phlius, Ænesidemus, Agrippa, Sextus Empiricus; Theories of the Earlier Pyrrhonists; The Later Pyrrhonists —The "Tropes"; The Impossibility of Demonstration, Sign and Cause, Pure Negativism of the Pyrrhonists; Middle and New Academies; Arcesilaus, Carneades, Result.

§ 20. The Common Ground of the Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics.

§ 21. Philosophy in Rome: Eclecticism.

§ 22. The Later Peripatetics: Andronicus of Rhodes, Boëthus of Sidon, an unknown author, Alexander of Ægæ, Aspasius and Adrastus of Aphrodisias, Aristocles, Alexander of Aphrodisias.

§ 23. The Later Academics: Philo of Larissa; Antiochus of Ascalon.

§ 24. The Later Stoics: Boëthus;, Panætius of Rhodes; Posidonius; Varro; Cicero —Life; General Conception of Philosophy; Theory of Knowledge; Physics; Ethics; Seneca —Life; Philosophy; Musonius Rufus; Epictetus; Marcus Aurelius; Cynicism.

§ 25. General Character of the Second Period.


§ 26. Standpoint and Schools of the Third and Latest Period of Greek Philosophy.

§ 27. Jewish-Alexandrian School: Aristobulus; Philo-Judæus; General Attitude; Theory of Knowledge; God; The Logos; The Sensible World and Matter; Man, Result.

§ 28. Neo-Pythagoreanism.

§ 29. The Eclectic Platonists.

§ 30. Neo-Platonism: Plotinus: Ammonius Saccas; Plotinus —Life; Dialectic; Reason; Intellect or Nous (Realm of Ideas); The One; The first; The Good; Intellect; Reason or Nous as an Emanation; Soul; Soul and Body; Individual Soul and Soul of the World; The Sensible World and Matter; Virtue; Historical Sources of the System of Plotinus; Result. Porphyry and Jamblichus: Porphyry and Others; Jamblichus; ProclusProclus—Life; Philosophy of Proclus; Result.



  © TORRE DE BABEL EDICIONES - Edition: Isabel Blanco  - Legal notice and privacy policy