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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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The Move to Athens

The Move to Athens

(p.77) Chapter Nine The Move to Athens
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter first describes how the philosopher Anaxagoras came to Athens and introduced its citizens to the new Ionian way of thinking. Like Anaximandros before him, Anaxagoras wrote a book which carried forward and extended two of the central themes of Ionian thinking: the nature of the divine arche and the way in which it ordered and steered the universe. The chapter then discusses how Athenian philosophers began to develop and extend the ideas of the Ionians; the teachings of the sophists; and Socrates’ search for a reliable basis for moral action. Anaxagoras and his predecessors argued that there was an underlying order which gave rise to all the physical processes we perceive. Socrates extended this notion by arguing that this underlying order was also a moral order. His incessant questions about what we would now call moral realism provided his successors with an intellectual slipstream for further physical investigations.

Keywords:   Anaxagoras, Ionian philosophers, philosophy, Athens, Plato, Socrates, moral action, moral realism

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