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

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Cambridge University Press, Dec 5, 2019 - History - 382 pages
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).
 

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Contents

2A Explananda
7
3
41
4A Constructing the Self
49
10
74
6A From Diversity to Wholeness
102
The Powerful Individual
125
7B The Interiorisation of Autocracy
137
The Formation of Monism
143
10B Cyclicality
199
39
204
Psuchē and the Interiorisation of MysteryCult
219
Monism and Inner Self
235
Money and Inner Self in Greece
253
Community and Individual
271
Plato
294
The Complex Imagining of Universe and Inner Self
317

8E Chapter 6 of the Chāndogya Upanisad
162
9B From Ritual Action to Metaphysical Merit
168
Ajivikism Jainism and Buddhism
180
9F The Factor of Monetisation
190
3
194
Ritual Money Society and Metaphysics
332
Bibliography
347
Index of Principal Ancient Passages
362
125
366
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About the author (2019)

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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