Page:Early Greek philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition, 1920.djvu/9

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PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION

As a third edition of this work has been called for, and as it has been translated into German[1] and into French,[2] it must have served some useful purpose, in spite of its imperfections, of which I am naturally more conscious than any one. The present edition was prepared under the stress of war conditions, which much abridged the leisure of university teachers, and its publication has been delayed longer than I could have wished for the same reason.

My aim has been to show that a new thing came into the world with the early Ionian teachers—the thing we call science—and that they first pointed the way which Europe has followed ever since, so that, as I have said elsewhere, it is an adequate description of science to say that it is "thinking about the world in the Greek way." That is why science has never existed except among peoples who have come under the influence of Greece.

When the first edition of Early Greek Philosophy was published, twenty-eight years ago, the subject was still generally treated in this country from a Hegelian point of view, and many of my conclusions were regarded as paradoxes. Some of these are now accepted by most people, but there are two which still provoke opposition. In the first place, I ventured to call Parmenides "the father of Materialism," and it is still maintained in some quarters that he was an Idealist (a modern term, which is most

  1. Die Anfänge der griechischen Philosophie, aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Else Schenkl (Berlin, Teubner, 1913).
  2. L'Aurore de la Philosophie grecque, édition française, par Aug. Reymond (Paris, Payot, 1919).

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