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p. 11. Lost words, forgotten worldslocked

  • Catherine Osborne


‘Lost words, forgotten worlds’ examines the difficulties of attempting to reconstruct Empedocles's doctrines from the scraps of an ancient papyrus. It explains that, in order to make sense of the Presocratic philosophers, we rely on isolated fragments quoted by later authors. Moreover, reconstructing the work of a philosopher so that it makes sense as philosophy is a task for philosophers. It involves trying to work out what Empedocles might have been trying to say and why: we need to think about the philosophical motives that drive him. New evidence has not settled any of the disputes, but rather allows different scholars to claim support for a wide variety of views.

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