Anaximander and the Architects
The Contributions of Egyptian and Greek Architectural Technologies to the Origins of Greek Philosophy
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Uses textual and archaeological evidence to argue that emerging Egyptian and Greek architectural technologies were crucial to the origins and development of Greek philosophy.
Anaximander and the Architects opens a previously unexplored avenue into Presocratic philosophy—the technology of monumental architecture. The evidence, coming directly from sixth century B.C.E. building sites and bypassing Aristotle, shows how the architects and their projects supplied their Ionian communities with a sprouting vision of natural order governed by structural laws. Their technological innovations and design techniques formed the core of an experimental science and promoted a rational, not mythopoetical, discourse central to our understanding of the context in which early Greek philosophy emerged. Anaximander's prose book and his rationalizing mentality are illuminated in surprising ways by appeal to the ongoing, extraordinary projects of the archaic architects and their practical techniques.
Robert Hahn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is the author of Formal Deductive Logic, Fifth Edition; Conduct and Constraints: Testing the Limits of the 'Harm Principle;' and Kant's Newtonian Revolution in Philosophy.
"…novel and exciting. For the first time, the origins of Greek philosophy are illuminated by an appeal to archeology … Hahn's study will move Presocratic studies in a new direction, but it also raises a number of interpretative controversies that deserve a critical assessment." — Ancient Philosophy
"In Anaximander and the Architects, Hahn's accomplishment is that he forces us for the first time to consider the new world of technology (techne) in which Thales and Anaximander lived, reminds us pointedly of the other authors of the earliest treatises in prose, and makes us aware of the brutal fact that the earliest Greek philosophers had 'lives,' meaning that they did not have the leisure Aristotle required for the development of philosophy. Anaximander and the Architects is a daring project—one that will cause dispute, but one which will concentrate attention afresh on the culture in which Anaximander lived and wrote." — Diskin Clay, author of Paradosis & Survival: Three Chapters in the History of Epicurean Philosophy
"Hahn has produced a work of old-fashioned scholarship...written in an unusually engaging style. His book opens new doors to our understanding of so-called Presocratic philosophy by virtue of its interdisciplinary approach...It is a work of genuine significance." — Robert Bernasconi, author of Heidegger in Question: The Art of Existing
"Anaximander and the Architects is a groundbreaking work. Through its study of ancient architecture, it opens an entirely unexplored path into Anaximander's cosmic architecture. Hahn's work invites scholars to pay attention, perhaps for the first time, to the light that archaeology can shine on the origins of Greek philosophy." — Gerard Naddaf, York University