Peter Adamson offers an accessible, humorous tour through a period of eight hundred years when some of the most influential of all schools of thought were formed: from the third century BC to the sixth century AD. He introduces us to Cynics and Skeptics, Epicureans and Stoics, emperors and slaves, and traces the development of Christian and Jewish philosophy and of ancient science. Chapters are devoted to such major figures as Epicurus, Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca,
Plotinus, and Augustine. But in keeping with the motto of the series, the story is told 'without any gaps,' providing an in-depth look at less familiar topics that remains suitable for the general reader. For instance, there are chapters on the fascinating but relatively obscure Cyrenaic philosophical
school, on pagan philosophical figures like Porphyry and Iamblichus, and extensive coverage of the Greek and Latin Christian Fathers who are at best peripheral in most surveys of ancient philosophy. A major theme of the book is in fact the competition between pagan and Christian philosophy in this period, and the Jewish tradition also appears in the shape of Philo of Alexandria. Ancient science is also considered, with chapters on ancient medicine and the interaction between philosophy and
astronomy. Considerable attention is paid also to the wider historical context, for instance by looking at the ascetic movement in Christianity and how it drew on ideas from Hellenic philosophy. From the counter-cultural witticisms of Diogenes the Cynic to the subtle skepticism of Sextus Empiricus, from
the irreverent atheism of the Epicureans to the ambitious metaphysical speculation of Neoplatonism, from the ethical teachings of Marcus Aurelius to the political philosophy of Augustine, the book gathers together all aspects of later ancient thought in an accessible and entertaining way.
Peter Adamson took his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and first worked at King's College London. In 2012 he moved to the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, where he is Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy. He has published widely in ancient and medieval philosophy, especially on Neoplatonism and on philosophy in the Islamic world.
Part I. Hellenistic Philosophy 1: Fighting over Socrates: The Hellenistic schools 2: Beware of the Philosopher: The Cynics 3: Instant Gratification: The Cyrenaics 4: The Constant Gardener: The Principles of Epicurus 5: Am I Bothered?: Epicurean Ethics 6: Nothing to Fear: Epicureans on Death and the Gods 7: Reaping the Harvest: Lucretius 8: Walking on Eggshells: Stoic Logic 9: Nobody's Perfect: The Stoics on Knowledge 10: We Didn't Start the Fire: The Stoics on Nature 11: Like a Rolling Stone: Stoic Ethics 12: Anger Management: Seneca 13: You Can Chain My Leg: Epictetus 14: The Philosopher King: Marcus Aurelius 15: Beyond Belief: Pyrrho and Skepticism 16: The Know Nothing Party: The Skeptical Academy 17: Rhetorical Questions: Cicero 18: Healthy Skepticism: Sextus Empiricus 19: The Joy of Sects: Ancient Medicine and Philosophy 20: The Best Doctor is a Philosopher: Galen Part II. Pagan Philosophy in the Roman Empire 21: Caesarian Section: Philosophy in the Roman Empire 22: Middle Men: The Platonic Revival 23: To the Lighthouse: Philo of Alexandria 24: Delphic Utterances: Plutarch 25: Lost and Found: Aristotelianism after Aristotle 26: Not Written in Stone: Alexander of Aphrodisias 27: Silver Tongues in Golden Mouths: Rhetoric and Ancient Philosophy 28: Sky Writing: Astronomy, Astrology, and Philosophy 29: A God Is My Co-Pilot: The Life and Works of Plotinus 30: Simplicity Itself: Plotinus on the One and Intellect 31: On the Horizon: Plotinus on the Soul 32: A Decorated Corpse: Plotinus on Matter and Evil 33: King of Animals: Porphyry 34: Pythagorean Theorems: Iamblichus 35: Domestic Goddesses and Philosopher Queens: The Household and the State 36: The Platonic Successor: Proclus 37: A Tale of Two Cities: The Last Pagan Philosophers 38: For a Limited Time Only: John Philoponus Part III. Christian Philosophy in the Roman Empire 39: Father Figures: Ancient Christian Philosophy 40: Please Accept our Apologies: The Greek Church Fathers 41: Fall and Rise: Origen 42: Three for the Price of One: The Cappadocians 43: Naming the Nameless: The Pseudo-Dionysius 44: Double or Nothing: Maximus the Confessor 45: Practice Makes Perfect: Christian Asceticism 46: Spreading the Word: The Latin Church Fathers 47: Life and Time: Augustine's Confessions 48: Papa Don't Teach: Augustine on Language 49: Help Wanted: Augustine on Freedom 50: Heaven and Earth: Augustine's City of God 51: Me, Myself, and I: Augustine on Mind and Memory 52: Born Again: Latin Platonism 53: Fate, Hope, and Clarity: Boethius