M. F. Burnyeat taught for 14 years in the Philosophy Department of University College London, then for 18 years in the Classics Faculty at Cambridge, 12 of them as the Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, before migrating to Oxford in 1996 to become a Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at All Souls College. The studies, articles and reviews collected in these two volumes of Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy were all written, and all but two published, before that decisive change. Whether designed for a scholarly audience or for a wider public, they range from the Presocratics to Augustine, from Descartes and Bishop Berkeley to Wittgenstein and G. E. Moore. Their subject-matter falls under four main headings: Part I on Logic and Dialectic, Part II on Scepticism Ancient and Modern, Part III on Knowledge, and Part IV on Philosophy and the Good Life. The title 'Explorations' well expresses Burnyeat's ability to discover new aspects of familiar texts, new ways of solving old problems. In his hands the history of philosophy becomes itself a philosophical activity.
Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy
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