2nd Edition

Ancient Philosophy A Contemporary Introduction

By Christopher Shields Copyright 2023
    314 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Ancient Philosophy (2012), Christopher Shields expanded on the coverage of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in his earlier book, Classical Philosophy (2003), to include the philosophy of the Hellenistic era. In this new edition (2023), Shields reaches even further to include material on Neoplatonism and on Augustine and Proclus, capturing—from Thales of Miletus to the end of the sixth century CE—all of what might be called ancient philosophy. It traces the important connections between the periods and individuals of more than 1,200 years of philosophy’s history without losing sight of the novelties and dynamics unique to each. The coverage of the Presocratics, Sophists, Plato, and Stoicism has also been expanded so as to highlight Plato’s responses to the Sophistic movement in the development of his Theory of Forms.

    And, finally, a valuable companion volume, with Shields’s focused translations of the important sources referred to in Ancient Philosophy, Second Edition, will soon be published, obviating the need for a massive anthology of discordant voices.

    Ancient Philosophy, Second Edition, retains its helpful structure: each philosophical position receives: (1) a brief introduction, (2) a sympathetic review of its principal motivations and primary supporting arguments, and (3) a short assessment, inviting readers to evaluate its plausibility. The result is a book that brings the ancient arguments to life, making the introduction truly contemporary. It continues to serve as both a first stop and a well-visited resource for any student of the subject.

    Key updates in the second edition

    • Extends the range of coverage well into the sixth century CE by offering a new chapter on Neoplatonism and early Christian philosophy, featuring discussions of Proclus and Augustine.
    • Explains the conflicts between Plato and the Sophists by highlighting their approaches to rhetoric as an instrument of persuasion, offering a helpful explanation of two senses of argument.
    • Includes new coverage of Plato’s argument from the Simplicity of the Soul, Argument from Affinity, and Argument against Rhetoric.
    • Includes coverage of Aristotle’s political naturalism .
    • May be used with a soon-to-be-published companion volume of primary source material, all of it translated by Christopher Shields specifically for the reader of this Second Edition.

    1. Philosophy before Socrates

    2. Socrates

    3. Plato

    4. Aristotle

    5. Hellenistic philosophy

    6. Late Antique Philosophy


    Christopher Shields is UC Distinguished Professor and Henry B. Allison Chair in the History of Philosophy at UC San Diego. His publications include The Blackwell Guide to Ancient Philosophy (ed., 2002) and The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle (ed., 2012).