The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature

The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature By Bruno Snell ✼ – Heartforum.co.uk The present translation is based on the second edition of Die Entdeckung des Geistes Claassen und Goverts, Hamburg, , with the addition of the essay which here appears as Ch Human Knowledge and Divi The present translation is based on the second of the PDF Ç edition of Die Entdeckung des Geistes Claassen und Goverts, Hamburg,, with the addition of the essay which here appears as ChHuman Knowledge and Divine Knowledge In this immensely erudite book, German classicist Bruno Snell traces the establishment of a rational view of the nature of man as evidenced in the The Discovery PDF \ literature of the Greeks in the creations of epic and lyric poetry, and in the drama Here are the crucial stages in the intellectual evolution of the Greek world the Homeric world view, the rise of the individual in the early Greek lyric, myth and reality in Greek tragedy, Greek ethics, the origin of scientific thought, and Arcadia.

Bruno Snell June October of the PDF Ç was a German classical philologist From to he held a chair for classical philology at the University of Hamburg where he established the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae research centre in After studying law and economics at University of Edinburgh and University of Oxford, Snell gained interest in classical studies The Discovery PDF \ and finally changed his major to classical philology He earned his PhD from the University of G ttingen in Snell served as the inaugural president of the Mommsen Society from In , the Europa Kolleg Hamburg, an institution promoting research and postgraduate education in the field of European integration, was founded on Snell s initiative Since , Discovery of the Kindle Ï the Mommsen Society awards the Bruno Snell Prize to young classical scholarsHis book, The Discovery of the Mind The Greek Origins of European Thought Die Entdeckung des Geistes, Hamburg, , trans TG Rosenmeyer, argues that the development of Greek literature from Homer to Aristophanes and Plato shows a gradual discovery of the inner mental life, a developing understanding that humans have a unique and individual inner world of thought.

The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and
  • Paperback
  • 323 pages
  • The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature
  • Bruno Snell
  • English
  • 19 February 2018
  • 0486242641

10 thoughts on “The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature

  1. BlackOxford says:

    Revelation Gone WrongConsciousness is a term of variable meaning It cannot be pinned down in an unambiguous definition Like time, it is something we think we know about as long as we don t take it seriously Snell takes consciousness seriously And what he finds is not a biological but a sociological source for what we presume is our most private possession Consciousness, that is to say the recognition of mind, is a cultural phenomenon It does not exist except it is recognised by those aro Revelation Gone WrongConsciousness is a term of variable meaning It cannot be pinned down in an unambiguous definition Like time, it is something we think we know about as long as we don t take it seriously Snell takes consciousness seriously And what he finds is not a biological but a sociological source for what we presume is our most private possession Consciousness, that is to say the recognition of mind, is a cultural phenomenon It does not exist except it is recognised by those around us.According to Snell, mind is ametaphysical happeningIn a sense, he says, such an event is indistinguishable from a religious revelation It seems to come from elsewhere, not in response to human striving but as an unexpectedgrace It has no proximate cause but simply appears and is then accepted as real, true, and obvious But the discovery of mind is not a consequence of divine action It is a result of the use of language It is the communal facility in language which provokes a recognition of something which is there but not before it is named and connected to other names within the language Then mind appears among us as something which has always been.We casually conceive of mind as a property of individuals But this is only because we have no where else to physically place it We presume it is something private and intimately our own Of course it is not It only exists among us The place in which it exists is literature And, according to Snell, its appearance, its birth, can be datedor less precisely to the Homeric epics.In other words, mind is a story we tell ourselvesOutside of history, and outside of human life, nothing could be known of the nature of the intellect Consequently the story we tell ourselves about what mind is constantly evolves What we mean by consciousness, mind, soul, or intellect undifferentiated psyche, the force which keeps human beings alive is not what Homer meant But it is he who began the conversation about them Andthe ancient legacy is stored in us, and we may recognize in it the threads of our own involved patterns of thinking These stories, nominally about the self but actually about a society or culture, are imaginative but not fantasythe discoveries of the Greeks which constitute our topic, affecting as they do the very essence of man, take shape as vital experiences It is the transformation of experience into language that creates the culture in which mind can exist at all This transformative process is not without pain We pay a price for the culture of mind, wisdom through suffering This shows most clearly in religionIn Christian thought God is intellect our understanding of God is beset with grave difficulties, and the reason for this is a view of the intellect which was first worked out by the Greeks The idea of grace for example in Homeric narrative is that of the gods filling characters with irresistible emotionThe Homeric hero stands free before his god he is proud when he receives a gift from him, and again he is modest in his knowledge that all great things accrue to him from the deity Christianity takes this up but changes the connotation to one of enabling individuals to do good It thus has all sorts of problems reconciling this with the other Christian idea of free will which is essential to its idea of sin.Evenfundamentally, Christianity highjacked the Greek notion of , faith In Homer the appearance of the gods give heroes confidence, faith, not in the gods but in themselves The gods are just there They may be ignored but they self evidently influence events There is no dogma and therefore no need for belief which has the status of opinion rather than principle Consequentlythe problem of faith never became an issue Although Snell does not analyse this moment in any detail, it seems to me a critical part of the discovery of mind Homer s narratives were stories, not things to be considered as other than that St Paul s redefinition of faith transformed some stories into truths Since such truths as he claimed were entirely beyond human intellect, they are superior to intellect Intellect must submit to them as a matter of faith.It is at this point that the discovery of mind in Western culture makes its most painful turn Essentially it idolises the language it has used to discover itself Christianity imposes dogma, statements that are incontrovertibly true, upon the culture of mind It makes mind an individual, isolated thing which is elemental and accountable only to God We are still, very painfully indeed, trying to escape from this burial of mind under a mountain of the language that created it

  2. Katie says:

    For a very long time, I ve told myself that I just wasn t all that interested in Greek and Roman history It s overrated, I would tell myself It got glorified by a bunch of snobby Renaissance poets way beyond its actual historical value It s boring Being a medievalist will do things like this to you.More and , I m realizing that this attitude probably set itself up predominately on the grounds of self preservation I study medieval and early modern history, which already takes up a solid For a very long time, I ve told myself that I just wasn t all that interested in Greek and Roman history It s overrated, I would tell myself It got glorified by a bunch of snobby Renaissance poets way beyond its actual historical value It s boring Being a medievalist will do things like this to you.More and , I m realizing that this attitude probably set itself up predominately on the grounds of self preservation I study medieval and early modern history, which already takes up a solid swath of 1400 odd years If I was interested in ancient history too, well, man, then I d have to read about everything.Because, in all honesty, the Greeks are an interesting bunch I do still think that some classicists will try to convince you that they wereimportant than they actually were, or that they wereunique than they actually wereon that later , but that doesn t negate the fact that the Greeks were important, and the Greeks were cool They were also kind of lovely, if you take a look at their poetry based on their verses, Greek poets often appear as if they lived in a world that seemed to shimmer Bruno Snell s The Discovery of the Mind has stolen a coveted spot on my Goodreads favorites shelf, and I ll recommend it wholeheartedly to the philology nerds of the world Others may want to tread a bitcarefully, as I d imagine it s a rather rough and dense read if you think philology is boring you would be wrong, but to each his own Snell s work covers the period from Homer to Virgil, but narrows in specifically on the centuries between Homer and Socrates, and perhaps right after He argues, based predominantly on linguistic evidence, that the fifth century marked the discovery of the mind the moment in which people began to develop and self consciousness and independence concerning their own intellectual capabilities Homer s heroes are described as an aggregate of limbs, they have three intellectual organs instead of a clearly conceptualized soul, and all they key moments of decision are spurred by exterior agents, particularly the gods In the lyric poems of Sappho or Archilochus, agency remains out of reach, but we start to seem deeply personal reactions to situations The mind fully emerges, though, in the Greek tragedies, particularly those of Euripides, who hinged his dramas on moments not of battle or divine intervention, but on singular moments of personal interior choice He then moves along to look at how this development, in conjunction with the Greek language, gave rise to Greek ethics, logic, and natural science My favorites were the chapters on logic and natural science, which are impossible to do justice to in a summary in essence, though, Snell argues that Greek logic grew out of the grammar of Homeric similes, and that Greeks founded our conception of natural science essentially because they possessed a definite article that allowed them to make substantive nouns out of abstract concepts This part absolutely blew my mind I know almost nothing about philology, and whenever I come across it I treat it essentially as if it s magic I kind of love it, and think it s all powerful, but I m also a bit wary I m not sure that all of Snell s arguments really hold up particularly problematic is trying to figure out the exact relationship between a culture s language and its and mental attitudes It seems at least plausible, for example, that other cultures had a developed conception of the human soul and intellect, but literary convention hadn t yet caught up I m also not convinced that the Greeks were quite as singular as Snell seems to argue Snell wrote this work in Germany in 1946, and I think he sees the Greeks as potential cultural saviors for his country, an attitude that perhaps doesn t hold up quite as well today But regardless, this is a wonderful and fascinating book I guess I have to readabout Greeks now

  3. Joseph Hirsch says:

    This is one of the few books I ve read that can truly be described as mind and life altering, without an ounce of hyperbole Mr Snell or maybe Doctor Snell sets himself the nigh on impossible task of parsing Greek philosophy and literature to include plays and poetry to try to delineate moments in which human thought or at least Western thought evolved, on concepts ranging from the soul to the idea of a metaphor I say the task is nigh on impossible hedging my bet, if only because Sne This is one of the few books I ve read that can truly be described as mind and life altering, without an ounce of hyperbole Mr Snell or maybe Doctor Snell sets himself the nigh on impossible task of parsing Greek philosophy and literature to include plays and poetry to try to delineate moments in which human thought or at least Western thought evolved, on concepts ranging from the soul to the idea of a metaphor I say the task is nigh on impossible hedging my bet, if only because Snell succeeds where pretty much everyone else would have failed Most would be sensible enough not even to try.The author s command of language both German and Greek as well as the breadth of his knowledge on everything from Attic history to German romanticism and aesthetics is really awe inspiring That he can communicate his knowledge and his complex ideas in a relatively straightforward manner makes the book nothing short of remarkable It s hard to select standout chapters, since the work is uniformly good But if held at the point of a spear and forced to choose, From Myth to Logic and the final chapter, The Discovery of a Spiritual Landscape, were the most illuminating.The value and purpose of our inheritance from the Greeks and their literary and cultural artifacts is sometimes in debate, with younger artists and thinkers occasionally feeling they need to cast aside all that has come before in order to start anew, but most of those who swear off this dead culture usually make a return to it at some later point in their intellectual development I include myself in this number, and as a young man I frankly grew weary of many myths told second hand in every realm from psychology to science fiction to high school courses Bruno Snell s book has rekindled the fire for me, and this one is definitely going into the reread pile It s the kind of book you can finish in a week, and then meditate on for decades Highest recommendation

  4. Hiéroglyphe says:

    The gods are the measure of all things this dictum signalizes to the Greeks that the world is a cosmos and that everything is controlled by a stable order It is a concept of nature upon which the Greeks pinned their faith butthan believing in it, they also attempted to comprehend its principles Thedeeply they probed into the mystery, the clearer it became to them that behind these gods there existed an evenuniversal plan which controlled the life of man and gave it its me The gods are the measure of all things this dictum signalizes to the Greeks that the world is a cosmos and that everything is controlled by a stable order It is a concept of nature upon which the Greeks pinned their faith butthan believing in it, they also attempted to comprehend its principles Thedeeply they probed into the mystery, the clearer it became to them that behind these gods there existed an evenuniversal plan which controlled the life of man and gave it its meaning Our European culture may well be said to rest on the discovery of the Greeks that this plan takes different manifestations to the intellect it appears in the shape of law, to the senses it is beauty, to the active spirit it is justice The persuasion that truth, beauty and justice exist in the world, even though their appearance is largely hidden, is our ever present heirloom from the Greeks, and even to day the power of this conviction is unimpaired. If we hope to be Europeans and such an intent must be implied in our desire to read and write, and to preserve the arts, technology, philosophy the question which looms before us is What were the Greeks And especially if we are dissatisfied with this or that aspect of our modern European culture, we must ask with an added emphasis What was the original form of this culture, at a time when the modern distortions had not yet marred its face

  5. Darin Stevenson says:

    It is a startling moment when one realizes that consciousness as we understand it, is fluid and changing over human developmental time By readings in Julian Jaynes, and other authors who speak towards the evolution of consciousness one begins to glimpse this strange terrain, which we, ourselves, recursed upon in our own developmental arcs during our childhood but also throughout our lives in cycles that, themselves, re iterate histories otherwise unimaginable.Snell is useful in sketchin It is a startling moment when one realizes that consciousness as we understand it, is fluid and changing over human developmental time By readings in Julian Jaynes, and other authors who speak towards the evolution of consciousness one begins to glimpse this strange terrain, which we, ourselves, recursed upon in our own developmental arcs during our childhood but also throughout our lives in cycles that, themselves, re iterate histories otherwise unimaginable.Snell is useful in sketching some of the anchors and pivots that connect the Greeks to aspects of our own modern consciousness and by so doing reveal amazing features of perspective and thought that while they may predate our own, are uncannily rich, intelligent and deep.I am particularly fond of the way that, in an early part of the book, Snell highlights a variety of Greek words for seeing or gazing, emphasizing their active, penetrative nature rather than the passive receptivity we too easily associate with this sense And goes on to demonstrate how they quickly collapse into a smaller and smaller set of terms whose meanings homogenize

  6. Larry Hinman says:

    This is one of the first books, along with From Religion to Philosophy A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation, that drew me into philosophy as an undergraduate His chapter on Homer and the emerging Greek concept of the self is superb and helped me to understand just how profound a change occurred with the emergence of early Greek philosophy This is one of the first books, along with From Religion to Philosophy A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation, that drew me into philosophy as an undergraduate His chapter on Homer and the emerging Greek concept of the self is superb and helped me to understand just how profound a change occurred with the emergence of early Greek philosophy

  7. Franz says:

    Snell argues that the literary and philosophical writings of the early Greeks peeled open the mind within men bit by bit In the Homeric epics and tales of Hesiod, the thoughts of the various heroes arise as speech of the Olympic gods and goddesses within the heroes minds The poet is the instrument through which the immortals speak inside men s heads Gradually, over the course of the 5th century BCE as revealed in the lyrics of Pindar, Sappho, and other poets the traditional portrayal of he Snell argues that the literary and philosophical writings of the early Greeks peeled open the mind within men bit by bit In the Homeric epics and tales of Hesiod, the thoughts of the various heroes arise as speech of the Olympic gods and goddesses within the heroes minds The poet is the instrument through which the immortals speak inside men s heads Gradually, over the course of the 5th century BCE as revealed in the lyrics of Pindar, Sappho, and other poets the traditional portrayal of heroes in Aeschylus s plays the jettisoning of mythical explanations about the cosmos by the presocratic philosophers the emergence of individuals with free will in the plays of Euripides and culminating with Socrates insisting on each man s responsibility for the values they act on, and Aristophanes s comedic rage against Socrates and the diminishment of the gods in the plays of Euripides the rational mind exploring the physical cosmos emerges as the alternative to mythic conceptions of the world Aiding in this development is the Greek language which evolves into a tool for expressing concrete thoughts and logical thinking By the beginning of the 4th century BCE, producing plays for the stage that retold the old myths had been largely abandoned for the playful and profound dialogues of Plato with their emphasis on our reason having the ability to figure out how the world works This ultimately influenced the European emphasis on science and logic which we in the West inherited This is a wonderful book filled with interesting insights drawn from Greek poetry, plays, and philosophy Readers already familiar with some of ancient Greek literature will profit greatly from this book

  8. Mark Lisac says:

    Great erudition and intelligence, in the tradition of the best academic work Snell shows how the ancient Greeks conception of the human mind shifted from the time of Homer to the time of Euripides He also argues persuasively that the structure of Greek language was instrumental in developing scientific understanding of the world Both developments involve language and profoundly affected later culture.Reading the book requires concentration but that challenge makes taking it on evenwort Great erudition and intelligence, in the tradition of the best academic work Snell shows how the ancient Greeks conception of the human mind shifted from the time of Homer to the time of Euripides He also argues persuasively that the structure of Greek language was instrumental in developing scientific understanding of the world Both developments involve language and profoundly affected later culture.Reading the book requires concentration but that challenge makes taking it on evenworthwhile And despite its dense nature, Snell s prose is quite understandable, unlike many of the intentionally obscure or even impenetrable books by critics and social scientists of the last few decades some of the credit for this has to go to the translation by Thomas Rosenmeyer, which reads as if the book were originally written in English rather than in German One chapter on the poet Pindar feels a little superfluous but that s a minor issue The analysis rests on surviving examples of ancient Greek writing Who knows what the less literate segment of the population thought This is an example of a book I would probably never have heard of unless I d seen a recent Goodreads review of it, which shows one of the values of the service

  9. Malvina Papadaki says:

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  10. Ilaria says:

    Raccolta di saggi fondamentali per lo studio del pensiero classico Snell pone le basi per alcune categorie interpretative ormai consolidate nello studio della lingua e della cultura greca Pure alcune teorie sono datate o necessitano di una correzione alla luce dei nuovi studi L ordine in cui sono posti i saggi rispetta la successione temporale, per cui si parte da Omero e si arriva alla poesia alessandrina, ma non si rinuncia ad approfondire certi argomenti specifici e trasversali Imprescind Raccolta di saggi fondamentali per lo studio del pensiero classico Snell pone le basi per alcune categorie interpretative ormai consolidate nello studio della lingua e della cultura greca Pure alcune teorie sono datate o necessitano di una correzione alla luce dei nuovi studi L ordine in cui sono posti i saggi rispetta la successione temporale, per cui si parte da Omero e si arriva alla poesia alessandrina, ma non si rinuncia ad approfondire certi argomenti specifici e trasversali Imprescindibile e fonte di ispirazione anche per comprendere i fenomeni della cultura contemporanea

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