In this book, F.M. Cornford explains why the life and work of Socrates stand out as marking a turning-point in the history of thought. He shows how Socrates revolutionized the concept of philosophy, converting it from the study of Nature to the study of the human soul, the meaning of right and wrong, and the ends for which we ought to live. This is, in fact, the story of the whole creative period of Greek philosophy - the Ionian nature of science before Socrates, Socrates himself, and his chief followers, Plato and his pupil Aristotle. It tells of the different contributions each made, and shows how within three centuries the Greek tradition grew to maturity and the fullness of intellectual power.
'Admirable in both tone and content ... it can be confidently recommended to those who wish for a competent statement in a short compass of what the Greek philosophers believed and why.' New Statesman 'Professor Cornford's small book is not only a masterly piece of condensation, nor only a delightful introduction of further reading; it is more, and it claims the attention of every serious student of the subject ... full of suggestive ideas and arresting phrases ... refreshing and stimulating'. Journal of Hellenic Studies