Selecting the “best” modern history of Greek philosophy can be subjective, as different books may suit different readers depending on their preferences and level of prior knowledge. However, I can recommend a highly regarded and comprehensive work that is often considered one of the best in the field:
Title: “A History of Greek Philosophy” (6 volumes) Author: W. K. C. Guthrie
W. K. C. Guthrie’s “A History of Greek Philosophy” is a well-regarded and comprehensive series that explores the development of Greek philosophy from its earliest origins to the Hellenistic period. Guthrie’s work is highly respected for its scholarly depth and clear writing style. The series is divided into six volumes, each focusing on different periods and philosophers within Greek philosophy:
- Volume 1: “The Presocratic Philosophers” – This volume covers the early thinkers of Greek philosophy, including the Milesian philosophers, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and others.
- Volume 2: “Socrates and Plato” – This volume delves into the life and teachings of Socrates and the philosophy of his most famous student, Plato.
- Volume 3: “Aristotle: An Encounter” – This volume explores the life and philosophy of Aristotle, one of the most influential figures in Western philosophy.
- Volume 4: “Plato: The Man and His Dialogues” – This volume offers a detailed examination of Plato’s dialogues and his philosophical ideas.
- Volume 5: “The Later Plato and the Academy” – This volume continues to explore Plato’s philosophy and its later developments within the Academy.
- Volume 6: “Aristotle: Later Works” – The final volume focuses on Aristotle’s later works, including his ethics, metaphysics, and other writings.
Guthrie’s work is often praised for its thorough research, clarity of presentation, and its ability to make Greek philosophy accessible to both scholars and general readers. It’s a classic in the field and is frequently recommended as a starting point for those interested in the history of Greek philosophy. However, given that it’s an extensive series, you can choose to read the volumes that align most closely with your interests and level of familiarity with the topic.