Thauma Idesthai: The Mythical Origins of Philosophical Wonder

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Ancient philosophy sees its own origin in wonder. Although this mood is central for both Plato and Aristotle they nevertheless say very little about the affective dimension of wonder. If wonder is philosophy’s essential mood, how does the philosopher experience it? How exactly is wonder transformed into reflection, philosophical thought or speech? How is a philosopher born? This essay attempts to answer these questions by reading Book One of Aristotle’s Metaphysics against the background of Hesiod’s Theogony. Its central claim is that for the ancients wonder is tied to an experience of arche. The essay explores the manner in which wonder evokes an experience of arche in Hesiod’s treatment of the creation of the first woman and suggests that the Hesiodic position carries crucial implications for our understanding of philosophical wonder.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContributions To Phenomenology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameContributions To Phenomenology
ISSN (Print)0923-9545
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1915

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Fine Blow
  • Mythical Thinking
  • Natural Birth
  • Stated Difficulty
  • Visual Experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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