In Graham's view, Parmenides plays a constructive role in shaping the scientific debates of the fifth century BC. Accordingly, the history of Presocratic philosophy can be seen not as a series of dialectical failures, but rather as a series of theoretical advances that led to empirical discoveries. Indeed, the Ionian tradition can be seen as the origin of the scientific conception of the world that we still hold today.
Ancient legends have Pythagoras conversing with dogs, bears, and bulls. A distinctly Pythagorean way of life, including detailed ritual regulations, was observed by his disciples, who were organized as a secret society. Later, Pythagorean and Platonic teachings became fused. In this Platonized form, Pythagoreanism has remained influential through medieval Christianity and the Renaissance down to the present.
Christoph Riedweg's book is an engaging introduction to the fundamental contributions of Pythagoras to the establishment of European culture. To penetrate the intricate maze of lore and ascertain what history can tell us about the philosopher, Riedweg not only examines the written record but also considers Pythagoras within the cultural, intellectual, and spiritual context of his times. The result is a vivid overview of the life and teachings of a crucial Greek thinker and his most important followers.