This post is in response to a point of view that starting point of Western Philosophy is Socrates because this era was the start of reason and that study of Philosophy should be started from this era.
My response is that Philosophy makes no sense if we do not start with earlier period that was characterized by superstitions and mythology. Age of reason has come as response or reforms to those earlier unreasonable practices. Following is a summery of different stages up to Aristotle:
Dionysus … the god of vine.
Orpheus … The proponent of Dionysism …
According to him matter is prison of soul.
Soul must meet the ultimate reality (might be the same god Dionysus).
The method is drinking vine and inducing the spirit of Dynonisus in them.
So purpose achieved…!!!
Pythagoras … a REFORMER of Dionysism.
Purpose is same.
There is AMENDMENT IN METHOD.
Now method is NOT drinking vine.
Now method is using Intellect and intellectual thought.
That is BIRTH of REASON.
A follower of Pythagoras and devotee of reason.
matter was previously the prison of soul.
Now again … matter is a bad guy. ILLUSION.
According to REASON, reality is not in observable matter.
Only reason can find the UNCHANGABLE reality.
Reaction to Parmenides using same reason.
Atomism. Reality of matter affirmed.
Reason becomes a standard method of inquiry.
Sophists and Sophistry.
Sophistry method is not clear. In order to refer to things or phenomenon, we must use definitions and concepts.
An important concept added to reason by SOCRATES.
PLATO … reality is in reason. The point of Prmenides.
Parmenides said whole reality is UNCHANGEABLE and matter is ILLUSION.
PLATO said every individual thing of experience has UNCHANGING IDEAL ‘UNIVERSAL’ counterpart.
Those ideal universals are real. Observed things are shadows (a form of illusion).
…. Method of reason must be refined. There must be rules of accuracy. Theory of Logic.
What I want to say … reason itself was not discovered at this stage. Rules of accuracy of reason were discovered at this important stage.
The question is what is the purpose of reading Philosophy?
Is the purpose to understand Philosophy?
Or to understand reality?
If understanding of philosophy is pursued, then my be, studying 2400 years of philosophers from the time of Socrates should be the approach.
If understanding of reality is the task … then we can even start from Frazer. Who will take us to most ancient times where humans started using brain in whatever form. Off course, that path will lead only towards reality of consciousness and mind.
Reality of matter must be judged from personal experiences and reflections and off course by taking help from reading previous or present relevant Philosophers and scientists.