There are of course no pre-Socratic manuscripts preserved from the fifth century BC. The perishable nature of the materials on which manuscripts (lit. hand written) were made, necessitated the periodic copying out of texts. But there are no complete pre-Socratic texts that have in this fashion been copied from generation to generation. What we have of pre-Socratic writing consists entirely of quotation and paraphrase from later writers whose works have been preserved through transmitted manuscripts. The earliest and best known of these writers are Plato and Aristotle. As both these philosophers founded schools of philosophy and were famed even in antiquity, their own writings have come down to us with a degree of completeness that is ...

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