The earliest phase of philosophy in Europe saw the beginnings of cosmology and rational theology, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethical and political theory. It also saw the development of a wide range of radical and challenging ideas, from Thales' claim that magnets have souls and Parmenides' account of one unchanging existence to the development of an atomist theory of the physical world. This general account of the Presocratics introduces the major Greek philosophical thinkers from the sixth to the middle of the fifth century B.C. It explores how we might reconstruct their views and understand the motivation and context for their work, and it highlights the ongoing philosophical interest of their often surprising claims. Separate chapters are devoted to each of the major Presocratic thinkers, including Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Leucippus, and Democritus. With a chronology and guide to further reading, this book is an ideal introduction for the student and general reader.