In the process of writing my last work, Sekaishi no kôzô (Iwanami
Shoten, 2010; translated as The Structure of World History, Duke
University Press, 2014), it occurred to me that I should give more
detailed consideration to ancient Greece. However, considering the
overall balance of the work, it seemed better advised to place these
thoughts in a new volume. This book is the result. Consequently, it
takes the theoretical framework presented in The Structure of World
History as a premise. Still, even without that knowledge, this book
should be easy enough to follow. To be on the safe side, though,
I have included a summary of the argument of The Structure of
World History and notes on how that corresponds to this book, as
an appendix called “From The Structure of World History to Isono-
mia and the Origins of Philosophy.” In points where the argument of
this book is unclear, please refer to this text.
The ﬁrst version of this book was serialized in the monthly journal
Shinchô, to whose chief editor, Yutaka Yano, I owe a great debt.
Without his support, this work would never have come to fruition.
I am similarly indebted to the editor of this book, Kiyoshi Kojima,
from Iwanami Shoten.
ko¯jin karatani · september 15, 2012 · beijing
Author’s Preface to the Japanese Edition