What Is Ancient Philosophy? / Edition 1 available in Paperback
A magisterial mappa mundi of the terrain that Pierre Hadot has so productively worked for decades, this ambitious work revises our view of ancient philosophyand in doing so, proposes that we change the way we see philosophy itself. Hadot takes ancient philosophy out of its customary realm of names, dates, and arid abstractions and plants it squarely in the thick of life. Through a meticulous historical reading, he shows how the various schools, trends, and ideas of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy all tended toward one goal: to provide a means for achieving happiness in this life, by transforming the individual’s mode of perceiving and being in the world.
Most pressing for Hadot is the question of how the ancients conceived of philosophy. He argues in great detail, systematically covering the ideas of the earliest Greek thinkers, Hellenistic philosophy, and late antiquity, that ancient philosophers were concerned not just to develop philosophical theories, but to practice philosophy as a way of lifea way of life to be suggested, illuminated, and justified by their philosophical “discourse.” For the ancients, philosophical theory and the philosophical way of life were inseparably linked.
What Is Ancient Philosophy? also explains why this connection broke down, most conspicuously in the case of academic, professional philosophers, especially under the influence of Christianity. Finally, Hadot turns to the question of whether and how this connection might be reestablished. Even as it brings ancient thoughts and thinkers to life, this invigorating work provides direction for those who wish to improve their lives by means of genuine philosophical thought.
|Edition description:||First Harvard University Paperback Editi|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Pierre Hadot was Professor Emeritus at the Collège de France. His books include Philosophy as a Way of Life and Plotinus.
Table of Contents
- Translator’s Note
- I. The Platonic Definition of “Philosopher” and Its Antecedents
- 1. Philosophy before Philosophy
- 2. The Inception of the Idea of “Doing Philosophy”
- 3. The Figure of Socrates
- 4. The Definition of “Philosopher” in Plato’s Symposium
- II. Philosophy as a Way of Life
- 5. Plato and the Academy
- 6. Aristotle and His School
- 7. The Hellenistic Schools
- 8. Philosophical Schools in the Imperial Period
- 9. Philosophy and Philosophical Discourse
- III. Interruption and Continuity: The Middle Ages and Modern Times
- 10. Christianity as a Revealed Philosophy
- 11. Eclipses and Recurrences of the Ancient Concept of Philosophy
- 12. Questions and Perspectives
- Quotations of Ancient Texts
- Selected Bibliography
What People are Saying About This
Hadot's What Is Ancient Philosophy? is a wonderful book. It strives to persuade us to revise our view of philosophy--to think of philosophy, as the ancients did, as crucially involving a philosophical way of life.
Michael Frede, Oxford University
In its sweep and clarity of presentation, I would compare this book with some of the great syntheses of an earlier generation-for instance, Werner Jaeger's Paideia. At the center of the study is the strikingly original notion of the spiritual exercise, which Professor Hadot here and elsewhere shows to lie at the heart of Greek Hellenistic thinking about man, morality, and the universe.
Brian Stock, University of Toronto