This book presents a history of spiritual exercises from Socrates to early Christianity, an account of their decline in modern philosophy, and a discussion of the different conceptions of philosophy that have accompanied the trajectory and fate of the theory and practice of spiritual exercises. Hadot's book demonstrates the extent to which philosophy has been, and still is, above all else a way of seeing and of being in the world.
No matter how you view philosophy, regardless of what you think it is, this series from The Independent will give you a strong sense of the life and work of the very best thinkers in the philosophical neighbourhood, dealing carefully and rationally with the most human of questions, the hardest questions, the questions which matter most. William James, in his last great work Some Problems of Philosophy, wrote that philosophy 'sees the familiar as if it were strange, and the strange as if it were familiar. It can take things up and lay them down again. Its mind is full of air that plays round every subject . It rouses us from our native dogmatic slumber and breaks up our caked prejudices'. This series shows how philosophical argument can be profoundly disconcerting in this way; how it leads people to question everything they thought they knew about existence, knowledge and ethics.
Author: Pierre Hadot
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2004
Pierre Hadot shows how the various schools, trends, and ideas of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy all strove to transform the individual s mode of perceiving and being in the world. For the ancients, philosophical theory and the philosophical way of life were inseparably linked. Hadot asks us to consider whether and how this connection might be reestablished today."
The Story of Philosophy sees philosophy for what it is: a passionate, exhilarating quest for human understanding that cannot be reduced to dry categories or simple definitions. Accessible writing, brilliant scholarship and over 150 colour illustrations combine to form a richly informative and highly entertaining work of narrative history. Packed with intriguing anecdotes and fascinating detail, James Garvey and Jeremy Stangroom bring us face to face with the most important philosophers in western history. The story begins with the Ancient Greeks, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, great thinkers who set the philosophical agenda to this day. It continues with Greek and Roman philosophers--slaves and emperors who found consolation in deep thoughts about life and death--and moves on to the religious thinkers of the Middle Ages. The origins of modern science, politics, and morality are examined, alongside theories of knowledge, logic, mind and matter. Along the way, you'll discover Descartes' evil demon, Locke on the limits of knowledge, Rousseau and Hobbes on human nature, Hume's scepticism, Kant on duty, Nietzsche's Superman, Marx on class struggle, Russell's logic, Wittgenstein on meaning, Sartre on bad faith, Foucault's take on power, and much more. Rigorous, refreshingly free of academic jargon, and highly accessible, this is the ideal introduction for anyone who wants to gain a new perspective on philosophy's deepest mysteries and most intriguing discoveries.
Author: Pierre Hadot
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 1998-04-28
Since its original publication in France in 1963, Pierre Hadot's lively philosophical portrait of Plotinus remains the preeminent introduction to the man and his thought. Michael Chase's lucid translation—complete with a useful chronology and analytical bibliography—at last makes this book available to the English-speaking world. Hadot carefully examines Plotinus's views on the self, existence, love, virtue, gentleness, and solitude. He shows that Plotinus, like other philosophers of his day, believed that Plato and Aristotle had already articulated the essential truths; for him, the purpose of practicing philosophy was not to profess new truths but to engage in spiritual exercises so as to live philosophically. Seen in this light, Plotinus's counsel against fixation on the body and all earthly matters stemmed not from disgust or fear, but rather from his awareness of the negative effect that bodily preoccupation and material concern could have on spiritual exercises.
Author: Ray Monk
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release Date: 2011-10-13
Bertrand Russell 1872-1970 Bertrand Russell discovered mathematics at the age of eleven. It was, he recalled, a transporting experience: ‘as dazzling as first love.’ From that moment on, he would pursue his passion with undying devotion and all but erotic fervour. Mathematics might succeed, he felt, where philosophy had failed, reducing thought to its purest form, and freeing knowledge from doubt and contradiction. And so, for a time, it seemed. Russell’s mathematical investigations effortlessly resolved at a stroke some of philosophy’s most intractable problems. Yet if mathematics could be a liberating mistress, she was an unreliable one... Opening up the work of one of our age’s undisputed giants, Ray Monk’s exhilaratingly clear, readable guide tells a compelling human tale too: a moving story of love and loss, of ecstatic triumph and deep disillusion.
Author: John M. Cooper
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-05-27
This is a major reinterpretation of ancient philosophy that recovers the long Greek and Roman tradition of philosophy as a complete way of life--and not simply an intellectual discipline. Distinguished philosopher John Cooper traces how, for many ancient thinkers, philosophy was not just to be studied or even used to solve particular practical problems. Rather, philosophy--not just ethics but even logic and physical theory--was literally to be lived. Yet there was great disagreement about how to live philosophically: philosophy was not one but many, mutually opposed, ways of life. Examining this tradition from its establishment by Socrates in the fifth century BCE through Plotinus in the third century CE and the eclipse of pagan philosophy by Christianity, Pursuits of Wisdom examines six central philosophies of living--Socratic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Epicurean, Skeptic, and the Platonist life of late antiquity. The book describes the shared assumptions that allowed these thinkers to conceive of their philosophies as ways of life, as well as the distinctive ideas that led them to widely different conclusions about the best human life. Clearing up many common misperceptions and simplifications, Cooper explains in detail the Socratic devotion to philosophical discussion about human nature, human life, and human good; the Aristotelian focus on the true place of humans within the total system of the natural world; the Stoic commitment to dutifully accepting Zeus's plans; the Epicurean pursuit of pleasure through tranquil activities that exercise perception, thought, and feeling; the Skeptical eschewal of all critical reasoning in forming their beliefs; and, finally, the late Platonist emphasis on spiritual concerns and the eternal realm of Being. Pursuits of Wisdom is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding what the great philosophers of antiquity thought was the true purpose of philosophy--and of life.
The cross-fruition between analytical philosophy and continental philosophical traditions has stimulated a wide-ranging debate about the role of philosophy and the use of argument and reason in culture. Through a discussion of salient themes in the analytical tradition, in the work of the later Wittgenstein, and in critical theory,Transformative Philosophy articulates a novel conception of philosophy as a transformative care for self and others.
Author: Stephen Law
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Release Date: 2016-07-26
Since the beginning of time mankind has struggled with the big questions surrounding our existence. Whilst most people have heard of Socrates, Machiavelli and Nietzsche, many are less clear on their theories and key concepts. In The Great Philosophers, bestselling author Stephen Law condenses and deciphers their fundamental ideas. Avoiding the technical jargon and complex logic associated with most books on philosophy, Law brings the thoughts of these great thinkers, from Confucius and Buddha to Wittgenstein and Sartre, to life.
Author: James Miller
Release Date: 2012-01-03
A New York Times Notable Book for 2011 We all want to know how to live. But before the good life was reduced to ten easy steps or a prescription from the doctor, philosophers offered arresting answers to the most fundamental questions about who we are and what makes for a life worth living. In Examined Lives, James Miller returns to this vibrant tradition with short, lively biographies of twelve famous philosophers. Socrates spent his life examining himself and the assumptions of others. His most famous student, Plato, risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant. Diogenes carried a bright lamp in broad daylight and announced he was "looking for a man." Aristotle's alliance with Alexander the Great presaged Seneca's complex role in the court of the Roman Emperor Nero. Augustine discovered God within himself. Montaigne and Descartes struggled to explore their deepest convictions in eras of murderous religious warfare. Rousseau aspired to a life of perfect virtue. Kant elaborated a new ideal of autonomy. Emerson successfully preached a gospel of self-reliance for the new American nation. And Nietzsche tried "to compose into one and bring together what is fragment and riddle and dreadful chance in man," before he lapsed into catatonic madness. With a flair for paradox and rich anecdote, Examined Lives is a book that confirms the continuing relevance of philosophy today--and explores the most urgent questions about what it means to live a good life.
Author: Alexander Nehamas
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2000-03
In this wide-ranging, brilliantly written account, Nehamas provides an incisive reevaluation of Socrates' place in the Western philosophical tradition and shows the importance of Socrates for Montaigne, Nietzsche, and Foucault.
Author: Alexander Nehamas
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 1999
The eminent philosopher and classical scholar Alexander Nehamas presents here a collection of his most important essays on Plato and Socrates. The papers are unified in theme by the idea that Plato's central philosophical concern in metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics was to distinguish the authentic from the fake, the original from its imitations. In approach, the collection displays Nehamas's characteristic combination of analytical rigor and sensitivity to the literary form and dramatic effect of Plato's work. Together, the papers represent Nehamas's distinct and original contributions to scholarship on Plato and Socrates and serve as a comprehensive introduction to the thought of these two philosophers. In the book's opening section, Nehamas discusses Plato's representation of Socrates as a model of authentic human goodness, showing that Plato's Socrates is a more skeptical, troubling, and individualistic thinker than is usually supposed. The papers in the second section form a sustained defense of a new and important understanding of Plato's theory of the forms and the evolution of that theory in Plato's later writings. The third section examines Plato's contention that popular entertainment--by which he meant Greek epic and tragic poetry--misleads its audience into a debased life, an argument Nehamas relates to modern anxieties about television and other forms of popular culture. The collection also includes a discussion of Plato's use of the dialogue form in his representation of Socrates and carefully examines the combination of literary and philosophical elements in his work. Nehamas argues in the book that Plato's specific judgments of what is authentic are often flawed, but that his idea of authenticity as the mark of truth, beauty, and goodness is stronger than many modern scholars have assumed. In drawing together Nehamas's many influential ideas about Plato and Socrates, Virtues of Authenticity is a major contribution to the study of ancient Greek philosophy.