For Socrates, philosophy was the study of how to lead one's life. For Wittgenstein, "philosophy leaves everything as it is." "Ancient Concepts of Philosophy" sets the work of the ancients in the context of the most recent thinking about the nature and value of philosophy.
William Jordan questions what we can learn from the ancient philosophers' varying conceptions of the ideal life. He argues that ancient philosophy was tied much more closely to ways of life, and lived up to its reputation as the search for wisdom. Jordan traces the emergence of the idea that the philosopher leads a distinctive and uniquely valuable lifestyle. This ancient concept of philosophy, he argues, is the one which differs most markedly from our own.
Jordan discusses the purpose of philosophy and the aims of the philosophical life. He discusses the nature of the philosophical questions asked by the Greeks, their methods of argument, and their philosophical results. He explores the question of whether philosophy has contracted since ancient times, and examines how the study of philosophy is related to the study of the history of philosophy.
Now available in paper, "Ancient Concepts of Philosophy" provides a historical approach to vital questions about the nature of philosophy, and will interest students of philosophy and anyone who aspires to lead an "examined" life.
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