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Pursuits of WisdomSix Ways of Life in Ancient Philosophy from Socrates to Plotinus$
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John M. Cooper

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138602

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138602.001.0001

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On Philosophy as a Way of Life

Chapter 1 Introduction
Pursuits of Wisdom

John M. Cooper

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses ancient philosophy as a way of life. It first considers the ties linking popular ideas about philosophy to the subject of study that is pursued and taught in philosophy departments by professional philosophers. One aspect of ancient philosophy as a way of life has survived intact in philosophy until today is the prominence among philosophy's varied subfields of ethics or moral philosophy. It argues that the ancient philosophers propose that we live our lives from some set of argued through, rationally worked out, rationally grasped, and rationally defended, reasoned ideas about the world and one's own place within it. To live a life of philosophy is to live committed to following philosophical reason wherever it may lead. The promise is that by doing so—but only by doing so—one will achieve the best possible human life.

Keywords:   ancient philosophy, ethics, moral philosophy, human life

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