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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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The Socratic Way of Life

The Socratic Way of Life

Chapter 2 The Socratic Way of Life
Pursuits of Wisdom

John M. Cooper

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the Socratic way of life. For Socrates, philosophical reflection and analysis concerning the human good, as well as concerning human deficiencies, dictate a particular way of life. This way of life is, practically speaking, the best for a human being. It is a life in which the practice of philosophical discussion is itself the central activity. Although in principle the best life is one in which we possess and live on the basis of wisdom, in practice the best human life—the best life any actual human being is ever going to live—is the one in which, like Socrates, we constantly and ceaselessly pursue wisdom through philosophical inquiry and discussion. The practically best human life is a life, not of wisdom (sophia), but of philosophy (philosophia), wisdom's love and pursuit.

Keywords:   Socrates, ancient philosophy, human life, Plato, wisdom, dialectic, Socratic knowledge

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