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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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Platonism as a Way of Life

Platonism as a Way of Life

(p.305) Chapter 6 Platonism as a Way of Life
Pursuits of Wisdom

John M. Cooper

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the philosophy of Plotinus. It argues that philosophy, and only philosophy, can prepare us adequately for our true life, a life consisting of contemplation of Forms, in self-absorption into Intellect and into Intellect's own origin, the One. Furthermore, this very contemplation, which constitutes both our natural good and our true life, is an exercise of completely achieved philosophical understanding. For Plotinus, and the late ancient Platonists in general, philosophy is the sole road to happiness, and also its very essence. Thus, the Platonist way of life is doubly a philosophical life. The practice of philosophy is the sole necessary means to happiness. Moreover, the highest level of active philosophical understanding is happiness. It is the very essence of happiness.

Keywords:   Plotinus, ancient philosophy, Hadot, Platonism, Plato, metaphysics, happiness, human life

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