Last month Pierre Hadot's new book What Is Ancient Philosophy? was reviewed by Barry Gewen, who writes of Hadot's thesis:

... that philosophy is a lived experience, not a set of doctrines; that philosophers consequently should be judged by how they live their lives, what they do, not what they say; that philosophy is best pursued orally, in dialogue and community, not through written texts and lectures; that philosophy as it is taught in universities today is for the most part a distortion of its original, therapeutic impulse ....

The original goal of philosophy, Hadot argues, is simply: "... to train people for careers as human beings ...."

Strong words --- and Gewen concludes his commentary by quoting even stronger words from "Archaic Torso of Apollo" by Rainer Maria Rilke --- words which echo in the final pages of Hadot's book. Rilke's poem ends with the blunt philosophical imperative, "You must change your life."

(see "The Second-Oldest Profession" by Barry Gewen, a review of What Is Ancient Philosophy by Pierre Hadot, translated by Michael Chase; "Archaischer Torso Apollos" by R. M. Rilke, available in various translations on the Web; see also LivingPhilosophy (12 Jun 1999), HeadlineSocrates (20 May 2000), ...)

TopicPhilosophy - TopicLiterature - 2002-09-25

(correlates: NotEasy, HappyNuptials, ReaderAsPerformer, ...)