By Julia Annas
The culture of old philosophy is a protracted, wealthy and sundry one, within which the notes of dialogue and argument consistently resound. This booklet introduces old debates, enticing us with the traditional advancements in their issues. relocating clear of the presentation of historic philosophy as a succession of significant thinkers, the ebook provides readers a feeling of the freshness and liveliness of historic philosophy, and of its large choice of topics and types.
Read or Download Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) PDF
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Extra resources for Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
When we open most works of ancient philosophy, Chapter 2 Why do we read Plato’s Republic? W hy do we read Plato’s Republic? The question can point in more than one way. It could be asking for the point of reading this work – what we get out of it philosophically. Or it could be asking about the historical pressures of various kinds which bring it about that this, rather than some other, is the work we read. I might, for example, read it because it is part of a required course at university. Many people do just that.
It is the best example of the way in which engaging with a work of ancient philosophy can be a two-way street; bringing it into a discussion can enrich that discussion, while also encouraging us to see the work in the light of that discussion. It is easy to see the changing fortunes of the Republic as a cautionary tale: what happens when a work of ancient philosophy is used as something ‘good to think with’ in a way that cuts it from its moorings, namely Plato’s work as a whole, and the way it was received and studied until recently.
If happiness is just getting what you want, then the ideas in the Choice of Heracles make no sense. However, our ideas about happiness derive from many sources and also contain elements more congenial to eudaimonism. We think of a happy life as involving achievement and success, for example, rather than just getting what you want. Theories of happiness as desire-satisfaction systematically run into problems once we face them with thoughts about our life as a whole. Happiness and Virtue Until recently, though, the really alien idea in the Choice of Heracles would have been thought to be the role of Virtue.