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MaieusisEssays in Ancient Philosophy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat$
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Dominic Scott

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289974.001.0001

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Socrates and Philosophy as a Way of Life *

Socrates and Philosophy as a Way of Life *

Chapter:
(p.20) 2 Socrates and Philosophy as a Way of Life*
Source:
Maieusis
Author(s):

John M. Cooper

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289974.003.0002

This chapter examines Socrates' conception of philosophy itself as a way of life, of philosophy as something to be lived, not merely thought and talked about. It argues that for Socrates, living a philosophical life meant living with the idea that reason — conceived as the capacity for argument and analysis in pursuit of the truth about things — is our highest and most essential capacity. To live a philosophical life is therefore to live consistently on the basis of reason so conceived in everything that we do. Socrates had a quite particular conception, not followed by all his successors in this tradition, of what living on the basis of reason entailed; those particularities are explored. For both Socrates and all his successors, being a philosopher and living a philosophical life meant living according to reason, conceived as a capacity for argument and analysis in pursuit of the truth.

Keywords:   reason, Plato, philosophical life, truth, argument, analysis

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