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By Julia Annas

The culture of historic philosophy is a protracted, wealthy and sundry one, within which the notes of dialogue and argument regularly resound. This ebook introduces old debates, enticing us with the traditional advancements in their subject matters. relocating clear of the presentation of old philosophy as a succession of significant thinkers, the booklet supplies readers a feeling of the freshness and liveliness of historic philosophy, and of its large choice of subject matters and kinds. concerning the sequence: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and magnificence, Very brief Introductions provide an advent to a couple of life's best issues. Written via specialists for the newcomer, they display the best modern considering the principal difficulties and matters in countless numbers of key issues, from philosophy to Freud, quantum thought to Islam.

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Money and success. On their own, no amount of such goods could make you happy, since whether or not you have them is not primarily up to you, and he thinks that, once you have begun to reflect ethically on your life, happiness must come from your own reflection on and organization of your life, and cannot just lie in external goods that circumstances can give and take away. Aristotle, however, fights shy of the idea that you can make yourself happy by making yourself virtuous. If that were so, he says, then a virtuous person would be happy even if he met with great and undeserved misfortunes, such as being tortured on the rack – and that would be hopelessly absurd.

While some parts of ancient philosophy seem extremely alien to our interests, others are too familiar. Sometimes we need to distance them from present concerns and ask about our traditions of interpreting them. Engaging with ancient philosophical thinking may in Chapter 1 have sounded easy; now it may sound more difficult. With many texts, particularly the most famous ones, like Plato’s Republic, the right approach is surely to think of them both as available to read and argue with, and as being in their own right the subject of a long tradition of engagement that we stand at the end of.

Grote disagrees with Plato’s ideas, but sympathetically presents him as following different arguments and directions. In this picture of Plato as essentially an argumentative searcher for truth the Republic appears as just one dialogue among many, containing some political ideas which are not seen as its centrepiece. The Plato that won out, however, was a third Plato, the Plato of the Idealist philosopher Benjamin Jowett. Jowett translated all Plato’s works (published in 1871) in a readable way that for the first time made Plato accessible to the general public.

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