By Julia Annas

The culture of old philosophy is an extended, wealthy and sundry one, within which the notes of dialogue and argument regularly resound. This publication introduces historic debates, enticing us with the traditional advancements in their subject matters. relocating clear of the presentation of historic philosophy as a succession of serious thinkers, the ebook supplies readers a feeling of the freshness and liveliness of old philosophy, and of its good selection of topics and kinds. concerning the sequence: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and elegance, Very brief Introductions provide an creation to a couple of life's best issues. Written by way of specialists for the newcomer, they reveal the best modern puzzling over the critical difficulties and concerns in enormous quantities of key themes, from philosophy to Freud, quantum conception to Islam.

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Extra info for Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions - 26)

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In modern readings of Plato the Republic is the centrepiece and high point of Plato’s thought, the work which best presents the most important aspects of Plato’s thought. There is another important point: the Republic is predominantly read in the light of its brief account of an ideal society. Plato there sketches an ideally just society, in which there would be complete division of labour between wealth on the one hand and political power on the other. The rulers would Ancient Philosophy be ‘Guardians’, who would devote their lives to the public good and running the state.

But we can also more open-mindedly draw the lesson that we should be aware of at least three things when we study a work of ancient philosophy. One is our interest in seeing and engaging with the work in its own intellectual context. Secondly, our own assumptions as to what is 33 Why do we read Plato’s Republic? reason for lapsing into relativism about interpreting it, but as a sign of the philosophically salient and interesting, what we are likely to find intellectually rewarding. And thirdly, the potential of the work we study to engender creative philosophical thinking on our part.

It is your life as a whole which is said to be happy or not, and so discussions of happiness are 40 discussions of the happy life. It is our bad luck that for us what is happy are not just lives, but also moments and fleeting experiences; modern discussions of happiness tend to get confused very rapidly because such different things are being considered. In ancient ethics happiness enters ethical discussion by a very different route from the ‘feel-good’ one. Sometimes you step back from your routines of daily life and think about your life as a whole.

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