By Amelie Oksenberg Rorty
Philosophy is a perilous occupation, risking censorship, legal, even dying. And no ask yourself: philosophers have puzzled conventional pieties and threatened the validated political order. a few claimed to understand what was once concept unknowable; others doubted what used to be believed to make certain. a few attacked faith within the identify of technological know-how; others attacked technological know-how within the identify of mystical poetry; a few served tyrants; others have been radical revolutionaries. This traditionally dependent selection of philosophers' reflections--the letters, journals, prefaces that show their hopes and hesitations, their triumphs and struggles, their inner most doubts and convictions--allow us to witness philosophical thought-in-process. It sheds mild at the many--and conflicting--aims of philosophy: to precise skepticism or conquer it, to help theology or assault it, to enhance a moral method or lessen it to useful politics. As their audiences differed, philosophers experimented with specific rhetorical innovations, writing dialogues, meditations, treatises, aphorisms. starting from Plato to Hannah Arendt, with contributions from forty four philosophers (Augustine, Maimonides, AlGhazali, Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, between others) this outstanding assortment files philosophers' declare that they modify in addition to comprehend the area. In her introductory essay, "Witnessing Philosophers," Amelie Rorty locates philosophers' reflections within the better context of the various elements in their different actions and commitments.
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Additional info for The Many Faces of Philosophy: Reflections from Plato to Arendt
I came to this City to see a friend whom I thought I might win over for God 20 From Plato to Maimonides and have him with us in the monastery: I felt safe, because this place had a bishop. I was caught and made a priest; then, through this step, I reached the episcopate. I brought nothing: I came to this church with nothing more than the clothes that I wore at the time. Since I had this intention to live in a monastery with my brethren, the venerable [Bishop] Valerius of happy memory, who knew my plan and desire, gave me this garden in which the monastery is now located.
And by means of quibbles that would be shameful and discreditable even among persons occupying themselves with law reports? When you’re leading the person you’re questioning into a trap, aren’t you just making it look as if he has lost his case on a purely technical point of pleading? . Why do philosophers like you abandon the magniﬁcent promises you have made? After assuring me in solemn terms that you will see to it that my eyes shall no more be overwhelmed by the glitter of gold than by the glitter of a sword, that I shall spurn with magniﬁcent strength of purpose the things all other men pray for and the things all other men are afraid of, why do you have to descend to the schoolroom ABC?
These are my principles; and whenever anyone consults me on a question of importance in his life, such as the making of money, or the care of his body or soul, if it appears to me that he follows some plan in his daily life or is willing to listen to reason on the matters he lays before me, I advise him gladly and don’t stop with merely discharging my duty. But a man who does not consult me at all, or makes it clear that he will not follow advice that is given him—to such a man I do not take it upon myself to offer counsel; nor would I use constraint upon him, not even if he were my own son.
The Many Faces of Philosophy: Reflections from Plato to Arendt by Amelie Oksenberg Rorty