Putting Philosophy in Its Place: A Preface to the Life of Philosophy
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This book is written for the student of philosophy who resists philosophy as an unworthy subject of study. To that end, the book is thus not meant to berate beginners or even antagonists for a negative impression of philosophy. The intent of the words and explanations and stories on these few pages is to ask the reticent student to consider philosophy as a worthy companion for life. In order to have some success with a rather Herculean task in such a brief book, the author willingly concedes some criticisms of philosophy as not only understandable but sometimes justified, and so the hesitant student will hear his own critical voice at times in this text. Such an admission, however, need not detract from the affirmation in these pages of the Socratic purposes of philosophy―for life and for a certain kind of life. By conceding imperfections in practicing philosophy in the history of philosophy, this affirms that there are different conceptions of philosophy practiced throughout the world and in the history of philosophy. In these pages, therefore, philosophy is critiqued as it is at the same time applauded in its Socratic form.
To the philosopher who undertakes to read this book, it will be apparent that my topic could be pursued from a variety of perspectives. However, because the book is written for students, it highlights philosophy from the perspective of the Socratic tradition. This is simply because it is within that tradition that philosophy possesses great potential for redirecting and changing human lives. When the new and probably leery student of philosophy makes inquiry about how philosophy interfaces with life, starting with that tradition is a most fitting place from which to begin philosophy.
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