Philosophy is often thought of as an abstract and theoretical discipline that deals with metaphysical and epistemological questions. However, there is a long tradition in philosophy that emphasizes the practical and personal aspects of philosophical inquiry. This tradition can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, who viewed philosophy as a way of life rather than a purely intellectual pursuit.
One of the most famous philosophers in this tradition is the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates. Socrates did not leave any written works behind, but his ideas were recorded by his students, particularly Plato. Socrates believed that philosophy was not just something to be studied in books or debated in academic settings but was a way of life that required constant self-examination and reflection.
Another philosopher who saw philosophy as a way of life was the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Montaigne lived during the Renaissance and wrote extensively about his own experiences and thoughts in his Essays. Montaigne believed that philosophy should be concerned with the practical problems of everyday life rather than with abstract theories.
In more recent times, the philosopher Pierre Hadot has argued that many ancient philosophers saw philosophy as a way of life rather than an academic discipline. Hadot has written extensively about this idea in his book “Philosophy as a Way of Life,” which explores how ancient philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus saw philosophy as a practical guide to living.
One contemporary philosopher who has embraced this idea is Martha Nussbaum. Nussbaum has argued that philosophy should be concerned with practical questions such as how to live a good life rather than abstract questions about knowledge or reality.
In conclusion, while many people think of philosophy as an academic discipline concerned with abstract theories, there is also a long tradition within philosophy that emphasizes the practical and personal aspects of philosophical inquiry. From Socrates to Montaigne to contemporary philosophers like Nussbaum, there have been thinkers who have seen philosophy as a way of life, a practical guide to living well.