Philosophy Today 65 (1):201-210 (2021)

Crucial in Pierre Hadot’s account of ancient philosophy as a way of life is the phenomenon of conversion. Well before he encountered some of the decisive influences upon his understanding of philosophy, Hadot already understood ancient philosophy and its long legacy in later thinkers of the West as much more than a formal discourse. Philosophy is an experience, or at least the exploration and articulation of a potential for experience. The energy of this potential originates in a polar tension between epistrophe and metanoia. The two poles, which are grounded in primal experiences of the living organism, motivate and model the conversion which must be lived by the philosopher. The genius of Western philosophical experience lies in the effort to synthesize return and rebirth, and thereby recover the self as an ontological point of identification with and origin of the cosmos.
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DOI 10.5840/philtoday2021225391
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