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Is a philosophy without speech possible? (Pierre Hadot)

By recognizing, as I propose, philosophical life as one of the two poles of philosophy, there would be room again, in our contemporary world, for philosophers, that is, researchers. of wisdom, which certainly would not renew the philosophical discourse, but seek, not happiness – it seems that this is no longer fashionable – but a life more conscious, more rational, more open to others and on the immensity of the world. ”
Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a way of life. Interviews with Jeannie Carlier and Arnold I. Davidson , Paris, Albin Michel Editions, 2001, p.179.

This quotation by Pierre Hadot makes it possible to make the link between two distinct but complementary postures adopted by Pierre Hadot as a philosopher and historian of ancient philosophy. In his research on ancient philosophy, Pierre Hadot has, in fact, brought to light the double dimension of ancient philosophy: philosophical life and philosophical discourse go hand in hand, and together describe philosophical activity as it is practiced. in ancient times [1] . As a historian of philosophy, the highlighting of this double dimension of philosophy could remain a dead letter. But as a philosopher, the satisfaction of philosophical discourse is not enough and necessarily involves a philosophical way of life.

The example of Pierre Hadot, presented by Philippe Hoffmann, one of his students, in a series of videos visible on Youtube, thus shows the double dimension of philosophical life. On the one hand, he has always studied in a very scholarly way, the different philosophers of antiquity, whether it be Plotinus, Marius Victorinus, on which he wrote his thesis, Porphyry, or Stoic philosophers, especially those of the imperial period (Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius). This erudition and this meticulous work of translation and analysis of Greek philosophical texts characterize most of the philosophical activity of Pierre Hadot, which represents very well the large number of books and articles, sometimes accessible to the general public, but often very pointed and intended primarily for the specialists of ancient philosophy. And on the other hand, the philosophical discourse of Pierre Hadot, his work as a historian of philosophy in particular,

Pierre Hadot proposes in this quote, for himself and for his contemporaries, a choice of philosophical life. Without going into the profoundly Stoic dimension of this choice of life, I will insist more on the existential dimension of Pierre Hadot’s philosophy. Rather than content himself with renewing the philosophical discourse, remaining in the position of a historian of philosophy, Pierre Hadot endorses the posture of philosopher, in his speech on the one hand, that he leaves the domain of the only Antiquity to bring the contemporary reader to reflect on his own way of seeing the world and its place in the world, and in its way of living on the other hand. To discover more precisely this way of life, I refer you, again, to the interviews that Pierre Hadot granted to Jeannie Carlier and Arnold Davidson,

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