Ancient Modes of Philosophical Inquiry

History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 23 (1):3-20 (2020)
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At least since Socrates, philosophy has been understood as the desire for acquiring a special kind of knowledge, namely wisdom, a kind of knowledge that human beings ordinarily do not possess. According to ancient thinkers this desire may result from a variety of causes: wonder or astonishment, the bothersome or even painful realization that one lacks wisdom, or encountering certain hard perplexities or aporiai. As a result of this basic understanding of philosophy, Greek thinkers tended to regard philosophy as an activity of inquiry (zētēsis) rather than as a specific discipline. Discussions concerning the right manner of engaging in philosophical inquiry – what methodoi or routes of inquiry were best suited to lead one to wisdom – became an integral part of ancient philosophy, as did the question how such manners or modes of inquiry are related to, and differ from, other types of inquiry, for instance medical or mathematical. In this special issue of History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis, we wish to concentrate in particular on ancient modes of inquiry.

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