Paper Presentation: Philosophy as a way of Life

Abstract: The title of my presentation comes from Pierre Hadot’s book Philosophy as a way of life. In this book, he studies the roots of spiritual and other exercises from ancient Greek times to contemporary life. What does it mean to live a philosophical life? How does this happen in practice? Do we need to ask philosophical practitioners to live like they teach? Or even be role models for others? And what is most important, what kind of questions and life habits should be included in the image of a philosophical way of life? In my recent book, The Socratic mind, I explored the tradition and life advice of philosophy, theology and art, to find out similar and different rules on how to live well and do this on a practical level. Reaching a good life has the almost same construction in all of these traditions: ethics, attitude towards physical needs, regularity in the spiritual life etc. In my presentation I would like to bring up some aspects of philosophical life that Hadot, Foucault and other ancient Greek philosophers offer us. I am asking if it is possible to follow this kind of path of life and does it actually make life better? In this presentation I will be developing the idea of philosophy as a way of life and looking at it from the perspectives of creativity, rationality, dialogue, spiritual exercised, therapy, body and identity. “Philosophy was a way of life, both in its exercise and effort to archive wisdom, and in its goal, wisdom itself. For real wisdom does not merely cause us to know: it makes us “be” in a different way” (Hadot 1995, 265).

Pia Houni, PhD, Adjunct professor, Philosophical Practitioner. Head teacher of the Philosophical practice education at the Open Critical University (Helsinki, Finland). Member of the Finnish Philosophical Network.