What is this Philosophia Anyway?


  • Michael Trapp


This chapter explores contemporary understandings of philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, as both a repository of final truth and a practical, life-changing discipline, demanding life-long commitment to a project of self-formation. Drawing attention to the curious position of philosophy as both an insider and a self-conscious outsider to conventional educated culture (paideia), it suggests that greater unease and greater potential for anxiety attended philosophia and philosophoi in the world of the novel than is often acknowledged. 

Michael Trapp is Professor of Greek Literature and Thought at King's College London. He is the author of Philosophy in the Roman Empire: Ethics, Politics and Society, and the editor of Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment and Socrates in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (all Ashgate, 2007).