Robert Gleave is Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter. He is the Director of the ‘Clerical Authority in Shi’i Islam’ project.
The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Published in British Academy Review, No. 19 (January 2012).
Lecture by Professor Alexander Nehamas, delivered on 18 October 2011 (venue: The British Academy). One of a triptych of lectures organised by the British School at Athens, with support from the British Academy, to celebrate the School's 125th Anniversary (in association with the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies). Ancient Greek philosophy, at least since the time of Socrates and extending all the way to Plotinus, was not primarily an academic discipline but a way of life - the philosophic life, which the ancients were ready to declare the best for human beings. That is not to say that the ancient philosophers formulated no theories: far from it. But their theories were ultimately meant to answer questions about life in a way that is much more direct than what we find in modern and, especially, contemporary philosophy. Derived from, and aimed at, everyday life, ancient Greek philosophy provides a stark alternative to current practice and, as we shall see, it still exerts considerable, though often unrecognized, influence on our thought.
Peter Mackridge is Professor Emeritus of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford and a visiting professor at King’s College London. This was one of three lectures given at the British Academy on 18-20 October 2011 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the British School at Athens.