1.What exactly did philosophical historian Will Durant mean when he stated that, “It is the age of Socrates again”? How well does his assessment of American culture in 1929 coincide with twenty-first century issues and concerns?
2.Some philosophers argue that “autobiographical” considerations are irrelevant when it comes to philosophy. What do they mean by autobiographical considerations, and why is this issue significant? Do you believe this to be a philosophical issue or not? Explain your answer.
3.Consider Marcus Aurelius’s comment: “Do not wait for Plato’s Republic, but be happy if one little thing leads to progress, and reflect on the fact that what results from such a little thing is not, in fact, so very little.” What does he mean by this statement? Can you relate his thinking to your view of your own ability to impact the world around you? If so, then how? If not, then why not?
4.What does Nussbaum mean when she describes her philosophy as “Neo-stoic”? Why does she describe her philosophy this way?
5.Compare Nussbaum’s and Hadot’s arguments on behalf of philosophy as a way of life. Do they differ? In what ways, if at all, are they mutually supportive? Explain your answer.
Given the horrors of our age– the threat of nuclear annihilation, chemical weapons, terrorism, child abuse, rampant pollution, AIDS and cancer, homelessness, ecological disasters, and famine–which do you see as more horrible: the absence of God or the silence of God? Is God silent? (page 526)
If valuing depends on choosing, and not the other way around, what do you value? Assess your values with a Sartrean analysis of your actions. For instance, do you value your job more than school? To find out, see which receives most of your time, thoughts, and actions. Test other aspects of your life. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such a view of valuing and choosing? (page 528)
Discuss the preceding passage, especially the last part. Have you ever felt that circumstances are against you? To what extent do circumstances matter? To what extent do they excuse and explain our life? Our self? Our character? (page 529)
Discuss categorizing philosophical areas of specialization along gender, ethnic, and other autobiographical lines turn “doing philosophy” into sociology or social work? Is this a philosophical question? If not, why not? If so, who is qualified to deal with it? (page 534)