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INTRODUCTION: PHILOSOPHY ANCIENT AND MODERN

This book constitutes an examination of the many different answers offered by ancient philosophers to the questions ‘what is philosophy?’ and ‘why should we study philosophy?’. The different notions of the nature and purpose of philosophy advanced in ancient Greece are all of great intrinsic interest; we may hope, by studying them, to clarify our own conception of such notions. But philosophy as it was practised in ancient Greece differs in a significant number of respects from philosophy as it is studied in universities today; and ancient views about the nature and purpose of philosophy differ accordingly from modern ones. In this introduction, I propose to examine a number of contrasts that we might want to draw between ancient and modern philosophy, and to look briefly at the nature of contemporary analytic philosophy.