Google full text of our books:


Pursuits of Wisdom:
Six Ways of Life in Ancient Philosophy from Socrates to Plotinus
John M. Cooper

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Pursuits of Wisdom is an original, clearly written, and brilliantly argued reinterpretation of six ways of life offered by ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates/Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Skepticism, and the Platonism of Plotinus. Cooper writes vividly, with an unfaltering clarity of purpose, and he manages to balance accessibility and rigor. The book is the culmination of years of rigorous study in ancient philosophy and an invitation for a wide audience to engage seriously with these ancient ways of life. I think this invitation is worth accepting."--Antonis Coumoundouros, Philosophy in Review

"Pursuits of Wisdom is a well-written, thoroughly argued book. It undoubtedly makes an important contribution to contemporary understandings of ancient philosophy. It might even contribute to broadening the audience of those who see the relevance and seriousness of philosophy for their lives."--Ben Mulvey, Metapsychology Online Reviews

"[T]he book as a whole offers a comprehensive overview of ancient ethics that is sensitive to historical context and that tries to comprehend ancient philosophy on its own terms. Many readers will learn a lot from it."--John Sellars, Mind


"Since Socrates, philosophy has been concerned with how we ought to live. But the sense in which philosophy must be an ineluctably practical activity has become obscured. How could philosophy have ever conceived of itself as centrally concerned with its own therapeutic value? In Pursuits of Wisdom, John Cooper brings this crucial question back to life. This marvelous book will shape the way we think about and engage with ancient philosophical traditions."--Jonathan Lear, University of Chicago

"With unparalleled learning, argumentative depth, and great originality, Cooper presents a thorough rethinking of the major Greek moral philosophers. He revitalizes their visions of philosophy as a way of life and shows how they present a powerful challenge to current moral philosophy. The Greeks will never look the same again."--J. B. Schneewind, author of The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy

"John Cooper has had a profound impact on the scholarly study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, particularly in its moral dimension. In this new work, he introduces this period to a far wider audience. His sympathy and enthusiasm for the pursuits of wisdom in antiquity, and the subtlety of his understanding of these philosophical schools, will make this book a classic of its kind."--Richard Kraut, author of What Is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being

"The product of a lifetime of study and thought, Pursuits of Wisdom is a detailed and rigorous analysis of the foundations of the major schools of ancient ethics in the overall philosophical systems of their authors. John Cooper's masterwork will thus be indispensable for every student of ancient philosophy in general as well as ancient ethics. But Cooper's study is also indispensable for all students of modern ethics since so much of it originates in these ancient schools. In other words, Cooper's book is simply indispensable."--Paul Guyer, University of Pennsylvania

"This book not only discusses philosophy as a way of life, but manifests many of the virtues such a life might be hoped to embody. There is scarcely an instance in which Cooper's sureness of grasp, vivacity of expression, or clarity of purpose falters. The book invites a wide readership, and should receive it."--C.D.C. Reeve, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Return to Book Description

File created: 11/22/2015

Questions and comments to:
Princeton University Press

fall saleHoliday Sale
New Book E-mails
New In Print
PUP Blog
Princeton APPS
Sample Chapters
Princeton Legacy Library
Exam/Desk Copy
Recent Awards
Princeton Shorts
Freshman Reading
PUP Europe
About Us
Contact Us
PUP Home

Bookmark and Share