The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline, but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance: the fear of death, love and sexuality, anger and aggression. Like medicine, philosophy to them was a rigorous science aimed both at understanding and at producing the flourishing of human life. In this engaging book, Martha Nussbaum examines texts of philosophers committed to a therapeutic paradigm--including Epicurus, Lucretius, Sextus Empiricus, Chrysippus, and Seneca--and recovers a valuable source for our moral and political thought today. This edition features a new introduction by Nussbaum, in which she revisits the themes of this now classic work.
"[E]ven while she admires the seriousness and subtlety with which these philosophers analyze the passions, [Nussbaum] allows that there is an unresolveable conflict between the detachment and the intense engagement entailed by their philosophies. The sense that these philosophers still matter, that we can wrangle with them and learn from them, is invigorating."--Richard Jenkyns, New York Times Book Review
"Nussbaum adventurously straddles boundaries conventionally drawn between philosophy and its own history, between philosophy and literature, and between scholarship and the social sciences. . . . Few modern books have done as much as this one promises to do in raising the profile of Hellenistic philosophy. It is constantly gripping and absorbing, written with rare eloquence and containing long stretches of almost lyrical intensity. A literary as well as a philosophical tour de force."--David Sedley, Times Literary Supplement
"By turns wise and witty, silly and Socratic, critical and compassionate, Nussbaum proves to be an extraordinarily addictive literary companion. . . . This is a book to live with."--Peter Green, New Republic
"[T]his is a wonderful book, of interest to scholars of ancient philosophy, but also to those interested in medical philosophy and philosophy of mind. It would also be of great interest to those interested in the conception of philosophy as therapy that has grown from studies on Wittgenstein. I can heartily recommend it."--Michael Gillan Peckitt, Metapsychology Online Reviews
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Martha C. Nussbaum: