DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Signed by the Author > A Companion to Ancient Philosophy

Faculty member develops companion volume to ancient philosophy

A companion to ancient philosophy
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

​A Companion to Ancient Philosophy

Edited by: Sean D. Kirkland, Department of Philosophy; Eric Sanday, University of Kentucky

"A Companion to Ancient Philosophy" is a collection of essays on a broad range of themes and figures spanning the entire period extending from the Pre-Socratics to Plato, Aristotle and the Hellenistic thinkers. 

Rather than offering synoptic and summary treatments of pre-established positions and themes, these essays engage with the ancient texts directly, focusing attention on concepts that emerge as urgent in the readings and then clarifying those concepts interpretively. This is a companion volume that takes a serious and considered approach to its designated task - accompanying readers as they move through the most crucial passages of the rich and compelling texts of the ancients. ​

What inspired you to write this book?

It became clear to me that standard volumes of this sort were not doing a good job of being "companions" to their readers. They tended to present summary statements or synoptic treatments of philosophical sub-fields, Platonic metaphysics or Aristotelian epistemology, but failed to immerse the reader in the complexity of the ancient philosophical text. Eric Sanday and I directed our authors to begin with the texts themselves, not with externally determined and often anachronistic terminology and divisions, and then to teach the reader how to interpret these texts, how to arrive at an understanding of their basic concepts and arguments.

Persuade someone to read your book in less than 50 words:

Our fundamental concepts and values in society today seem to exhibit various shortcomings, myopias and unjust exclusions. But how might we begin to think otherwise, when we are always already determined by our historical context? We must trace our basic concepts back to their messy, conflicted and infinitely rich site of invention. For many of these, that site lies with the ancient Greeks and Romans. This book takes you back to that moment of invention, liberating you perhaps to think more deeply and originally. 

About the author:

Sean D. Kirkland is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Philosophy at DePaul. He was educated at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and also in Germany at the Bergische Universitt, Wuppertal.  His primary interest is in ancient Greek philosophy, but he also works in contemporary continental philosophy, specifically phenomenology.

Publisher, publication date, length:

Northwestern University Press, October 2018, 328 pages
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