n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die wel en wee van die gees : die antieke Grieke, die Kerkvaders en die moderniteit : navorsings- en oorsigartikels : verdere besinning oor gees, geestelikheid en die geestelike

Volume 53 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


In an introductory fashion Pierre Hadot's image of ancient and classical philosophy as self-transformation in the pursuit of wisdom, in which spiritual exercises played an important role, is presented as normative. The fact that Hadot himself, after a mystical experience, apparently in his own philosophical discourse - his written work - and his life practice rekindled the ancient philosophical life is interpreted as proof not only of the existence of the spirit, but also of the fact that cultivating the spirit need not lead to a pseudo-mystical alienation from the world. Then three matters are discussed successively. First, the discovery and cultivation of the spirit by the ancient Greeks and the Church Fathers are discussed. With reference to the examples of figures like Socrates and Aristotle it is argued that the cultivation of attention was a central aspect of the ancient philosophical life, and that a strict distinction between theology and philosophy did not occur in ancient philosophy. As far as the Church Fathers are concerned it is argued that notwithstanding their differences with the ancient Greeks, continuities occurred inasmuch as they also cultivated attention, the proto-monastic philosophical schools of antiquity found their Christian equivalent in monasteries and the ancient Greek view of the integration of spirit, reason and body was nuanced further by the Church Fathers. Secondly, the way in which this Greco-Christian legacy has been subject to growing pressure with the rise of the modern territorial state, with special reference to the modern conception of philosophy within the university is discussed. It is argued that where the relationship to the good was seen in antiquity and the classical era as erotic and to be cultivated with persuasion, modernity replaced the pursuit of the good with the pursuit of order, in which persuasion was replaced with enforcement and social control. The effect of all this on philosophy is considered, especially with reference to how philosophy came to be reduced to a mere cognitive activity, how the integrated image of the human being was lost, and how philosophy itself was fragmented into different fields of specialisation. Thirdly, the question is asked how the spirit could be cultivated anew today and what the implications are for a contemporary understanding of philosophy and the university. Here three proposals are made. First, that philosophers need to rekindle the spiritual exercises of antiquity and the classical era. Secondly, that philosophers must contribute to an integrated ontology and anthropology in order to overcome modern fragmentation. Thirdly, that the university and philosophy as university subject need to be rethought, both inside and outside the university.

Op inleidende wyse word Pierre Hadot se beeld van die antieke en klassieke filosofie as omvorming van die self in die nastrewing van wysheid, waarin geestelike oefeninge 'n belangrike rol gespeel het, as normatief aangebied. Daarna word drie sake behandel. Eerstens word aandag geskenk aan die ontdekking en kultivering van die gees deur die antieke Grieke en die Kerkvaders. Tweedens word ingegaan op hoe hierdie Grieks-Christelike nalatenskap aan toenemende druk onderwerp is met die opkoms van die moderne territoriale staat, met besondere verwysing na die modern opvatting van die filosofie binne die universiteit. Derdens word ingevra op hoe die gees vandag opnuut gekultiveer kan word en wat die implikasies vir 'n eietydse verstaan van die filosofie en die universiteit is.

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