EXPERIENCE AND REASON: ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY IN THE INTERPRETATION OF PIERRE HADOT
The article attempts at explaining the nature of Pierre Hadot’s conception of ancient philosophy as a way of life and spiritual exercise as well as its modern sources. Hadot conceives of philosophy as primarily experience and only secondary theoretical “rationalization” of that experience. This may be true with regard to such schools as Stoicism and Epicureanism, but not at all with regard to Platonism or Aristotelianism. The French author emphasizes the unity of experience behind various ancient schools and downplays the differences in order to construe a view of ancient philosophy as experience and practice rather than a theoretical endeavor to understand reality. It seems that the sources of this approach can be found in the modern transformation of the understanding of philosophy and a subsequent distrust towards reason, found in Romanticism, Nietzsche’s philosophy or existentialism. And yet Hadot does not want to abandon reason and objective truth, because he disapproves of postmodern epistemological and moral relativism. The result is a contradiction in his thought, which attempts to pass between Scylla and Charybdis — to reject the desiccated modern view of reason and not to fall into the postmodern subjectivism.