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Unformatted text preview: Preferred Citation: Nehamas, Alexander. The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1998 1998. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft1x0nb0jn/ The Art of Living Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault Alexander Nehamas UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford © 1998 The Regents of the University of California For Susan Glimcher and Nicholas Nehamas Preferred Citation: Nehamas, Alexander. The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1998 1998. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft1x0nb0jn/ For Susan Glimcher and Nicholas Nehamas ― ix ― PREFACE The invitation to deliver the Sather Classical Lectures is perhaps the greatest honor that can be bestowed on a classical scholar. When the scholar in question is not really a classicist, as I am not, the honor is even greater, but the responsibility it imposes is very heavy indeed. The honor the Department of Classics at the University of Claifornia at Berkeley did me by their invitation to be the Sather Professor of Classical Literature in 1992–93 filled me with joy. The sense of responsibility that came along with it filled me with terror. The terror soon outstripped the joy, and for a long time I was not at all sure that I would really be able to discharge my obligations in a reasonable manner. The lectures finally having been delivered in the Spring Term of 1993, I am now faced with the same sentiment of joy subdued by terror as I contemplate the book I have produced as a result. I am acutely aware of the book's inadequacies, and I realize in addition that some classical scholars may find that many of its concerns do not fit squarely with their own professional interests. Though that is something I am sorry for, it is an unavoidable feature of this work. A central part of the book's argument is that the effort to combine diverse and sometimes conflicting features into a unity is an activity crucial both to philosophy and to life and that its model—the model of the most extreme and alluring unity—is the Socrates of Plato's early dialogues. In that way, I combine my own philosophical interests with the little I know about classics and literary criticism, in the hope that the final combination can form a unity of its own. It is impossible to imagine how I can thank my colleagues at Berkeley ― x ― enough without at the same time repeating what so many others before me have already said. The department as a whole demonstrated an exquisite combination of tact and hospitality—tact in leaving me to myself while I was madly at work on those lectures that were still not finished by the time I arrived in California, and hospitality in welcoming me as one of their own once the series began. Mark Griffith was a constant source of good cheer and reassurance. I was particularly happy to renew my friendship with Tony Long, who also presented a set of very valuable comments on the first three...
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- Philosophy, Art of Living