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Autobiography as Philosophy by Thomas Mathien
Publisher: Routledge | Number Of Pages: 277 | Publication Date: 2006-06-13 | ISBN-10: 0415327040 | PDF | 1 Mb

Since Plato a surprisingly large number of philosophers have chosen to write in the first person about their own lives either in works that were primarily autobiographical or in the context of other more conventionally written texts. These texts stand in marked contrast to the bulk of philosophical writing, particularly in the past century during which the discipline has become ever more professionalized and specialized. Instead of the common impersonal and argumentative forms of ordinary philosophic discussion, these autobiographical texts are deeply personal and largely narrative or explanatory. The contributors to this book examine the philosophical significance of philosophers' autobiographies and whether or not there are broadly philosophical tasks for which this sort of writing is particularly suited. Autobiography as Philosophy contains a general discussion about the relation between philosophical and autobiographical writing, and essays on the specific writings of Augustine, Abelard, Montaigne, Descartes, Vico, Hume, Rousseau, Newman, Mill, Nietzsche, Collingwood and Russell by specialists on the works of these individuals. The book is original and distinctive in its efforts to think about the writings of historically recognized philosophers as communicative acts governed by their own distinctive interests and purposes. It is, therefore as much about the texts and the authors as about their doctrines and arguments. As a result the book steps back from many of the issues of substantive philosophical discussion to reflect on certain forms of writing as means to philosophical ends, to consider what those ends have included.


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