Before the good life was reduced to a bottle of Prozac, it was philosophers who offered answers to the most fundamental questions about who we are and how to live well. In The Philosophical Life, James Miller returns to this vibrant tradition with short and spirited biographies of twelve famous thinkers, examining the interplay of their life and thought. From Plato, who risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant, to Kant, who wrestled with hypochondria while advocating arch-rationality in his writings, each thinker took their own unique approach to ‘the good life’, but often struggled to put their theories into practice.
With a flair for rich anecdote, Miller provides a captivating insight into some of history’s greatest thinkers – and confirms the continuing relevance of philosophy today.
Admirable…his book gains a novelistic richness.
"An engaging wealth of personal detail woven into each philosopher's quest for wisdom … Refreshing …an ideal book to dip into before another night of sleepless worry."
“A vivid set of philosophical tales . . . a fresh treatment of subjects who are often served up stale.”
Endlessly rich . . . An earnest, wistful collection of biographical sketches of a dozen preeminent 'lovers of wisdom'
A set of beautifully written and richly informative mini-biographies of a dozen philosophers... Each of them is a little gem in its own right.
Engaging… an ideal book to dip into.
Excellent… [James Miller] is to be commended for leaving behind the sterile practices of his colleagues and speaking to civilian readers.
Pitch-perfect ... Miller's prose is insightful, anecdotal, warm, and nuanced.
Relevant, interesting, and accessible... Miller's deep knowledge of his subject is matched by a passion to share what he knows with others.
'Beautifully written, full of anecdotes and interesting historical facts, this is an inspiring read.’