Simone D’Agostino
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The work begins with Hadot’s thesis that Philosophy did not originally emerge as a theoretical construct, but rather as a method for training people to live and to look at the world in a new way. Then an attempt is made to understand what role Hadot attributes to early modern philosophy in the tradition of what he calls spiritual exercises or philosophy as a way of life. From this analysis it becomes clear that Hadot’s position matured over time: from an initial strongly “discontinuist,” toward a more “continuist” paradigm, in which authors such as Montaigne, Descartes, or Spinoza are no strangers to the tradition of spiritual exercises. Also analyzed is the coeval position of Foucault, who sees in modernity a moment of rupture in the tradition of philosophy as a way of life. He nevertheless identifies in certain moments, such as the Cartesian Meditations and the Spinozian Reform of the intellect, the permanence of a close relationship between the philosophy of knowledge and the subject’s “spiritual” transformation of his or her own being.

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