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Reading Ancient and Medieval Philosophers after Vollenhoven

In: Philosophia Reformata
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Abstract

This is a study of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven’s type-focused historiography of philosophy and its development with respect to pre-Socratic philosophy. It uses the work of Pierre Hadot on philosophical askesis, the work of Martha Nussbaum on therapeutic argument, and recent work on the transformative character of Aquinas’s Summa contra Gentiles and Summa theologiae to question some of the central assumptions of Vollenhoven’s methodology. In the process, Vollenhoven’s practice is compared to and contrasted with the historiographical practice of Aristotle in his Metaphysics. What emerges is a way to acknowledge the continued worth of type-focused reading and the religious intuitions that gave rise to it, but on the basis of different methodological assumptions and to different historiographical effects.

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