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What is the Virtue of a Philosopher?: Plato, Nietzsche, and the Love of Wisdom.

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dc.contributor.advisor Yurdin, Joel
dc.contributor.advisor Wright, Kathleen, 1944- Duncan, Robin 2013-09-20T16:13:02Z 2013-09-20T16:13:02Z 2013
dc.description.abstract To answer the question of how a philosophical life and character are a virtuous life and character, I begin by surveying Plato and Nietzsche, both directly and through secondary commentaries. For each, I develop a view of their ideal, virtuous philosopher. For Plato this ideal is partly embodied in the natural philosophers of the Republic, but more fully displayed in the figure of Socrates. Figures defined by a philosophic Eros, which drives them to pursue wisdom and truth unrelentingly and despite all resistance. For Nietzsche, the chosen figure is that of the philosopher of the future, a character of supreme mental strength, self-confidence, and a playful experimentalism. Both Plato and Nietzsche's philosophers are seen to have an interest in education, at least insofar as it can cultivate exceptional individuals to achieve true philosophic character. Based on the points of agreement between these two philosophers, I present an ideal of philosophic virtue that focuses on the motivating love of wisdom and the strength of mind and character to pursue that love to its fullest in the face of all obstacles, which I claim will be available only to few, even potentially. Following the formulation of this ideal virtue, I defend the virtuous character of the love of wisdom as the fullest development of a human excellence in knowing the world; it is a virtuous excellence in both answering questions and in determining which questions are worthy of deep study. This second part of philosophic excellence, the determination of what is worth valuing, addresses concerns about the objective value of truth and allows us to argue against reliance on motivational value alone. Finally I answer the objection that may stem from my assertion that most people do not have even the potential to achieve philosophic virtue, this restriction however, is seen to follow naturally from the formulation of philosophic virtue presented.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Philosophy
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Virtue -- Philosophy
dc.subject.lcsh Wisdom
dc.subject.lcsh Plato -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900 -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.title What is the Virtue of a Philosopher?: Plato, Nietzsche, and the Love of Wisdom.
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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