High Philosophy

Dirk Baltzly

in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199286140
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

High Philosophy

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This article traces the sense of ‘higher’ – exclusivity of audience and assimilation to higher principles – along a spectrum. The lowest point on this spectrum is the Epicurean school. Among the philosophers considered, the Epicureans also addressed themselves to the widest audience. Yet their moral ideal involves at least a structural similarity to the Neoplatonists' goal of becoming like god. On such criteria, they count as proponents of ‘higher philosophy’. A high philosophy stresses reason, system, treatises, the rare intelligence of elites, and their organized work through schools, museums, and libraries.

Keywords: Greek philosophy; low philosophy; Epicurean school; Neoplatonists; intelligence

Article.  5059 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Philosophy ; Ancient Greek History

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