Why Philosophy? Aristotle’s Defense of Philosophy in the Protrepticus
In my dissertation project, I have pursued the question of how Aristotle defends philosophy against critics such as his contemporary Isocrates. I believe that such a study is both historically and systematically interesting. It is historically interesting because it sheds light on how Aristotle positioned himself against his opponents in the question of what philosophy is and why we should study it. Furthermore, it is systematically interesting because views similar to Isocrates’ still linger on today, even if maybe not first and foremost among philosophers: namely views along the line that philosophy should prepare for the practical life and that philosophy as Plato or Aristotle taught it is hardly useful for this life. Can Aristotle be a guide to a response to such critics?