Curating Content To Support Learning About Humanity's Transition

Posts tagged with:  askēsis

By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 17 Jul 20

In the lectures published as Plato and Europe, Jon Patočka (1907–1977) asks a series of questions: What does the soul mean? What is its significance? and What does it me to care for it? These questions Patočka says are central to the heritage of Europe’s spiritual identity. To answer them, he will appeal to readings of Greek myth, Plato, Democritus, and Aristotle, but more fundamentally these questions are approached in the mode of phenomenology, principally stemming from a unique reading of Husserl, and to an extent Heidegger. I won’t recount Patočka’s historical exegesis here, as my concern is with the …

Askēsis and Care of the Soul Read More »

In the lectures published as Plato and Europe, Jon Patočka (1907–1977) asks a series of questions: What does the soul mean? What is its significance? and What does it me to care for it? These questions Patočka says are central to the heritage of Europe’s spiritual identity. To answer them, he will appeal to readings of Greek myth, Plato, Democritus, …

Askēsis and Care of the Soul Read More »


By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 27 Jan 20

Hadot’s historical work includes treatments of pre-Socratic philosophy, Platonism and Aristotelianism, the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the Middle Ages, and the modern era. I have selected only a handful of examples from these periods in order to give the reader a sense for the varieties of ascetic practice present within each tradition, and to show how these practices tend to transform from one period to another, often adopting a new set of metaphysical commitments in so doing. Where relevant I draw on other philosophers and historians to add detail to Hadot’s account of askēsis and its instantiations.I start by noting …

Pierre Hadot: Philosophy and Askēsis Read More »

Hadot’s historical work includes treatments of pre-Socratic philosophy, Platonism and Aristotelianism, the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the Middle Ages, and the modern era. I have selected only a handful of examples from these periods in order to give the reader a sense for the varieties of ascetic practice present within each tradition, and to show how these practices tend to …

Pierre Hadot: Philosophy and Askēsis Read More »


By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 21 Jan 20

I noted earlier that Platonic askēsis, as seen in the beholding of the vision of beauty described in the Symposium, is a kind of aesthetic askēsis, which is also capable of transfiguring the self in unique ways. This kind of askēsis figures strongly in the work of Gabriel Trop. Trop positions art as a way of life, as an askēsis “that continually modifies, often imperceptibly, the manifold patterns of being — whether they are perceptual, behavioral, or affective of the person who undertakes it.”[1] Art and aesthetics for Trop exist in a dual sense, both in the mode of existing art objects …

Askēsis in Art and Aesthetics Read More »

I noted earlier that Platonic askēsis, as seen in the beholding of the vision of beauty described in the Symposium, is a kind of aesthetic askēsis, which is also capable of transfiguring the self in unique ways. This kind of askēsis figures strongly in the work of Gabriel Trop. Trop positions art as a way of life, as an askēsis …

Askēsis in Art and Aesthetics Read More »


By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 16 Jan 20

The notion that askēsis is as much additive as privative is central to Foucault’s larger discussion of the term. Readers will recognize a connection with Hadot when Foucault writes, “This is a work of the self on the self, an elaboration of the self by the self, a progressive transformation of the self by the self for which one takes responsibility in a long labor of ascesis (askēsis).”[1] Foucault also speaks of askēsis as “converting to oneself” through abstinence, meditations on death, trials of endurance, and self-examination, and as a question that asks, “What working practice is entailed by conversion …

Logos, Epistrophē, and Paraskeuē Read More »

The notion that askēsis is as much additive as privative is central to Foucault’s larger discussion of the term. Readers will recognize a connection with Hadot when Foucault writes, “This is a work of the self on the self, an elaboration of the self by the self, a progressive transformation of the self by the self for which one takes …

Logos, Epistrophē, and Paraskeuē Read More »


By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 9 Jan 20

I’ll leave aside for the moment the larger conversation one could develop around Hadot, Foucault, and Sloterdijk, because doing justice to…Continue reading on Medium »

I’ll leave aside for the moment the larger conversation one could develop around Hadot, Foucault, and Sloterdijk, because doing justice to…Continue reading on Medium »


By: The Posts Author | Posted on: 28 Nov 19

For those of you interested in transformative exercise, psychotechnologies, ecologies of practice, and so on, here’s a short thread on askēsis, a word I think you’ll find useful.Askēsis is exercise or training aimed at a transformation or overcoming of the self by the self — examples include contemplative prayer, meditation, fasting, examinations of conscience, dialectics, discursive reasoning, physical training, aesthetics, and visionary experience.Askēsis is a practice of self-discipline, and includes training the body, athletic exercise, training the senses, and communing with the divine. Terms like ascetic and ascetism are also linked to notions of self-discipline but carry a greater emphasis on abstinence and …

What Is Askēsis? Read More »

For those of you interested in transformative exercise, psychotechnologies, ecologies of practice, and so on, here’s a short thread on askēsis, a word I think you’ll find useful.Askēsis is exercise or training aimed at a transformation or overcoming of the self by the self — examples include contemplative prayer, meditation, fasting, examinations of conscience, dialectics, discursive reasoning, physical training, aesthetics, and visionary experience.Askēsis …

What Is Askēsis? Read More »


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