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On the Fundamental Difference Between Traditional and Modern Philosophy

- by Marcus Aurelius

Generally, modern philosophies do not teach a complete world-view. They have focused on one or so experiences of human life such as economics, politics, psychology, metaphysics, etc.

If “traditional philosophy” means the classical Western schools of philosophy, there are four things that usually stand out immediately.

  1. They endeavored to give a complete view of human life that would allow any person to face any situation in his life wisely.
  2. While they considered metaphysics, they were obsessed with ethics. They were far more practical than most modern philosophies.
  3. The ancient schools usually spoke of justice and piety almost synonymously. They considered it irrefutable that justice ultimately must be connected with standards that transcend human laws. In contrast, many modern schools of thought are obsessed with explaining how morality (or justice) can be severed from piety.
  4. The leaders of the ancient Western philosophical schools had to practice what they preached. Modern philosophy often comes down to university lectures and other versions of talking about ideas rather than living a lifestyle.

For approximately 300 years, the Stoic School has persisted in a diligent search for any continuous lines of the classical schools of philosophy. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell, the Stoic School is the only surviving continuous school that attended the birth of Western civilization and has been its tutor, mentor, and champion ever since.

Anyone who takes the time to think about what is on our website will see a stark contrast between the practicality of Stoicism and the theoretical nature of most modern philosophies.

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