Pierre Hadot

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Pierre Hadot
Born February 21, 1922
Died April 24, 2010
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Main interests
History of philosophy

Pierre Hadot (French: [ado]; February 21, 1922 – April 24, 2010) was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy specializing in ancient philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism.


Hadot was ordained in 1944 but following Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis (1950) left the priesthood. He was director at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) from 1964 to 1986 and was named professor at the Collège de France in 1982, where he held the Chair of History in Greek and Roman Thought (chaire d'histoire de la pensée hellénistique et romaine). He retired from this position to become professeur honoraire at the Collège in 1991. He was latterly married to the historian of philosophy, Ilsetraut Hadot.

He was one of the first authors to introduce Ludwig Wittgenstein's thought into France. Hadot suggested that one cannot separate the form of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations from their content.[1] Wittgenstein had claimed that philosophy was an illness of language and Hadot notes that the cure required a particular type of literary genre.[1] Hadot is also famous for his analysis on the conception of philosophy during Greek Antiquity. Hadot identified and analyzed the "spiritual exercises" used in ancient philosophy (preceding Michel Foucault’s interest for such practices in the second and third volumes of his History of Sexuality). By "spiritual exercises" Hadot means "practices ... intended to effect a modification and a transformation in the subjects who practice them.[2] The philosophy teacher's discourse could be presented in such a way that the disciple, as auditor, reader, or interlocutor, could make spiritual progress and transform himself within."[3] Hadot shows that the key to understanding the original philosophical impulse is to be found in Socrates. What characterizes Socratic therapy above all is the importance given to living contact between human beings. Hadot's recurring theme is that philosophers should be judged by how they live their lives, what they do, not what they say; that philosophy is best pursued in real conversation and not through written texts and lectures; and that philosophy, as it is taught in universities today, is for the most part a distortion of its original, therapeutic impulse. He brings these concerns together in What Is Ancient Philosophy?,[3] which has been critically reviewed.


(Greek translations are not included in this list).

  • with I.P. Henry, Marius Victorinus, Traités théologiques sur la Trinité, Cerf 1960 (Sources Chrétiennes nos. 68 & 69).
  • Porphyre et Victorinus. Paris, Institut d'Etudes augustiniennes, 1968. (Collection des études augustiniennes. Série antiquité ; 32–33).
  • Marius Victorinus: recherches sur sa vie et ses oeuvres, 1971. (Collection des études augustiniennes. Série antiquité ; 44).
  • Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique. Paris, Etudes augustiniennes, 1981. (Collection des études augustiniennes. Série antiquité ; 88). ISBN 2-85121-039-4.
  • La citadelle intérieure. Introduction aux Pensées de Marc Aurèle. Paris, Fayard, 1992. ISBN 2-213-02984-9.
  • Qu'est-ce que la philosophie antique? Paris, Gallimard, 1995. (Folio essais ; 280). ISBN 2-07-032760-4.
  • Philosophy as a Way of Life, Oxford, Blackwell's, 1995. ISBN 0-631-18032-X.
  • Plotin ou la simplicité du regard ; 4e éd. Paris, Gallimard, 1997. (Folio esais ; 302). ISBN 2-07-032965-8.
  • Etudes de philosophie ancienne. Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1998. (L'âne d'or ; 8). ISBN 2-251-42007-X (recueil d'articles).
  • Marc Aurèle. Ecrits pour lui même, texte établi et traduit par Pierre Hadot, avec la collaboration de Concetta Luna. vol. 1 (general introduction and Book 1). Paris, Collection Budé, 1998. ISBN 2-251-00472-6.
  • Plotin, Porphyre: Études néoplatoniciennes. Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1999. (L'âne d'or ; 10). ISBN 2-251-42010-X (recueil d'articles).
  • La philosophie comme manière de vivre. Paris, Albin Michel, 2002. (Itinéraires du savoir). ISBN 2-226-12261-3.
  • Exercices spirituels et philosophie antique, nouvelle éd. Paris, Albin Michel, 2002. (Bibliothèque de l'évolution de l'humanité). ISBN 2-226-13485-9.
  • Le voile d'Isis: Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de nature. Paris, Gallimard, 2004. (NRF essais). ISBN 2-07-073088-3.
    • Hadot, Pierre, and Michael Chase. The Veil of Isis. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2006. ISBN 0-674-02316-1
  • Wittgenstein et les limites du langage. Paris, J. Vrin, 2004. (Bibliothèque d'histoire de la philosophie). ISBN 2-7116-1704-1.
  • Apprendre à philosopher dans l'antiquité. L'enseignement du Manuel d'Epictète et son commentaire néoplatonicien (with Ilsetraut Hadot). Paris, LGF, 2004. (Le livre de poche ; 603). ISBN 2-253-10935-5.


  1. ^ a b Davidson, A.I. (1995), Pierre Hadot and the Spiritual Phenomenon of Ancient Philosophy, in Philosophy as a Way of Life, Hadot, P., Oxford Blackwells pp17-18
  2. ^ Hadot, P. (1995), Philosophy as a Way of Life, Oxford, Blackwell.
  3. ^ a b Hadot, Pierre (2002). What Is Ancient Philosophy?. Harvard University Press, p6. ISBN 0-674-00733-6. 
  • J. Scheid, "Pierre Hadot (1922–2010), chaire de pensée hellénistique et romaine, 1982–1991", La lettre du Collège de France no. 30 December 2010, 43–45
  • G. Catapano, "Pierre Hadot (1922-2010)", Adamantius XVII (2011), 348–352

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