This distinctive Greek—and particularly Platonic –outlook must condition any historical understanding of the developmentof ancient political philosophy. While one influential approach to thehistory of political thought takes its bearings from what a thinker wastrying to do in and by what he or she said or wrote, it isimportant to recognize that the founders of ancient politicalphilosophy were in part trying to define a new space of doing asphilosophizing, independent of ordinary political action. This is notto say that they did not also have ordinary political intentions, butrather to stress that the invention of political philosophy was alsointended as a mode of reflection upon the value of ordinary politicallife.


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