Pierre Hadot day of birth

An occasion to remember a great scholar

Pierre Hadot‘s day of birth is February 21st 1922 (in Reims, France). His day of passing is April 24th 2010 (in Orsay, France). He is a reference as a French philosopher and historian of philosophy specializing in ancient philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism.


He is a very important figure, thanks to his work on philosophies of the Greco-Roman antiquity. Noticeably, Hadot is famous for his reaserches about ‘spiritual exercises’. These studies soon became relevant for Michel Foucault‘s analysis of <epimeleia heautou> (the philosophical culture of <CARE OF SELF>). In Hadot, the expression ‘spiritual exercises’ refers to practices whose meaning is the transformation of he who performs them with a philosophical intention. For instance, fasting for several days is a ‘spiritual exercise’ if a person abstains from eating in order to test himself, to enhance his FORTITUDE, to train his resilience, to check his SELF-CONTROL. On the contrary, fasting for the simple reason of being on a diet – or to slim down for appearance’s motives – is not a ‘spiritual exercise’.


Moreover, Hadot insists that the original philosophical impulse originates with Sokrates (Socrates). In fact, the main feature of Socratic philosophy is the relevance of personal contacts between human beings. In short, philosophy is authentic when taking place through real conversations and not through written texts. Therefore, philosophy, as we sees it now in universities, is largely a distortion of its original, therapeutic nature. We know the risk of this website. After all, it is written words. But we accept the risk, also because the covid-19 pandemic changed the world making difficult all ‘in the flesh’ activities.

Pierre Hadot’s day of birth is a way to remember this great scholars whom. We Sokratiko people (this website) owe very much to him.