The Little-Known Side of Socrates

Philosophy professor Joseph Lawrence’s book, Socrates Among Strangers, argues that the institutionalization of philosophy in the modern world has come at the cost of its most vital concern: the achievement of life wisdom. He examines Socrates’ sense of strangeness, rather than emphasizing logic as most contemporary philosophers do.

Lawrence was teaching and working in Japan when an earthquake destroyed the neighborhood where he was staying with his family. “Life looks different when framed by the rubble of downed buildings,” he says. “It was in that context that I decided to write not for professional scholars, but specifically for my students.”

The book was published in October 2015 by Northwestern University Press and is dedicated to his students through the years.

William Shea, former director of the College’s McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, says: “[The book is] written by a master teacher and a genuine philosopher who, through the medium of his work on Socrates and the personal effects of the Kobe earthquake, knows that philosophy is not a technical chase but a personal, lifelong quest for and discipline of the philosopher’s self.”  ■

—Maura Sullivan Hill