The highest activities are always essentially lonely and private, and these men had a robust sense of their independence and the ultimate self-sufficiency of the mind. In this they were just like Socrates. The only change they operated was to bring philosophy out of the closet into the open, instead of seeking protection behind a little wall like men in a storm. Of course, in so doing they made philosophy, on the one hand, more vulnerable to the public if the hopes of controlling the public are not fulfilled, and, on the other, put at risk that inner intransigence which is the necessary condition of the quest for truth. Not only the rewards but the new responsibilities might prove irresistible temptations to compromise.

Allan David Bloom
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