In the introduction to a collection of Cicero's essays, Michael Grant said of the Romans, “philosophy was regarded as a strictly practical study–something which, if approached in the right way, was perfectly capable of guiding and improving people's lives.”
Philosophy is practical? It's an idea that scarcely appears in today's cultural landscape. Yet I think the Romans were right, as long as the term “practical” is understood in its large sense. Pursuing practical studies is not just a way to make money and acquire fame and power; it is a way to the good life, a way to learn how to live.