I distinguish here between work on historical figures in philosophy as a form of history and as philosophy, and I defend a conception of the latter. The second and related point takes up the implications of the unusual “success conditions” there might be for philosophy. That is, there can be no general, methodologically secure way to know when a defense of a philosophical position has been successful. The implication drawn is that the engagement with interlocutors and critics is a necessary and unavoidable condition of some satisfaction that one might have made more sense then before one’s attempt. Philosophy is thus essentially and not incidentally dialogic. Every philosophical position must start out as a proffer; it “lives” (remains a live possibility, attracts attention, criticism, defense) or is animated, only in such inter-animated exchanges. The book that follows explores instances of such interanimation.