When we say that a man belongs to a philosophical tradition, we do not mean that he merely repeats ideas that have come down to him in a mechanical sort of way—in such a case we could scarcely call him a philosopher. We mean that he accepts certain ideas of the past and restates them in terms of the significance that he ascribes to them. In interpreting his masters and predecessors he translates their doctrines into new language, reconstructing them according to his own views, altering them in more-or-less numerous details, now omitting, now adding certain essential elements. In the development of a philosophical tradition basic ideas are not merely repeated and passed along; they are continually adapted to the changing intellectual problems and needs of successive periods and thinkers.
-Paul Oskar Kristeller