John Sellars King's College London
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  • Research staff, King's College London
  • PhD, University of Warwick, 2001.

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About me
Research Fellow at King's College London where I also work on the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project. A member of Common Room at Wolfson College, Oxford. Author of The Art of Living (2003; 2nd edn 2009) and Stoicism (2006).
My works
44 items found.
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  1.  3
    John Sellars (forthcoming). Epictetus, Dissertationes 1.18.10. Classical Review.
    New readings from the Epictetus archetype MS in the Bodleian Library.
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  2.  3
    John Sellars (ed.) (2016). The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition. Routledge.
    The ancient philosophy of stoicism has been a crucial and formative influence on the development of Western thought since its inception through to the present day. It is not only an important area of study in philosophy and classics, but also in theology and literature. The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition is the first volume of its kind, and an outstanding guide and reference source to the nature and continuing significance of stoicism. Comprising twenty-six chapters by a team of (...)
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  3.  5
    John Sellars, Marcus Aurelius. Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    An annotated bibliographical guide to work on the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.
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  4.  10
    John Sellars (2015). Pomponazzi Contra Averroes on the Intellect. British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-22.
    This paper examines Pomponazzi's arguments against Averroes in his De Immortalitate Animae, focusing on the question whether thought is possible without a body. The first part of the paper will sketch the history of the problem, namely the interpretation of Aristotle's remarks about the intellect in De Anima 3.4-5, touching on Alexander, Themistius, and Averroes. The second part will focus on Pomponazzi's response to Averroes, including his use of arguments by Aquinas. It will conclude by suggesting that Pomponazzi's discussion stands (...)
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  5.  11
    John Sellars (2015). Renaissance Averroism and Its Aftermath: Arabic Philosophy in Early Modern Europe. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (3):583-585.
  6.  2
    John Sellars (2015). Shaftesbury, Stoicism, and Philosophy as a Way of Life. Sophia:1-14.
    This paper examines Shaftesbury’s reflections on the nature of philosophy in his Askêmata notebooks, which draw heavily on the Roman Stoics Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. In what follows, I introduce the notebooks, outline Shaftesbury’s account of philosophy therein, compare it with his discussions of the nature of philosophy in his published works, and conclude by suggesting that Pierre Hadot’s conception of ‘philosophy as a way of life’ offers a helpful framework for thinking about Shaftesbury’s account of philosophy.
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  7.  10
    John Sellars (2014). Plato's Apology of Socrates, A Metaphilosophical Text. Philosophy and Literature 38 (2):433-45.
    Plato’s Apology is not merely an account of Socrates’ trial, it is also a work of metaphilosophy, presenting Socrates’ understanding of the nature and function of philosophy. This is a vital part of the text’s apologetic task, for it is only with reference to Socrates’ understanding of what philosophy is that we can understand, and so justify, his seemingly antisocial behaviour. Plato presents to us Socrates’ metaphilosophy in two ways: via what Socrates says and what he does. This twofold method (...)
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  8.  12
    John Sellars (2014). Pursuits of Wisdom: Six Ways of Life in Ancient Philosophy From Socrates to Plotinus, by John M. Cooper. [REVIEW] Mind 123 (492):1177-1180.
  9.  5
    John Sellars (2014). Stoic Fate in Justus Lipsius's De Constantia and Physiologia Stoicorum. Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):653-674.
    In his De Constantia of 1584, Justus Lipsius examines the Stoic theory of fate, distancing himself from it by outlining four key points at which it should be modified. The modified theory is often presented as a distinctly Christianized form of Stoicism. Later, in his Physiologia Stoicorum of 1604, Lipsius revisits the Stoic theory, this time offering a more sympathetic reading, with the four modifications forgotten. It is widely assumed that Lipsius’s position shifted between these two works, perhaps due to (...)
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  10.  9
    John Sellars (2014). Seneca's Philosophical Predecessors and Contemporaries. In G. Damschen & A. Heil (eds.), Brill's Companion to Seneca. Brill
    This new and important introduction to Seneca provides a systematic and concise presentation of this author’s philosophical works and his tragedies. It provides handbook style surveys of each genuine or attributed work, giving dates and brief descriptions, and taking into account the most important philosophical and philological issues. In addition, they provide accounts of the major steps in the history of their later influence. The cultural background of the texts and the most important problem areas within the philosophic and tragic (...)
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  11.  5
    John Sellars (2013). Agostino Nifo Ed. By Leen Spruit. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (4):680-681.
  12.  3
    John Sellars (2013). Standard Edition: Complete Works, Correspondence and Posthumous Writings. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (3):613-616.
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  13.  5
    John Sellars (2013). The Stoic Tradition. In Willemien Otten (ed.), The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine. OUP Oxford
    On Augustine's attitudes towards Stoicism and the way they have influenced the reception of both in Abelard, Petrarch, Lipsius, Senault, Pascal, and Malebranche.
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  14. John Sellars (2012). Marcus Aurelius in Contemporary Philosophy. In Marcel van Ackeren (ed.), A Companion to Marcus Aurelius. Wiley-Blackwell
    Chapter synopsis: This chapter contains sections titled: Modern Readers of the Meditations The 19th Century The 20th Century Rehabilitating Marcus Further Reading References.
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  15.  16
    John Sellars (2012). Renaissance Philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (6):1195-1204.
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Ahead of Print.
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  16.  50
    John Sellars (2012). Stoics Against Stoics In Cudworth's A Treatise of Freewill. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):935-952.
    In his A Treatise of Freewill, Ralph Cudworth argues against Stoic determinism by drawing on what he takes to be other concepts found in Stoicism, notably the claim that some things are ?up to us? and that these things are the product of our choice. These concepts are central to the late Stoic Epictetus and it appears at first glance as if Cudworth is opposing late Stoic voluntarism against early Stoic determinism. This paper argues that in fact, despite his claim (...)
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  17. John Sellars (2012). The Meditations and the Ancient Art of Living. In Marcel van Ackeren (ed.), A Companion to Marcus Aurelius.
    This chapter contains sections titled: Marcus' Project Socrates and the Stoic Art of Living Types of Philosophical Text Assimilation and Digestion Writing the Self Further Reading References.
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  18.  39
    John Sellars (2011). Is God a Mindless Vegetable? Cudworth on Stoic Theology. Intellectual History Review 21 (2):121-133.
    In the sixteenth century the Stoics were deemed friends of humanist Christians, but by the eighteenth century they were attacked as atheists. What happened in the intervening period? In the middle of this period falls Ralph Cudworth’s True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678), which contains a sustained analysis of Stoic theology. In Cudworth’s complex taxonomy Stoicism appears twice, both as a form of atheism and an example of imperfect theism. Whether the Stoics are theists or atheists hinges on whether (...)
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  19.  6
    John Sellars (2011). Tough Luck. The Philosophers' Magazine 55 (55):72-76.
    The worst thing that can happen to us is to be blessed with a life of unending luxury, comfort, and wealth, for such a life would make one weak and lazy. But worst of all, the longer we experience a comfortable and easy life, the harder it will hit us when our luck fi nally changes, as it surely one day will.
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  20.  6
    John Sellars (2010). B. Inwood and L.P. Gerson,The Stoics Reader. [REVIEW] Journal of Hellenic Studies 130:280-281.
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  21. John Sellars (2010). Stoic Ontology and Plato's Sophist. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 107:185-203.
    Book synopsis: Plato is perhaps the most readable of all philosophers. Recent scholarship on Plato has focused attention on the dramatic and literary form through which Plato presents his philosophy, an integral part of that philosophy. The papers in this volume for the first time consider Aristotle and the Stoics as readers of Plato. That these successors were influenced by the thought of Plato is a commonplace: the ‘whole of western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato’. Arising from (...)
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  22.  9
    John Sellars (2010). The Cynics: W. Desmond, Cynics. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 60 (01):56-.
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  23.  13
    John Sellars (2009). Epictetus: W.O. Stephens, Stoic Ethics. Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 59 (01):79-.
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  24.  8
    John Sellars (2009). Review of Han Baltussen, Philosophy and Exegesis in Simplicius: The Methodology of a Commentator. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (5).
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  25.  20
    John Sellars (2008). The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate - by Tad Brennan. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 49 (2):145-147.
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  26.  3
    John Sellars (2007). Deleuze and Cosmopolitanism. Radical Philosophy 142:30.
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  27.  44
    John Sellars (2007). Gilles Deleuze and the History of Philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (3):551-560.
    This article examines Gilles Deleuze's methodological approach to the history of philosophy. While Deleuze's readings of past philosophers may not stand up to the standards set by the scholarly history of philosophy, they may be approached more productively as a continuation of the approach developed by the ancient and medieval commentary tradition.
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  28.  22
    John Sellars (2007). Justus Lipsius's De Constantia, A Stoic Spiritual Exercise. Poetics Today 28 (3):339-62.
    This essay offers an introduction to Justus Lipsius's dialogue De Constantia, first published in 1584. Although the dialogue bears a superficial similarity to philosophical works of consolation, I suggest that it should be approached as a spiritual exercise written by Lipsius primarily for his own benefit.
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  29.  26
    John Sellars (2007). Stoic Cosmopolitanism and Zeno's Republic. History of Political Thought 28 (1):1-29.
    Modern accounts of Stoic politics have attributed to Zeno the ideal of an isolated community of sages and to later Stoics such as Seneca a cosmopolitan utopia transcending all traditional States. By returning to the Cynic background to both Zeno's Republic and the Cosmopolitan tradition, this paper argues that the distance between the two is not as great as is often supposed. This account, it is argued, is more plausible than trying to offer a developmental explanation of the supposed transformation (...)
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  30.  1
    John Sellars (2007). Stoic Practical Philosophy in the Imperial Period. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies:115-40.
    An attempt to show the way in which the idea of 'philosophical exercise 'played an important role in the understanding of philosophy in Roman Stoicism.
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  31.  14
    John Sellars (2006). An Ethics of the Event. Angelaki 11 (3):157 – 171.
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  32.  17
    John Sellars (ed.) (2006). Justus Lipsius On Constancy. Bristol Phoenix Press.
    This book makes available again a long out-of-print translation of a major sixteenth-century philosophical text. Lipsius' De Constantia (1584) is an important Humanist text and a key moment in the reception of Stoicism. A dialogue in two books, conceived as a philosophical consolation for those suffering through contemporary religious wars, it proved immensely popular in its day and formed the inspiration for what has become known as 'Neostoicism'. This movement advocated the revival of Stoic ethics in a form that would (...)
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  33.  23
    John Sellars (2006). Stoicism. Acumen.
    This book provides a lucid, comprehensive introduction to this great philosophical school.
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  34.  11
    John Sellars (2005). Stoics and Cynics: M.-O. Goulet-Cazé: Les Kynica du Stoïcisme. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 55 (01):69-.
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  35.  38
    John Sellars (2004). The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (3):337-338.
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  36.  1
    John Sellars (2004). Byzantine Philosophy and Its Ancient Sources. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12:341-344.
  37.  9
    John Sellars (2004). Qu'est-Ce Que la Philosophie Antique?: P. Hadot: What is Ancient Philosophy? [REVIEW] The Classical Review 54 (01):69-.
  38.  1
    J. Sellars (2003). Review: Proclus' Hymns: Essays, Translations, Commentary. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 53 (1):85-86.
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  39.  17
    John Sellars (2003). Epictetus: A. A. Long, Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 53 (01):65-.
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  40.  1
    John Sellars (2003). Materialism and Ethics: Learning From Epicurus. The Philosopher 91 (2).
    A response to the claim that materialism leads to amoralism, aimed at a popular audience.
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  41.  12
    John Sellars (2003). Stoics on the Big Screen. Philosophy Now 41:44-45.
    Stoic themes in Ridley Scott's Gladiator.
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  42.  57
    John Sellars (2003). The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy. Ashgate.
    Questioning the premise that philosophy can only be conceived as a rational discourse, Sellars presents it instead as an art (techne) that combines both 'logos' ...
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  43.  4
    John Sellars (2003). The Hymns of Proclus: R. M. Van den Berg: Proclus' Hymns. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 53 (01):85-.
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  44.  21
    John Sellars (2001). The Art of Living : Stoic Ideas Concerning the Nature and Function of Philosophy. Dissertation, Warwick
    The aim of this thesis is to consider the relationship between philosophy and biography, and the bearing that this relationship has on debates concerning the nature and function of philosophy. There exists a certain tradition that conceives philosophy exclusively in terms of rational discourse and as such explicitly rejects the idea of any substantial relationship between philosophy and the way in which one lives. I shall argue that the claim that philosophy cannot have any impact upon biography is often based (...)
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