Up to now scholars have not approached E[pictetus] as author, stylist, educator, and thinker, according to the eminent scholar of Stoicism Tony L[ong]. The aim of this book is to fill precisely this gap. L wants "to provide an accessible guide to reading E, both as a remarkable historical figure and as a thinker whose recipe for a free and satisfying life can engage our modern selves, in spite of our cultural distance from him" (2). This goal is met admirably. (...) Not only does L succeed in presenting E on his own terms, but in the process, he fairly demolishes the view, held by many since Adolf Bonhöffer,1 that E is a sturdy but unoriginal moralist who basically rehashed the same ideas, with an emphasis on practical application, that were articulated in a more sophisticated, theoretically fastidious form by Chrysippus and the early Stoics. (shrink)
A. A. Long, one of the world's leading writers on ancient philosophy, presents eighteen essays on the philosophers and schools of the Hellenistic and Roman periods--Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics. The discussion ranges over four centuries of innovative and challenging thought in ethics and politics, psychology, epistemology, and cosmology.
The philosophy of Epictetus, a freed slave in the Roman Empire, has been profoundly influential on Western thought: it offers not only stimulating ideas but practical guidance in living one's life. A. A. Long, a leading scholar of later ancient philosophy, gives the definitive presentation of the thought of Epictetus for a broad readership. Long's fresh and vivid translations of a selection of the best of Epictetus' discourses show that his ideas are as valuable and striking today as they were (...) amost two thousand years ago. This is a book for anyone interested in what we can learn from ancient philosophy about how to live our lives. (shrink)
For the past three decades A. A. Long has been at the forefront of research in Hellenistic philosophy. In this book he assembles a dozen articles on Stoicism previously published in journals and conference proceedings. The collection is biased in favour of Professor Long's more recent studies of Stoicism and is focused on three themes: the Stoics' interpretation of their intellectual tradition, their ethics and their psychology. The contents of the book reflect the peculiarly holistic and systematic features of Stoicism. (...) The papers are printed here in their original form for the most part, but the author has made some minor corrections and stylistic or bibliographical changes. He has also added a postscript to three papers whose topics have been the subject of much discussion during the years since they first appeared. (shrink)
This paper addresses two interrelated questions. The first question is our relation, as the modern westerners that we are, to Greek philosophy in its historical context. The second question is the relation between Greek philosophical conceptions of the self and what we moderns take ourselves to be when we try to think about the world objectively. My inquiry is motivated by the belief that what a philosopher of the distant past can say to us is influenced by our own independent (...) viewpoint, a viewpoint which may enable us to use that philosopher as a contributor to debates of which he himself had no inkling. Greek philosophers were innocent of the Cartesian tradition and the problems it has generated concerning the connection, if any, between an individual subject of consciousness and the so-called 'external world'. However, I argue that early Greek speculation about the physical world was inward as well as outward looking. Their attempts to think about the world objectively raised issues about the nature of the self — the inquiring (or non-inquiring) subject — issues that, in the case of Heraclitus, are quite explicit. Following up my earlier point about linking modern viewpoints to ancient insights, I make a comparison beween parts of Thomas Nagel's book, The View from Nowhere, and the philosophy of Heraclitus. In particular, I argue that Heraclitus adumbrates a concept analogous to Nagel's 'objective self and shares some of Nagel's interests in integrating that perspective with the practice of being a person in the everyday world. In the final part of the paper I comment briefly on Plato's and Aristotle's criticism of Heraclitus, a criticism that, from a modern perspective, seems to me misconceived. I also offer the Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was influenced by Heraclitus, as an excellent example of what it could mean to combine an objective viewpoint with one's ordinary humanity. More generally, the paper may be read as a defence of objectivity — not in the sense that we can hope to understand the world independently of our own concepts or culture (I sidestep any questions about objective truth), but in the sense, rather, that trying to get beyond an irreducibly personal view of things is a basic human propensity (property of the self) even though our use of it seems bound to be (and perhaps should be) selective. (shrink)
Volume I presents the texts in new translations by the authors, and these are accompanied by a philosophical and historical commentary designed for use by all readers, including those with no background in the classical world. With its glossary and indexes, this volume can stand alone as an independent tool of study. Volume II contains the original Greek and Latin texts with notes and a bibliography.