This work is the latest contribution to the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series edited by Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long. As with the earlier volumes (John Dillon's Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism , R. J. Hankinson's Galen, On the Therapeutic Method Books I and II, Richard Bett's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists, and D. L. Blank's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Grammarians), D(obbin) provides an introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary predominantly focused on the philosophical content of the (...) text of an author from the period ranging from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. A bibliography of a dozen earlier editions of E(pictetus), a painstaking bibliography of secondary literature, an index nominum, a generous index locorum, and a brief subject index are also included. Overall this edition maintains the high standards characteristic of the CLAP series. (shrink)
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)
Charlie Croker, a self-made real estate tycoon, ex-Georgia Tech football star, horseback rider, quail-hunter, snakecatcher, and good old boy from Baker county Georgia, is the protagonist in Tom Wolfeâ€™s latest novel, the deliciously provocative A Man in Full (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998). Â In this article I examine the evolving conception of manhood in Wolfeâ€™s novel. Â Two different models of manliness will be delineated and compared. The first modelâ€”represented by Charlie Crokerâ€”gradually weakens and is replaced by the (...) second modelâ€”represented by Conrad Hensley. My aim is to show how Stoicism serves to critique the first model and articulate the second. Â Stoicism, I argue, provides the deliverance of both Hensley and his convert Croker, while at the same time transforming the conception of manliness explored in A Man in Full. (shrink)
interpreted to support the ethical case for vegetarianism.Â Yet to my knowledge Aronsonâ€™s is the ﬁrst book devoted to lapsed vegetarians, which she dubs â€œlapsosâ€.Â Aronson declares â€œ...I have no intention of answering the question posed in the book's title, although I shall ask what it meansâ€ (3).Â Yet, evidently despite her intention, by the end of the book she writes â€œ...many struggle with the implications of eating or not eating meat.Â In the struggle itself, the spirit is strengthened; to (...) the extent that lapsos struggle, their spirits are not weakâ€ (291).Â So in a way this interesting book is an apology for lapsed vegetarians. Â â€œThe opposite of a polemic is what I intended in this book: enough diatribes have been written alreadyâ€ (285).Â In this intention, the author succeeds.Â At the same time, however, Aronson extols the virtues of veganism throughout the book.Â While this apparent ambivalence may leave some readers confused or frustrated, the author is quite comfortable with it.Â â€œI wrote this book as a peace oﬀering, to soften the debate, to erase lines of demarcation, to trace ambiguity and nuance, and to suggest that being a vegetarian should not be so easy.Â Reality is much too slippery for either consistency or consensusâ€ (288).Â But while some aspects of reality are slippery in this sense, surely other aspects admit of much better traction, as I will discuss below. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The raw material for Aronsonâ€™s study is gleaned from interviews of two dozen lapsed vegetarians.Â She claims that the stories of these lapsos are â€œparables for our ageâ€ (3).Â The book divides into a preface, an introduction, twenty chapters, a postface, the questionnaire she used to select her twenty-four lapsos in an appendix, endnotes, a select bibliography, brief biographies of the lapsos, an index of their names, and a paragraph about the author.Â Though there are interesting points in many of the twenty chapters, I will limit my comments to only a.... (shrink)
Oxford Studies vol. XIV contains five free-standing articles (on Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics), an exchange between Job van Eck and Christopher Rowe about a key passage in the Phaedo, and three lengthy review articles: Michael Wedin on David Bostock's Aristotle: Metaphysics Z and ; Gail Fine on R.J. Hankinson's The Sceptics ; and Anne Sheppard on John Dillon's Alcinous. Only the briefest sketch of the volume is possible.
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.. (shrink)
This work is the latest contribution to the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series edited by Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long. As with the earlier volumes (John Dillon's Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism , R. J. Hankinson's Galen, On the Therapeutic Method Books I and II, Richard Bett's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists , and D. L. Blank's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Grammarians ), D(obbin) provides an introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary predominantly focused on the philosophical content (...) of the text of an author from the period ranging from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. A bibliography of a dozen earlier editions of E(pictetus), a painstaking bibliography of secondary literature, an index nominum, a generous index locorum, and a brief subject index are also included. Overall this edition maintains the high standards characteristic of the CLAP series. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of fifteen essays (seven on epistemology, eight on ethics), all but one of which are articles previously published between 1974 and 1994. The one new essay, "Methods of sophistry", is the opening chapter. Chapter Two, "KRITH/RION TH=S A)LHQEI/AS," and Chapter Six, "On the difference between the Pyrrhonists and the Academics", were originally published in German, and are translated into English in this volume.
Stoics' theory of emotion squashes such misconceptions. Graver follows her earlier work on Cicero on emotions 1 with a lucidly written (though at times less than maximally engaging), compellingly argued, and carefully researched investigation which should remain an indispensable resource for study of the Stoics on emotions for years to come. As it is pitched to readers well versed in ancient Greek literature with a fair degree of philosophical training, scholars and graduate students in Classical philosophy will benefit the most (...) from this work. It contains an introduction, nine chapters, an appendix on the status of confidence in Stoic classifications, endnotes, a good bibliography, an index locorum, and a general index. In what follows I will summarize each of its main parts and raise a couple of points to consider. (shrink)
It is curious that the imperial Stoics, following a precedent of Diogenes the Cynic, employ so many wide-ranging examples of animal behavior. For example, what are we to make of the rigid dichotomy Seneca and Epictetus draw between rational and nonrational beings in relation to the diverse comparisons they make between human virtues and vices on the one hand and animal excellences and "bestial'behaviors on the other? Why are the most potent, diverse, and philosophically significant animal exempla found in Seneca (...) and Epictetus? I argue that it is because such exempla serve a variety of protreptic purposes. While appeals to the over-arching rationality of the cosmos may provide some theoretical understanding for the place of human beings in nature, from a pedagogical and rhetorical standpoint animal exempla provide particularly effective guidance for human conduct.Cleverly deployed animal exempla help cultivate aretaic affective dispositions. (shrink)
More than 2,200 years have passed since a group of sober people gathered in a covered colonnade, or stoa, in the marketplace of Athens to discuss the good life – a life of virtue and honor. They became known as Stoics, and their ancient creed is enjoying a renaissance today in, of all things, popular culture.
Are animals our domestic companions, fellow citizens of the ecosystems we inhabit, mobile meals and resources for us, or some combination thereof? This well chosen collection of essays written by recognized scholars addresses many of the intriguing aspects concerning the controversy over meat consumption. These aspects include not only eating meat, but also hunting animals, breeding, feeding, killing, and shredding them for our use, buying meat, the economics of the meat industry, the understanding of predation and food webs in ecology, (...) and the significance of animals for issues about nutrition, gender, wealth, and cultural autonomy. (shrink)
My project is to examine in detail Epictetus’ philosophy in order to provide a deeper understanding of him as a Stoic educator keen on liberating his students from unhappiness. This understanding of Epictetus will provide the grist for developing an Epictetan approach to navigating various challenges in contemporary life, including animals, games and sport, travel, death, and love.
How putrid is the matter which underlies everything. Water, dust, bones, stench. Again, fine marbles are calluses of the earth; gold and silver, its sediments; our clothes, animal-hair; their purple, blood from a shellfish. Our very breath is something similar and changes from this to that. Meditations, 9 36).
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One need not be a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy to refer to “stoic” conduct or a “stoic” approach to certain matters, because the vocabulary related to this apparently antiquarian view of life has seeped into our common language. Look it up. In the American Heritage Dictionary a Stoic is defined as “one who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by pleasure or pain.” The qualification noted by “seemingly” in the definition is necessitated by the dualism of the inner and (...) the outer; it is stoic conduct or behavior that occasions such judgments about the psychology of the Stoic. The Stoic appears calm, cool, and dispassionate, perhaps in the face of situations that normally cause people to act quite differently: failure, tragedy, separation, loss, even death. In such situations we often believe it takes real character, strength of will, to act as the Stoic acts, because it seems natural to act and feel otherwise. Yet there might be some ambivalence in our evaluations of the Stoic’s character, whose conduct might merely mask an emotional indifference that is cold, mechanical, and inhuman. (shrink)
The decision to publish a doctoral dissertation, especially one which has only been “lightly edited” (foreword, first sentence) and with a bibliography only partially updated to reflect the scholarship of the intervening years, must always seem a risky one. In this case the risk is well taken and the resultant book is a delightful addition to our too meager store of book length overviews of Epictetus’ philosophy in the wider context of Stoic ethics.
Kerry Laird, a literature and composition professor who does not have tenure, is in his first year at Temple. He said that, as a student and instructor, he always enjoyed the way professors use their office doors to reveal bits of their personality and to challenge students with cartoons, artwork, and various phrases. So when he started at Temple, he put a cartoon up showing Smokey the Bear, a girl scout and a boy scout and the tag line: “Kids — (...) don’t fuck with God or bears will eat you.” He received a complaint and decided that he understood why the college “might not want the f word” in the hallway, and so he decided to put up something else. (shrink)
A ‘respect for person’ ethic is the secular perspective adopted by Govier in this sincere, but often disappointing book. It contains a preface, an appendix on religious traditions on forgiveness (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism), an appendix on respect for persons as an ethical foundation, notes, a bibliography, an index, and eight chapters. Her thesis is stated in the preface: that seeking revenge is objectionable for both practical and moral reasons; that the desire for revenge is not deeply “natural” in (...) the sense of being an elemental, culturally independent feature of human nature; and that even if revenge were to be natural in that way, such naturalness would not constitute a moral argument in its favor. (viii) Govier conceives of forgiveness as “a process of overcoming attitudes of resentment and anger that may persist when one has been injured by wrongdoing” (viii). She offers an account of bilateral, unilateral, and mutual forgiveness. Her work has pronounced political import in that she argues that attitudes and dispositions can be attributed to groups, that groups can suffer harm, and that groups can be responsible agents of wrongdoing. As a consequence, Govier contends that groups can forgive. Her method is to employ a host of examples taken from recent (World War II and after) history, sprinkle in a few invented examples, and lay out long-winded and typically repetitive arguments. The result is an occasionally provocative and often overly one-sided treatment punctuated by earnestness. (shrink)
In “Friendship Amongst the Self-Sufficient: Epicurus” (this Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, June 2001), Andrew Mitchell explores the Epicurean view of the relationship between self-sufficiency and friendship by contrasting it with the views of Aristotle and the Stoics. Epicurus, Aristotle, and the Stoics do indeed have interestingly different views on friendship that are well worth comparing. Yet Mitchell’s characterization of Aristotelian friendship is misleading, his account of Stoic friendship is inaccurate, and his interpretation of Epicurean friendship is curiously imaginative but (...) ultimately rather strange. (shrink)
The tremendous influence Stoicism has exerted on ethical thought from early Christianity through Immanuel Kant and into the twentieth century is rarely understood and even more rarely appreciated. Throughout history, Stoic ethical doctrines have both provoked harsh criticisms and inspired enthusiastic defenders. The Stoics defined the goal in life as living in agreement with nature. Humans, unlike all other animals, are constituted by nature to develop reason as adults, which transforms their understanding of themselves and their own true good. The (...) Stoics held that virtue is the only real good and so is both necessary and, contrary to Aristotle, sufficient for happiness; it in no way depends on luck. The virtuous life is free of all passions, which are intrinsically disturbing and harmful to the soul, but includes appropriate emotive responses conditioned by rational understanding and the fulfillment of all one's personal, social, professional, and civic responsibilities. The Stoics believed that the person who has achieved perfect consistency in the operation of his rational faculties, the "wise man," is extremely rare, yet serves as a prescriptive ideal for all. The Stoics believed that progress toward this noble goal is both possible and vitally urgent. (shrink)
Five different arguments for vegetarianism are discussed: the system of meat production deprives poor people of food to provide meat for the wealthy, thus violating the principle of distributive justice; the world livestock industry causes great and manifold ecological destruction; meat-eating cultures and societal oppression of women are intimately linked and so feminism and vegetarianism must both be embraced to transform our patriarchal culture; both utilitarian and rights-based reasoning lead to the conclusion that raising and slaughtering animals is immoral, and (...) so we ought to boycott meat; meat consumption causes many serious diseases and lowers life expectancy, and so is unhealthy. Objections to each argument are examined. The conclusion reached is that the cumulative case successfully establishes vegetarianism as a virtuous goal. (shrink)
Cheney’s claim that there is a subtextual affinity between ancient Stoicism and deep ecology is historically unfounded, conceptually unsupported, and misguided from a scholarly viewpoint. His criticisms of Stoic thought are thus merely ad hominem diatribe. A proper examination of the central ideas of Stoic ethics reveals the coherence and insightfulness of Stoic naturalism and rationalism. While not providing the basis for a contemporary environmental ethic, Stoicism, nonetheless, contains some very fruitful ethical concepts.