The Role Ethics of Epictetus: Stoicism in Ordinary Life offers an original interpretation of Epictetus’s ethics and how he bases his ethics on an appeal to our roles in life. Epictetus's role theory is a complete ethical theory, one that has been both misunderstood and under-appreciated in the literature.
Epictetus holds that agents can determine what is appropriate relative to their roles in life. There has been only piecemeal work on this subject. Moreover, current scholarship on Epictetus’s role theory often employs Cicero’s narrow and highly schematic role theory as a template for reconstructing Epictetus’s theory. I argue against that approach and show that Epictetus’s theory is more open-ended and is best presented as a set of criteria that agents must reflect upon in order to discover their many roles: (...) their capacities, their social relations, their wishes, and even divine signs. (shrink)