The Roman imperial Stoics were familiar with exile. This paper argues that the Stoics’ view of being a refugee differed sharply from their view of what is owed to refugees. A Stoic adopts the perspective of a cosmopolitēs, a “citizen of the world,” a rational being everywhere at home in the universe. Virtue can be cultivated and practiced in any locale, so being a refugee is an “indifferent” that poses no obstacle to happiness. Other people are our fellow cosmic citizens, (...) however, regardless of their language, race, ethnicity, customs, or country of origin. Our natural affinity and shared sociability with all people require us to help refugees and embrace them as welcome neighbors. Failure to do so violates our common reason, justice, and the gods’ cosmic law. (shrink)
I show that in Epictetus’ view (1) the wise man genuinely loves (στέργειv) and is affectionate (φιλόστoργoς) to his family and friends; (2) only the Stoic wise man is, properly speaking, capable of loving—that is, he alone actually has the power to love; and (3) the Stoic wise man loves in a robustly rational way which excludes passionate, sexual, ‘erotic’ love (’έρως). In condemning all ’έρως as objectionable πάθoς Epictetus stands with Cicero and with the other Roman Stoics, Seneca and (...) Musonius Rufus, and against the Greeks of the early Stoa. Epictetus’ conception of love excludes erotic passion because of its intrinsic excessiveness and uncontrollableness, which inevitably endanger mental serenity, but includes and emphasizes the soberly rational, purely positive joy of interpersonal affiliation. Epictetus’ account of how the Stoic Sage loves is, I think, more consistent and less problematic than that of the Greek Stoics. (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.
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)
Philosophers of sport have debated whether supporting one team over others is commendable or morally suspect. We show how Stoicism sheds light on this controversy. Several caricature views of Stoic sportsmanship are studied. Stoics learn how to enjoy the blessings that come their way without mistakenly judging challenges to be hardships that detract from their happiness. Stoic sportsmen celebrate the successes of their teams while exercising the virtues of patience, endurance, loyalty, and appreciation of athletic excellence when their teams flounder. (...) The Stoic ideal is not to be an indifferent, disinterested spectator, but rather a calm, polite, and engaged sportsman. (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)
The impact of Stoicism on Roman culture and early Christianity was considerable. Unfortunately, little survives of the early writings on Stoicism. Our knowledge of it comes largely from a few later Stoics. In this unique book, William O. Stephens explores the moral philosophy of the late Stoic Epictetus, a former slave and dynamic Stoic teacher. His philosophy, as recorded by one of his students, is the most earnest and most compelling defense of ancient Stoicism that exists. Epictetus' teachings dramatically capture (...) the optimistic spirit of Stoicism by examining our greatest human challenges, such as the death of a loved one. Stephens shows how, for Epictetus, happiness results from concerning ourselves with what is up to us while not worrying about what is beyond our control. He concludes that the strength of Epictetus' philosophy lies in his conception of happiness as freedom from anger, fear, worry, grief, and dependence upon luck. (shrink)
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).
Mitchell defends the Epicurean account of friendship. I argue that since Epicureans are hedonists who hold that all pleasures are good and all pains are bad, Epicureans would desert their friends in circumstances in which standing by their friends causes them pain.
Born a slave, but later earning his freedom and founding a school for teaching Stoicism to the sons of Roman noblemen, Epictetus (c. 50-120 A.D.) has been a popular source of Stoic philosophy for centuries. Originally published in 1894 by the German scholar Adolf Bonhoeffer and here translated into English for the first time, this work remains the most systematic and detailed study of Epictetus' ethics. The basis, content, and acquisition of virtue are methodically described, while important related points in (...) Stoic ethics are discussed in an extensive appendix. Epictetus is compared throughout with the other late Stoics (Seneca, Marcus Aurelius), Cicero, the early Stoics (Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus), and Christian moral thought. This approach shows that Stoic ethics continues to have great practical and pedagogical value. (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)
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)
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.
Don't Stoics notoriously reject emotion altogether? Isn't it precisely their utter lack of feeling, flat affect, and freakish insensibility which make Stoics seem so inhuman and unattractive? In this excellent book Margaret Graver deftly demonstrates that attentive study of the Stoics' theory of emotion squashes such misconceptions. Graver follows her earlier work on Cicero on emotions 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 for 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)
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.
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)
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)
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 author’s aim in this quirky monograph is not to reconstruct all that can be surmised about Stoic logic in the first two centuries A.D. of the Roman empire, but rather to concentrate on the three Stoic authors whose extant texts contain remarks on logic. These imperial Stoics, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, are known for their emphasis on ethics and not for their contributions in either logic or physics. So it comes as some surprise that Barnes can find much (...) to say about what these philosophers thought about logic. As Barnes presents it (defying chronology), “Marcus introduces the comedy; Seneca features in the second act; and Epictetus is the hero” (ix). (shrink)
My project examines the pedagogical approach of the Stoic Epictetus by focusing on seven vital lessons he imparts. This study will deepen our understanding of his vocation as a Stoic educator striving to free his students from the fears and foolishness that hold happiness hostage. These lessons are (1) how freedom, integrity, self-respect, and happiness interrelate; (2) real versus fake tragedy and real versus fake heroism; (3) the instructive roles that various animals play in Stoic education; (4) athleticism, sport, and (...) game-playing as analogies for striving to live virtuously; (5) place, time, and progress in the journey to self-realization; (6) how to live with death and exit life fearlessly; (7) how teaching wisdom is one of several ways the Stoic sage loves others. (shrink)
This book is a clear and concise introduction to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. His one major surviving work, often titled 'meditations' but literally translated simply as 'to himself', is a series of short, sometimes enigmatic reflections divided seemingly arbitrarily into twelve books and apparently written only to be read by him. For these reasons Marcus is a particularly difficult thinker to understand. His musings, framed as 'notes to self' or 'memoranda', are the exhortations of an earnest, conscientious Stoic (...) burdened with the onerous responsibilities of ruling an entire, enormous empire. -/- William O. Stephens lucidly sketches Marcus Aurelius' upbringing, family relations, rise to the throne, military campaigns, and legacy, situating his philosophy amidst his life and times, explicating the factors shaping Marcus' philosophy, and clarifying key themes in the Memoranda. Specifically designed to meet the needs of students seeking a thorough understanding of this key figure and his major work, Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal guide for understanding this Stoic author - the only philosopher who was also an emperor. (shrink)
A sloppy, smug, conceptually muddled, and tendentious Christian apologist's comparison of narrowly selected texts from Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Paul, Luke, and Justin Martyr. Following Alasdair MacIntyre, Rowe defends the traditionist view according to which Spirit-enhanced ‘supernatural’ discourse is intelligible only to those on the inside of Christian faith. Rowe argues that morality and religion are abstractions. Rowe presents his translations of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus, Paul, Luke, and Justin into modern English while also being committed to the traditionist view that (...) such translations are doomed to inaccuracy and distortion. His views invite relativism and skepticism about all kinds of inquiry, including MacIntyre’s traditioned approach. (shrink)
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)
The Roman imperial Stoics were familiar with exile. I argue that the Stoics’ view of being a refugee differed sharply from their view of what is owed to refugees. A Stoic adopts the perspective of a cosmopolitēs, a ‘citizen of the world’, a rational being everywhere at home in the universe. Virtue can be cultivated and practiced in any locale, so being a refugee is an ‘indifferent’ that poses no obstacle to happiness. But other people are our fellow cosmic citizens (...) regardless of their language, race, ethnicity, customs, or country of origin. Our natural affinity and shared sociability with all people require us to help refugees and embrace them as welcome neighbors. Failure to do so violates our common reason, justice, and the gods’ cosmic law. (shrink)