Author: M. Andrew Holowchak
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2008-04-22
Stoicism was a key philosophical movement in the Hellenistic period. Today, the stoics are central to the study of Ethics and Ancient Philosophy. In The Stoics: A Guide for the Perplexed, M. Andrew Holowchak sketches, from Zeno to Aurelius, a framework thatcaptures the tenor of stoic ethical thinking in its key terms. Drawing on the readily available works of Seneca, Epictetus and Aurelius, Holowchak makes ancient texts accessible to students unfamiliar with Stoic thought. Providing ancient and modern-day examples to illustrate Stoic principles, the author guides the reader through the main themes and ideas of Stoic thought: Stoic cosmology, epistemology, views of nature, selfknowledge, perfectionism and, in particular, ethics. Holowchak also endeavours to present Stoicism as an ethically viable way of life today through rejecting their notion of ethical perfectionism in favor of a type of ethical progressivism consistent with other key Stoic principles.
Author: E. F. Schumacher
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 1978-05-31
The author of the world wide best-seller, Small Is Beautiful, now tackles the subject of Man, the World, and the Meaning of Living. Schumacher writes about man's relation to the world. man has obligations -- to other men, to the earth, to progress and technology, but most importantly himself. If man can fulfill these obligations, then and only then can he enjoy a real relationship with the world, then and only then can he know the meaning of living. Schumacher says we need maps: a "map of knowledge" and a "map of living." The concern of the mapmaker--in this instance, Schumacher--is to find for everything it's proper place. Things out of place tend to get lost; they become invisible and there proper places end to be filled by other things that ought not be there at all and therefore serve to mislead. A Guide for the Perplexed teaches us to be our own map makers. This constantly surprising, always stimulating book will be welcomed by a large audience, including the many new fans who believe strongly in what Schumacher has to say.
Author: John Sellars
Release Date: 2014-12-05
Annotation This book provides a comprehensive introduction to this great philosophical school. It begins by introducing the ancient Stoics and their works before considering how the Stoics themselves conceived philosophy. The core chapters examine Stoic philosophical doctrines in depth, taking each division of Stoic theory in turn: logic, physics, and ethics. The final chapter provides a fascinating account of the Stoic legacy from later antiquity to the present.
Author: William O. Stephens
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2007-05-10
Soon after Aristotle's death, several schools of ancient philosophy arose, each addressing the practical question of how to live a good, happy life. The two biggest rivals, Stoicism and Epicureanism, came to dominate the philosophical landscape for the next 500 years. Epicureans advised pursuing pleasure to be happy, and Stoics held that true happiness could only be achieved by living according to nature, which required accepting what happens and fulfilling one's roles. Stoicism, more than Epicureanism, attracted followers from many different walks of life: slaves, laborers, statesmen, intellectuals, and an emperor. The lasting impact of these philosophies is seen from the fact that even today 'Stoic' and 'Epicurean' are household words. Although very little of the writings of the early Stoics survive, our knowledge of Stoicism comes largely from a few later Stoics. In this unique book, William O. Stephens explores the moral philosophy of Epictetus, a former Roman slave and dynamic Stoic teacher whose teachings are the most compelling defense of ancient Stoicism that exists. Epictetus' philosophy dramatically captures the spirit of Stoicism by examining and remedying our greatest human disappointments, such as the death of a loved one. Stephens shows how, for Epictetus, happiness results from focusing our concern on what is up to us while not worrying about what is beyond our control. He concludes that the strength of Epictetus' thought lies in his conception of happiness as freedom from fear, worry, grief, and dependence upon luck.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (a.d. 121—180) embodied in his person that deeply cherished, ideal figure of antiquity, the philosopher-king. His Meditations are not only one of the most important expressions of the Stoic philosophy of his time but also an enduringly inspiring guide to living a good and just life. Written in moments snatched from military campaigns and the rigors of politics, these ethical and spiritual reflections reveal a mind of exceptional clarity and originality, and a spirit attuned to both the particulars of human destiny and the vast patterns that underlie it. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Margaret R. Graver
Release Date: 2011-04-01
On the surface, stoicism and emotion seem like contradictory terms. Yet the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome were deeply interested in the emotions, which they understood as complex judgments about what we regard as valuable in our surroundings. Stoicism and Emotion shows that they did not simply advocate an across-the-board suppression of feeling, as stoicism implies in today's English, but instead conducted a searching examination of these powerful psychological responses, seeking to understand what attitude toward them expresses the deepest respect for human potential. In this elegant and clearly written work, Margaret Graver gives a compelling new interpretation of the Stoic position. Drawing on a vast range of ancient sources, she argues that the chief demand of Stoic ethics is not that we should suppress or deny our feelings, but that we should perfect the rational mind at the core of every human being. Like all our judgments, the Stoics believed, our affective responses can be either true or false and right or wrong, and we must assume responsibility for them. Without glossing over the difficulties, Graver also shows how the Stoics dealt with those questions that seem to present problems for their theory: the physiological basis of affective responses, the phenomenon of being carried away by one's emotions, the occurrence of involuntary feelings and the disordered behaviors of mental illness. Ultimately revealing the deeper motivations of Stoic philosophy, Stoicism and Emotion uncovers the sources of its broad appeal in the ancient world and illuminates its surprising relevance to our own.
A profile of the second-century emperor, soldier, and philosopher traces his stabilization of the Roman empire, campaigns against Asia, and numerous reform efforts while offering insight into the events that inspired the writing of his famous Meditations.
Author: Lawrence C. Becker
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2017-09-05
What would stoic ethics be like today if stoicism had survived as a systematic approach to ethical theory, and if it had coped successfully with the challenges of modern philosophy and experimental science? What would stoic ethics be like today if stoicism had survived as a systematic approach to ethical theory, if it had coped successfully with the challenges of modern philosophy and experimental science? A New Stoicism proposes an answer to that question, offered from within the stoic tradition but without the metaphysical and psychological assumptions that modern philosophy and science have abandoned. Lawrence Becker argues that a secular version of the stoic ethical project, based on contemporary cosmology and developmental psychology, provides the basis for a sophisticated form of ethical naturalism, in which virtually all the hard doctrines of the ancient Stoics can be clearly restated and defended. Becker argues, in keeping with the ancients, that virtue is one thing, not many; that it, and not happiness, is the proper end of all activity; that it alone is good, all other things being merely rank-ordered relative to each other for the sake of the good; and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Moreover, he rejects the popular caricature of the stoic as a grave figure, emotionally detached and capable mainly of endurance, resignation, and coping with pain. To the contrary, he holds that while stoic sages are able to endure the extremes of human suffering, they do not have to sacrifice joy to have that ability, and he seeks to turn our attention from the familiar, therapeutic part of stoic moral training to a reconsideration of its theoretical foundations.
Author: Pierre Hadot
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 1998
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy. Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the Meditations set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes Marcus Aurelius's guidelines and convictions and discerns the hitherto unperceived conceptual system that grounds them. Abundantly quoting the Meditations to illustrate his analysis, the author allows Marcus Aurelius to speak directly to the reader. And Hadot unfolds for us the philosophical context of the Meditations, commenting on the philosophers Marcus Aurelius read and giving special attention to the teachings of Epictetus, whose disciple he was. The soul, the guiding principle within us, is in Marcus Aurelius's Stoic philosophy an inviolable stronghold of freedom, the "inner citadel." This spirited and engaging study of his thought offers a fresh picture of the fascinating philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of the tradition and doctrines of Stoicism, and rich insight on the culture of the Roman empire in the second century. Pierre Hadot has been working on Marcus Aurelius for more than twenty years; in this book he distills his analysis and conclusions with extraordinary lucidity for the general reader.
Author: Alan Jacobs
Release Date: 2017-10-05
Genre: Thought and thinking
How to Think is a contrarian treatise on why we're not as good at thinking as we assume - but how recovering this lost art can rescue our inner lives from the chaos of modern life.Most of us don't want to think, writes the American essayist Alan Jacobs. Thinking is trouble. It can force us out of familiar, comforting habits, and it can complicate our relationships with like-minded friends. Finally, thinking is slow, and that's a problem when our habits of consuming information (mostly online) leave us lost in the echo chamber of social media, where speed and factionalism trump accuracy and nuance.In this clever, witty book, Jacobs diagnoses the many forces that prevent thought - forces that have only worsened in the age of Twitter, such as "alternative facts," and information overload. He also dispels the many myths we hold about what it means to think well. (For example: it's impossible to "think for yourself.")Drawing on sources as far-flung as the novelist Marilynne Robinson, the basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, the British philosopher John Stuart Mill and the Christian theologian C.S. Lewis, Jacobs digs into the nuts and bolts of the cognitive process, offering hope that each of us can reclaim our mental lives from the whirlpool of what now passes for public debate.After all, if we can learn to think together, perhaps we can learn to live together.