Wednesday, November 16, 2022Breakout
This class will introduce material from Epictetus' Encheiridion and Discourses following the last plenary lecture. In today's breakout session we will consider passages from these two texts, focusing on the Stoics' understanding of human freedom, and what is and what isn't under our control. We will also consider this topic in connection with the Stoics' understanding of our relations with others: friends, family, and all other human beings.
- Form a better sense for Epictetus’ distinction between what is and what isn’t under our control
- Examine the Stoics’ understanding of freedom, particularly in connection with our relations with others
- Critically engage with the strengths and weaknesses of the Stoics’ approach to the good life
- Review the core principles of the Stoic school by listening to the above interview between Peter Adamson and David Sedley on the development of Stoicism in antiquity
- Epictetus uses the metaphor of a boat at anchor to describe the situation of our lives in chapter 7 of the Encheiridion. For today’s class, come prepared to discuss the different parts of this metaphor.
- How do the Stoics think of freedom in connection with our attachments to others? What does it mean to be a Stoic friend? Consider Epictetus’ views on this question in relation to Seneca’s views in Letter 9. How are these views compatible?
- “Epictetus” – entry from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Margaret Graver)
- “Marcus Aurelius Helped Me Survive Grief and Rebuild My Life” – moving essay for Aeon Magazine on the Stoics’ advice for dealing with grief (Jamie Lombardi)
- “The Joys of Being a Stoic” – short and accessible essay for the science magazine Nautilus that clears up some stereotypes of Stoicism and discusses the connection between Stoicism and cognitive behavioral therapy (Massimo Pigliucci)