Research What Are You Reading...On Stoicism

What Are You Reading…On Stoicism

On October 15 the annual meeting of Stoics, Stoicon, is coming to New York City. The event promises to be of great interest to anyone who is curious about the status of Stoic thought or the relevance of Stoicism to contemporary life. As the program illustrates, not only is the conference taking up exciting academic topics (for example, “Is Stoic Virtue as Off-Putting as it Seems” and “Let us Take Care of Ourselves, Stoic Exercises and Foucault”), but also hosting workshops on the relationship between Stoic philosophy and modern problems (“Everything You Wanted to Know about Stoicism But Were Afraid to Ask” and “Trump for President? A Stoic Response” caught my eye).

The whole idea behind the event—it’s focus on Stoicism as a way of life, not simply a philosophical theory; and its goal of spreading its message to the public at large—reminds me of what I found exciting about Stoicism when I first encountered it. It had a very clear ethical component to it, rejected the transcendental tenets of earlier theories, and divested itself of some of the elitism that earlier philosophers embraced. I remember being interested in exploring not only the theory’s accuracy, but also its viability as a practice. For those of you attending, or who are interested in learning more about Stoicism, I present the following articles written by some of the presenters at the conference:


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  1. I’m reading Simone de Beauvoir against Stoicism: “…the Stoic distinction between “things which do not depend upon us” and those which “depend upon us” proves to be insufficient: for “we” is legion and not an individual; each one depends upon others, and what happens to me by means of others depends upon me as regards its meaning; one does not submit to a war or an occupation as he does to an earthquake: he must take sides for or against, and the foreign wills thereby become allied or hostile.” (Ethics of Ambiguity)


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