The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

This unique volume offers an odyssey through the ideas of the Stoics in three particular ways: first, through the historical trajectory of the school itself and its influence; second, through the recovery of the history of Stoic thought; third, through the ongoing confrontation with Stoicism, showing how it refines philosophical traditions, challenges the imagination, and ultimately defines the kind of life one chooses to lead. A distinguished roster of specialists have written an authoritative guide to the entire philosophical tradition. The first two chapters chart the history of the school in the ancient world, and are followed by chapters on the core themes of the Stoic system: epistemology, logic, natural philosophy, theology, determinism, and metaphysics. There are two chapters on what might be thought of as the heart and soul of the Stoics system: ethics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
May 5, 2003
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Pages
619
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ISBN
9781139826242
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Stoicism is two things: a long past philosophical school of ancient Greece and Rome, and an enduring philosophical movement that still inspires people in the twenty-first century to re-think and re-organize their lives in order to achieve personal satisfaction. What is the connection between them? This Very Short Introduction provides an introductory account of Stoic philosophy, and tells the story of how ancient Stoicism survived and evolved into the movement we see today. Exploring the roots of the school in the philosophy of fourth century BCE Greece, Brad Inwood examines its basic history and doctrines and its relationship to the thought of Plato, Aristotle and his successors, and the Epicureans. Sketching the history of the school's reception in the western tradition, he argues that, despite the differences between ancient and contemporary Stoics, there is a common core of philosophical insight that unites the modern version not just to Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius but also to the school's original founders, Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus. Inwood concludes by considering the place of Stoicism in modern life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.
Seneca's Letters to Lucilius are a rich source of information about ancient Stoicism, an influential work for early modern philosophers, and a fascinating philosophical document in their own right. This selection of the letters aims to include those which are of greatest philosophical interest, especially those which highlight the debates between Stoics and Platonists or Aristotelians in the first century AD, and the issue, still important today, of how technical philosophical enquiry is related to the various purposes for which philosophy is practised. In addition to examining the philosophical content of each letter, Brad Inwood's commentary discusses the literary and historical background of the letters and their relationship with other prose works by Seneca. Seneca is the earliest Stoic author for whom we have access to a large number of complete works, and these works were highly influential in later centuries. He was also a politically influential advisor to the Roman emperor Nero and a celebrated author of prose and verse. His philosophical acuity and independence of mind make his works exciting and challenging for the modern reader. CLARENDON LATER ANCIENT PHILOSOPHERS General Editors: Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long This series is designed to encourage philosophers and students of philosophy to explore the fertile terrain of later ancient philosophy. The texts range in date from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, and will cover all the parts and all the schools of philosophy. Each volume contains a substantial introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary on the philosophical claims and arguments of the text. The translations aim primarily at accuracy and fidelity; but they are also readable and accompanied by notes on textual problems that affect the philosophical interpretation. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is assumed.
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