Stoicism is known as a long Hellenistic tradition. Its founding has been in Greece in the third century BC (Zeno), yet highly influential Stoic thinkers can be discovered until the later days of the Roman Empire (Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius). Surprisingly, the main structure of its philosophy is known for its coherency; this in spite of both its long historical tradition and the variety of textual sources. Early Stoic thought is known to us only from disparate fragments; Roman Stoics have left us longer accounts of their views. Moreover, the nature of these sources ranges from small anecdotes to theoretical polemics to stories of personal growth.
This seminar aims at developing an account of the different images of Stoicism, mainly with respect to their physics and ethics. In the course of assessing a selection of Stoic sources, to what extent can we say that their determinism is predominant? Are all their views on practical ethics as harsh as they are believed to be? In this seminar we evaluate these sources and the impact that these different images had on posterity, in philosophy and otherwise.
Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.
Mode of instruction
presentation in the seminar
participation in the seminar
end of term paper
Blackboard will be used for posting of messages, texts, and assigments.
The reading list will be made available on Blackboard at the start of the course.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs