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Images of Stoic Thought: Assessing the Sources


Admission requirements



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

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2012-2013, MA Philosophy.
See Timetables Philosophy 2012-2013, MA Philosophy.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Assessment method

  • presentation in the seminar

  • participation in the seminar

  • end of term paper


Blackboard will be used for posting of messages, texts, and assigments.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available on Blackboard at the start of the course.


Please register for this course on uSis.
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Contact information

Prof.dr. F.A.J. de Haas
H.L.J. Gaasterland, MPhil