STOICON ’16: Bill Irvine

IrvineHere it is, the next entry in our limited series of posts leading up to the STOICON 2016 conference, scheduled in New York City for 15 October. (More info? Here. Tickets? Here. Looking for cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic? Here.) The idea is to briefly feature each of the scheduled speakers for our talks and workshops so that people can better appreciate some of the leading figures behind the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?), as well as give their reasoned assent to the impression that this is a conference well worth attending…

This week we feature Bill Irvine, author of the popular and influential A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.

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Seneca to Lucilius: on friendship

Friendship[see here for a brief introduction to this ongoing series]

The ninth letter written by Seneca to his friend Lucilius is about friendship, and it begins with an example of what could fairly — if superficially — be considered a Stoic paradox: “the wise man is self-sufficient. Nevertheless, he desires friends, neighbours, and associates, no matter how much he is sufficient unto himself.”

But of course there is no contradiction in this. One is self-sufficient in the sense that, if need be, one can be happy even without externals such as friends, neighbors and associates. Indeed, remember that for the Stoics the Sage can be “happy” (meaning eudaimon) even on the rack. But that doesn’t mean that’s the preferred way to live, even for a Sage, let alone for the rest of us.

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Stoicism for kids: preferred indifferents

Philosophy for childrenI rarely write for children, I’m just not that good at it. (I did publish one book on evolutionary biology for young teenagers, in Italian, but it was back in 1987…) And yet, writing science, and especially philosophy, for kids is crucial if we care about the future of both science and philosophy (and of our kids).

That’s why I’m working on a new book project on Stoicism for children, together with a friend of mine who is a good graphic artist as well as a motivated Stoic, having just become a father. But this post isn’t about that, though stay tuned for more as soon as Kevin and I feel that we have a decent preview to submit to the world.

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STOICON ’16: Jules Evans

Jules EvansLet’s resume our limited series of posts leading up to the STOICON 2016 conference, scheduled in New York City for 15 October. (More info? Here. Tickets? Here. Looking for cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic? Here.) The idea is to briefly feature each of the scheduled speakers for our talks and workshops so that people can better appreciate some of the leading figures behind the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?), as well as give their reasoned assent to the impression that this is a conference well worth attending…

It’s the turn of author Jules Evans, host of the last two STOICON events in London.

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Seneca on the happy life

HappinessOn the Happy Life is one of Seneca’s mature essays, written to his brother Gallio in 58 CE, when he was 62 years of age. The main argument is that the pursuit of happiness (understood as eudaimonia) is the pursuit of reason. Or, in more standard Stoic fashion, that only the exercise of reason can lead to a flourishing life. It begins, appropriately enough: “All men, brother Gallio, wish to live happily, but are dull at perceiving exactly what it is that makes life happy.”

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STOICON ’16: Ryan Holiday

Ryan HolidayHere comes the next entry in our limited series of posts leading up to the STOICON 2016 conference, scheduled in New York City for 15 October. (More info? Here. Tickets? Here. Looking for cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic? Here.) The idea is to briefly feature each of the scheduled speakers for our talks and workshops so that people can better appreciate some of the leading figures behind the Modern Stoicism movement (is that what it is?), as well as give their reasoned assent to the impression that this is a conference well worth attending.

Today’s short profile is of our keynote speaker, best-selling author Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.

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