Author Archives

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His most recent book, is How to Be a Stoic (Basic Books).

  • Meditations, Book IV

    Continuing my reading of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations we have arrived at book IV. Near the beginning of it, we are reminded that “it is in your power whenever you choose to retire into yourself. For there is no retreat that… Read More ›

  • Meditations, Book III

    The first section of the third book of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations that struck me as profound is #3. I will quote parts of it to give you the idea: “Hippocrates, after curing many diseases, himself fell sick and died …… Read More ›

  • Meditations, Book II

    The second book of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations opens with what is one of his most cited passages: “Begin the morning by saying to yourself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen… Read More ›

  • Meditations, Book I

    Time to tackle Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, arguably the most read Stoic classic of them all. As is well known, it was written as a personal diary by the Roman emperor, and hence not meant for publication. This accounts for the… Read More ›

  • Stoicism reconsidered

    In the next to the last chapter of his A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine followed up his discussion of the decline of Stoicism with his personal attempt to revive the philosophy. He begins by reminding his readers of… Read More ›

  • Stoic cosmopolitanism and the problem of unmet friends

    A few months ago I met Eric Brown, a scholar in ancient philosophy, and particularly Stoicism, at Washington University in St. Louis. Eric was giving a talk at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where I… Read More ›

  • Stoic determinism

    Dorothea Frede’s chapter in The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics is about determinism, and it’s a must read for anyone seriously interested in the philosophy of Stoicism. Frede’s approach is to contrast the Stoics with Aristotle, because the two schools… Read More ›