Born of different backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences, Epictetus and Seneca are Roman philosophers who outwardly appear very different. Epictetus spent most of his youth as a slave while Seneca was born into money and became a tutor of Nero. Although these two men seem to be very dissimilar, they each shared a common purpose in studying philosophy and teaching people on how to live well. Each suggested different paths for how to do so. Epictetus suggests in his book, The Discourses and The Enchiridion, that living a life in accordance with nature could be achieved by living moderately. Seneca suggests in his work, Letters from a Stoic, that a happy man is self-sufficient and realizes that happiness depends only on interior perfection. Despite the differences, both Epictetus and Seneca are considered Stoics because of their shared belief in the idea that character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. The world outside ourselves will never give us happiness, nor will it be responsible for our unhappiness. It doesn’t matter what’s happening outside ourselves, Epictetus and Seneca claim that the only thing that matters is how we interpret those events. Further evaluating Seneca’s, Letters from a Stoic and Epictetus’s, The Discourses and The Enchiridion, we will clearly be able to differentiate the two in their ideas and opinions regarding stoicism and the keys to living a well, happy life.
According to Stoic Ethics, as described in Cooper’s Pursuits of Wisdom and Ricken’s Philosophy of the Ancients, a life that exclusively constitutes aretē (virtue and excellence) is one that is deemed good. For one to live virtuously means to live with internal unity, such that one is living in agreement with nature (Cooper 158). Humans maintain their own, independently varying logos (reasons) and virtues based on which they carry out their actions. These actions may be considered rational or ruled out as irrational based on its harmony with nature. When making decisions, after taking into consideration the numerous factors that come into play, one may either chose to act rationally, in accordance with nature or irrationally, thus acting against
After the death of Aristotle, philosophy that targeted greater complex depths was outrun by philosophy that focused on mere everyday lives. With the rise and fall of Skepticism, Cynicism, and Epicureanism there was an influence that survived years impacting life and that was Stoicism. Zeno of Citium who believed that the world had an ultimate plan and everything--including nature, animals, and humans, were there for a reason (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014, p. 66). The reason Stoicism was easily used is because it was well-suited with the way Romans highlighted their law and order giving the extensive coverage displayed by many philosophers, including Marcus Aurelius.
Both Marcus Aurelius and Cicero try to create a guide, based on their stoic views, on how a person is supposed to live a purposeful life. Marcus Aurelius was an emperor and Cicero was a politician, so both serve somebody or something. In Cicero’s “On Friendship” he bases his guides on what he has learned from important people in his life. In Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” he bases his guide off of what he has learned as an emperor with stoic views. Some of what he Aurelius has learned is different from Cicero’s view of stoicism; an example of this is in section seven of Meditations. Section seven of Meditations is about what Aurelius learned from his tutor. He states, “Endure hardship, and have few needs; to do things for myself and not
In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, great emphasis is placed on what it means to be a good Roman. Honour, honesty, service, and dignity were among the qualities considered virtuous and which contributed to a sense of Roman duty. Along with the virtues, Shakespeare also seems to examine the nature of philosophical Stoicism. The treatment of constancy and Stoicism has many thematic and moral implications in Julius Caesar. In analysing Brutus’ supposedly noble character, Shakespeare calls into question Stoicism’s place as a guide for human conduct.
Morality is a complicated matter, one which requires rationality, but is often driven by emotions. A person’s behavior is almost completely driven by emotions and often times emotions are what tell us when something might be wrong or right. Motivation also comes from emotions, so without feelings of anger, depression, frustration and the like we would hardly ever do anything in order to change things in our lives (Shafer-Landau, 2015, p. 258). Virtue ethics then is concerned with what makes a person virtuous versus vicious when it comes to making moral decisions, with emotions playing an important role. In this paper, I support Aristotle’s emphasis on emotions as a key to being virtuous, especially since emotions tell us what is important and motivate us to act (Shafer-Landau, 2015, p. 257-258).
People cannot control where they are born, the color of their skin, or who their parents are. They can control how they conduct themselves and the actions they take. Ethics encompass morality and the principles of right and wrong. In order for society to prosper we need ethical people working together toward a goal of integrity and compassion. Everyone has circumstances in their lives that they can and cannot control and knowing that is the key to living in harmony with themselves and others.
People prejudge others before you get to know them. “loaded language” (5). Plays on personal feelings from past beliefs, as well as, prejudgment in our interactions with others. We need to ask one’s mind is it right to do, or say. Is my conscience clear in the midst of a panic? We can change our mind set on how we communicate with real life issues that are very complex. I feel from reading Weston’s book that if he can reach out and make a change in the world and help others change their moral mindset of thinking we all would live happier. I feel if we apply passion to our thinking when using emotions that it too can play a strong role in our ability to problem-solve. Letting our emotions get in the way of our thinking for a positive outcome is okay. As he reaches out to open minds on having more than one possibility to help solve a problem, when one is in an emotional state of mind, it can alter our way of thinking morally. Does redirecting a situation when emotions are high make it an ethical decision. Let us compare this to family court, when parents are bashing each other to look better than the other parent, is it the right thing. Does this help escalate their situation or make it worse? Our ability to problem solve has gone hay wire in today’s court systems, maybe. Having angry and sad emotions help give a direct understanding to equal morals. Overlooking morel ethics can be damaging to equality. He inquires we should be mindful thinkers. I feel Anthony wants us to be mindful thinkers in every aspect of decision making. When I say mindful I don’t mean having a one-sided thought. I am talking about being open minded, even if it means thinking of the other person. How would I feel being in that person’s shoes? What did they do to get here? Would you travel in his/her shoes after knowing their battle? Some would say yes others would say no, while a few would say what they could have done better not to be in that
In “The Handbook”, Epictetus provides a way of life a stoic should follow to be a good member of the society, which is a life detached from things one cannot change and focused instead on things that can be improved. For instance, he asked people to care none about the way others would judge them as he quoted “If anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, don't make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: "He does not know my other faults, else he would not have mentioned only these."” Through this quote, Epictetus wanted all stoics to know all their faults better than anyone else can say about them. Hence, the person would not be disturbed by the way the society view him or her as well as would be able to control and fix
As a slave Epictetus was severely tortured on a rack for another’s mistake and in turn received a broken leg, which never correctly healed. “ See, it’s just as I told you.” I was never more free than I was on the rack.” In addition, Stockdale ‘s leg was also damaged during his various hardships as a POW. Through these brutal hardships Stockdale finds strength in Epictetus words. For example, Stockdale was recognized by his captors in regard to holding a leadership position in the prisoners of war resistance with better hopes of challenging the Vietnamese’s treatment of prisoners. In accordance to Stoicism Stockdale did not take the leadership position with hopes of change but it was principally in his control and part of his essential duty
Stoicism made the transition from an intriguing foreign philosophy to a popular practice because it was taken up by several high profile figures. Scipio Africanus, the original esteemed Roman Stoic died in 129 BCE, but about 40 years later a new crop of celebrated Romans took up the Stoic practice. During the fall of the Roman Republic a group of famed orators, generals, and statesmen including Marcus Junius Brutus (85-42 BCE), Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE), Pompey the Great (106-48 BCE), and Cato the Younger (95-46 BCE) all professed themselves Stoics. This group of powerful statesmen and leaders practicing Stoicism disseminated it throughout Rome. Octavian (63 BC- 14 AD) who later became Caesar Augustus had a Stoic tutor and many
“The Dream of the Rood” uses stoicism to promise reward for suffering where Christ and the cross are linked, yet paralleled with the dreamer in that he joins in the comitatus of Christ through the cross therefor gaining redemption and eternal life and home in heaven. Christ himself though does not serve the same role as he does in biblical texts, here he is brave and stoic, like a great warrior.
Stoic’s aphorism seem to get its best expression in Mrs. Thatcher’s philanthropic adage ‘one-of-us-ness’. Animals, the beautiful creatures of God in stoic and later especially in Porphyry’s sense need to be treated as rational. Stoic asks for justice to all rational beings but it seems to me that there is no relevant proclaim from their side which talks in favour of the animal’s justice. They claim about the rationality of animals but do not confer a right like the human that later Porphyry wonderfully introduced in his writing On Abstinence From Animal Food. Aristotle’s successor Theophratus believes that both animals and humans are made of the same tissues and like human, animals too has the same way of perception, reasoning and appetites.
Epicurus was a philosopher who argued that death should not be feared on the basis that there is nothing (no substance or consciousness) in death to experience. He also states that life itself should not be fearful, since we no longer experience anything after we die there is nothing pending to fear when we cease to exist. "when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not
Born of different stations, languages and creeds, Epictetus and Seneca are Roman philosophers who externally appear to be very different. Epictetus was born to a slave mother, sold as a slave himself and spent the majority of his youth as a slave in Rome. Seneca was born into money; he became tutor to a boy named Nero who later acquired position of Emperor of Rome in 54 A.D. Though these two men seem to be from very different worlds, they have a shared purpose in studying philosophy. The purpose of their writings was to teach people how to live well. Though they had a shared purpose, they suggested its achievement through different means. Epictetus professed an ‘expect the worst so you wont be disappointed when it happens’