Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Stoic. I was not able to source this quote but it looks cool.
This article examines the metaphysics or philosophy of nature behind the Stoic views on community and detachment described in Part 1, and how this metaphysics changed in the later centuries of the school’s history. Before going into detail it will be helpful to contextualise the Stoics’ metaphysics within their broader tradition of philosophy. Despite preferring their porticoes to the horticultural environs of their Epicurean contemporaries, a popular Stoic metaphor depicts philosophy itself as a garden where:
“Logic is the walls, metaphysics the soil, and ethics the fruit”. [G. & S., (2012)] Read the rest of this entry
This week ending 1 December is the second annual international Live Like A Stoic Week. When I began research a few days ago in order to rush out a quick post for the event I had forgotten how much I was inspired by Stoicism, and consequently I my essays are too involved to finish in time.
After some pestering, Toby Coe has kindly come to the rescue with this brief analysis. He said he read the Meditations, so I hope he didn’t mean Descartes’ or this is going to be a very short post indeed.
The Roman Emperor and Stoic, Marcus Aurelius (pictured) writes:
“…philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and never do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically…”1
This is a very elegant summary of one of the core features of Stoic philosophy, namely, a moral and spiritual view of the task of philosophy. Philosophy is to provide a man the ability to cope with misfortune and not to be dominated by the passions that often make us attached to things that are fragile: fame, wealth and security.
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(NB this article gets going with the 3rd paragraph.) Read the rest of this entry
After my suggestions about an inclusive model for common ground between Christian and Buddhist philosophies the following discussion took place on another site. Thus we begin with a couple of ‘guest posts’ and then see my response to them. Read the rest of this entry
My post which was the most original (philosophically) so far was a discussion of the relationship between Eudaimonology and Soteriology. I posed a few questions about the former which will take a long time to answer (such is philosophy).
At the most general level my project is to defend eudaimonology as highly relevant and as the central concern of philosophy. Of course an important part of this project is refining an appropriate definition of the subject. While so far I have only made introductory posts about a third of the different traditions I’m aware of, I realised a working definition while reading the other night. If I remember correctly it looked something like this…
Eudaimonology is study of how human life is to be lived, focusing on:
1. What human beings are (the task of philosophical anthropology),
2. What makes human life fulfilling (a conceptual as well as psychological question),
3. How human beings should interact with one another (the task of ethics and socio-political philosophy),
4. How human nature can transcend itself to become something greater (a soteriological question).
Regarding the first of these, Vincent Nichols said recently that the understanding of human nature is an excellent basis upon which to carry out public discourse because it cuts away pernicious individualism. I agree. Though my expertise falls more towards the study of point 4 (and to a lesser extent points 3 and 2), we should begin from the common acceptance of the human species as the product of natural selection. After this, there are many different theories/traditions in the debate on human nature. I have yet not studied these but I have indicated my sympathy for Marx’s early writings.
The following is another essay I wrote back in 2008.
Is Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean A Plausible Guide To Moral Goodness?
Aristotle’s (384 BC – 322 BC) doctrine of the mean has a privileged place in one of the grand moral traditions, that of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics retains a widespread influence today, particularly via its thirteenth century formulation by St. Thomas Aquinas, which remains at the core of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, and via its twentieth century reunion with the secular mainstream of moral philosophy through the work of several Catholic scholars, particularly Alasdair MacIntyre. This essay endorses virtue ethics and argues that the doctrine of the mean is a plausible guide to moral goodness, but is not by itself adequate as a guide to all-things-considered moral rightness. Read the rest of this entry
What are the fields of eudaimonology and soteriology in philosophy? Here I will attempt an original overview of an answer. I happen to be very interested in each of them individually but in this short piece I hope to give some indication of how they are similar to, and how they interact with, one another.
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