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The stoic philosophy of seneca essays and letters pdf

The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca

Recommended Reading Recommended Reading If you are new to the practice of Stoicism, or you are just curious about what it entails, this list will guide you through the various perspectives on bringing about the transformation to 'the good life'. Gilbert Murray's ' The Stoic Philosophy ' is a slightly dated, but overall excellent introduction to the heart of Stoic study and practice.

Tao of Seneca – Free PDFs

It is the transcription of a speech given in the early 20th century, but has aged suprisingly well. You can download a free PDF from here.

Letter 1: On Saving Time

Once you've finished with Murray, F. H Sandbach's The Stoics provide a quick overview of the origins of the school, along with a brief discussion of the main tenets of the philosophy.

According to the Times Literary Supplement, this book is 'not only one of the best, but also the most comprehensive treatment of Stoicism written [in the 20th century.

Both The Stoic Art of Living Tom Morris and Guide to the Good Life William Irvine provide a general introduction for some Stoic ideas by bringing out popular themes into a modern context, leaving out any real rigor or challenging life adjustment. Nevertheless, they appeal to the majority of people looking for a Chicken Soup for the Stoic Soul approach to life.

Morris' offering is a piecemeal gathering of various Stoic ideas, filtered through a modern Christian sensibility.

The stoic philosophy of Seneca

Irvine's book, which is quickly becoming the go-to text for explorers of Stoicism, has just as much of a personal bent. His focus is more Buddhist, with a serious leaning towards Epicurean tranquility as the central tenet of his Stoicism. If you are interested in the history of Stoicism, a good introduction is John Sellars' Stoicism.

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This book provides information without requiring application. A more exhaustive look at the history of Stoicism, its origins and ongoing influence is Brad Inwood's Cambridge Companion to the Stoics. Lawrence Becker's ' A New Stoicism ' dispenses with the now unpopular in some circles 'spiritual' aspect of Stoic practice and attempts to reinvent it for a post-modern scientific society.

If you are interested in learning about Stoicism as a personal practice, Keith Seddon's ' Stoic Serenity ' is a great place to begin if you want to work on your own.

  • The Johns Hopkins University Press;
  • Cambridge University Press, 33—58.

Originally conceived as a correspondence course, this book includes some history, some philosophy, some practical work. It is with his kind permission that I have based ' A Stoic Course ' on his book.

  1. Rather, the soul is one insofar as its commanding faculty is one, and rational.
  2. Only virtuous action is free in the sense of being fully reasonable, while other actions spring from irrational movements of the mind such as emotions; in this sense, only virtuous action is voluntary Letter 66. In Seneca's case, we do not see a poet appropriating or integrating Stoic ideas, but actually a Stoic philosopher writing poetry himself.
  3. In deliberation, we do not compare them with the good; we consider them next to dispreferred indifferents. Second, why should not the complete system of philosophical knowledge, including the study of rigorous dialectical argument, be relevant to leading one's life well?
  4. As some scholars put it, it is the act of willing which counts as a correct action Inwood, 2005 [3]; cf.

I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Relatively few Stoic texts have survived.

  1. Seneca gives an answer that is in agreement with the fundamental Stoic claim that virtue benefits.
  2. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.
  3. At the outset of Letter 85, Seneca goes so far as to swear that he does not take pleasure in producing proofs for a piece of doctrine that looms large in his Letters. It is this physical notion of the law that is most prominent in Seneca.
  4. Oxford University Press, 360—376.

Of the apparently massive libraries of ancient times, we only possess a handful of primary works from the Stoic teachers, and most of these from the Roman Stoics of the first and second century.

Note that not all of the compilers of these works are entirely sympathetic to the Stoic approach to a life well lived. Take their introductions and annotations with a grain of salt, and consult some of the works listed above for additional perspectives.