Philosophy Workshop: The Stoic Art of Living — The Ethics of Freedom (*VIRTUAL/ZOOM*)
April 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm MDT
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus (50–135 CE) spent the first half of his life literally as a slave—the property of other humans—in and around the city of Rome. After purchasing his release from slavery, he went on to become a famous and highly-regarded teacher, promising to explain what freedom really means.
This workshop on the Stoic art of living will introduce us to Stoic ethics, understood in the very broad, and traditional sense of “how to act effectively in the world.” More specifically, it will focus on the Stoic perspective on the ethics of freedom.
Grounded in the work of the later Greek and Roman Stoics (including Epictetus and Seneca), we’ll explore:
— Meanings of “freedom,” and different ways of talking about “free will.” Is freedom a starting point for our actions, or is it an achievement that comes after diligent effort?
— What sorts of things are “up to us” in life, and what things are not (i.e., control, no control)? This is one of the most fundamental questions in Stoic ethics, and we will see why it’s so important.
— Where does human suffering come from? How can changing the ways we perceive and think about the world help us to suffer less? Here, we’ll find some illuminating comparisons and contrasts with traditional Buddhist thinking?
— Why do we get angry? When is anger appropriate, and when is it misguided?
— Drawing on the lessons learned about anger, we’ll also look at fear: where does fear come from? What can we do — both in the moment, and in advance — to help ourselves respond effectively to challenging circumstances?
Along the way we’ll:
— Explore several activities and exercises for understanding the lessons of Stoic philosophy, and for putting them into practice in our daily lives.
We’ll leave the workshop with:
— A deeper understanding of the traditions and arguments
— New, richer questions to ponder and explore; and
— Suggestions for further reading, listening, and study
Our philosophy workshops are FREE. That said, for those who still have the steady income to do so in these trying times, we could really use your financial support right now. Donations help to cover workshop leader honorariums, implementation, and resource archiving, as well as community workshop scholarships for those in need. You can make a donation by clicking here. For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community.