The Discourses, a series of lectures delivered by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus and written down by his student Arrian in … Continue reading The Discourses of Epictetus and the Path to Psychological Freedom
The key to understanding the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius—a seemingly disorganized collection of personal notes that were never intended for … Continue reading Three Rules of Life From the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
It remains lost on many believers that they simultaneously worship a God that is thought to be eternal and perfect … Continue reading Spinoza on Anthropomorphism and Organized Religion as a Form of Oppression
The philosophy of Karl Marx is a complex and heavily-debated topic; spend enough time studying it, and you’ll come to … Continue reading The Dangers of Marxism and the Case for Economic Interventionism
Big history is a specific approach to history that examines the universe and the human story at its largest possible … Continue reading Brian Greene’s Physicalist Approach to History and Consciousness
We all hold innumerable beliefs with varying degrees of certainty, but few of us have challenged the veracity of those beliefs to the degree that Rene Descartes did in the Meditations on First Philosophy, published in 1641. Descartes wrote:Continue reading “Rene Descartes and the Search for Certain Knowledge”
The human mind, uninstructed, has always been particularly liable to superstition. Throughout history, and even today, many people believe in a host of invisible entities and forces, including gods, angels, demons, ghosts, spirits, omens, miracles, telepathy, clairvoyance, and more.Continue reading “Francis Bacon on the Psychology of Superstition”
This blog is going to pass rather quickly over medieval philosophy (other than this four-part series) for the simple reason that theology is not philosophy. The philosopher A.C. Grayling said it best in his book The History of Philosophy:Continue reading “Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God Part 1: Introduction”
The ancient Greek Skeptics, Stoics, and Epicureans all had a common task: the search for ataraxia (tranquility), or a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety.Continue reading “Sextus Empiricus and the Search for Intellectual Tranquility”
The Enchiridion, or Handbook of Epictetus, stands as one of the most influential and concise presentations of Stoicism ever published. Written by Epictetus’s student Arrian in 135 CE (Epictetus wrote nothing down himself), the Enchiridion is a succinct summary of Epictetus’s more practical ethical teachings.Continue reading “8 Stoic Principles from the Handbook of Epictetus”
A philosophy of life is a considered set of principles by which one finds meaning, purpose, and coherence in the world. A philosophy of life contains an epistemology (what can be known), a metaphysics (how the world works), an ethical framework (how to behave and treat others), and variously a political philosophy that describes how society should be structured.
Stoicism is a version of eudaimonic virtue ethics that asserts that the practice of virtue is both necessary and sufficient to achieve happiness and contentment.
According to Epicurus (341–270 B.C.E.), an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of Epicureanism, the path to living the good life is self-evident. At bottom, there is something that we all seek for its own sake, and that is pleasure, just as we all seek to avoid the opposite of pleasure, pain. Since we all know with relative certainty the kinds of things that bring us both pleasure and pain, we can use this knowledge as the foundation for living the best possible life.
An exceptional fact about the ancient Greeks is that they were the first group of thinkers to move beyond the particulars of their own culture to search for universal truths that transcend time and place. This is why they remain perennially relevant and valuable to us today.
While the case can be made that Plato essentially invented the discipline of philosophy as we know it today, one … Continue reading Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma and the Birth of Humanistic Ethics