EGMT 1540: Are You a Stoic

How should we deal with setbacks and disappointments? What is the meaning of friendship? And how should humans prepare for death? These kinds of questions are central to the philosophical school called Stoicism, which dates back to ancient Greece but still has many followers today. In this class we will read the writings of some ‘old’ Stoics (Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca), some ‘new’ ones (Ryan Holiday, Nancy Sherman), and of critics of both. Students will explore the Stoic outlook on major themes like freedom, religion, justice, and our relation to our bodies. While doing so, they will formulate their own responses to the Stoics through in-class conversations and individual reflections. Practicing a form of collaborative philosophical inquiry, we will examine how each of us would answer the core question that Stoicism revolves around: how to live a good life?