Overview Of Week 1: What We Will Be Reading, Discussing, and Learning

In the first class session of our course, we will be discussing the general Stoic conception of virtue and how it figures centrally into Stoic Ethics. We will also be setting ourself for the following weeks when we will be studying each of the virtues in depth

On Saturday, we will hold our first online class session using Zoom. We will be recording the class session, and it will be uploaded for all of you students as an unlisted YouTube video embedded here in our class site (these won't be shared with non-students). After that, I will open the Week 1 Discussion Forum to student comments and questions, so that we can continue the discussion throughout the week

The specific topics we will be working through during this week's class session are:

  • virtue as one of the main genuine goods in Stoicism
  • comparison of Stoic philosophy and other philosophical traditions on virtue
  • common misconceptions about the virtues
  • how the virtues arise out of and fulfill human nature
  • virtue and its connection to human happiness
  • virtues as involving knowledge, habit or disposition, choice, and action
  • bearing of the virtues on the "indifferents"
  • why there are four cardinal virtues for the Stoics
  • how virtues and vices are developed by human beings

You will doubtless find it useful to read through the following texts before our class session (perhaps more than once).

  • Seneca, Letters 66, 71, 74, 82, 85, 88, 120
  • Cicero, On Duties, book 1
  • Musonius Rufus, Lectures 3-4, 6-8
  • Epictetus, Discourses 1.4, 2.9,
  • Diogenes Laertes, Life of Zeno (book 7, 89-102, 125-131)
  • Arius Didymus, Epitome of Stoic Ethics, 5b-b9, 5f-5g, 6e, 11g-k

You will also likely discover that rereading those works after participating in or watching the class session will help you develop a deeper understanding of the Stoic teachings about virtue we are examining.

Complete and Continue