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Symposion

Volume 9
Stoicism and Contemporary Thought

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1. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin, William O. Stephens Introduction
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2. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Chuck Chakrapani Stoic Minimalism: ‘Just Enough Stoicism’ for Modern Practitioners
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Stoic Minimalism may be described as ‘just enough Stoicism.’ Just enough for what? Just enough to lead the good life. Just enough to cope with the stress of modern life. Just enough to not be rattled by the constant changes that characterize the times we live in. Just enough to be resilient in the face of misfortune. Just enough to have the freedom to reject unproven or unprovable concepts. In essence, Stoic Minimalism is an attempt to retain whatever is valuable in ancient Stoicism and the freedom to discard whatever is unproven, unhelpful, or incompatible with our everyday lives. For the Stoic Minimalist, Stoic ethics is a logically self-contained system in which rationality is the principle, wisdom is the means, and happiness is the end. The purpose of this paper is to expand on this theme.
3. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Christopher Gill Stoic Ethical Theory: How Much Is Enough?
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How much theory is enough for a complete account of ancient Stoic ethics and for modern life-guidance? Stoic ethics was presented either purely in its own terms or combined with the idea of human or universal nature (or both). Although the combination of ethical theory with human and universal nature provides the most complete account, each of these modes of presentation was regarded as valid and can provide modern life-guidance.
4. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Kai Whiting, Aldo Dinucci, Edward Simpson, Leonidas Konstantakos The Environmental Battle Hymn of the Stoic God
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In Stoic theology, the universe constitutes a living organism. Humankind has often had a detrimental impact on planetary health. We propose that the Stoic call to live according to Nature, where God and Nature are one and the same, provides a philosophical basis for re-addressing environmental degradation. We discuss the value of the logocentric framework and aligning oneself with Divine will and natural law (as stated by reason) in order that living beings can thrive.
5. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin The Stoic Sage Does not Err: An Error?
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The Stoics held that the wise person does not err. This thesis was widely criticized in the ancient world and runs afoul of contemporary fallibilist views in epistemology. Was this view itself an error? On one line, the view can be modified to accommodate many of the critical lines against it. Some of these lines of modification are consistent with traditional Stoic value theory (for example, importing the notion of preferred indifferents into epistemic considerations). However, others require larger modifications to Stoic axiology (in particular, a revision of the equality of errors thesis). A version of the no errors thesis emerges as defensible against the criticisms of the view, but there is then the question as to whether it is an orthodox Stoicism.
6. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Emily McGill Prohairesis and a Stoic-Inspired Feminist Autonomy
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The idea that the ancient Stoics are (proto)feminists is relatively common. Even those critical of this position acknowledge that certain features of Stoicism render the philosophical program appropriate for a feminist reimagining. Yet less attention has been paid to developing a positive theory of Stoic feminism. I begin this task by outlining Stoic insights for a feminist conception of personal autonomy. I argue that, present in the Stoic doctrine of prohairesis, we find a dual conception of personal autonomy according to which socially constructed selves maintain an individualist autonomy. This individualist view of autonomy is in line with Stoic compatibilism about freedom and selfhood, which I use as structural analogies to motivate my account. I then highlight potential feminist payoffs of a Stoic-inspired view, particularly for the contemporary feminist debate about autonomy under oppression.
7. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
William O. Stephens Stoicism and Food Ethics
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The norms of simplicity, convenience, unfussiness, and self-control guide Diogenes the Cynic, Zeno of Citium, Chrysippus, Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius in approaching food. These norms generate the precept that meat and dainties are luxuries, so Stoics should eschew them. Considerations of justice, environmental harm, anthropogenic global climate change, sustainability, food security, feminism, harm to animals, personal health, and public health lead contemporary Stoics to condemn the meat industrial complex, debunk carnism, and select low input, plant-based foods.
8. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Tristan J. Rogers Stoic Conservatism
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What might a Stoic approach to politics look like? David Goodhart aptly describes the political divide pervading Western societies in terms of the ‘somewheres,’ who are communitarian, rooted in particular places, and resistant to social and political change, versus the ‘anywheres,’ who are cosmopolitan, mobile, and enthusiastic embracers of change. Stoicism recognizes a similar distinction. This paper defends a conservative interpretation of Stoic politics. According to ‘Stoic conservatism,’ cosmopolitanism is an ethical ideal through which we perform the obligations assigned by our communitarian role(s) in society. The view is ‘conservative’ in that it favors existing institutions as the starting point for virtue instead of reasoning a priori about what virtue requires. Stoic politics consists neither in cosmopolitan transcendence of particular attachments, nor in passive acceptance of the communitarian status quo, but in ethical improvement toward virtue, within the political structure of society.
9. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Alyssa Lowery The Promises and Problems of Two Stoic Big Tents
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Stoicism’s tremendous recent popularity provides an opportunity to update the tradition for a contemporary audience. In this paper, I review one such update: Stoicism’s conception as a ‘big tent,’ first as depicted by two prominent figures in contemporary Stoicism – Ryan Holiday and Massimo Pigliucci – then how it fares in light of two challenges, Stoic Resignation and Stoic Reductionism. I conclude by arguing for a self-determination that emphasizes Stoic ethical commitments and attends to its social features, even at the cost of such a big tent.
10. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
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11. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
About the Journal
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12. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Author Guidelines
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