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The Slave & the Emperor: Two Stoic Philosophers
Instructor: Mark W McGinnis
Description: The philosophy of Stoicism is often thought of as an unemotional way to understand life. In part this is true as Stoicism encourages us to react to our experiences with reason before emotion. Stoicism is an eminently practical way to live. It teaches us to live the “good life” by following the way and example of nature. It teaches us to use our minds to understand life while taking joy in our family, friends, beauty, and the perpetual flow of change. This class will elaborate on these concepts and more, looking at the teachings of two Roman Stoics. First, Epictetus (50-135 AD), a slave who bought his freedom and established a school of philosophy. Second, Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), a Roman Emperor who wrote a little book for himself about what is important in life that became the most revered book in Stoicism. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and the Discourses of Epictetus are optional reading for the class (19th century translations can be found free on the internet, 20th century translations from booksellers).