Christopher Gill Gets Stoical

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In this extension of our introductory interview on the Stoics, Professor Gill expands on several interesting points.

We discuss the Stoic idea of fate, which was perhaps the most important theory of fate in antiquity, and which had a seminal influence on later esoteric currents, especially astrology and other philosophically-conceived forms of divination. For the Stoics, fate has several dimensions: physically, fate is universal causal determinism; logically, this means that statements about the future can be true, and divination can function; ethically, human beings, as rational animals, are themselves causes of a certain kind, and thus have responsibility and a kind of freedom while being part of fate.

We then talk about an ongoing set of projects attempting to bring (aspects of) Stoicism back as living philosophical way of life. Professor Gill and others have formed a confederacy of enthusiasts for the potential of practical Stoicism in a modern context, and put together a kind of multi-pronged outreach program which includes the online Live Like a Stoic for a Week project, a yearly gathering of, well … of Stoics (known as ‘Stoicon’), an ongoing blog reflecting on people’s experiences with Stoicism, and other interesting stirrings of what might just be the beginnings of a Stoic revival.

Works Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Epictetus, Enchiridion.
  • Becker, Lawrence (1997). A New Stoicism. Princeton University Press, Princeton. NJ.
  • The Stoicism Today people have put out two volumes (2014, 2016) of selected writings by modern folks working with Stoicism, edited by Patrick Ussher.