An excellent talk, especially for those new to Stoic philosophy, in which John Sellars, lecturer of philosophy at Birkbeck College London, gives an overview of the key claims of Stoic philosophy.
Starting from the widespread consideration in antiquity of philosophy as ‘medicine for the soul’, John goes on to explain Stoic psychology (how what we value or consider important in life leads to the kind of emotions we have) and ethics (how things external to us are ‘indifferent’, but that it is up to us to make ‘good use’ of these indifferents, and how some indifferents, such as health, are preferable to others). He then discusses how Stoicism leads to strength of character, with a focus on preparing well for difficult future events and for dealing with difficult events in the present (‘disaster is virtue’s opportunity’ as Seneca puts it). He also explores objections to Stoic ethics, as well as the relationship between Stoic ethics and modern psychotherapy.
With thanks to Cristóbal Zarzar at KCL for recording this talk last November as part of Stoic Week.