Talks at Kings College for Stoic Week 2013

Details of two talks happening at Kings College as part of Stoic Week 2013

Within the framework of the Stoic Week 2013, King’s College London will host two public events on Ancient Stoicism, its therapeutic applicability, and its uses in modern life.

Monday 25th Nov., 10:30-15:00

Venue: 405 Lecture Room, Department of Philosophy, Philosophy Building, King’s College London (Strand, London WC2R 2LS).

10:30-11:00: Coffee Reception

First Session

11:00-12:30 – Speaker: Dr John Sellars (Birkbeck).

12:30-13:30: Lunch Break

Second Session

13:30-15:00 – Speaker: Jules Evans (Queen Mary).

John Sellars will talk about the relationship between ancient Stoicism and modern psychotherapy, and then introduce a series of Stoic texts that describe therapeutic practices, followed by a discussion (the texts will be circulated in advance). Jules Evans will talk about how people use Stoicism today in the army and other contexts.

Free Tickets at Eventbrite:

More information:

Thursday 28th Nov., 16:30-18:30

Venue: K3.11 Raked Lecture Theatre, King’s Building, King’s College London (Strand, London WC2R 2LS).

Speakers: Prof Christopher Gill (Exeter) and Gill Garratt

Chair: Dr Raphael Woolf (KCL)

In his talk ‘Stoic practical ethics: Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius’, Prof Christopher Gill will explore the distinctive features of two versions of Stoic practical ethics and ask what they can contribute as guides to life for us today. Gill Garratt will comment on this from a psychotherapists point of view and explore the application of this ideas to work and other situations of everyday life.

Free Tickets at Eventbrite:

More information:

Contact details for further information:

@Stoicweek 2013 – How to stay in the loop?

How can you keep updated on the deluge of articles, activities, and events, during Stoic Week 2013?

Stoicism and ResearchStoic Week 2013 starts on 25th November.  You can register to participate by completing the online forms on the page below, where you can also download the official Handbook.  The Handbook contains basic guidance on how to live like a Stoic, and was put together by a team of academics and psychologists who specialise in the study of Stoicism.

The Stoic Week 2013 Handbook

For regular updates via social media and your mobile phone, etc., you can follow the event through one of the pages below:

Follow @Stoicweek on Twitter

We have 1,200 followers on Twitter.  You can also use the #Stoicweek hashtag.

Follow the Stoic Week Event Page on Facebook

There are 271 people who have “joined” the event via this page, and 850 people following the associated Stoicism discussion group on Facebook.

Follow the Stoic Week Event Page on Google+

We’ve just set this up but people have been joining already.  I’m guessing this will allow you to get notifications direct to your Android mobile phone, etc.

Follow the Stoicism Today blog via the University of Exeter

You can join 255 people who subscribe to this using the widget in the top-right of the WordPress blog.  You’ll get notified of the blog posts.  There are lots lined up during Stoic Week from various authors and academics on Stoicism, etc.

A Quick Guide to What you Need to Know to take Part in Stoic Week

 Click here for the Stoic Week 2013 Handbook.

Please try to read it this weekend and prepare yourself for Stoic Week!

Registration is now closed – thanks to all who registered – it will really help with establishing an evidence base for Stoicism! 


NB. If you’ve come across Stoic Week just now – please do still take part and follow the Handbook, and share your experience of Stoic Week on the blog’s ‘how’s it going?’ posts! The end of week questionnaires (below) ask basically the same questions as the pre-week questionnaires – you could also click on them and calculate your score by yourself before and after you start following the Handbook (but please don’t actually submit the scales).


Please use your email address or you can also adopt a pseudonym (which can be virtually anything, though not something which someone else might also use, eg. ‘Seneca’), when filling out this questionnaires. The email address is preferable so that we can get in touch in a few months time to ask about the long-term effect of Stoic practices.

During the week: Read the Stoic Week 2013 Handbook, follow the daily exercises, and explore the suggested key Stoic theme each day.

To support your practice of Stoicism, please also use the following audio resources, all available for as mp3s for download, which are referred to in different parts of the Handbook.

Extra Audio-Visual Resources:

There will also be articles uploaded daily to read on the blog during the week about different ways Stoicism is still used today, as well as the Stoicism Today magazine 2013 (released soon) for extra-reading.

You might also consider blogging about the week and make video diaries (and let @Stoic Week know on twitter), writing in with an idea for a guest piece on the Stoicism Today blog, and posting each day your reflections on this blog about how that day’s practices are going for you. Basically get in touch and we will share what you are doing!

After the week: At the end of the week, please fill out the same surveys, with the same email or pseudonym. Please use these links for the post-study questionnaires:

  1. The Flourishing Scale
  2. Satisfaction with Life Scale
  3. SPANE Scale
  4. Stoic Attitudes and Behaviour Scale (SABS)
  5. Additional overall feedback survey on Stoic Week

The statistical analysis of Stoic Week 2013 will be published early in the New Year. We will contact participants who have provided their email address a few months after Stoic Week to ask about the long-term impact.


Getting Practical Philosophy into the Classroom, by Jules Evans

I would love there to be more practical philosophy in schools. At the moment, the teaching of ethics and philosophy in schools and universities is almost entirely theoretical. Students learn that philosophy is a matter of understanding and disputing concepts and theories, something that only involves the intellect, not your emotions, actions or life outside of the classroom.

This is a consequence of the splitting off of psychology from philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century. Philosophy lost touch with the central and immensely practical question of how to live well, and that ethical vacuum was filled by psychology, and even more by pharmacology.

Ironically, the most evidence-based talking therapy – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – was directly inspired by ancient Greek philosophy, and uses many of its ideas and techniques. CBT picked up the baton which modern philosophy dropped, of trying to help ordinary people live happier lives. But it lacks the ethics, values and meaning dimension that ancient philosophy had.

Philosophy and psychology need each other. Philosophy without psychology is a brain in a vat, artificially cut off from emotions and actions and the habits of life. Psychology without ethics is a chicken without a head, focused entirely on evidence without any clear sense of the goal. Practical philosophy is a bridge between the evidence-based techniques of psychology, and the Socratic questioning of philosophy.

I wish that, when I was suffering from social anxiety and depression at school, someone had told me about Stoic philosophy, and explained their idea that my emotions are connected to my beliefs and attitudes, and we can transform our feelings by changing our beliefs. They might also have explained how CBT picked up the Stoics’ ideas and tested them out. Instead I had to find all this out for myself, and it took me several rather unhappy years. When I did finally come across ancient philosophy, it helped me enormously.

And I’m not alone in this. John Lloyd, the creator of Blackadder and QI, was a very bright boy at school, but never learned to reflect on the good life or how his thoughts create his subjective reality. He had to learn that himself, coming to philosophy after a five-year breakdown in his thirties. He now says: ‘I think every child should learn Stoic philosophy.’  Making Stoicism part of the national curriculum is quite a big ask. But wouldn’t it be great if there was at least some practical philosophy, some indication that philosophy can practically improve students’ lives?

Continue reading “Getting Practical Philosophy into the Classroom, by Jules Evans”

Stoic Week Take One: What Happened Last Time?

In the build up to the second international Stoic week (which starts next Monday), Jules Evans looks back on what happened last year when people across the globe all lived like Stoics….

Live Like A Stoic Week

Last November, you may have noticed the 2000-year-old philosophy of Stoicism appearing more than usual in your Twitter feed, Facebook updates or in the mainstream media. This was in part due to an initiative called Live Like A Stoic Week, launched as part of a multi-disciplinary project at Exeter University called Stoicism and Therapy.  Stoic Week proved more popular than the project organisers anticipated, and plans are already underway for Stoic Week 2 later this year.

The Stoicism and Therapy project grew out of a project at Exeter University called Ancient Healthcare and Modern Well-Being, run by Professor Christopher Gill, an expert in Stoicism, and Professor John Wilkins, an expert in Galen (see the video below for more on this project). In 2011, that project ran a two-week experiment in living the Galenic life, which involved Exeter undergraduates practicing Galen’s ideas, and also included a ‘Galen roadshow’ that visited local schools.

An Overview of Ancient Healthcare, Modern Wellbeing at Exeter University

In October 2012, Professors Gill and Wilkins organised a seminar on Stoicism and Therapy, bringing together classicists and psychologists working on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), who are interested in exploring the direct links between CBT and ancient philosophy (particularly Stoicism).

Donald Robertson, psychotherapist and author of The Philosophy of CBT, was one of the participants. He says: “The pioneer of CBT, Albert Ellis, trained as a psychoanalyst but ended up rejecting Freud’s ideas and instead finding inspiration in the Stoics.” Indeed, Ellis wrote, in his first major work on his new cognitive approach to therapy, that his approach “was originally discovered and stated by the ancient Stoic philosophers…The truths of Stoicism were perhaps best set forth by Epictetus, who in the first century AD wrote in the Enchiridion: ‘Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.’”

Continue reading “Stoic Week Take One: What Happened Last Time?”

Cyber-Stoicism: The Spread of Stoic Philosophy Online

A whole load of links to online communities and discussions about Stoicism.

The Internet.  Ancient Stoic philosophy.  Two things that it might seem difficult to imagine getting on together, right?  After all, Epictetus felt he was better off without the luxury of an iron lamp, and preferred his earthenware one because nobody wanted to steal it.  Difficult to imagine him using an iPad, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, Stoicism has gone through a renaissance in popularity since the 1970s and the Internet provides a natural forum for people from around the world to discuss philosophy in small online communities, perhaps a distant modern echo of the visitors who used to drop in to hear Epictetus lecturing his students in ancient Nicopolis.

The information and statistics below are correct at the time of publication…

The New Stoa

Formerly the Stoic Registry, this is apparently the oldest Stoic community online, founded way back in 1996 by Erik Wiegardt.  It has over 1,000 members in its register.

International Stoic Forum on Yahoogroups

This is an older email-based system but it’s an active group, which was established back in 1996 by Erik Wiegardt of the Stoic Registry, and subsequently moderated by Jan Garrett and Keith Seddon.  It currently has over 1,000 members.

Stoicism Subreddit

Established in 2009, currently has 7,881 readers and is very active.

Stoicism Group (Stoic Philosophy) on Facebook

I set this group up myself about a year ago, partly to promote Stoic Week.  It currently has 770 members and is very active.

@Stoicweek on Twitter

Speaking of which, you can follow Stoic Week on Twitter for updates, along with 1,200 other people.

Stoicism Group on Facebook

Another Stoicism group on Facebook, this one has 1,580 members currently.

New Stoa Group on Facebook

This has been a bit quiet recently.  It currently has 183 members.

Google+ Stoicism Community

Google+ is growing in popularity, and this new community has 113 members already.

Linkedin Stoic Professionals

This is a different type of forum, with only 50 members at present.

Stoicism on Wikipedia

Of course, Wikipedia has a community of sorts, who discuss and help to maintain the numerous pages about Stoicism.  Wikipedia is also sometimes good at rooting out obscure links and pieces of information.  Check out this list of all Stoic philosophers, for example.

Stoicism Community on Amazon

This is really just a collection of books tagged as being relevant to Stoicism.  Not much going on here but you might like to browse.

Stoicism Book Club on Goodreads

You can find lots of information about books on Stoicism on Goodreads as well.  This little community only has 38 members at present, though.

Stoicism Bloggers on WordPress

This link will return blog posts tagged “Stoicism” on WordPress.  Interesting!

Stoicism Bloggers via Google

This is what happens if you search Google for blog posts about Stoicism.

Stoicism Discussions via Google

And here are all the discussion groups mentioning Stoicism, returned by Google.

Stoicism on Pinterest

Here are all the things tagged “Stoicism” on Pinterest, lots of pretty images and some quotes.

The Painted Porch

This website aims to help bring Stoic communities together.


There are other groups out there so please post your comments below!  We’ll try to add a few more, if we’ve forgotten any important ones.





List of popular books on Stoicism

Help us build this list of recommended books on Stoicism for beginners and non-academics.

Please help contribute to this list of popular books on Stoicism as a way of life.  Vote for books on the list or suggest additions.  This list isn’t for academic texts or translations of ancient Stoic texts but modern introductions to Stoicism as a way of life.  What would you recommend to a friend?

Goodreads: Popular Books on Stoicism