Slideshow: Stoic Ethical Contemplations

9 thoughts on Slideshow: Stoic Ethical Contemplations

  1. Val Allen says:

    For me, a major omission is compassion, and I would rate that higher than wisdom.

  2. The Stoics wouldn’t use the word “compassion” because etymologically it implies something like pity, but they make “natural affection” and benign philanthropic attitudes, the basis of their whole philosophy – so what you’re talking about definitely isn’t missing. In fact, it’s the core of Stoicism. Marcus Aurelius, for example, talks about cultivating affection and understanding toward other human beings on every other page, virtually, of his personal journal The Meditations. They wouldn’t rate it higher than wisdom, though. Compassionate feelings which are foolish, or unjust, would be considered bad by the Stoics. In other words, they would say that our natural empathy and affection for other human beings is good when guided by wisdom but can become degraded into something bad when guided by folly and vice. That leads them to conclude that wisdom must be rated higher because without it “compassion” could degrade into something inferior, like cloying pity, or patronising, or over-attachment, etc. You might say those things aren’t properly called “compassion” and so the Stoics would ask what distinguishes true “compassion” from similar but unhealthy feelings, and the answer would perhaps come back to practical wisdom, and the other virtues. 🙂

  3. Donald says:

    Unfortunately I can’t see the slides, only a black screen with an orange bar with slide of slide across the bottom. I’m using the Safari browser

  4. Hmmm… Interesting. Are you definitely using the current version of Safari?

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