Lesson 1
Epictetus: Overview and Main Themes
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Prof. Gendler Tamar; PHIL 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature; Spring 2011; YALE Open Courses: Yale University, Philosophy; http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-181/lecture-8 Accessed 18/09/2014; License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Professor Gendler begins with a discussion of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who argued that once we recognize that some things are up to us and other things are not up to us, we can see that happiness requires detaching ourselves from our desires and focusing instead on our attitudes and interpretations. Three pieces of advice from Epictetus about how to cultivate such detachment are provided, along with contemporary examples. A similar theme from Boethius is discussed, followed by a practical example of the benefits of detachment from Admiral James Stockdale’s experiences as a prisoner of war.

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