Philosophy as a Way of Life
By Massimo Pigliucci
Philosophy as a Way of LifeMay 13, 2022
37. Robin Waterfield on Epictetus
Rob and Massimo talk to returning guest Robin Waterfield, who has recently released a new translation of Epictetus, The Complete Works: Handbook, Discourses, and Fragments. Learn about what made Epictetus a distinctive, yet traditional Stoic, as well as about the joys and perils of translating the ancient Greeks.
36. A graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius
Rob and Massimo talk to Donald Robertson, the author of the graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. What were the challenges of presenting history and philosophy in pictorial form? Was the emperor Hadrian really such a bad character? Why did Marcus appoint his son Commodus to succeed him? Join us for these and many other questions about Stoicism and how to write about it.
35. Stoicism and bullying
34. The Quest for Character
33. Ten years of Modern Stoicism
Ron and Massimo talk to Tim LeBon and John Sellars, two of the leading scholars behind the Modern Stoicism group, about the tenth anniversary of the organization that brings you Stoicon, Stoic Week, and much more. Modern Stoicism is a non-profit limited company, registered in the UK and run by a multidisciplinary team of volunteers. Its aims are to research and publish information on the application of Stoic philosophy to modern living for the benefit of the general public. Tim is a psychotherapist in the NHS and private practice and a lecturer and life coach. He has many years of experience in teaching courses in Positive Psychology and putting them into practice in his work with clients. He is the author of the forthcoming 365 Ways to be More Stoic: A day-by-day guide to practical stoicism. John is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London, where he is affiliated to the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project. He is also a member of Wolfson College, Oxford, where he held a Junior Research Fellowship. He is the author most recently of The Pocket Epicurean.
32. Skye Cleary on Simone de Beauvoir, existentialism and how to be authentic
Rob and Massimo chat with Skye Cleary, author of How to Be Authentic: Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Fulfillment. We talk about existentialism, authenticity, bad faith, and all sorts of other ideas relevant for an existential way of life. How to Be Authentic is a lively introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's philosophy of existentialism, as well as an exploration of the successes and failures that Beauvoir and other women have experienced in striving towards authenticity. Skye C. Cleary takes us through some of life’s major relationships and milestones: friendship; romantic love; marriage; children; and death, and examines how each offers an opportunity for us to stretch toward authenticity. While many people don’t get to choose their path in life―whether because of systemic oppression or the actions of other individuals―Cleary makes a compelling case that Beauvoir’s ideas can help us become more conscious of living purposefully, thoughtfully, and with vitality, and she shows us how to do so in responsible ways that invigorate every person’s right to become poets of their own lives. Skye C. Cleary, PhD is a philosopher and writer. She teaches at Columbia University, Barnard College, and the City University of New York, and is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Cleary’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, The Times Literary Supplement, TED-Ed, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets. She won the 2017 New Philosopher Writers’ Award and was a 2021 MacDowell Fellow. She lives in New York City with her partner and son.
31. What does it mean to live philosophically?
In this episode of the Philosophy as a Way of Life podcast Rob and Massimo talk to Caleb Cohoe, a Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver who has recently co-authored two papers exploring what, exactly, it means to live philosophically. Is it all and only a matter of reason? Or do we need to train ourselves by way of spiritual exercises? Are religions just like life philosophies, or is there a difference? What would the Stoics or the Epicureans have to say about all this?
30. Stoicism for good times?!
Rob and Massimo discuss the misconception that Stoicism is a philosophy helpful only during bad times. On the contrary, just like any philosophy of life, Stoicism is useful every day, no matter what the circumstances. Indeed, strictly speaking, from a Stoic perspective there are neither "good" nor "bad" times, but only times that can be handled well or badly, depending on our own judgment. Moreover, Stoicism isn't something that may be picked up right when a crisis hits, as it needs to be practiced ahead of time so that one is well prepared to handle the crisis. Otherwise, it would be like learning to pilot a ship in the middle of a storm...
29. Stephen Angle on growing moral with Confucius
Rob and Massimo talk to Stephen Angle, author of Growing Moral: A Confucian Guide to Life. At its core, Confucianism describes a way for humans to live and grow together in our world--a way characterized at its best by joy, beauty, and harmony. Stephen's book builds a case for modern Confucianism as a way of life well worth the attention of reflective modern readers no matter their age, where they live, or the paths they've taken so far.
28. John Sellars on Epicureanism
Rob and Massimo talk to John Sellars, author of The Pocket Epicurean, about what modern audiences may find appealing about the Epicurean approach to life, and how it differs from other Greco-Roman philosophies, particularly Stoicism.
27. Happy birthday, Marcus Aurelius!
Join Rob and Massimo for a celebration of Marcus Aurelius' 1900th birthday. We talk about the passages in the Meditations that have most influenced our lives, ask whether Marcus persecuted Christians, why he didn't abolish slavery, and why on earth he picked Commodus to succeed him! [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
26. Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko on The Good Life Method
Rob and Massimo have a chat with Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko, authors of The Good Life Method: Reasoning through the big questions of happiness, faith, and meaning. We even get to talk about philosophers on Tik Tok...
25. Georges Dreyfus on Buddhism and Stoicism
Rob and Massimo talk to Georges Dreyfus on the differences and surprising similarities between Buddhism and Stoicism. Learn about mindfulness, meditation, and why anger is a really bad idea.
24. Stoicism and love
Rob and Massimo use the occasion of Valentine Day to chat about what the Stoics have to say about love, from eros to romantic love, from infatuation to mature relationships. Plus, a very practical guide for your Valentine date! [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
23. Cicero's On Duties: personal ethics and political philosophy
Rob and Massimo talk about Cicero's On Duties, one of the most influential books on ethics and political philosophy of the entire western tradition. What is the relationship between what is virtuous and what is beneficial?
22. Richard Kraut on why one should be an Aristotelian
Rob and Massimo talk to Northwestern University professor (and Rob's PhD advisor!) Richard Kraut about why one might want to consider adopting Aristotelianism as a philosophy of life.
21. Andi Sciacca & Greg Sadler on Stoicism and marriage
Rob and Massimo talk to married Stoic couple Andi Sciacca and Greg Sadler on what Stoicism teaches us about navigating marriage and other types of partnership.
20. Anthony Long on Epictetus and Socrates
Rob and Massimo talk to one of the foremost scholars of Stoicism, Anthony A. Long, about Epictetus, Socrates, and the Stoic concepts of freedom, god, and free will. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
19. Matthew Sharpe on Stoic virtue ethics
Rob and Massimo talk with Matthew Sharpe, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Deakin University (Australia), about Stoic virtue ethics and how it differs from other philosophies of life. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
18. What is a philosophy of life, anyway?
Rob and Massimo discuss the concept of a philosophy of life. What sort of activities count? Do we include religions? If one can engage in philosophy as a way of life, are there other ways of life that are non-philosophical?
17. Don Robertson on how to think like a Roman Emperor
Donald Robertson and Massimo Pigliucci talk about the Stoic approach to death; Marcus Aurelius, the emperor-philosopher; and the relationship between therapy and philosophy conceived as the art of life. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
16. Liz Gloyn on Seneca and the Family
Rob and Massimo interview Liz Gloyn, author of The Ethics of the Family in Seneca. We talk about the radical approach of the Stoics to human relationships, the concepts of oikeiosis (appropriation of other people's concerns) and cosmopolitanism, and why Seneca was a far more innovative thinker than he is often given credit for. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
15. Chris Gill on Stoic ethics and environmentalism
Chris Gill and Massimo Pigliucci talk about the basics of Stoic ethics and wonder how it may hold up to modern challenges, such as the one posed by a deteriorating environment (short answer: pretty well!). [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
14. Tim LeBon on the effectiveness of Stoicism
Hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Rob Colter chat with cognitive and compassion focused therapist Tim LeBon about his research on the effectiveness of Stoicism as a path to a serene and happy life. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
13. Stoicism in prisons
Rob and Massimo have a conversation on the use of Stoic philosophy in prisons. Rob talks about his firsthand experiences with inmates and how they react to, and learn from, philosophy.
12. Bill Irvine on The Stoic Challenge
Bill Irvine, author of "The Stoic Challenge" joins Massimo for a conversation on how to turn adversity and setbacks into exercises in resilience. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
11. Eric Weiner and The Socrates Express
Rob Colter and Massimo Pigliucci talk to Eric Weiner, the author of The Socrates Express. In the book, Eric examines various philosophers and philosophies, but our conversation focuses on Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and a number of philosophical traditions close to Stoicism. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
10. Greg Sadler on misconceptions of Stoicism
Greg Sadler, editor of the Modern Stoicism blog, joins Massimo Pigliucci for a conversation on a number of common misconceptions of Stoic philosophy. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
9. Robin Waterfield on translating Marcus Aurelius
Rob and Massimo talk to translator Robin Waterfield, author of Meditations: The Annotated Edition. We explore how a translator works, what challenges he encounters, and how the book affects him.
8. Stoicism and politics
Rob and Massimo discuss the relationship between Stoicism and politics. The ancient Stoics were definitely involved in politics, and so should the modern ones. But how? [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
7. Gretchen Reydams-Schils on Musonius Rufus
Rob and Massimo talk to Gretchen Reydams-Schils, a Classics scholar and the author of the introduction to "That One Should Disdain Hardships," a collection of the writings of the Roman Stoic Musonius Rufus.
6. John Sellars on the art of living
Jon Sellars, author of "Stoicism" and "The Art of Living," joins Massimo for a conversation on Stoicism as practical philosophy. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
5. William Stephens on Marcus Aurelius, philosopher
Rob and Massimo interview William Stephens, the author of Marcus Aurelius - A Guide for the Perplexed. We talk about Marcus' metaphysics, his often underappreciated abilities as a philosopher, and whether the character of Maximus in Gladiator was a Stoic-in-training. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
4. Michael Connell on Stoic comedy
Massimo talks to Australian comedian Michael Connell about his unique brand of comedy, based on presenting Stoic ideas to a general public in a funny yet rigorous fashion. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
3. A Field Guide to a Happy Life
Rob chats with Massimo about his latest book: A Field Guide to a Happy Life (Basic Books), which attempts to articulate a 21st century version of the Stoic philosophy of Epictetus. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
2. Greg Lopez, to hell with feelings?
Gregory Lopez talks to Massimo about the Stoic treatment of emotions. Where the Stoics advocating the suppression of emotions and going through life with a stiff upper lip? No, not really. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]
1. Nancy Sherman on ancient and modern Stoic wisdom
Rob and Massimo talk to Nancy Sherman, author of Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience. We touch on the good and the bad of modern Stoicism, what the ancients got right (or not), and the complex relationship between Stoicism and the military. [Episode extracted from a show formerly known as the Stoa Nova Conversations.]