Thursday, March 09, 2023

But what about family?

The possibility of behaving well toward both father and brother depends upon the judgment that their character is not up to us. By observing this basic distinction, Epictetus teaches, we can be in accord with nature quite apart from how we are treated by father or brother; we can thus fulfill our natural duties irrespective of the behavior of others. The effectiveness of our accordance with natural duties, moreover, is not limited to the philosopher’s family dynamics. As the last sentence of this passage says, because of his harmony with nature, the philosopher’s relation to political life is not fundamentally different from that to his family.—One True Life: The Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions, 63

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