Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Philosophy is a way of living

Speaking of philosophy as the way we learn how to make right judgments about impressions could lead to the notion that philosophy according to Epictetus was primarily intellectual exercise. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is true that the “first and greatest task of a philosopher is the ability to test and discriminate between impressions, and to apply none that has not been tested” (Disc. 1.20.7). But such discrimination already occurs within the context of a philosophical life. Like Seneca, Epictetus sees philosophy as a habit of being or a comprehensive style of existence, an emancipatory mode of living that includes not only thought but also the full range of human action.—One True Life: The Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions, 52–53

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