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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series is pleased to present

The Gregory Vlastos Memorial Lecture

given by

Dr. Brad Inwood, Yale University

Varieties of Stoicism: The strange case of Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, April 5, 4:00 pm, Watson Hall 517

A reception will follow at the University Club, Stuart Street

Please view the poster here.

Abstract: Ancient Stoicism lasted for about 500 years, so inevitably there was a good deal of variety in the school’s philosophical methods and doctrines. But no Stoic is more puzzling than the last one, the emperor Marcus Aurelius. After considering some of the main features of his thought, as revealed in the philosophical diary we know as the ‘Meditations’, I zero in on what I believe to be an important innovation in the area of metaphysics. His distinctive views on causation and matter have important connections to the practical ethics for which he is best known, but I also raise the possibility that his explorations in this area led him to ideas so novel that they test the boundaries of what it meant to be a Stoic.

Bio: Brad Inwood is Professor of Philosophy and Classics at Yale University, and University Professor Emeritus of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of several books on ancient Stoic philosophy, including Seneca, as well as other publications in ancient philosophy. His Stoicism: A very short introduction will be coming out later this year.


If you have accessibility requirements, please contact Noreen Haun (


Winter Schedule

January 11     Elliot Paul (Barnard/Columbia)

Reasoning Through Time: Cartesian Insights

January 18     Juan Piñeros Glassrock (Yale)

Authoritative Knowledge

January 25     Olivia Bailey (Harvard)

In Defense of Empathy: The Value of Humane Understanding

February 1     Rima Basu (University of Southern California)

The Moral Stakes of Our Beliefs

February 6 (Tuesday, 4:30 pm)   Antonia Peacocke (Berkeley)

Constancy of Belief and the Value of Self-Knowledge

February 8     Patti Lenard (Ottawa, jointly sponsored by Political Studies and The Centre for the Study of Democracy and Diversity CSDD) 

The Ethics of Sanctuary in Democratic States

February 15   No colloquium

March 1         Michael Tomasello (Duke University, Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecture)

Origins of Human Cooperation

March 8         Agnes Tam (Queen’s)

Making Sense of the Authority of Social Norms

March 15       Charlotte Blattner (Queen’s), 

“Animals Are (Forced) Workers, too” – Individual and Collective Self-determination of Working Animals

March 22       Pablo Gilabert (Concordia)

                    Exploitation, Solidarity, and Dignity

March 29       Udo Schüklenk (Queen's)

                    Conscientious Objection in Medicine: Accommodation versus Professionalism and the Public Good

April 5           Brad Inwood (Yale, Gregory Vlastos Memorial Lecture)

                    Varieties of Stoicism: The strange case of Marcus Aurelius