Department of Philosophy



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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents

Michael Tremblay
Queen's University

The Ethical Exercises of Epictetus

Thursday, January 23, 2020

4:00 pm

Watson Hall, Room 517

In this talk, I examine the "ethical exercises" of the ancient philosopher and Stoic Epictetus. Epictetus famously tells his students that studying theory alone is not enough to become wise, and that they must also practice certain exercises, such as a mantra like repetition of theory, being mindful of their judgments, and abstaining from certain vices. There has been much debate about how to understand the purpose of these exercises, and if they can even coherently fit within a the framework of Stoic psychology. I argue that these exercises are best understood as epistemological tools, intended to help the agent reason through difficult situations as well as possible.

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