Oct 9, 2016

Stoic Exemplars and Their Differing Roles

Engaging in the practice of Stoic philosophy - or applying any moral theory more generally - is often guided by looking to individuals who particularly exemplify that committed and examined way of life.  This reference to exemplars is good - indeed often necessary - but sometimes what gets lost sight of is precisely what Epictetus points out in this passage:

Living out a deliberate, thoughtful way of life, informed by a moral perspective, does not always take precisely the same form.  What might be entirely appropriate for a Diogenes might be out of place for a Zeno - or for an Epictetus, or for any one of us. The challenge, then, is to determine for oneself what the proper way of living a philosophy out is when applied to one's own case.

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