I typically include some Stoic ethics in my courses, and this time around I decided instead of having them read selections from Epictetus' Discourses, I would introduce them to Cicero instead. On Duties provides a more systematic framework, which gives them a brief look at natural law theory as well as Stoic virtue ethics.
Hopefully these will be of use to others who would like to study a classic work of Stoic ethics. Cicero himself was not a Stoic, but he drew heavily upon Stoic philosophy, and this book is a reworking and addition to an earlier work by Panaetius, the sixth leader of the Stoic school.
Here are the 22 videos, associated into sections by content, starting with the introductory material. hopefully they will help viewers better understand the key ideas as they work their way through Cicero's On Duties.
Each of the sources of the right, or of duty in general - as well as of specific duties - is one of the cardinal virtues
- Wisdom as the First Source of Duty
- Justice as the Second Source of Duty
- Courage as the Third Source of Duty
- Temperance as the Fourth Source of Duty
The virtue Cicero discusses in most detail is justice - and here are lectures going into particular issues concerning that virtue and its duties:
Benevolence or kindness is an important part of justice for the Stoics.
Courage and its implications for ethics also gets examined in a bit more detail
Cicero also discusses key aspects of the fourth virtue, temperance or self-control
- Courage, Fear and Other Emotions
- Courage, Private Life, and Public Life
- Faction, Elections, and Social Breakdown
We finish with wrap-up videos, on two important topics:
If you find these free video lectures helpful, please feel free to share them with anyone else you think might benefit from them.
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