Podcast: A graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius

Rob and Massimo talk to Donald Robertson, the author of the graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. What were the challenges of presenting history and philosophy in pictorial form? Was the emperor Hadrian really such a bad character? Why did Marcus appoint his son Commodus to succeed him? Join us for these and many other questions about Stoicism and how to write about it. (listen at Anchor)

Podcast: How to create virtuous leaders

Ancient philosophers like Socrates and Plato believed that an education focused on developing good character could create virtuous leaders who work for the people, not their own benefit. Nowadays, though, it seems too many politicians are power hungry, corrupt, and out of touch.

So how do we train our leaders to be more virtuous? Is good character something that can be taught? And what can we learn from the Ancients about how we can each lead an excellent life? Josh and Ray virtuously welcome back Massimo Pigliucci from the City College of New York, author of The Quest for Character: What the Story of Socrates and Alcibiades Teaches Us about Our Search for Good Leaders. (listen at Philosophy Talk)

Podcast: Ten years of Modern Stoicism

In this episode of the Philosophy as a Way of Life podcast Rob and Massimo talk to Tim LeBon and John Sellars, two of the leading scholars behind the Modern Stoicism group, about the tenth anniversary of the organization that brings you Stoicon, Stoic Week, and much more. Modern Stoicism is a non-profit limited company, registered in the UK and run by a multidisciplinary team of volunteers. Its aims are to research and publish information on the application of Stoic philosophy to modern living for the benefit of the general public.

Tim is a psychotherapist in the NHS and private practice and a lecturer and life coach. He has many years of experience in teaching courses in Positive Psychology and putting them into practice in his work with clients. He is the author of the forthcoming 365 Ways to be More Stoic: A day-by-day guide to practical stoicism. John is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London, where he is affiliated to the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project. He is also a member of Wolfson College, Oxford, where he held a Junior Research Fellowship. He is the author most recently of The Pocket Epicurean. (listen at Anchor)

Audio series: Epictetus’ Enchiridion

Here is the latest — and last! — complete audio commentary series from my Stoic Meditations, dedicated to Epictetus’ Enchiridion. This is one of the most important texts of ancient Stoicism, a very short but very powerful guide to a life worth living. I decided to conclude my long running Stoic Meditations series (5 years, 1094 episodes, over 8 million downloads) with Epictetus because he has been a major influence on my own philosophical path. I hope he will guide you as well.

Some things are up to us, while others are not. Up to us are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not up to us are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.

The audio commentary runs for 21 episodes.

Podcast: Simone de Beauvoir, existentialism and how to be authentic

In this episode of the Philosophy as a Way of Life podcast Rob and Massimo chat with Skye Cleary, author of How to Be Authentic: Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Fulfillment. We talk about existentialism, authenticity, bad faith, and all sorts of other ideas relevant for an existential way of life.

How to Be Authentic is a lively introduction to Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophy of existentialism, as well as an exploration of the successes and failures that Beauvoir and other women have experienced in striving towards authenticity. Skye C. Cleary takes us through some of life’s major relationships and milestones: friendship; romantic love; marriage; children; and death, and examines how each offers an opportunity for us to stretch toward authenticity. While many people don’t get to choose their path in life―whether because of systemic oppression or the actions of other individuals―Cleary makes a compelling case that Beauvoir’s ideas can help us become more conscious of living purposefully, thoughtfully, and with vitality, and she shows us how to do so in responsible ways that invigorate every person’s right to become poets of their own lives.

Skye C. Cleary, PhD is a philosopher and writer. She teaches at Columbia University, Barnard College, and the City University of New York, and is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Cleary’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, The Times Literary Supplement, TED-Ed, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets. She won the 2017 New Philosopher Writers’ Award and was a 2021 MacDowell Fellow. She lives in New York City with her partner and son. (listen at Anchor)

Audio series: Seneca’s On Providence

Here is the latest complete audio commentary series from my Stoic Meditations, dedicated to Seneca’s On Providence. The work, in the form of a dialogue, was probably composed around 64 CE (Seneca died the following year). The subject matter is the Stoic notion of Providence and what later became known as the problem of evil.

You can judge of a pilot in a storm, of a soldier in a battle. How can I know with how great a spirit you could endure poverty, if you overflow with riches? (IV)

My audio commentary runs for 7 episodes.

Podcast: What does it mean to live philosophically?

In this episode of the Philosophy as a Way of Life podcast Rob and Massimo talk to Caleb Cohoe, a Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver who has recently co-authored two papers exploring what, exactly, it means to live philosophically. Is it all and only a matter of reason? Or do we need to train ourselves by way of spiritual exercises? Are religions just like life philosophies, or is there a difference? What would the Stoics or the Epicureans have to say about all this? (listen at Anchor)

Audio series: Seneca’s On Tranquillity of Mind

The latest complete audio commentary of my Stoic Meditations series is dedicated to Seneca’s On Tranquillity of Mind, inspired by Democritus’ treaty “on cheerfulness,” written around 400 BCE. Seneca in turn inspired Plutarch to write a work on the same subject.

It is often assumed that the work was written about 60 CE, when Seneca’s political influence was waning, but historians are not sure about this. It is, of course, written from a Stoic perspective.

It is more typical of a human to laugh down life than to bewail it. — 15.2

My audio commentary runs for 24 episodes.