The philosophy of Stoicism

What is the best life we can live? How can we cope with whatever the universe throws at us and keep thriving nonetheless? The ancient Greco-Roman philosophy of Stoicism explains that while we may not always have control over the events affecting us, we can have control over how we approach things. In this short video, one of my favorite so far, I describe the philosophy of Stoicism. Lesson by yours truly, animation by Compote Collective.

YouTube channel on philosophy, pseudoscience, and skepticism

Well, people have asked for it, so I have reactivated and revamped my YouTube channel. Comments are turned off, because I’m weary of social media. But if you’d like to talk about any of the videos featured on the channel, feel free to do it here.

The channel contains the following lists:

To give you a taste, here is the lead video for the channel:

Video: A conversation with Philosophy News

Philosophy News talks with Massimo Pigliucci on Stoicism, Skepticism, and how to have productive conversations in today’s polarized world.

In this interview, we talk with Dr. Pigliucci about how Stoicism differs from a more rationalist mindset and how Stoicism relates the skepticism. We cover topics in some of his recent articles about skepticism and how the ancient skeptics can inform modern dialogue. Here are some of the questions and topics we discussed:

Would you provide a summary of Stoic philosophy and how it contrasts say with other “isms”.

I’d like to explore your ideas starting with your recent article on rationality. The central claim you make is this: logic, rationality, and truth are distinct. One can be logical (claim is based on a valid argument), rational (claim aligns to ones background beliefs and values) and yet the conclusion of the argument can be false. You offer a path forward in the article. Would you summarize your recommendation?

You talk about “right reason” and “wrong reason” and use the conversation about creationism as an example. You say, “… I think my rejection of creationism is right reason while its embrace is bad reason.” You qualify the phrase with “I think.” It’s a claim about your beliefs rather than about the truth or falsity of whether your reasoning is correct. Is that the best we can hope for?

Skepticism tends to have a negative perception. You seem to take the edge off of that in your article about fallibilism by saying that fallibilism is “not the notion that all beliefs we currently hold, or will hold in the future, are false.” Rather, it’s the belief that, “All beliefs that are considered justified … should be held as provisionally true, nothing more.” Doesn’t this turn out to be more of a psychological attitude than an epistemic position? … (watch the video here)

Video: Memes all the way down

Memes are everywhere. But the term was coined only a few decades ago by Richard Dawkins to describe ideas and cultural behaviours that can be passed on from one individual to another. He argued that memes are a stage in evolution, and just as humans are carriers for genes, we are also carriers for memes.

We don’t so much choose our memes as they choose us. Its critics however argue that meme theory upends all human agency and thought. Is meme theory an exciting new framework that moves evolution forward to account for concepts and culture? Or is the very idea of a meme a misguided and reductionist account of what it is to be human?

Watch a discussion featuring “post-postmodern” philosopher Hilary Lawson, Professor of Ethics and Technology at Hertie School Joanna Bryson, and Professor of Philosophy at City College of New York Massimo Pigliucci. They argue about whether or not it is useful to think about sharing mimetic information like genetic information. Hosted by Gunes Taylor. (watch at IAI TV)