Discourses and Selected Writings, by Epictetus

A book I like to teach

As I was in the midst of teaching the ancient Roman Stoic Epictetus at Oakdale Prison, an inmate stood up and launched into an argument that Stoicism is a loser’s philosophy. I challenged him: “What does it mean to be a loser? Was Jesus on the cross a loser?


The Greatest Empire, by Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson offers a carefully balanced narrative of Seneca's life that is derived, as it must be, from partial and often contradictory sources.


The Deepest Human Life, by Scott Samuelson

Fall books

The Deepest Human Life is an elegantly written, impassioned, and sometimes disjointed plea on behalf of philosophy. Scott Samuelson invokes poets, novelists, and theologians to defend the dialectical process that Socrates imparted.


Cloud of skeptics

Peter Watson sketches in the lives and thoughts of an array of scientists, artists, and philosophers who offer ways to cope with the death of God.


Stay, by Jennifer Michael Hecht

Spring books

Most moral arguments against suicide are built on premises of faith. But Jennifer Hecht, a poet and first-rate historian of ideas, is intent on providing secular reasons for refraining from it.


A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Aristotle famously asserted, “Philosophy begins in wonder.” Sometimes I wonder about that. My experience has been that many of us who join the Socrates guild initially do so because we want to be healed of deep vexations. As Irvine quotes Epicurus, “Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man.