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Epictetus (c.55–135)

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Roman Stoic philosopher, born as a slave in Hierapolis. Having been expelled from Rome with all other philosophers by the Emperor Domitian, Epictetus set up a school in Nicopolis in 89. His major works include Discourses and Manual . He held that the aim of philosophy is to cure moral defects. All men have an inherent capacity for virtue. We should regard slavery and freedom with indifference, although freedom is preferable. We need to distinguish between what is in our power and what is beyond our control. Will and inner freedom are within our power and are the basis for our happiness. Freedom consists in having one's desires fulfilled, and the sage accepts whatever happens as ordained for the best. Good men cannot be harmed, and one should love one's enemy. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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