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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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Stoic Indifference: A Barrier To Therapy?

Stoic Indifference: A Barrier To Therapy?

Chapter:
(p.169) 12 Stoic Indifference: A Barrier To Therapy?
Source:
Emotion and Peace of Mind
Author(s):

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.003.0013

Except for committed Stoics, the Stoices do not include their idiosyncratic and unacceptable view in their therapy, castigated by Bernard Williams that everything is indifferent except character and rationality. Health and wealth, they concede, are naturally preferable objectives and must be pursued energetically for oneself and others. But their value lies not in themselves, but in the fact that good character, the only real good, is exercised in the right pursuit of natural objectives. Nor need the unacceptable Stoic view that most emotions include a wrong evaluation of indifferent things as if they were actually good be followed. But something can be learnt from the Stoics, because many of our emotions are unwanted, and for these, the effectiveness of their cognitive therapy is vividly illustrated in Cicero and Seneca.

Keywords:   indifferent, character, preferable, cognitive therapy, Cicero, Seneca, Bernard Williams

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