The Stoics on Value

The ancient Stoics have a simple yet compelling view of finding value in a material world. External goods, such as wealth or beauty, scores of followers on social media or a well-paid job, have very little, if any, value. These things are not ‘up to us’, and in hankering for them we shackle ourselves. We can be free by losing the desire for external goods, and by fostering an indifferent attitude towards them. For only what is consistent with our human nature has real value. And this is virtue, which is the one thing that is ‘up to us’. So, rather than any material good, virtue makes all the difference to our happiness or well-being. Using a range of ancient sources, we will explore and discuss these ideas in much more detail in conversation together.

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Peter is a philosophical practitioner with more than fifteen years experience in higher and continuing education. For Oxford University and the Open University, he teaches a broad range of philosophical topics, yet his main interest is in ancient philosophy. When working, he is keen to raise awareness for the idea that philosophy is, or can be, a useful tool for reflecting on our everyday lives, and so for helping us to live well. Peter holds a PhD in philosophy and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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