Past Meetup

Hellenistic Philosophy (a repeat of the 11:00 AM meetup)


Unfortunately sciatica, usually dormant, has overwhelmed me lately, turning both body and mind into jelly. Instead of attempting questionably literate prose, I offer you this excellent summary of Hellenistic Philosophy (, written by Dr. Garth Kemerling, a professor of philosophy at Newberry College. I hope to resume writing my own introductions again next month.

Recommended text

Greek and Roman Philosophy after Aristotle. Editor Jason L. Saunders. The Free Press, 1966. The book includes excerpts primarily from the works of Lucretius, Epicurus, Epictetus, Cleanthes, Sextus Empiricus, Lucian, Philo of Alexandria, and Plotinus. The total number of pages is 285. Also included is a section on Early Christian Thought, but we will omit this in our discussion (the topic will be the centerpiece of our September and October meetups). The text is available from ( booksellers, from a penny (used) to $7.00 (new).

For those who will be using other anthologies, here are the excerpted works we will be reading: Lucretius: "On the Nature of Things"; Epicurus: "Letter to Pythocles", "Letter to Menoeceus", "Principal Doctrines"; Epictetus: "The Manual of Epictetus"; Cleanthes: "Hymn to Zeus; Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of a Pyrrhonism; Lucian: "The Sale of Philosophers"; Philo: "On the Account of the World's Creation Given by Moses"; Plotinus: Ennead I, vi (Beauty), iii (Dialectic); Ennead IV, viii (The Souls Descent into Body); Ennead V, i (The Three Initial Hypostases), viii (On the Intellectual Beauty); Ennead VI, ix (On the Good, or the One). For free public domain copies of most of these works, click here ( and here (

The following resources provide analyses, bibliographies, lecture notes, and videos:

General Articles about Hellenistic Period/Philosophy

James Fieser. “Hellenistic Philosophy.” ( In The History of Philosophy: A Short Survey. 2008. (online book; author is Professor of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Martin.)

Wikipedia and Encyclopedias: "Hellenistic Period" (, "Ancient Philosophy" (, "Ancient Logic" (, ( "Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality" (, "Hellenistic Philosophies and Politics" ( (subset of "Ancient Political Philosophy"), "Hellenistic Philosophy and Christianity" (

Lecture Notes: "After Aristotle: A Search for the Good Life" ( by Professor Eric Amsel, Dept. of Psychology, Weber State University.

Videos, Podcasts: "The Hellenistic World," ( a chapter from Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy; "Fighting Over Socrates: The Hellenistic Schools" ( (podcast) by Professor Peter Adamson, Dept. of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, King's College.


Wikipedia: "Stoicism" (, "Epictetus" (, ("Seneca" (, "Marcus Aurelius" (, "Cleanthes" (

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Stoicism" (, "Epictetus" (, "Plotinus" (,

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Stoicism" (, "Stoic Ethics" (, "Stoic Philosophy of Mind" (, "Cleanthes" (, "Epictetus" (,

Jason Lewis Saunder, “Stoicism” ( from Encylcopædia Britannica (accessed May 4, 2014)

Stanley Stowers. "Jesus the Teacher and Stoic Ethics in the Gospel of Matthew." ( In Stoicism and Early Christianity. Edited by Tuomas Rasimus et all. Baker Academic, 2010. (pagination unknown)

John Sellars. “Philosophy as Medicine: Stoicism and Cognitive Psychotherapy” (, “The Stoics (on Evil)" (, and “Seneca’s Philosophical Predecessors and Contemporaries.” ( (Author is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of London)

Nancy Sherman. “Stoic Equanimity in the Face of Torture.” ( Philosophic Exchange[masked] (2008)

John M. Cooper. "The Emotional Life of the Wise." ( The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 43.2 (Spring 2005), pp. 176-218.

Videos and Podcasts: "Stoicism" ( from Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy; "David Sedley on Stoicism" (, "John Sellars on the Roman Stoics" (, "You Can Chain My Leg: Epictetus" (, "Walking on Eggshells: the Stoics on Logic" (, "Nobody's Perfect: the Stoics on Knowledge" (, "We Didn't Start the Fire: the Stoics on Nature" ( by Professor Peter Adamson, Dept. of Philosophy, King's College, London.


Wikipedia: "Epicurus" (, "Epicureanism" (, "Lucretius" (, "De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) ("

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Epicurus" (, "Lucretius" (

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Epicurus" (, "Lucretius" (

"Epicureanism." ( In Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia, 2000.

Pamela Gordon. “Epicurus and Epicureanism.” ( In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Ed. Roger S. Bagnall et al. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2013: 1-4.

Thomas A. Blackson. "Epicureanism." ( (author is Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University)

David B. Hershenov. “A More Palatable Epicureanism.” ( American Philosophical Quarterly 44.2 (April 2007), pp. 171-180.

Videos and Podcasts: "The Epicureans" ( from Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy; “Epicurus Life and Philosophy” ( by Professor Wes Cecil, Dept. of Philosophy, Peninsula College; “Jefferson, Lucretius, Epicurus” ( by Professor Stephen Greenblatt, Dept. of English, Harvard University; "The Constant Gardener: Epicurus and his Principles" (, "Am I Bothered: Epicurean Ethics" (, "Nothing to Fear: Epicureans on Death and the Gods (", and "Reaping the Harvest: Lucretius" ( (podcasts) by Professor Peter Adamson, Dept. of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, King's College' and "Epicurus" ( (interviews with three British professors about his life and key concepts)


Wikipedia: "Philosophical Skepticism" (

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Ancient Skepticism" (, "Sextus Empiricus" (

Internet Encyclopoedia of Philosophy: "Ancient Greek Skepticism" (

"Quotes about Skepticism" ( from Goodreads

Diego Machuca. "Ancient Skepticism: Pyrrhonism." ( Philosophy Compass 6.4 (2011), pp. 246-258.

John Turri. "Pyrrhonian Skepticism Meets Speech-Act Theory." ( International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 2 (2012).

Mary Mills Patrick. Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism ( Doctoral Thesis submitted to University of Bern, Switzerland, 1897. (full text)

Videos: "Cynics and Skeptics" ( from Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy; "Pyrroh and Ancient Skepticism" (, "Healthy Skepticism: Sextus Empiricus" ( (podcast) by Professor Peter Adamson, Dept. of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, King's College


Wikipedia and Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Philo" (, "Philo's View of God" (

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Philo of Alexandria" (

"Philo of Alexandria." ( Retrieved from The Basics of Philosophy web site 5-19-14.

David T. Runia, "Philo, Alexandrian and Jew." ( In Exegesis and Philosophy: Studies on Philo of Alexandria (Variorum, Aldershot, 1990), pp. 1-18.

Mauro Bonazzi. "Towards Transcendence: Philo and the Renewal of Platonism in the Early Imperial Age." ( In Philo of Alexandria and Post-Aristotelian Philosophy. Ed. Francesca Allese. Brill, 2008: 233-251.

David T. Runia, "Philo of Alexandria and the Beginnings of Christian Thought, Alexandrian and Jew." ( Studia Philonica Annual 7 (1995): 143-160.

Scott D. Mackie. "Seeing God in Philo of Alexandria: The Logos, The Powers, or The Existent One?" ( The Studia Philonica Annual 21 (2009), pp. 25-47.

Ryan Hendrickson. "Philo of Alexandria and the Vocabulary of Belief." ( The Journal of the Society for Textual Reasoning 9 (2000).

Plotinus and Neoplatonism

Wikipedia: "Plotinus" (, "Neoplatonism" (, "Henosis" (, "Neoplatonism and Christianity" (

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Plotinus" (, "Porphyry" (

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "Plotinus", "Neoplatonism" (

Douglas Hadley. "A Variation on the Dog and His Bone: The Unity of the World in Plotinian Philosophy (Ennead VI.4-5 [22-23]) (" The Paideia Project Online. Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Boston, Massachusetts 10-15 August 1998.

Damian Caluori. "Plotinus on Primary Being. (" In Substantia – Sic et Non. Eine Geschichte des Substanzbegriffs von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Ontos Verlag, 2008: 85-103.

Mark Alfino. "Plotinus and the Possibility of Non-Propositional Thought." ( (author is Professor of Philosophy, Gonzaga University)

Sumi Sivaratnam. "Pleasure and the Plotinian Good." ( In Power and Pleasure, Virtues and Vices. Ed Dirk Baltzly et al. Prudentia, Supplement 2001: 75-88.

John A. Pourtless. "Toward a Plotinian Solution to the Problem of Evil." ( Aporia 18.2 (2008), pp. 1-19.

Lecture Notes: "Plotinus and Neoplatonism" ( by Professor Jonathan Bain, Dept. of Technology, Culture and Society, Polyteachnic School of Engineering, New York University; "Notes on Plotinus, Ennead I, Tractates 6-­9" ( by Professor Michael R. Baumer, Dept of Philosophy, Cleveland State University; "Plotinus" ( by M. Alan Kazlev on; "Plotinus" ( by Professor Barry D. Smith, Dept. of Religious Studies/Philosophy, Crandall University, Canada.

Videos: "Plotinus" ( from Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy

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