A kingly gift (pun intended)


A friend found this online and thought of me.  Appears to be a 1905 edition of the Meditations.  The paper is a really interesting quality, and it’s the Graves translation.  Until now, I did not have one.

The pages don’t have much white space, and that helps make a tidy little volume.  The text has section markers, and notes beginning and ending of chapters and books.

A pretty neat find.  Thanks, buddy!

Tucked away in Buckhannon, WV.

It’s pretty interesting the things one comes across. This street is located in a small WV town, about 5,600 people. But even here, at some point at least, someone remembered a “little Phoenician” who synthesized a philosophy which helped shape the West.
In Buckhannon WV, this street is tucked away not too far from a small Methodist college. I’d be interested to learn when and by whom this street was named. There’s probably an interesting story there. 
If there’s ever going to be a location for an Appalachian Stoa, or a Stoic intentional community:  we’ve found it.


Show and tell


I picked up this leather bound, onion skin paper version of the first two Books of the Discourses, Enchiridion, and Fragments.

The inscription says 1924, which is pretty neat, and the printing itself might be 1890 (?).

It was waiting for me in the mail when I got back home.

Michael Connell: Stoic Comedy


I suppose the way that Stoics try to re-frame their perceptions and experiences of life would certainly seem funny from the outside.  Sometimes, it seems funny from the inside.  Michael has been posting videos of unique blend of comedy and philosophy for quite some time, but this is the longest special posted yet.

Feel free to trundle over to the YouTubes, give him a watch, a like, and a share.  The Stoic message is a powerful one, and new and creative avenues for spreading it are a good thing.

Plus, he’s pretty funny.

On ἀρετή and troubling translations


The most common English translation for the Koine word ἀρετή that you’re likely to come across is ‘virtue.’  This translation presents a couple of problems, which I’ll address.

Firstly, the word virtue in English has lots of baggage from its use in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Secondly, on top of that, there are certain conotations which make the word less than dynamic.  Generally, when we hear virtue, even in a philosophical context, the conotation relegates the topic to moral and social applications.  While it’s true that there is a moral and social component, it is not the entire story.

The next most common translation is ‘excellence,’ and this one does quite a bit better.  In Diogenes Laertius 7.90, he says “Excellence (ἀρετή) is in a general sense the perfection of each thing.”

For humans, as rational critters, that means the perfection of our rational faculties.

In, The Stoic Sage by Brouwer (which I’m reading currently), the ‘dispositional definition’ of ἀρετή is discussed.  The dispositional definition has to do with character, and for this case, the measure is consistency.

It’s a pretty well-known standard that excellence is a kind of knowledge (Gr:  ἐπιστήμη).  In the case of moral virtue, that can be cloudy.  What does it mean to know a virtue?  However, when viewed through the dispositional lens of ‘consistent character’ and ‘excellence’ the knowledge and praxis components of ἀρετή are more clear.