Spiritual Exercises in Epictetus: Difficult but Justified

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  • The aim of this thesis is to provide a new interpretation about the role played by spiritual exercises in Epictetus’ program of moral therapy, in response to Brennan (2003) who holds that they may potentially conflict with Epictetus’ intellectualism. I argue that spiritual exercises are intended to cause us to assimilate theory by causing one to form specific beliefs that are in accordance with theory. Understood this way, any sort of tension seems to resolve itself. I rely upon the work that Braicovich (2012) has done on this question, and go further, ultimately demonstrating that all three of Epictetus’ spiritual exercises can be explained coherently when understood as aiding in the assimilation of theory. I conclude by proposing that Epictetus thought of Stoics like athletes in training for whom spiritual exercises are essential to staying fit and ready to perform.

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  • Copyright © 2016 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2016


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