PHIL 181 - Lecture 8 - Flourishing and Detachment

Lecture 8 - Flourishing and Detachment


Professor Gendler begins with a discussion of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who argued that once we recognize that some things are up to us and other things are not up to us, we can see that happiness requires detaching ourselves from our desires and focusing instead on our attitudes and interpretations. Three pieces of advice from Epictetus about how to cultivate such detachment are provided, along with contemporary examples. A similar theme from Boethius is discussed, followed by a practical example of the benefits of detachment from Admiral James Stockdale’s experiences as a prisoner of war.



Epictetus, The Handbook (The Encheiridion)

Stockdale, “Courage Under Fire”

Boethius, The Consolations of Philosophy

Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis, Ch. 7 (pp. 135-153)

Course Media





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