Thu, Sep 23|
Stoic Character and Knowledge, Level 2 Event
Stoics had a different conception of character than we do today. They thought knowledge was inseparable from action and you don't know something until it becomes a part of how you interact with the world. Character is a form of self-knowledge, and is ultimately manifested as virtue.
Time & Location
Sep 23, 2021, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM GMT+2
About the Event
Greetings fellow Stoics!
Today we're hosting a discussion on what the Stoics meant by character and knowledge. Indeed their conceptions of these things were and are different than how we speak of these in today's parlance. You couldn't know something until you end up acting on it. And knowledge was more than merely an evolved state of belief and justification. To the Stoics, facts and knowledge weren't the same things since knowledge was not something held up in the mind; it was manifested as right action. Likewise, character as a form of self-knowledge was not something you simply appeared to have or held in belief and thought, but something that you necessarily had to act with and embody in order for you to have character at all. Ultimately your character would manifest as virtue and your being virtuous was indicative of your self-knowledge and moreso your abilities to know externals truly and whether to assent or not to those judgments or beliefs you receive from sense impressions.
Our discussion won't just be a simple summary of the Stoic epistemological and character-full framework, but also a dialogue about what the Stoics meant, does their framework hold up to scrutiny, and how we can advance or alter the Stoic framework. We may not be all Stoics and critiquing the philosophy we enjoy discussing should be held up to a close lens for review and validation.
Prompts we can explore include:
- What do the Stoics mean by character, virtue, knowledge, and right action?
- The Stoics were empiricists and rejected the Academics' assertion that purely rational thought could form truths. To what extent and in what ways would we say observations, sense impressions, rational deliberation, community dialogue, and other means of logic help us arrive at knowledge?
- In what ways do our societies today fail at preparing us for moral character? In what ways do they succeed?
This is a level 2 event, which means you must be familiar with some basic Stoic concepts and have some experience living Stoicism already in order to feel comfortable in this discussion. Please consult the details on what level 2 means here: https://www.berlinstoics.com/event-organization. However, anyone can attend, and everyone is encouraged to attend, if only to listen.
There are various resources we ask you to use to get familiar with the topic at hand. You don't have to become an expert, just familiarize yourself with some of the resources published on the topic.
- (Recommended): Seneca's On the Firmness of the Wise Man
- (Recommended): Q&A with Leonidas Konstantakos and Kai Whiting on Stoic character
- (Extra, optional): Podcast episodes on Stoic assent and prosoche (attention)
Today's discussion will run 1.5 hours. We don't partition the time, but we will always connect the theory to practice. Please submit specific prompts you would like discussed either here in our forum https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/weekly-prompts/september-23-2021-stoic-character-prompts or in our Telegram group chat (more on this below). You can submit yours right up until the start of the event and the facilitator, Steve, will select a few to cover. We encourage you to also read the recommended resources, but we also encourage you to still attend even if you don't. If you have a recommended source on the same topic you can write it in our forum here https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/recommendations/stoic-character-and-knowledge or in our Telegram group chat (more on this below).
A couple of words: (1) If you haven't already, you can join our Telegram discussion group and our announcements channel by contacting us and we'll send you a link to the channel. (2) The link to this event will be active between 20 and 10 minutes ahead of the start time, and we use https://meet.jit.si/ for our video conferencing. (3) Lastly, we have recently been streaming our events live on youtube and saving them on file, especially for those who cannot make particular events; at the start of each event, Steve will of course ask if everyone is okay or anyone has a problem with this. Furthermore, we only share recordings afterwards if we reach the threshold of 4 participants (other than the facilitator).
We look forward to seeing you there!