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From Epicurus to EpictetusStudies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy$
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A. A. Long

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279128

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279128.001.0001

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Seneca on the Self: Why Now?

Seneca on the Self: Why Now?

(p.360) 17 Seneca on the Self: Why Now?
From Epicurus to Epictetus

A. A. Long (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In urging himself and Lucilius to cultivate a ‘good mentality’ (bona mens), Seneca's principal point is that objective human excellence and authentic happiness depend intrinsically and essentially on the state of one's mind, and only instrumentally and contingently on the health and condition of one's body. This division between mind and body involves the folk psychology recognized in everyday consciousness; and it is compatible with the strict physicalism endorsed both by Stoicism and by most modern theorists. Seneca, moreover, taps completely into the contemporary world when one moves from the academy into popular culture.

Keywords:   Stoicism, good mentality, objective human excellence, happiness, body, mind

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