This book puts recently re-popularized ancient Stoic philosophy in discussion with modern social theory and sociology to consider the relationship between an individual and their environment. Thirteen comparative pairings including Epictetus and Arlie Hochschild, Zeno and Pierre Bourdieu, Seneca and Anthony Giddens, and Marcus Aurelius and George Herbert Mead explore how to position individualism within our socialized existence. Will Johncock believes that by integrating modern perspectives with ancient Stoic philosophies we can question how internally separate from our social environment we ever are. This tandem analysis identifies new orientations for established ideas in Stoicism and social theory about the mind, being present, self-preservation, knowledge, travel, climate change, the body, kinship, gender, education, and emotions.
In this accessible and engaging book, Will Johncock links contemporary social theory to the wisdom of the ancient Stoic philosophers, who were asking the first questions about how to live in a cosmopolitan world. There is something very useful pedagogically in connecting the present with the distant past in this way that enlivens inquiry and draws attention to the timeless importance of those very questions.
— Douglas Porpora, Professor of Sociology, Drexel University, USA
This comparative study is original and creative. Johncock presents a much needed, well researched corrective to those who skew Stoicism as narrowly individualistic.
— William O. Stephens, Professor of Philosophy, Creighton University, USA