Recent essays, #6

Most of my original writings now appear over at Figs In Winter, my Patreon site devoted to practical philosophy. The most recent posts are behind a paywall (monthly subscription levels at $1, $3, and $5), but the majority of the material is free to read. Here are some of the most recent entries:

What is and is not in our power, part II. My colleague and critic of Stoicism Christian Coseru’s second major issue with Stoicism concerns the dichotomy of control. Like many, he thinks that a dichotomy is too strict (after all, aren’t there things we can influence, though only partially?) and that it is not in sync, again, with modern research in cognitive science (which has uncovered that much of our thinking takes place below the conscious level). He is incorrect on both points. (continue to read, part I can be found here)

How to practice Stoicism. My friend Greg Lopez (co-author with me of the newly released A Handbook for New Stoics) talk to the folks over at The Switch podcast about how to practice Stoicism, giving an overview of the book and what it means to “be a Stoic.” (continue to read)

Book Club: The Inner Citadel, 8, The discipline of action, in the service of humanity. After a fairly long hiatus, welcome back to our book club! My apologies, but Pierre Hadot’s The Inner Citadel is rather slow going. Long chapters, not exactly accessible prose. But well worth the effort, which is why I keep continuing this series, of which we are probably going to have one or two more entries before all is said and done. This time, let’s take a look at one of the longest and most complex chapters, n. 8, on the discipline of action. (continue to read)


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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.