Stoa Nova event: the open door policy – the Stoics on suicide

Suicide is an obviously delicate topic, and one — for instance — about which Stoics and Epicureans disagreed vehemently. Let’s take a look at what the Stoics think about taking one’s life, under what circumstances it is permissible, and what should your friends do to dissuade or assist you.

Suggested reading here.

When: Tuesday, 14 January 2020, at 6pm.

RSVP here.

Stoa Nova event: what is wisdom?

“Wisdom” is arguably one of the most slippery, and yet important, concepts that concern us all. One way to summarize humanity’s problems over the past several millennia is that our intelligence and technology have far outpaced our wisdom. And things are likely to get worse, since our technological advancements are accelerating, possibly leading in the near future to the development of very intelligent, but unlikely to be wise, AI. Let’s explore the concept of wisdom, both inside and outside of the Stoic tradition

Suggested reading here.

Admission: $5 suggested donation, free for members of the Society for Ethical Culture. Learn more about our host organization, the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

When: Monday, 25 November 2019 at 6pm

Where: New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St., Manhattan

RSVP here

Philosophy Day 2019

The annual Philosophy Day — a UNESCO sponsored worldwide celebration of philosophy — will take place at the City College of New York on Thursday, 21 November 2019.

The event will feature a lunch time talk (12:30pm in the North Academic Building, room 5/144) by Prof. Ben Vilhauer on “Taking free will skepticism seriously.”

The keynote for Philosophy Day 2019 will be given by Prof. Elise Crull on “Metaphysics & the Multiverse,” at 7pm in the North Academic Center, room 1/201.

Both events are free of charge. You will have to present a valid form of ID upon entering the campus building.

More info here

RSVP here

Stoa Nova event: Stoicism vs Epicureanism

Zeno of Citium (left) and Epicurus (right)

Stoicism and Epicureanism have been around for more than two millennia. Surprisingly, they are being proposed in the 21st century as philosophies to adopt in order to live a life worth living (a eudaimonic life, as the ancient Greeks called it).

Join us for a conversation between Prof. Catherine Wilson, author of How to Be an Epicurean, and Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be a Stoic, and decide for yourself whether you are a follower of Epicurus or of Zeno (or neither, that’s okay too).

The authors will be signing books (for sale at the event) after their friendly discussion.

Suggested readings:

How to Be an Epicurean, by Catherine Wilson

How to Be a Stoic, by Massimo Pigliucci

Epic battles in practical ethics: Stoicism vs Epicureanism

Catherine Wilson received her PhD in philosophy from Princeton University and has taught at universities in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has published more than 100 research papers and eight books, including A Very Short Introduction to Epicureanism and Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint. She currently is visiting presidential professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center at CUNY.

Massimo Pigliucci is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He holds PhDs in genetics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy. He has published 163 technical papers and has written for many outlets, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Massimo has written or edited twelve books, including Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, and A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control.

Admission: $5 suggested donation, free for members of the Society for Ethical Culture. Learn more about our host organization, the New York Society for Ethical Culture

When: Thursday, 7 November 2019, at 6pm

Where: New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St., Manhattan

RSVP here

Stoa Nova event: Arête: on the nature of human excellence

The point of Stoic training is to become more virtuous. But what does “virtue” mean? Definitely not what Christians refer to by that term. We’ll discuss not just the canonical four virtues of practical wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, but more broadly what it means to strive to be an excellent (i.e., virtuous) human being.

Suggested reading here.

When: Monday, 28 October 2019, at 6pm.

RSVP here.

Person, Place, Thing

Wednesday night, at 7pm, I will be interviewed by the Host of Person, Place, Thing, Randy Cohen (the former New York Times ethicist) on, well a particular person, place, and thing that have had a major impact on my life. I won’t spoil the experience by giving you the answers now, so if you are interested and available, come to the New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St. for what will likely be an entertaining live show.

About Randy: Randy Cohen’s first professional work was writing humor pieces, essays and stories for newspapers and magazines (The New Yorker, Harpers, the Atlantic, Young Love Comics). His first television work was writing for Late Night with David Letterman for which he won three Emmy awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on Michael Moore’s TV Nation. He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. For twelve years he wrote “The Ethicist,” a weekly column for the The New York Times Magazine. His most recent book (an optimistic formulation) is Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything.

Stoicon-X New York!

What? You can’t make it to the annual Stoicon in Athens, on October 5th?

Well, that’s a dispreferred indifferent, of course. But you do have an alternative, if you live in New York City: Stoicon-X New York will take place on Thursday, September 19th, at the Society for Ethical Culture.

Join Massimo Pigliucci, author of the new “A Handbook for New Stoics: How to Thrive in a World Out of Your Control,” Don Robertson, author of the new “How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius,” and Bill Irvine, author of the new “The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient” for an exceptional triple feature event beginning at 6pm.


6:00pm – Welcome to Stoicon-X New York (Massimo Pigliucci)

6:10pm – Don Robertson: How to think like a Roman emperor

6:35pm: Q&A with Don

6:45pm – Bill Irvine: The Stoic challenge

7:10pm – Q&A with Bill

7:20pm – Massimo Pigliucci: How to thrive in a world out of your control

7:45pm – Q&A with Massimo

8:00pm – Book signing by the authors

(Event over by 8:30pm)

About the books:

“In an age that equates virtue with frenzies of outrage and denunciations of others’ failings, A Handbook for New Stoics serves as an inspired self-help cure that, with insight and sympathy, will nudge you in the direction of the happiness and equanimity born of strength of character and wisdom.”—Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex

“Robertson distills the emperor’s philosophy into useful mental habits…[he] displays a sound knowledge of Marcus’ life and thought…[his] accessible prose style contributes to its appeal…[the] book succeeds on its own terms, presenting a convincing case for the continuing relevance of an archetypal philosopher-king.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Irvine is a warm and friendly Stoic, and one of the great guides through the subject. His congenial writing offers strategies for the anxiety-free, supple kind of sturdiness with which we should all be greeting ourselves and the world.” ―Derren Brown, mentalist, illusionist, and author of Happy

When: Thursday, 19 September 2019, at 6pm.

RSVP here.