Several different schools of philosophy emerged at the same time and shortly after the famous traditions of Platonism and Aristotelianism in ancient Greece. The most significant, which have had a lasting impact on philosophy since antiquity, were Cynicism, Stoicism and Epicureanism, each of which offered a moral programme advocating the best way to live and a more abstract physical, scientific model of the workings of the universe.

This lecture traces the main intellectual strands in each, focussing on the differences between them. The great thinkers whose works will be considered in detail are the fragments of Diogenes and of Zeno, the founders of Cynicism and Stoicism respectively, and Lucretius, the author of the great Epicurean poem of the 1st century BCE, On the Nature of Things.

A lecture by Edith Hall, 27 May

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/cynics-stoics-epicureans

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 2,000 lectures free to access or download from the website.

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