Dr John Sellars | Lecturer in Philosophy
“My why... is the way in which their philosophies can inform how people live their lives."
The area of philosophy that I’ve worked on mainly is the ancient philosophical school of Stoicism and I have just finished writing a book on Hellenistic philosophy. This is the philosophy from about 330 BC to around 30 BC dominated by three philosophical traditions: Stoicism, Epicureanism, and various forms of Scepticism. One of the things I’m particularly interested in is the way in which these philosophers are concerned not only with theoretical questions in ethics and metaphysics, for example, but also with the way in which their philosophies can inform how people live their lives. Recently I’ve also been involved in a project trying to bring Stoic ideas to the wider public. This involves an experiment that we called ‘Stoic Week’ where participants follow Stoic life guidance for a week. We’ve noticed that there is an improvement in people’s subjective sense of well-being after following Stoic Week, after engaging with these ideas. It has been very satisfying to see the way in which these ancient ideas can help people think about how they live their lives today. My why is to introduce people to the rich range of resources that the ancient philosophy of Stoicism has that can help them to live rich and fulfilled, happy lives.