Death and Stoicism

A 5-minute video produced by Aeon magazine on how Stoics look at death. As Seneca says, in a sense practicing philosophy throughout our lives is preparation for what amounts to be the last and greatest test of our character.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Death and Stoicism”

  1. Isn’t there a contradiction in the Stoics maintaining both these things: (1) that suicide is justifiable in the face of unbearable suffering and (2) that suffering only becomes unbearable if the mind gives assent to that idea. ‘Nature in its great love for us has designed us in such a way as to make pain either endurable or brief (Seneca Letter 78.7) and ‘Pain is a trivial matter when not augmented by belief.’ (78.13)


    1. Only if you take those passages literally. Seneca himself explains in other letters that if pain is crippling and there is no hope to ease it in the future then it is time to quit.


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