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As we have all noticed, we’ve been living in a pandemic for the past year and a half. With all the anxiety, frustrations, and restrictions on our movements that followed. The ancient Stoics can teach us a thing or two about how to deal with life in general, and pandemics in particular. The emperor Marcus Aurelius lived through the Antonine Plague in the second century, the worst pandemic of the ancient world. Socrates, an inspiration to the Stoics, survived the plague in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Seneca wrote about being sent into exile, and isolation during covid very much may make us feel like exiles. Worried about having little control over things? The slave-turned-teacher Epictetus taught us how to be happy by focusing on what is “up to us” while developing an attitude of equanimity toward what is not up to us. An attitude that comes very handy of late.
Prof. Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He currently is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, the nature of pseudoscience, and the practical philosophy of Stoicism.
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