This week introduces the main philosophical positions on freedom (Hard determinism, radical free will and compatibilism). Stocism and existentialism are introduced via their respective positions on the question of freedom.
Having a consistent position on freedom is important for how we think about our actions and how other people should be treated, relating particular to anxiety, guilt, blame and responsibility.
An understanding of the philosophical positions on freedom will also make a deeper understanding of Stocism and existentialism possible.
The key ideas of Stoicism are introduced showing how Stoic philosophy can be used as a philosophy for life. These key ideas include the dichotomy of control, virtue is the only good and preferred indifferents.
We will learn how Stoics promote wellbeing by reducing negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, resentment and jealousy, and also increasing opportunities for love, joy and happiness.
This week uses Donald Roberston's Book, The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Stoic Philosophy as Rational amd Cognitive Psychotherapy, to describe how Stoicism and CBT can work hand in hand.
CBT is a modern scientifically grounded psychotherapy that has remarkable similarities with the ancient philosophy of Stocism. In so far as their techniques overlap, CBT supplies Stocism with scientific evidence and Stocism supplies a deeper complete philosophy for life to CBT practices.
This week will focus on key Stoic 'spirtual exercises' that Robertson argues overlap with CBT techniques. These include premeditation of adversity, Stoic mindfulness of the "here and now", the view from above, Stoic fatalism, determinism and acceptance.
The key work of one of the three main Stoics, Epictetus, is explored. Its title is Enchiridion, which is translated as Handbook. The book is a manual to show the way to achieve mental freedom and happiness in all circumstances.
This week explores the second of the three main Stoics and two of his influential letters.
Along with Freud and Adler, Frankl's work is part of the three Viennese schools of psychotherapy. He founded logotherapy which focuses on the search for a meaningful life as the fundamental drive in humans. He outlines a practical approach to what he describes as the "existential vacuum" that characterizes our age. His wonderfully accessible work provides an excellent introduction to existentialism more generally.
Kierkegaard is widely recognised as the grandfather of existentialism. He presents three distinctive 'spheres of existence' and tries to communicate in a way that can facilitate our development through them. He characterizes the adoption of a new sphere with anxiety and despair that can only be alleviated by the free choice to adopt a meaningful life. Kierkegaard's works are therefore, existential therapy as they stand.
Nietzsche's idea of the eternal recurrence plays a central role in his key positive work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. That work outlines how the meaninglessness of the world can be overcome in a way that does not appeal to an after-life and is, according to Nietzsche, truely life affirming.
Sartre describes how living in good faith allows us to choose projects that make our lives meaningful. For Sartre, this is to live authentically.
Participants have an opportunity to talk about any aspect of the course they found interesting and how they might apply it to their life.
Online by Google Meet hosted by Dr Pete Rogers. £5 per session per person or £40 per person for the whole course if purchased before first session.
Approximate timing: 90 min sessions, presentation of topic for 45 mins and discussion for 45 mins. 1 session per week. Wednesdays 19:30-21:00 GMT.
Start date: Wed 1st Sept 2021, end: Wed 3rd Nov 2021.