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Georgia Ancient Philosophy Seminar

GAPS 2019: Stoicism and Skepticism in Dialogue

September 28, 2019

Agnes Scott College

Special thanks to Hal Thorsrud of Agnes Scott College for co-organizing.


Participants must read closely in advance Epictetus' Encheiridion (Handbook) as well as Book I of Sextus Empiricus' Outlines of Skepticism. For print editions, we recommend the affordable Hackett translations of each text (here and here). Discussion will likely refer to the Hackett page numbers. Alternatively, free online editions are available (here and here). Knowledge of Greek is not necessary to participate, but the Epictetus is available in Greek-English parallel online (here), and Loeb parallel print editions are also available for each text (here and here). Finally, for a brief historical introduction to each of these schools of thought, consider Peter Adamson's podcasts, numbers 52-76 (here).


GAPS involves a series of moderated conversations around a selected text. You may choose any edition or any translation of the text that you wish. Participants are free to enter the conversation at will and without permission, but nobody should feel specifically obligated to speak. The core goal of our discussion is to practice the virtues of respectful dialogue. With this aim in mind, we suggest these additional Conversational Guidelines:

  1. Do the reading. This is the basic requirement for contributing to the conversation.
  2. Avoid chasing topics. The conversation should be textually grounded, so try to avoid ideas that wander from the text.
  3. Avoid appeals to authorities. Only reference other sources or interpretations if you can briefly provide everyone with the relevant context.
  4. Practice conversational courtesy. Listen first. Respond to what was said. Be slow to introduce new topics.
  5. Avoid long speeches. Give room to others to enter the conversation. The moderators reserve the right to break filibusters.
  6. Try to practice the virtues under investigation. Much of ancient philosophy is devoted to exploring the question of the good life. Thus, we should occasionally stop and assess whether/how our conversation enacts (or fails to enact) what we are exploring.


Seminar events will be held on Saturday, September 28th, 10am-5pm, on the campus of Agnes Scott College.

    • 9:30-10am - Coffee/Snack (TBD)
    • 10-11:45am - Session 1: Epictetus (TBD)
      • Introduction: Hal Thorsrud
      • Question: Woody Belangia
    • 12-1:45pm - Lunch (Victory Sandwich Bar)
    • 2-3:30pm - Session 2: Sextus Empiricus (TBD)
      • Question: Hal Thorsrud
    • 3:30-3:45 - Coffee Break
    • 3:45-5pm - Session 3: Dialogue (TBD)
      • Question: TBD
    • 5pm - Optional Town Outing


Free! Please note: Morning and afternoon coffee will be provided free in the seminar area. However, participants should expect to pay for their own travel, stay, and lunch with the group on Saturday at Victory Sandwich Bar. Everyone is also welcome to stay for food and drinks on the town after the event.


Agnes Scott College is located only 5-10 minutes' walk from the very nice Decatur Square. Hence, for those planning to stay the night, one interesting option would be to stay at the Anna I. Young Alumnae House on the Agnes Scott College campus. (Please note that there is a two night minimum for Friday or Saturday check-ins.) Alternatively, the Marriott on Decatur Square is a nice option only about 15 minutes walking from our meeting place at Agnes Scott College.


A. Park for free at Agnes Scott College West Parking Garage at South Mcdonough Street and Buttrick Drive. Further directions forthcoming.

B. Or park street-side for free on Milton Candler Lane (Loop), found just off of East College Avenue at the main entrance to the College. Further directions forthcoming.