Now that you’ve read the work of three Stoic philosophers, define 3-4 of the basic principles of Stoicism, in your own words. There are no “right” answers; these are basic principles as you perceive them.
Define 3-4 of the basic principles of Stoicism, in your own words
Unit 2 Essay: Basic Stoic Principles
Now that you’ve read the work of three Stoic philosophers, define 3-4 of the basic principles of Stoicism, in your own words. There are no “right” answers; these are basic principles as you perceive them. Support each principle with at least 2 quotations from Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and/or Seneca. Each author must be referenced at least once in your essay. Develop the quotes with explanation and connect each principle to your personal experience.
What is a principle anyway? In this context, “principle” refers to a basic rule or lesson that all three Stoic authors seem to teach. For example, one principle may be that we should not desire fame. You may use this one though there are a lot of principles discussed in these texts, so I’d rather that you come up with 3-4 on your own.
An original title that clues the reader into the purpose of your essay.
An introduction that introduces the philosophers, their texts, and the purpose of your essay.
Several body paragraphs, logically organized, in which you establish a basic principle, illustrate the principle with quotations from at least 2 texts, paraphrase each quote, explaining how it illustrates the principle, and finally, connect the principle to your personal experience.
Tip: Refer to entries by their book and entry number. For example, “In Book 9, entry 17, of Meditations, Aurelius says, . . . ” or even “Entry 9.17 of Meditations says that . . . “. For The Handbook, try, “In section 26 of The Handbook, Epictetus writes, . . .” or “Handbook, number 26, says that . . . “. For Seneca, just refer to the title of the letter. For example, “In “Moderation”, Seneca writes . . . “.
A conclusion that summarizes the basic principles and leaves the reader with a sense of finality on what Stoicism is all about, as well as where you stand with this philosophy.
Correct grammar and mechanics. Clear and well-crafted language. Smooth flow of ideas. Precise diction, as well as concrete and specific details.
A total word count of 600-800 words.
MLA document formatting, in-text citations, and an MLA Works Cited page.
How to Start Your Introduction in an Interesting Way
First, read over the Titles, Introductions, and Conclusions page.
Here are some more ideas tailored to this assignment:
A writer’s opening sentences are sometimes referred to as the “hook” because their goal should be to get the reader interested in what you have to say. A good hook should be relevant to the paper and get the reader to think and feel. Always attempt some strategy to intrigue your audience. Below, you’ll find some common “hook” strategies that you should practice with.
Even though you won’t use them all in one paper, practice opening your essay with each of the following:
A brief personal story or memory – For example, you could share your experience reading Meditations for the first time, or you could share a time in your past when you wish you’d had Marcus Aurelius’s wisdom.
A concrete image (paint a mental picture) – For example, you could describe what you imagine Marcus Aurelius must have looked like while writing in his journal: his physical appearance, facial expression, clothing, posture, surroundings, etc.
A hypothetical (imagined) scenario – For example, you could describe a possible scenario in which being familiar with the Meditations might be useful to a person or come in handy in some way.
A short dialogue – For example, you could construct an imaginary conversation between you and a reader who might not take Marcus Aurelius’s writing seriously because he is ancient history.
A puzzling question or set of questions. For example, you might ask some challenging questions that your selections from the Meditations will go on to answer.
A current event – For example, you could describe something that has happened or is happening in the world today that your selections from the Meditations will shed light or wisdom on.
A provocative declaration – For example, you could make a bold statement about the Meditations that will surprise or shock your reader.
Further into your introduction, here are some other things you’ll want to accomplish:
Provide necessary background information on Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and/or Seneca, Meditations, The Enchiridion, the translators–Moses Hadas, Gregory Hays, and/or Elizabeth Carter–or any key terms that you will use frequently, which your reader may need defined.
State the purpose of your essay.
State your main point about the text (i.e. your thesis).