Epictetus on Moral Perspectives

Julia Annas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Epictetus frequently tells us to remember our duties as son, brother, town councilor and the like, and thus to think of our duties in terms of a perspective embedded in our social lives. However, he also tells us to think in terms of the perspective of universal reason, from which the Stoic thinks of his duties as being owed to all rational humans. How are these two perspectives to be related in Epictetus' thought? This chapter argues that it is important that we think of the universal perspective as an ideal to which we aspire from within the social roles that form the structure of our actual lives, and defends this position against criticisms that it is too unambitious and quietistic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Epictetus
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191716416
ISBN (Print)9780199233076
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Duties
  • Perspectives
  • Rational humans
  • Reason
  • Social lives
  • Universal reason

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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