Forum Philosophicum

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Charles Hogg
Pages 97-106

Reflections on Epictetus’ Notion of Personhood

Epictetus’ discussion of the death of spouse and child in Encheiridion 3 raises interesting problems on the meaning of “person” in his Stoic philosophy. The author uses Epictetus’ discussion as a window into his notion of person, and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of that notion. The Stoic view of person represents an advance over pre-Stoic views. It offers us a better way to look at significant others throughout life, and helps us better to deal with their loss. Yet it falls short of being a fully satisfactory notion of person, because it does not address the fact that I am constituted as person only in relationship to others who are themselves persons.