The True Test of Philosophy

"How then shall my brother cease to be angry with me?" Bring him to me, and I will tell him. But I have nothing to say to you about his anger.

The true test of any philosophy is its usefulness. Here the man presses Epictetus to answer his first question. And well he might. Why bother with philosophy if it does not bring about desired effects?

Epictetus points out that it is not up to one man to change another, but for each man to change himself. So in effect, there is something that this man can do to change his brother - give him the gift of philosophy. This is what Epictetus means when he tells the man to send his brother to him.

Yet it goes even deeper, the man consulting Epictetus must first change himself. This is how we change the world for the better, one person at a time - beginning with ourselves.

Chapter 15:

  1. What Philosophy Promises
  2. My Brother's Material (15a)
  3. The True Test of Philosophy (15b)
  4. The Fruit of Philosophic Labor (15c)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus

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