The ongoing popularity of Seneca's Letters from a Stoic and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations testifies to a continuing interest in Stoic philosophy. Epicureanism offers the other side of the same coin, and in spite of the obvious differences between the two philosophies, it is easy to discern their fundamental similarities. Both value practice over theory and acknowledge the worth of sense and experience. Both seek answers to such questions as what makes for a good life and how to determine our place in the universe. This classic work explores these still-vibrant schools of thought in a scholarly but accessible style.
Author R. D. Hicks bases his exposition of the parallel systems of thought on independent study of the original authorities. His treatment starts with an analysis of writings by early Stoics — Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus — and their successors, Epictetus and Seneca. A study of the rival school follows, focusing on the teachings of Epicurus and Lucretius. Subsequent chapters examine the conflicts and opposition that continually modified Stoic doctrine, including the rise of Skepticism and Eclecticism. The text is complemented by a select bibliography and a chronological table of noteworthy thinkers and writers.