Stoic Political Thought in the Eighteenth Century

Stream: Panel 80 - Political Theory: Living According to Nature: Aristotle, Stoicism, and the Frankfurt School
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Stoicism was one of the most influential schools of political thought in antiquity but it declined in popularity after the rise of Christianity. There was a neo-Stoic revival led by Justus Lipsius (1547 – 1606) in the sixteenth century and another in the early eighteenth century led primarily by Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671 –1713), once described as ‘the greatest Stoic of modern times’. In this paper we explore the reverberations of Stoic political thought in the eighteenth century and pay particular attention to neo-Stoic thinkers embedded within a larger circle identified by Caroline Robbins as the ‘Commonwealthmen’. The extent to which Stoicism informed the political thought of the Commonwealthmen has been under-explored. By way of remedy we seek to excavate classical Stoic tendencies in the work of such important figures as Richard Cumberland, Anthony Ashley Cooper, James Harringon, Frances Hutcheson, John Trenchard, Adam Ferguson and John Millar.


Lisa Hill (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Lisa Hill is a Professor

Eden Blazejak (Presenter), University of Adelaide
Lisa Hill is a Professor of Politics at the University of Adelaide. Her interests are in political theory, history of political thought and electoral ethics.