Offered the opportunity to contribute guest posts to the Partially Examined Life, I decided some time back to start by addressing an issue that comes up perennially with students and in online Stoic groups – Epictetus’ distinction of what really is in and what is not in our power. This frequently gets called the “dichotomy of control”, and when people first encounter it, it typically raises some puzzles and problems – and understandably so.
One recent way of addressing these has been to set out a slightly more complex “trichotomy of control”, proposed by William Irvine. But, in my view, we needn’t got quite so far as that – there are resources for a much fuller understanding of what Epictetus’ distinction really means contained in his work, The Discourses.
So, here is that blog post. You’ll be seeing more posts by me there this year – as well as the other blogs/sites I contribute to – Stoicism Today, Policy of Truth, and of course my own blogs, Orexis Dianoetike and Half Hour Hegel.