While aging is accompanied by loss of certain abilities and customary sources of pleasure, throughout the millennia and across cultures, philosophers and religious thinkers alike have asserted that our later years, if we enter them with the proper state of mind, can be among our happiest. How happy we are, they realized, is determined not so much by what we have as by the relationship between what we have and what we want. It is important to keep this in mind, since the aging process transforms our desires, and likely, our values as well. Acceptance of the fact that our days are numbered can, paradoxically, invest those days with a richness that we might not have thought possible. Irvine will explore the advice the Stoic philosophers and others have offered on aging well.
William B. Irvine’s research focuses on issues at the borderline of traditional philosophy and practical life, such as ethical issues involved in finances or ethical and political aspects of parenting. His most recent book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy explores the strategies for living developed by philosophers and religious thinkers. As the result of his research, Irvine has become what he describes as a walking anachronism: a twenty-first century Stoic. He is the author of On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, a 2006 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award. Irvine is a professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.