What Can the Stoics and Other Ancient Philosophers Teach Us About Our Well-Being and Happiness?

Despite the flood of self-help guides and our current therapeutic culture, feelings of alienation and spiritual longing continue to grip modern society. Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, whose earlier book Race Experts was reviewed by the New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post, offers a fresh solution: a return to classic philosophy and the cultivation of an inner life. In Ars Vitae: The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living, Lasch-Quinn examines how Gnosticism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, and Platonism have reappeared in American culture and argues that taken together, they offer a better path toward well-being and happiness than current obsessions with the self. The sweep and comprehensiveness of this book are remarkable. Lasch-Quinn uses a panoramic range of sources, including philosophy, literature, films, and other artifacts of popular culture. This book will appeal to intellectual readers with an interest in philosophy or in an alternative framework to a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Ars Vitae sounds a clarion call to take back philosophy as part of our everyday lives. It proposes a way to do so, sifting through the ruins of long-forgotten and recent history alike for any shards helpful in piecing together the coherence of a moral framework that allows us ways to move forward toward the life we want and need.

Read this Interview with Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn.


Ars Vitae was selected as the 2020 Giles Family Fund Recipient. The Giles Family Fund supports the work and mission of the  University of Notre Dame Press to publish books that engage the most enduring questions of our time. Each year the endowment helps underwrite the publication and promotion of a book that sparks intellectual exploration and expands the reach and impact of the university.

Ars Vitae is available in print and digital editions from the University of Notre Dame Press. For additional information, or a review copy, contact: Kathryn Pitts, pitts.5@nd.edu, 574.631.3267.

Complete story is published at undpressnews.nd.edu.

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