Thinking and Political Considerations


virtue theory

How to Cite

Thinking and Political Considerations: Gnômê in the Stoic Political Philosophy of Epictetus. (2024). The Political Science Reviewer, 48(1), 87-112.


Much has recently been written on the inevitable demise of liberalism because of a lack of virtue forming intermediary institutions. Liberalism, in its nearly three-century history, has always relied on a certain set of virtues within its citizenry. The absence of virtue forming institutions within liberalism suggests that liberals should look elsewhere for virtue. Adopting this line of thinking, this article suggests a lost virtue that might rescue liberalism from itself: what the Stoic philosopher Epictetus identifies as gnômê. Gnômê refers to our rational activity that according to the Stoics ought to be conformed to nature and, when practiced properly, aligns the basic reality of nature to the moral and ethical choices people make. “Gnomic education,” I argue, will teach citizens how to think in accordance with nature without institutional aid.