Philosophy, Psychology, and the Gods in Seneca's Hercules Furens

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The relation of Seneca's tragedies to his Stoic philosophical prose is a canonical one. Hercules Furens creates particular puzzles in this area, both because of Hercules' delirium and because of the intervention of the hostile goddess Juno. In this article I suggest we approach HF as a creative supplement to doctrinaire Stoicism. In order to do so, I borrow theories Bernard Stiegler, whose philosophy illuminates the entanglement of personal psychology and ethics not only with interpersonal relationships and society, but also with technics and spirituality. I make explicit that I by no means attribute my conclusions to Seneca: one of the virtues of good creative fiction is that its meanings exceed the intentions of the author. The Stieglerian lens reveals saliences and patterns that Seneca could not have seen in the same way. Seneca’s text, in turn, gives new significance to Stiegler’s philosophy, especially his pervasive but nebulous “spirituality.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-52
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophia: Yearbook of the Research Centre for Greek Philosophy at the University of Athens
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2018


  • Stoicism
  • Seneca
  • Bernard Stiegler
  • Hellenistic philosophy
  • theology
  • Spirituality
  • psychology
  • madness
  • hallucination
  • delirium
  • technology
  • extended mind
  • technics
  • Stoic


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