Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter uses a discourse by the Roman Stoic Musonius Rufus in order to think about how we can approach the topic of “sex and Roman philosophy.” The introduction argues that in both philosophy and popular usage today, the intensional domains of “sex,” “sexual desire,” and “sexuality” are vague and controversial. Therefore it experiments with three different approaches. The first derives from virtue ethics; it focuses on which partners, situations, or reasons for genital intercourse are consonant with virtue, conducive to happiness, and therefore choiceworthy for a Stoic. The second is Foucauldian; it situates the problem of genital intercourse against a larger problematic of self-knowing and self-cultivation. The third is psychoanalytic; it focuses on the libidinal dimensions of Musonius’s diction and style as he talks about intercourse. Each of these approaches tells us something about how “sex” operates in Musonius’s Roman philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy
EditorsDavid Konstan, Myrto Garani, Gretchen Reydams-Schils
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780197639832
ISBN (Print)9780199328383
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2023

Structured keywords

  • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


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