An Analysis of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Analysis of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations

1st Edition

By James Orr

Macat Library

101 pages

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Description

Despite being written between 170 and 180, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations often resonates with modern readers because of its remarkable resemblance to a self-help book. Written as a series of personal notes in the last decade of his reign as Roman emperor, the meditations were never intended for circulation. But they remain today among the classics of stoic philosophy – and as exquisite examples of problem-solving.

Meditations sees a great leader engaged in solving one of the central problems of all philosophy: how to live a good life. Marcus Aurelius is quick to ask questions and generate solutions, all of which lead him to a greater understanding of what a good life really is. He makes the decision that philosophy is an important tool we can use every day to help us understand and deal with the world. The best way to get to the bottom of a problem, he records, is to analyze its different aspects with care – this will help to ‘dissolve’ the issue. To keep our minds well balanced, it is vital to keep our desire for the material and the sensual in check to avoid falling prey to negative behaviors like jealousy, quarrelling and indulgence. Philosophy, the Meditations show, can also help us to understand other people’s problems and difficulties – acting as a continual spur to the consideration and resolution of problems, wherever they arise.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who was Marcus Aurelius?

What does Meditations Say?

Why does Meditations Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Author

Dr James Orr holds a DPhil in the Philosophy of Religion from the University of Cambridge. He is currently the McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at Christ Church College, Oxford.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General