MARKUS RÜTHER

RESEARCHER | AUTHOR | PODCASTER

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AN INTRODUCTION

Why am I in The Walled Garden? Stoicism has been a part of my life for a couple of years now, and I am eager to explore it further–both theoretically and practically. Somehow, the theoretical side comes naturally to me; I work as a philosopher in academia, namely at a German research center (a vibrant place!). I also work as a professor and lecturer (we Germans say: Privatdozent) at university. More recently, I published a book on how to live like a Stoic for the general audience in Germany, and I am also a co-host of the first German-speaking podcast debating the Stoic philosophy of life. In my more practical endeavours, I work as a certified psychological counsellor and mentor, using Stoic techniques (among others) to help people improve their life.

"There are obviously many equally good ways of leading a good life. This, however, does not mean that all ways are equally good. Some are beyond the space of goodness. It's the task of ethics and critical thinking to explore where the boundary line between good and evil exists."

Original German title: "Als Stoiker leben. Was wir wissen und was wir üben müssen. WBG: 2022"; English transl.: "Living Like a Stoic. What We Must Know and What We Must Practice."

AREAS OF INTEREST & EXPERTISE

TRIBUTE: CHANGE (Featuring Goethe)

I have always been an eclecticist when finding my way around. In the past, I have mostly drawn from the sources that seem appropriate to me given the problem at hand. Philosopher x for this, Psychologist y for that, Novelist z for this, and so on. I also change the rankings in my “hall of fame” from time to time, probably because I and my outlook change. Therefore, I do not want to give tribute to a special person or figure. Instead, I want to honour a phenomenon, which I passionately cheer for, namely: change. One of the best passages I know of that describes this process was written by J. W. v. Goethe and stems from the poem Permanence in Change.

You yourself too! What was standing
Firm as rock before your sight,
Wall and Palace, now you’re seeing
With ever-changing eyes.
Wasted now are those lips
Kisses healed once long ago
And the feet now that skipped
On cliffs like mountain goats’.

–  J. W. v. Goethe

Stoiker Podcast

 I am a co-host of the first German-speaking podcast devoted to the Stoic philosophy of life. Together with two colleagues (Ralph Kurz and Tobias Ruess), I explore the theoretical parts given in their philosophical system of Logic, Ethics, and Physics, but also the practical parts as they can be read from the various “spiritual exercises” we know chiefly from the Roman Stoics. Additionally, the podcast includes interviews with leading German scholars, special “mainstream” episodes (e. g. Stoicism and Star Wars) and short scholarly biscuits (e. g. Stoicism and Determinism).

ALS STOIKER LEBEN

Eng. "Living Like a Stoic"

“Als Stoiker leben” (transl. Living like a Stoic) is the first book written in the German language which tries to give a coherent picture of Stoic philosophy, exploring the theoretical, as well as the practical parts of Stoic philosophy (and how both are connected). What is a good life according to the Stoics? And if we know that, which “spiritual exercises” must be practised in order to implement Stoic wisdom into practice? The book explores both questions in detail. It does so by giving a full account of the cardinal virtues, namely wisdom, justice, courage and temperance, and their place in Stoic Logic, Ethics and Physics. Hereafter, it illustrates which exercises and practices can be connected to each virtue and how we can implement them in everyday life.

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