Frequently Asked Questions
Go Ahead and Ask...
Although Stoicism is over 2,300 years old, it is still evolving. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about it, as well as our organization.
On Stoic Philosophy
Stoicism is a philosophy of life. Although there are practices and exercises that Stoics partake in, they are not religious rites. While there were religious aspects to ancient Stoicism, it was not a religion in the modern sense of the word. Ancient Stoicism had no houses of worship, sacred books, or an absolute theological doctrine. It did, however, have a spiritual nature that evoked reverence and piety as it does in many who practice it today.
Most ancient Stoics identified God with the universe, the cosmos, the logos, and nature. They were thus pantheists and considered nature to be a rational, living being. Modern Stoics, who have a diversity of beliefs about God, include people of different religions as well as those who are non-religious or don’t believe in God.
These are not Stoic beliefs, although individual Stoics may hold these beliefs. What matters most in Stoicism is what kind of person you are, that is, whether you strive toward excellence of character, or Stoic virtue.
There is no formal requirement to become a Stoic. Individual Stoic groups may have requirements for becoming a member. In any case, one who identifies as a Stoic should be a believer and practitioner of core Stoic principles such as the primacy of Stoic virtue and the Dichotomy of Control.
No, there are many people who are influential in the modern Stoicism movement and are viewed as leaders, but there is no formal leader.
Contrary to popular misconceptions of Stoic philosophy, Stoics are not emotionless people. Stoicism trains the mind to acknowledge fleeting emotions as distracting, leading to clarity of thought. However, Stoics still feel emotions just like everyone else.
On Philadelphia Stoa
The Philadelphia Stoa is a registered as a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Currently, we are seeking official recognition from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations made to Philadelphia Stoa are tax deductible.
Formal membership in the Philadelphia Stoa is not required to attend meetings posted on Meetup or on the Events page of this website. Events for dues-paying members only are not advertised publicly. To become a dues-paying member, please see our membership page.
Pertinent information about upcoming meetings and events is posted on this website under Events and on the Philadelphia Stoa group on Meetup.com. To be notified about events, please join the Philadelphia Stoa Meetup group to receive notifications about upcoming events.
Our regular meeting times are at 4:00pm on Sundays. For the past two years, all meetings have been on Zoom. Before Covid-19, we met in person at the East Falls Public Library and at the Philadelphia Ethical Society building on Rittenhouse Square. We are in the process of formulating an in-person meeting schedule for the near future.
As stated explicitly in our bylaws, no substantial part of the activities of Philadelphia Stoa shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the we will not participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
There is usually no charge to attend events, but we do appreciate donations to help us with expenses. If there is a charge for certain events, that information will be included with the event description.
All organizations wishing to bring themselves forth in the public square will have basic operating costs for things like technology, tax preparation, and administration. As a non-profit, non-shareholder organization, none of the money collected from members and patrons is the property of the members of the board or its officers.