John Sellars
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Personal profile

Affiliations

Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, King's College London

Member of Common Room, Wolfson College, Oxford

Personal profile

Dr John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, a Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London, and a Member of Common Room at Wolfson College, Oxford (where he was once a Junior Research Fellow).

He was previously a Research Fellow at King’s College London, where he worked on the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project (with which he remains involved, as Associate Editor) and, before that, a Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. At Wolfson he is a member of the college's Ancient World Research Cluster. He is also one of the founder members of the London Centre for Ancient Philosophy

He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Research interests

His research focuses on the history of philosophy, falling into two main areas.

1. Ancient Philosophy, in particular Stoicism and its reception. His first book, The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy (2003; 2nd edn 2009) examined the way in which Stoic philosophy was located within a broader conception of philosophy as a way of life. His second book, Stoicism (2006), was described by reviewers as ‘excellent’, ‘outstanding’, and ‘the best introduction to the subject’. More recently, he edited The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition (2016), charting the influence of Stoic ideas from antiquity to the present day. His third authored book, Hellenistic Philosophy, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. Since then he has written a monograph on Marcus Aurelius, defending his status as a serious philosopher fully committed to Stoicism. He has also written a number of trade books for Penguin which have been translated into multiple languages: Lessons in Stoicism (2019), The Fourfold Remedy: Epicurus and the Art of Happiness (2021), and Aristotle: Understanding the World's Greatest Philosopher (2023).  

Among other projects, he is currently editing The Cambridge Companion to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, and (with Liz Gloyn, RHUL), Brill's Companion to Musonius Rufus. With Liz Gloyn he runs a biennial Royal Holloway Stoic Workshop (2019, 2021, 2023). 

2. Renaissance Philosophy. He has written on a number of topics and figures in Renaissance philosophy, from the Aristotelian Pietro Pomponazzi to the Neostoic Justus Lipsius. His most recent project has been an edition and translation with interpretative essays of a fourteenth century text on Stoic ethics (co-written with C. R. Hogg): Barlaam of Seminara on Stoic Ethics (2022).

His next major project will be a monograph on philosophy as a way of life in the Renaissance. 

What his work in these two areas shares is an approach shaped by the notion of 'philosophy as a way of life', an account of philosophy formulated by Pierre Hadot, whose work influenced the late work of Michel Foucault. In 2019 he co-organized a conference on this topic at King's College London. He has been involved in two international research projects on the topic, based in Melbourne (2014-19) and Lisbon (2023-24). 

For further information, visit www.johnsellars.org.uk.

For preprints of many publications, visit royalholloway.academia.edu/JohnSellars

Follow the links for more information about work on Stoicism at Royal Holloway and about impact with Stoic Philosophy. Sellars is one of the founder members (and currently Chair) of Modern Stoicism, the organization behind 'Stoic Week', and he is also one of the founder members of The Aurelius Foundation. You can hear him talk about this work in the Royal Holloway podcast, 'Seminar Sessions, Ep. 5: Do Stoics Have Emotions?'.