UW lecturer and camp founder on ancient Stoic philosophy featured in new book - Casper, WY Oil City News
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UW lecturer and camp founder on ancient Stoic philosophy featured in new book

UW professor Rob Colter (left) with a bust of Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (UW, Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo — Rob Colter, an associate lecturer in the University of Wyoming Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, is featured in a chapter of a recent book on stoic philosophy, the university announced Monday.

Colter is featured in author Eric Weiner’s “The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers,” in a chapter called “How to Cope like Epictetus.”

Colter is the founder and director of Wyoming Stoic Camp, a five-day camp hosted by the UW Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in the Snowy Range that began in 2017. Weiner chronicles his experiences at the camp in the chapter featuring Colter. 

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“The goal of the camp is to experiment with living in a thoroughly philosophical way — using the Stoics as a model — and explore what it means to live intentionally,” UW said.

Stoic philosophy was founded around 300 BC in Athens, Greece, and has gained new popularity in the last several years among CEOs, coaches, and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to the NFL, according to entrepreneur, podcaster, and “Tao of Seneca” author Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss says Stoicism “can be thought of as an operating system for thriving in high-stress environments.”

“At its core, it teaches you how to separate what you can control from what you cannot, and it trains you to focus exclusively on the former,” Ferriss wrote.

Weiner learned of Colter’s Wyoming Stoic Camp from an announcement he saw at Stoicon, a modern Stoicism conference, in fall 2016. The following May, he traveled to Wyoming to attend the camp and learn more, UW said.

“Eric was writing his book, which is an exploration of a number of ‘schools’ of philosophy, and coming to my camp was part of that exploration,” Colter said. 

“He had told me, in a vague way, that his camp experience would inform his book, but I had no specific ideas of what that meant.”

At the camp, mornings are spent discussing the Greek philosopher Epictetus and his “Handbook” in a large-group setting, while afternoons are devoted to discussing Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius in a small group session, UW said.

Colter also teaches philosophy to incarcerated men and women in the state. He has been involved in the Wyoming Pathways from Prison program, a prison higher education program, since 2017. This year, he was named a co-executive director of the program.

Colter and Weiner will share another conversation on “Stoa Nova Conversations,” an online program that Colter co-hosts with Massimo Pigliuccia, a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. 

Weiner will discuss his latest work Sunday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m. For more information and to view the program, go to www.meetup.com/Stoa-Nova/events.

Colter says he is flattered to be included in Weiner’s book.

“I’m grateful that my work has had an impact, and it may continue to do so through Eric’s book,” Colter says.