William O. Stephens, BA, PhD
William O. Stephens, BA, PhD

William O. Stephens, BA, PhD

College of Arts and Sciences


  • Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy and Ethics

Academic Appointments


  • Arts & Sciences


  • Professor


Originally from West Lafayette, Indiana, Stephens earned his B.A. in Philosophy at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1984.  He received his doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in May 1990.  He joined the faculty of Creighton College of Arts & Sciences in August 1990.
Stephens has published 35 articles and essays, and more than 30 book reviews, on topics in Stoicism, Epicureanism, ecology and vegetarianism, ethics and animals, sex and love, and the concept of a person.  His books include an English translation of Adolf Bonhöffer’s work The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus (Peter Lang, 1996); an edited collection titled The Person: Readings in Human Nature (Prentice Hall, 2006); a monograph titled Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom (Continuum, 2007); and a monograph titled Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2012).  Stephens is under contract to co-author (with Scott Aikin) a 60,000 to 75,000 word translation and commentary of Epictetus’ Encheiridion with Bloomsbury.  He is also working on an eight-chapter manuscript titled Lessons in Liberation: Epictetus as Educator for the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Stephens has presented more than 50 papers at conferences across the United States and abroad, including in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, at Rhodes, Greece, at Massey University in New Zealand, and at the University of Warsaw in Poland.

Publications and Presentations


  • “Epictetus on Beastly Vices and Animal Virtues” in Epictetus: His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance, D. R. Gordon & D. B. Suits (editors). Rochester, NY: RIT Press., 207–239, 2014
  • Stephens, William O. “The Roman Stoics on Habit” in A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu, T. Sparrow & A. Hutchinson (editors), Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, June 2013., Lexington Books: A Division of Rowman and Littlefield, 37-65, 2013
  • Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury, © 2012, ISBN 978-1-4411-2561-3 hb; ISBN 978-1-4411-0810-4 pb., Bloomsbury, 208, 2011
  • Stephens, W. O. “Can a Stoic Love?” in Sex, Love, and Friendship. Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love: 1993-2003, A. L. McEvoy (editor), Value Inquiry Book Series., Rodopi Press, Ch. 10, 79–88, 2011
  • Stephens, W. O. “Separated Spouses and Equal Partners: Cicero, Ovid, and Marriage at a Distance.” In Sex, Love, and Friendship. Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love: 1993-2003, A. L. McEvoy (editor), Value Inquiry Book Series., Rodopi Press, Ch. 52, 449–452, 2011
  • Stephens, W. O. “Wise Woman vs. Manic Man: Diotima and Alcibiades in Plato’s Symposium” in Sex, Love, and Friendship. Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love: 1993-2003, A. L. McEvoy (editor), Value Inquiry Book Series., Rodopi Press, Ch. 20, 177–180, 2011
  • Stephens, W. O. “If Friendship Hurts, an Epicurean Deserts: A Reply to Andrew Mitchell.” In Sex, Love, and Friendship. Studies of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love: 1993-2003, A. L. McEvoy (editor), Value Inquiry Book Series., Rodopi Press, Ch. 40, 345–348, 2011
  • Stephens, William O. “What’s Love Got to Do with It? Epicureanism and Friends with Benefits” in College Sex – Philosophy for Everyone: Philosophers with Benefits, M. Bruce & R. M. Stewart (editors)., Wiley-Blackwell, Ch. 6, 77–90, 2010
  • Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom. London: Bloomsbury, Studies in Ancient Philosophy, © 2007, ISBN 0-8264-9608-3 hb., Bloomsbury, 195, 2007
  • Stephens, W. O. The Providential Tourist: Epictetus on How a Stoic Travels, Ancient Greek to Asian Philosophy, 127-140, 2007
  • Stephens, W. O. “Masks, Androids, and Primates: The Evolution of the Concept ‘Person’.” Reprinted in The Person: Readings in Human Nature, W. O. Stephens (editor)., Pearson Education, Ch. 41, 397–408, 2005
  • Stephens, William O. “Stoicism in the Stars: Yoda, the Emperor, and the Force” in Star Wars and Philosophy, K. Decker & J. Eberl (editors), Philosophy and Popular Culture Series. Chicago: Open Court Publishing., Ch. 2, 16–28, 2005
  • Adolf F. Bonhöffer, The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus: An English translation by William O. Stephens. New York: Peter Lang, © 1996, ISBN 0-8204-3027-7 hb; 2nd edition © 2000, ISBN 978-0-8204-5139-8 pb., Peter Lang, 358, 1997


  • “Musonius Rufus.” http://www.iep.utm.edu/musonius/, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2015
  • “Epictetus” http://www.ancientthought.com, 2014
  • Stephens, W. O. “Stoicism and the Philosophies of the Jedi and the Sith.”, Stoic Philosopher, 9, 2014
  • Stephens, W. O. Epictetus on fearing death: bugbear and open door policy, Ancient Philosophy, 34, 2, 365–391, 2014
  • Stephens, W. O. The Mereology of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus., History Research, 2, 2, 164–172, 2013
  • Stephens, W. O., Brown, M. A. Philosophy as Therapy for the Soul, Creighton University Magazine, 30-35, 2006
  • Stephens, W. O., “The Ideal of the Stoic Sportsman.” (with Randolph M. Feezell), Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 31, 2, 196–211, 2004


  • Stephens, W. O. A Philosopher-Emperor's Approach to Conflict Management., Creighton University Magazine, Spring 2012, 20–21, 2012

Editing and Reviews

  • Stephens, William O. Gandhi and the Stoics: Modern Experiments on Ancient Values. By Richard Sorabji. University of Chicago Press, 2012., Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 18, 2013
  • Barber, Daniel T., Stephens, William O. A Seneca Reader: Selections from Prose and Tragedy, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 38, 2012
  • Stephens, W. O. Musonius Rufus, Lectures and Sayings, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2011
  • Stephens, William O. The Cambridge Companion to Galen. Edited by R. J. Hankinson. Cambridge University Press, 2008., Classical Bulletin, 85, 1, 121–123., 2010
  • Stephens, William O. The Philosophy of Epictetus. Edited by Theodore Scaltsas & Andrew Mason. Oxford University Press, 2007., Ancient Philosophy, 29, 2, 477–483, 2009
  • Stephens, W. O. Stoicism and Emotion. By Margaret R. Graver. University of Chicago Press, 2007., Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2008
  • Stephens, W. O. Epictetus’ Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living. By Keith Seddon. New York & London: Routledge, 2005., Ancient Philosophy, 28, 2, 460-466, 2008
  • Stephens, William O. Dumb Beasts and Dead Philosophers: Humanity and the Humane in Ancient Philosophy and Literature. By Catherine Osborne. Oxford University Press, 2007., Social Theory & Practice, 34, 1, 139–145, 2008
  • The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection. By Gretchen Reydams-Schils. University of Chicago Press, 2005., Ancient Philosophy, 26, 2, 438-443, 2006
  • Stephens, W. O. Food for Thought: The Debate over Eating Meat. Edited by Steve F. Sapontzis. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2004., Journal of Philosophy, Science, and Law, 6, 2006
  • The Person: Readings in Human Nature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson (Prentice Hall), © 2006, ISBN 978-0-13-184811-5 pb., Pearson Education, 432, 2005

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Hellenistic Philosophy, Ethics and Animals, Environmental Philosophy, Food Ethics, Philosophical Vegetarianism, Philosophy of the Person, History of Ethics

Current Research Projects

  • Epictetus' Stoic philosophy