Overcoming victimhood: Stoicism, anti-stoicism and Le Fils

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Book Chapter

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Cox, D. (2015). Overcoming victimhood: Stoicism, anti-stoicism and Le Fils. In M-C. Patron, & S.S. Holden (Eds.), Victim Victorious: From Fire to Phoenix (pp. 1-14). New York, USA: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

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In this chapter I use a film by the Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Le Fils (2002), to explore the difference between Stoic and Anti-Stoic approaches to overcoming victimhood. The Stoic approach to overcoming victimhood emphasizes the inner-strength and resourcefulness of victims. It sets up an ideal of Stoic independence in which a person responds to becoming a victim by marshalling inner resources to overcome destructive and painful emotions. An Anti-Stoic approach to overcoming victimhood rejects such an appeal to independence and acknowledges that victims do not generally possess the inner resources needed to eliminate destructive and painful emotions. According to Anti-Stoicism, overcoming victimhood is a risky affair; it requires both courage and luck. I use Le Fils to argue that the Anti-Stoic approach to overcoming victimhood is both more realistic and more valuable than the Stoic approach.

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