Stoic Attitudes Scale

Stoic Attitudes and Behaviours Self-Rating Scale (SABSS)

Enchiridion(Version for preliminary testing only!)
NB: This is now obsolete an there’s a more recent version available here, which you can complete online!

Copyright © Donald Robertson, 2013.  All rights reserved.

NB: Your feedback is much appreciated, especially on whether the questions make sense to you, and whether you feel they adequately assess (self-rated) attitudes that would be consistent with a classical Stoic philosophy of life.  Please rate yourself using the scale and then comment below. Thanks!

Introduction.  This scale is still under development.  The initial version is designed to help arrive at a consensus on items (questions/statements) that accurately and comprehensively define a classical Stoic philosophical outlook.  There’s also a section for basic Stoic practices or cognitive and behavioural strategies.  In some cases a balance has to be struck between fidelity to the ancient tradition and making the statements comprehensible to a modern research participant.  This scale is initially being developed with a view to using it in correlational research to establish the extent to which existing Stoic attitudes, among students of Stoicism or the general population, correlate with established measures of psychological resilience, emotional wellbeing, etc.  (There are currently no reverse-scored questions, although these may be incorporated at a later date.)

Rate how strongly you agree with each of the statements below using this scale:

1. Strongly disagree / 2. Disagree / 3. Neither agree nor disagree / 4. Agree / 5. Strongly agree

Overall Self-Rating of Stoicism

“I would describe myself as someone who believes in and tries to follow the Stoic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium.”

Stoic Beliefs & Attitudes

1. “The goal of human life is to attain personal happiness and fulfilment.”

2. “I seek to achieve happiness by living in harmony with my own nature and the world around me.”

3. “When we accept what happens to us, insofar as it’s outside of our control, life goes smoothly and it’s easier to remain calm.”

4. “Virtue, or excelling in terms of our moral reasoning, is the only true good in life and vice the only true evil.”

5. “I like to think of all things in the universe as being parts of a unified whole.”

6. “I think all virtues are fundamentally one and the same thing, different forms of practical wisdom.”

7. “The material world is in constant change, as things gradually turn into their opposites.”

8. “All material things are transient.”

9. “We shouldn’t be surprised by any misfortune because we know various things befall other people in life.”

10. “Virtue consists in perfecting our essential nature as rational and social beings.”

11. “Moral goodness is all that’s required to have a good life.”

12. “Health, wealth, reputation, and other ‘external’ things can never contribute to genuine happiness and fulfilment in life.”

13. “The most important human virtues are prudence, justice, courage, and moderation.”

14. “Peace of mind comes from abandoning fears and desires about things outside our control.”

15. “Virtue consists in perfecting our rational nature, through cultivating wisdom.”

16. “Practical wisdom mainly entails knowledge of what is good, bad, and indifferent in life.”

17. “The fear of death is more harmful to the good life than death itself.”

18. “Things beyond our control neither help nor harm our ability to flourish and be fulfilled in life.”

19. “Emotional suffering is based on irrational judgments that place excessive value on external things.”

20. “The only things truly under our control in life are our judgments and acts of will.”

Stoic Behaviours & Strategies

21. “I like to contemplate what a perfectly wise and good person would do when faced with various misfortunes in life.”

22. “We should wish that other people attain wisdom and flourish, fate permitting, while accepting that it is ultimately outside of our control.”

23. “It’s important to anticipate future misfortunes and to rehearse rising above them.”

24. “I often contemplate the smallness and transience of human life in relation to the totality of space and time.”

25. “Virtue requires effort in the form of continual attention to our judgments and actions.”

26. “It’s natural and healthy to be grounded in the present moment.”

27. “I try to live simply and with moderation.”

28. “When a disturbing thought enters my mind the first thing I do is remind myself it’s just an impression and not the thing it claims to represent.”

29. “I regularly contemplate the inevitability of my own death in order to come to terms with my mortality.”

30. “I routinely examine my own actions and evaluate what I did well, what badly, and what I omitted to do.”

3 thoughts on “Stoic Attitudes Scale

  1. I scored all 4’s and 5’s EXCEPT re: Virtue. I guess I have not yet learned the Stoic definitons well. I guess I DO believe in virtue and excellence, but in a manner that is slightly different than the classic Stoic defintion.

    The survey itself is quite a valuable tool.

  2. Perhaps you need to provide some final ratings. For example, if you score between 0 and 25 then …., 26 – 50 then …… Overall a good idea which I’ll use.

    1. Thanks. Once we’ve got a consensus on the philosophical content we’ll put the questions online in an electronic survey and then, after a reasonable number of people have completed them, we can calculate the mean score, etc. So that will give a very rough initial comparison figure. Eventually, we’ll be able to do proper psychometric testing to validate the measure and extract other statistics.

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