Overcoming victimhood: Stoicism, anti-stoicism and Le Fils

Damian Cox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVictim victorious
Subtitle of host publicationFrom fire to phoenix
EditorsM-C Patron, S S Holden
Place of PublicationUntied States
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781634822381
ISBN (Print)9781634822169
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

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