Sept. 7, 2007 chrysippus on physical elements
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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My ultimate purpose here is to examine, discuss, and interpret a difficult excerpt in Stobaeus’ 5th c. AD anthology, alleging to report—uniquely, it appears—a distinction Chrysippus drew between three different applications of the term stoixe›on or element (i.e., physical element).1 Stobaeus lists this passage as giving opinions specifically of Chrysippus “about the elements out of substance” (per‹ t«n §k t∞w oÈs€aw stoixe€vn), though in holding them he says Chrysippus was following Zeno, the leader of his sect. Hermann Diels (1879) identified this selection as an excerpt (his fr. 21) from Arius Didymus’ late first century BC Epitome of Physical Doctrines.2 I print a translation below, with the text in an Appendix, as it is given in von Arnim (1903). The text is not without its problems, and I indicate in footnotes to the text which of the principal editors’ textual interventions I accept and follow in my translation. Whether this text presents a single, continuous excerpt from Arius Didymus, or instead some compilation of Stobaeus (or an earlier anthologist whose work Stobaeus employed) from dispersed passages of..
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