Classical Quarterly 67 (1):149–162 (2017)

Sean McConnell
University of Otago
Epicurus denies that human beings have natural parental love for their children, and his account of the development of justice and human political community does not involve any natural affinity between human beings in general but rather a form of social contract. The Stoics to the contrary assert that parental love is natural; and, moreover, they maintain that natural parental love is the first principle of social οἰκείωσις, which provides the basis for the naturalness of justice and human political community. The Stoics are, therefore, obliged to refute Epicurus’ denial of the naturalness of parental love in order to support their own theory of social οἰκείωσις; and we have good evidence for the arguments that they employed against the Epicureans on this account. Likewise, the Epicureans are obliged not only to defend their own position but also to undermine the competing Stoic theory of social οἰκείωσις; and the foundational premise of a natural bond between parent and child is an obvious target. However, beyond dogmatically restating Epicurus’ denial of natural parental love, the evidence for the Epicurean line of attack against the Stoics is currently unclear. In this paper I argue that we can go some way towards uncovering it via an analysis of some fragmentary passages from an unidentified work of the Epicurean Demetrius of Laconia that contain a puzzling discussion of Epicurus’ stance on parental love.
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838817000313
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References found in this work BETA

The Cradle Argument in Epicureanism and Stoicism.Jacques Brunschwig - 1986 - In Malcolm Schofield & Gisela Striker (eds.), The Norms of Nature: Studies in Hellenistic Ethics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 113–44.
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What Kind of Hedonist Was Epicurus?Raphael Woolf - 2004 - Phronesis 49 (4):303-322.
Stoicism and Epicureanism.Christopher Gill - 2009 - In Peter Goldie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion. Oxford University Press.

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