ABSTRACT: Alexander of Aphrodisias’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon are valuable sources for both Stoic and early Peripatetic logic, and have often been used as such – in particular for early Peripatetic hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic propositional logic. By contrast, this paper explores the role Alexander himself played in the development and transmission of those theories. There are three areas in particular where he seems to have made a difference: First, he drew a connection between certain passages from Aristotle’s (...) Topics and Prior Analytics and the Stoic indemonstrable arguments, and, based on this connection, appropriated at least four kinds of Stoicindemonstrables as Aristotelian. Second, he developed and made use of a specifically Peripatetic terminology in which to describe and discuss those arguments – which facilitated the integration of the indemonstrables into Peripatetic logic. Third, he made some progress towards a solution to the problem of what place and interpretation the Stoic third indemonstrables should be given in a Peripatetic and Platonist setting. Overall, the picture emerges that Alexander persistently (if not always consistently) presented passages from Aristotle’s logical œuvre in a light that makes it appear as if Aristotle was in the possession of a Peripatetic correlate to the Stoic theory of indemonstrables. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: For the Stoics, a syllogism is a formally valid argument; the primary function of their syllogistic is to establish such formal validity. Stoic syllogistic is a system of formal logic that relies on two types of argumental rules: (i) 5 rules (the accounts of the indemonstrables) which determine whether any given argument is an indemonstrable argument, i.e. an elementary syllogism the validity of which is not in need of further demonstration; (ii) one unary and three binary argumental (...) rules which establish the formal validity of non-indemonstrable arguments by analysing them in one or more steps into one or more indemonstrable arguments (cut type rules and antilogism). The function of these rules is to reduce given non-indemonstrable arguments to indemonstrable syllogisms. Moreover, the Stoic method of deduction differs from standard modern ones in that the direction is reversed (similar to tableau methods). The Stoic system may hence be called an argumental reductive system of deduction. In this paper, a reconstruction of this system of logic is presented, and similarities to relevance logic are pointed out. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: An introduction to Stoic logic. Stoic logic can in many respects be regarded as a fore-runner of modern propositional logic. I discuss: 1. the Stoic notion of sayables or meanings (lekta); the Stoic assertibles (axiomata) and their similarities and differences to modern propositions; the time-dependency of their truth; 2.-3. assertibles with demonstratives and quantified assertibles and their truth-conditions; truth-functionality of negations and conjunctions; non-truth-functionality of disjunctions and conditionals; language regimentation and ‘bracketing’ devices; Stoic basic (...) principles of propositional logic; 4. Stoic modal logic; 5. Stoic theory of arguments: two premisses requirement; validity and soundness; 6. Stoic syllogistic or theory of formally valid arguments: a reconstruction of the Stoic deductive system, which consisted of accounts of five types of indemonstrable syllogisms, which function as nullary argumental rules that identify indemonstrables or axioms of the system, and four deductive rules (themata) by which certain complex arguments can be reduced to indemonstrables and thus shown to be formally valid themselves; 7. arguments that were considered as non-syllogistically valid (subsyllogistic and unmethodically concluding arguments). Their validity was explained by recourse to formally valid arguments. (shrink)
The wider topic to which the content of this paper belongs is that of the relationship between formal logic and real argumentation. Of particular potential interest in this connection are held to be substantive arguments constructed by philosophers reputed equally as authorities in logical theory. A number of characteristics are tentatively indicated by the author as likely to be encountered in such arguments. The discussion centers afterwards, by way of specification, on a remarkable piece of argument quoted in Cicero’s dialog (...) On Divination and ascribed to Stoic thinkers. The Stoics’ formal theory of inference is summarily referred to in this context, with special emphasis on their basic deductive schemata (‘indemonstrables’), some of them recognizable as links in the overall structure of the quoted argument. The main lines of Cicero’s criticism of the Stoic argument are next commented upon, with emphasis on his implied view as to the requirements of a good argument. Towards the end of the paper, a few considerations are added on the changes in the prevailing style of argumentation conspicuous in the three famous Roman Stoics. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A detailed presentation of Stoic theory of arguments, including truth-value changes of arguments, Stoic syllogistic, Stoic indemonstrable arguments, Stoic inference rules (themata), including cut rules and antilogism, argumental deduction, elements of relevance logic in Stoic syllogistic, the question of completeness of Stoic logic, Stoic arguments valid in the specific sense, e.g. "Dio says it is day. But Dio speaks truly. Therefore it is day." A more formal and more detailed account of the (...)Stoic theory of deduction can be found in S. Bobzien, Stoic Syllogistic, OSAP 1996. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive introduction to ancient (western) logic from earliest times to the 6th century CE, with an emphasis on topics which may be of interest to contemporary logicians. Content: 1. Pre-Aristotelian Logic 1.1 Syntax and Semantics 1.2 Argument Patterns and Valid Inference 2. Aristotle 2.1 Dialectics 2.2 Sub-sentential Classifications 2.3 Syntax and Semantics of Sentences 2.4 Non-modal Syllogistic 2.5 Modal Logic 3. The early Peripatetics: Theophrastus and Eudemus 3.1 Improvements and Modifications of Aristotle's Logic 3.2 Prosleptic Syllogisms 3.3 Forerunners (...) of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens 3.4 Wholly Hypothetical Syllogisms 4. Diodorus Cronus and Philo the Logician 5. The Stoics 5.1 Logical Achievements Besides Propositional Logic 5.2 Syntax and Semantics of Complex Propositions 5.3 Arguments 5.4 Stoic Syllogistic 5.5 Logical Paradoxes 6. Epicurus and the Epicureans 7. Later Antiquity. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: ‘Aristotelian logic’, as it was taught from late antiquity until the 20th century, commonly included a short presentation of the argument forms modus (ponendo) ponens, modus (tollendo) tollens, modus ponendo tollens, and modus tollendo ponens. In late antiquity, arguments of these forms were generally classified as ‘hypothetical syllogisms’. However, Aristotle did not discuss such arguments, nor did he call any arguments ‘hypothetical syllogisms’. The Stoicindemonstrables resemble the modus ponens/tollens arguments. But the Stoics never called them ‘hypothetical (...) syllogisms’; nor did they describe them as ponendo ponens, etc. The tradition of the four argument forms and the classification of the arguments as hypothetical syllogisms hence need some explaining. In this paper, I offer some explanations by tracing the development of certain elements of Aristotle’s logic via the early Peripatetics to the logic of later antiquity. I consider the questions: How did the four argument forms arise? Why were there four of them? Why were arguments of these forms called ‘hypothetical syllogisms’? On what grounds were they considered valid? I argue that such arguments were neither part of Aristotle’s dialectic, nor simply the result of an adoption of elements of Stoic logic, but the outcome of a long, gradual development that begins with Aristotle’s logic as preserved in his Topics and Prior Analytics; and that, as a result, we have a Peripatetic logic of hypothetical inferences which is a far cry both from Stoic logic and from classical propositional logic, but which sports a number of interesting characteristics, some of which bear a cunning resemblance to some 20th century theories. (shrink)
Void is at the heart of Stoic metaphysics. As the incorporeal par excellence, being defined purely in terms of lacking body, it brings into sharp focus the Stoic commitment to non-existent Somethings. This article argues that Stoic void, far from rendering the Stoic system incoherent or merely ad hoc, in fact reflects a principled and coherent physicalism that sets the Stoics apart from their materialist predecessors and atomist neighbors.
ABSTRACT: In contemporary discussions of freedom in Stoic philosophy we often encounter the following assumptions: (i) the Stoics discussed the problem of free will and determinis; (ii) since in Stoic philosophy freedom of the will is in the end just an illusion, the Stoics took the freedom of the sage as a substitute for it and as the only true freedom; (iii) in the c. 500 years of live Stoic philosophical debate, the Stoics were largely concerned with (...) the same philosophical problems of freedom. In this paper I argue that (i) can be upheld only in a very restricted way; (ii) is altogether untenable; and regarding (iii), that, although there may have occurred little change in the Stoic philosophical position on freedom over the centuries, we can detect more than one transformation of the philosophical problems that were at the forefront of the discussion. Moreover, that all the conceptions and problems of freedom were linked to Stoic ethics, and that the differences between them become transparent when one considers their various roles in this context. (shrink)
For Berkeley, minds are not Cartesian spiritual substances because they cannot be said to exist (even if only conceptually) abstracted from their activities. Similarly, Berkeley's notion of mind differs from Locke's in that, for Berkeley, minds are not abstract substrata in which ideas inhere. Instead, Berkeley redefines what it means for the mind to be a substance in a way consistent with the Stoic logic of 17th century Ramists on which Leibniz and Jonathan Edwards draw. This view of mind, (...) I conclude, is definitely not the bundle theory that some critics have portrayed it as being. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: The 3rd BCE Stoic logician "Chrysippus says that the number of conjunctions constructible from ten propositions exceeds one million. Hipparchus refuted this, demonstrating that the affirmative encompasses 103,049 conjunctions and the negative 310,952." After laying dormant for over 2000 years, the numbers in this Plutarch passage were recently identified as the 10th (and a derivative of the 11th) Schröder number, and F. Acerbi showed how the 2nd BCE astronomer Hipparchus could have calculated them. What remained unexplained is why (...) Hipparchus’ logic differed from Stoic logic, and consequently, whether Hipparchus actually refuted Chrysippus. This paper closes these explanatory gaps. (1) I reconstruct Hipparchus’ notions of conjunction and negation, and show how they differ from Stoic logic. (2) Based on evidence from Stoic logic, I reconstruct Chrysippus’ calculations, thereby (a) showing that Chrysippus’ claim of over a million conjunctions was correct; and (b) shedding new light on Stoic logic and – possibly – on 3rd century BCE combinatorics. (3) Using evidence about the developments in logic from the 3rd to the 2nd centuries, including the amalgamation of Peripatetic and Stoic theories, I explain why Hipparchus, in his calculations, used the logical notions he did, and why he may have thought they were Stoic. OPEN ACCESS LINK. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper traces the evidence in Galen's Introduction to Logic (Institutio Logica) for a hypothetical syllogistic which predates Stoic propositional logic. It emerges that Galen is one of our main witnesses for such a theory, whose authors are most likely Theophrastus and Eudemus. A reconstruction of this theory is offered which - among other things - allows to solve some apparent textual difficulties in the Institutio Logica.
Scholars have long recognised the interest of the Stoics' thought on geometrical limits, both as a specific topic in their physics and within the context of the school's ontological taxonomy. Unfortunately, insufficient textual evidence remains for us to reconstruct their discussion fully. The sources we do have on Stoic geometrical themes are highly polemical, tending to reveal a disagreement as to whether limit is to be understood as a mere concept, as a body or as an incorporeal. In my (...) view, this disagreement held among the historical Stoics, rather than simply reflecting a doxographical divergence in transmission. This apparently Stoic disagreement has generated extensive debate, in which there is still no consensus as to a standard Stoic doctrine of limit. The evidence is thin, and little of it refers in detail to specific texts, especially from the school's founders. But in its overall features the evidence suggests that Posidonius and Cleomedes differed from their Stoic precursors on this topic. There are also grounds for believing that some degree of disagreement obtained between the early Stoics over the metaphysical status of shape. Assuming the Stoics did so disagree, the principal question in the scholarship on Stoic ontology is whether there were actually positions that might be called "standard" within Stoicism on the topic of limit. In attempting to answer this question, my discussion initially sets out to illuminate certain features of early Stoic thinking about limit, and then takes stock of the views offered by late Stoics, notably Posidonius and Cleomedes. Attention to Stoic arguments suggests that the school's founders developed two accounts of shape: on the one hand, as a thought-construct, and, on the other, as a body. In an attempt to resolve the crux bequeathed to them, the school's successors suggested that limits are incorporeal. While the authorship of this last notion cannot be securely identified on account of the absence of direct evidence, it may be traced back to Posidonius, and it went on to have subsequent influence on Stoic thinking, namely in Cleomedes' astronomy. (shrink)
It is very difficult to get a clear picture of how the Stoic is supposed to deliberate. This paper considers a number of possible pictures, which cover such a wide range of options that some look Kantian and others utilitarian. Each has some textual support but is also unworkable in certain ways: there seem to be genuine and unresolved conflicts at the heart of Stoic ethics. And these are apparently due not to developmental changes within the school, but (...) to the Stoics’ having adopted implicitly incompatible solutions in response to different philosophical challenges. (shrink)
This paper raises obvious questions undermining any residual confidence in Mates work and revealing our embarrassing ignorance of true nature of Stoic deduction. It was inspired by the challenging exploratory work of JOSIAH GOULD.
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) Adam Smith draws on the Stoic idea of a Providence that uses everything for the good of the whole. The process is often painful, so the Stoic ethic insisted on conscious cooperation. Stoic ideas contributed to the rise of science and enjoyed wide popularity in Smith's England. Smith was more influenced by the Stoicism of his professors than by the Epicureanism of Hume. In TMS, Marcus Aurelius's "helmsman" becomes the "impartial (...) spectator," who judges actions in terms of the way they are seen by others. This is the key to justice, without which society collapses. Business school students should be taught that Smith's "invisible hand" is best understood as a universal rationality that uses just actions for the benefit of the whole. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Part 1 discusses the Stoic notion of propositions (assertibles, axiomata): their definition; their truth-criteria; the relation between sentence and proposition; propositions that perish; propositions that change their truth-value; the temporal dependency of propositions; the temporal dependency of the Stoic notion of truth; pseudo-dates in propositions. Part 2 discusses Stoic modal logic: the Stoic definitions of their modal notions (possibility, impossibility, necessity, non-necessity); the logical relations between the modalities; modalities as properties of propositions; contingent propositions; the (...) relation between the Stoic modal notions and those of Diodorus Cronus and Philo of Megara; the role of ‘external hindrances’ for the modalities; the temporal dependency of the modalities; propositions that change their modalities; the principle that something possible can follow from something impossible; the interpretations of the Stoic modal system by B. Mates, M. Kneale, M. Frede, J. Vuillemin and M. Mignucci are evaluated. -/- For a much shorter English version of Part 1 of the book see my ‘Stoic Logic’, in K. Algra et al. (eds), The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge 1999, 92-157. For a shorter, updated, English version of Part 2 of the book see my 'Chrysippus' Modal Logic and its Relation to Philo and Diodorus', in K. Doering / Th. Ebert (eds) Dialektiker und Stoiker (Stuttgart 1993) 63-84. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Although from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd AD the problems of determinism were discussed almost exclusively under the heading of fate, early Stoic determinism, as introduced by Zeno and elaborated by Chrysippus, was developed largely in Stoic writings on physics, independently of any specific "theory of fate ". Stoic determinism was firmly grounded in Stoic cosmology, and the Stoic notions of causes, as corporeal and responsible for both sustenance and change, and of (...) effects as incorporeal and as predicates, are indispensable for a full understanding of the theory. Stoic determinism was originally not presented as causal determinism, but with a strong teleological element, in the context of a theory of natural motions, which makes use of a distinction between a global and an inner-worldly perspective on events. However, Chrysippus also employed his conception of causality in order to explicate his determinism, and can be shown to have maintained a universal causal determinism in the modern sense of the erm. The teleological and mechanical elements of early Stoic determinism were brought together in Chrysippus' conception of fate, which places elements of rationality in every cause. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the Stoic theory of signs as reported by Sextus Empiricus in AM and in PH belongs to Stoic logicians which precede Chrysippus. I further argue that the PH-version of this theory presupposes the version in AM and is an attempt to improve the older theory. I tentatively attribute the PH-version to Cleanthes and the AM-version to Zeno. I finally argue that the origin of this Stoic theory is to be found in (...) the Dialectical school (probably Philo of Megara) whose theory of signs has been preserved in Pseudo-Galen, Historia philosopha cap. 9. (shrink)
The tremendous influence Stoicism has exerted on ethical thought from early Christianity through Immanuel Kant and into the twentieth century is rarely understood and even more rarely appreciated. Throughout history, Stoic ethical doctrines have both provoked harsh criticisms and inspired enthusiastic defenders. The Stoics defined the goal in life as living in agreement with nature. Humans, unlike all other animals, are constituted by nature to develop reason as adults, which transforms their understanding of themselves and their own true good. (...) The Stoics held that virtue is the only real good and so is both necessary and, contrary to Aristotle, sufficient for happiness; it in no way depends on luck. The virtuous life is free of all passions, which are intrinsically disturbing and harmful to the soul, but includes appropriate emotive responses conditioned by rational understanding and the fulfillment of all one's personal, social, professional, and civic responsibilities. The Stoics believed that the person who has achieved perfect consistency in the operation of his rational faculties, the "wise man," is extremely rare, yet serves as a prescriptive ideal for all. The Stoics believed that progress toward this noble goal is both possible and vitally urgent. (shrink)
This book argues that Augustine assimilated the Stoic theory of perception and mental language (lekta/dicibilia), and that this epistemology underlies his accounts of motivation, affectivity, therapy for the passions, and moral progress. Byers elucidates seminal passages which have long puzzled commentators, such as Confessions 8, City of God 9 and 14, Replies to Simplicianus 1, and obscure sections of the later ‘anti-Pelagian’ works. Tracking the Stoic terminology, Byers analyzes Augustine’s engagement with Cicero, Seneca, Ambrose, Jerome, Origen, and Philo (...) of Alexandria, demonstrating that Augustine appropriated Stoicism with greater sophistication than other religious writers. She also shows how he moved beyond the Stoics by enriching Stoic cognitivism with Platonic motivational theory, arguing that Augustine created a coherent synthesis. This newly discovered Augustinian moral psychology has elements that contemporary philosophers and psychologists have identified as important. (shrink)
The ancient philosophy of Stoicism has been a crucial and formative influence on the development of Western thought since its inception through to the present day. It is not only an important area of study in philosophy and classics, but also in theology and literature. The Routledge Handbook of the Stoic Tradition is the first volume of its kind, and an outstanding guide and reference source to the nature and continuing significance of Stoicism.
This article explores the phenomenon of Internet addiction and its possible amelioration, from both Eastern and Western philosophical perspectives. Internet addiction is caused by the excessive use of the Internet and its resulting dependence, having negative effects on human well-being. The ideas of a key ancient Chinese Daoist thinker Zhuangzi 莊子 and his Western contemporaries, the Stoics, as viewed through the world, the things and beings in it, and their relationships, offer insights which may be used to alleviate these effects. (...) The application of and comparison between the two ancient philosophies in addressing the issue of Internet addiction can give us inspiration to confront the challenges of technological enslavement in general and Internet addiction in particular. This is no doubt a help in our pursuit of well-being. (shrink)
Controversy has surrounded the interpretation of the so-called 'Diodorean' and 'Chrysippean' conditionals of the Stoics. I critically evaluate and reject two interpretations of each of them: as expressing natural laws, and as strict conditionals. In doing so I engage with the work of authors such as Frede, Gould, Hurst, the Kneales, Mates, and Prior. I conclude by offering my own proposal for where these Stoic conditionals should be located on a 'ladder' of logical strength.
While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training "to suck it up," to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission. Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply into the ancient legacy of this relationship, exploring what the Stoic philosophy (...) actually is, the role it plays in the character of the military (both ancient and modern), and its powerful value as a philosophy of life. Marshalling anecdotes from military history--ranging from ancient Greek wars to World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq--Nancy Sherman illuminates the military mind and uses it as a window on the virtues of the Stoic philosophy, which are far richer and more interesting than our popularized notions. Sherman--a respected philosopher who taught at the US Naval Academy--explores the deep, lasting value that Stoicism can yield, in issues of military leadership and character; in the Stoic conception of anger and its control (does a warrior need anger to go to battle?); and in Stoic thinking about fear and resilience, grief and mourning, and the value of camaraderie and brotherhood. Sherman concludes by recommending a moderate Stoicism, where the task for the individual, both civilian and military, youth and adult, is to temper control with forgiveness, and warrior drive and achievement with humility and humor. Here then is a perceptive investigation of what makes Stoicism so compelling not only as a guiding principle for the military, but as a philosophy for anyone facing the hardships of life. (shrink)
Bobzien presents the definitive study of one of the most interesting intellectual legacies of the ancient Greeks: the Stoic theory of causal determinism. She explains what it was, how the Stoics justified it, and how it relates to their views on possibility, action, freedom, moral responsibility, moral character, fatalism, logical determinism and many other topics. She demonstrates the considerable philosophical richness and power that these ideas retain today.
The Stoic Idea of the City offers the first systematic analysis of the Stoic school, concentrating on Zeno's Republic . Renowned classical scholar Malcolm Schofield brings together scattered and underused textual evidence, examining the Stoic ideals that initiated the natural law tradition of Western political thought. A new foreword by Martha Nussbaum and a new epilogue written by the author further secure this text as the standard work on Presocratic Stoics. "The account emerges from a jigsaw-puzzle of (...) items from a wide range of authorities, painstakingly pieced together and then annotated in a series of appendixes, the whole executed with fine scholarship, clarity, and good humor."-- Times Literary Supplement. (shrink)
The surviving sources on the Stoic theory of division reveal that the Stoics, particularly Chrysippus, believed that bodies, places and times were such that all of their parts themselves had proper parts. That is, bodies, places and times were composed of gunk. This realisation helps solve some long-standing puzzles about the Stoic theory of mixture and the Stoic attitude to the present.
Chrysippus often talks as if there is a third option when we might expect that two options in response to a question are exhaustive. Things are true, false or neither; equal, unequal, or neither; the same, different, or neither.. and so on. There seems to be a general pattern here that calls for a general explanation. This paper offers a general explanation of this pattern, preserving Stoic commitments to excluded middle and bivalence, arguing that Chrysippus employs this trichotomy move (...) when he wishes to argue that apparent contradictories are only contraries, and wishes to endorse a third option. This general explanation of the pattern of trichotomies sheds light on a number of interpretive puzzles, including on Chrysippus's response to the paradox of the cone. The purpose of these trichotomies is also discussed, and it is suggested that they originate from the dialectical context in which philosophical problems were posed. (shrink)
The bulk of Duhem's writing which bears on the understanding of mixtures suggests he adopted an Aristotelian position which he opposed only to the atomic view. A third view from antiquity-that of the Stoics-seems not to be taken into account. But his lines of thought are not always as explicit as could be wished. The Stoic view is considered here from a perspective which Duhem might well have adopted. This provides a background against which his somewhat unorthodox Aristotelianism might (...) be understood. (shrink)
When examining the role of Stoic ethics within Stoic philosophy as a whole, it is useful for us to look at the Stoic view of the way in which philosophy is made up of parts. The aim is a synoptic and integrated understanding of the "theoremata" of all the parts, something which can be achieved in a variety of ways, either by subsequent integration of separate study of the three parts or by proceeding through 'mixed' presentations, which (...) can be made at varying levels of understanding. In two presentations of Stoic ethics we find initially baffling claims about the life of virtue being 'the same as' or 'equivalent to' the life according to nature. These indicate approaches in which understanding of ethical concepts was enlarged and enriched by study of physics. Interpretation which makes physics in these passages into ethical foundations answers poorly to the ancient texts and raises severe difficulties as an interpretation of Stoicism. Two texts which have been taken to commit Stoics to a foundationalist view of the relation of ethics and physics do not in fact do so; rather, they fit well into the holistic view of philosophy and its parts. (shrink)
In the sixteenth century the Stoics were deemed friends of humanist Christians, but by the eighteenth century they were attacked as atheists. What happened in the intervening period? In the middle of this period falls Ralph Cudworth’s True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678), which contains a sustained analysis of Stoic theology. In Cudworth’s complex taxonomy Stoicism appears twice, both as a form of atheism and an example of imperfect theism. Whether the Stoics are theists or atheists hinges on (...) whether their God is conscious and intelligent, or alive but unconscious like a plant or vegetable. Is God sentient or is he a mindless vegetable? (shrink)
This volume examines the influence that Epicureanism and Stoicism, two philosophies of nature and human nature articulated during classical times, exerted on the development of European thought to the Enlightenment. Although the influence of these philosophies has often been noted in certain areas, such as the influence of Stoicism on the development of Christian thought and the influence of Epicureanism on modern materialism, the chapters in this volume forward a new awareness of the degree to which these philosophies and their (...) continued interaction informed European intellectual life well into early modern times. The influence of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies in the areas of literature, philosophy, theology, and science are considered. Many thinkers continue to perceive these philosophies as significant alternatives for understanding the human and natural worlds. Having become incorporated into the canon of philosophical alternatives, Epicureanism and Stoicism continued to exert identifiable influences on scientific and philosphical thought at least until the middle of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
John Lachs, one of American philosophy's most distinguished interpreters, turns to William James, Josiah Royce, Charles S. Peirce, John Dewey, and George Santayana to elaborate stoic pragmatism, or a way to live life within reasonable limits. Stoic pragmatism makes sense of our moral obligations in a world driven by perfectionist human ambition and unreachable standards of achievement. Lachs proposes a corrective to pragmatist amelioration and stoic acquiescence by being satisfied with what is good enough. This personal, yet (...) modest, philosophy offers penetrating insights into the American way of life and our human character. (shrink)
What is the best model of epistemic agency for virtue epistemology? Insofar as the intellectual and moral virtues are similar, it is desirable to develop models of agency that are similar across the two realms. Unlike Aristotle, the Stoics present a model of the virtues on which the moral and intellectual virtues are unified. The Stoics’ materialism and determinism also help to explain how we can be responsible for our beliefs even when we cannot believe otherwise. In this paper I (...) show how a neo-Stoic model of epistemic agency can address common objections to treating epistemic and moral agency similarly and allow a robust explanatory role for character in determining our actions and beliefs. The picture of epistemic responsibility that flows from this model also explains why we often deserve credit for our knowledge, while demonstrating that the truth of our beliefs is not something for which we are epistemically responsible. (shrink)
This essay argues the Stoics are rightly regarded as pantheists. Their view differs from many forms of pantheism by accepting the notion of a personal god who exercises divine providence. Moreover, Stoic pantheism is utterly inimical to a deep ecology ethic. I argue that these features are nonetheless consistent with the claim that they are pantheists. The essay also considers the arguments offered by the Stoics. They thought that their pantheistic conclusion was an extension of the best science of (...) their day. Some of their most interesting arguments are thusa posteriori. (shrink)
This article considers the virtue of tolerance as it is found in Epictetus and MarcusAurelius. It defines the virtue of tolerance and links it to the Stoic idea of proper control of the passions in pursuit of both self-sufficiency and justice. It argues that Stoic tolerance is neither complete in difference nor a species of relativism. Finally, it discusses connections between the moral virtue of Stoic tolerance and the idea of political toleration found in modern liberalism.
This paper is an attempt to reject the classical interpretation of Stoic ethics as virtue ethics. The typical assumptions of this interpretation, that virtue is the supreme good and that happiness can be reduced to virtue, are questioned. We first lay out the conceptual framework of Stoic philosophy and present an outline of their reduction of happiness to virtue. The main part of the paper provides an argument for reinterpretation of virtue as rationality. In the last part of (...) the paper – more speculative – we argue against the possibility of reduction of happiness to virtue. The main point of the argument is the conceptual incompatibility of the two notions. (shrink)
Brad Inwood presents a selection of his most influential essays on the philosophy of Seneca, the Roman Stoic thinker, statesman, and tragedian of the first century AD. Including two brand-new pieces, and a helpful introduction to orient the reader, this volume will be an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand Seneca's fertile, wide-ranging thought and its impact on subsequent generations.
Propositions are generally thought to have a truth-value only relative to some parameter or sequence of parameters. Many apparently straightforward notions, like what it is to disagree or retain a belief, become harder to explain once propositional truth is thus relativized. An account of disagreement within a framework involving such ‘stoic’ propositions is here presented. Some resources developed in that account are then used to respond to the eternalist charge that temporalist propositions can't function as belief contents because they (...) don't allow us to make adequate sense of what belief retention amounts to. (shrink)
The Stoa might be not the first philosophical school that comes to mind when considering the most important ancient contributions to aesthetics, yet multiple extant fragments show that the Stoics had a non-marginal theoretical interest in aesthetic properties. Probably the most important piece of evidence for the Stoic attempts to theorize beauty is the definition of beauty as summetria of parts with each other and with the whole. In the first half of this article, I present and analyse the (...) main evidence for this definition. Then I discuss Plotinus' critique of the definition and argue that it contains some pertinent remarks that, with support of additional evidence, lead to the conclusion that the Stoics conceptualized aesthetic properties as supervening on functional composition. (shrink)
Pt. I. Philosophy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) -- Ch. 1. The "philosophical origins" of CBT -- Ch. 2. The beginning of modern cognitive therapy -- Ch. 3. A brief history of philosophical therapy -- Ch. 4. Stoic philosophy and psychology -- Ch. 5. Rational emotion in stoicism and CBT -- Ch. 6 Stoicism and Ellis's rational therapy (REBT) -- Pt. II. The stoic armamentarium -- Ch. 7. Contemplation of the ideal stage -- Ch. 8. Stoic mindfulness of (...) the "here and now" -- Ch. 9. Self-analysis and disputation -- Ch. 10. Autosuggestion, premeditation, and retrospection -- Ch. 11. Preditatio malorum and mental rehearsal -- Ch. 12. Stoic fatalism, determination, and acceptance -- Ch. 13. The view from above and stoic metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper argues for a view that maximizes in the Stoics' epistemology the starkness and clarity characteristic of other parts of their philosophy. I reconsider our evidence concerning doxa (opinion/belief): should we really take the Stoics to define it as assent to the incognitive, so that it does not include the assent of ordinary people to their kataleptic impressions, and is thus actually inferior to agnoia (ignorance)? I argue against this, and for the simple view that in Stoicism assent is (...) either, in the case of the fool, doxa = agnoia, or alternatively, in that of the sage, epistêmê (knowledge). This view, together with reflection on the appropriate sense of "between" in the relevant reports of SE and Cicero, yields a sympathetic reading of an otherwise problematic challenge Sextus reports Arcesilaus as having prepared for the Stoic claim that katalêpsis, which is the criterion of truth, is between knowledge and opinion; on my view each side is proceeding in a philosophically legitimate way. (shrink)
The psychotherapeutic theories of Descartes and Spinoza are heavily influenced by Stoicism. Stoic psychotherapy has two central features. First, we have a remarkable degree of voluntary control over our passions, and we can and should exercise this control to keep ourselves from having any irrational passions at all. Second, the universe is determined by the providential divine will, and in any situation we can and should align ourselves with this divine will in order to achieve equanimity. Whereas Descartes largely (...) endorses the Stoic picture, Spinoza develops a distinctive, intellectualized version of this view. (shrink)
Presenting a contemporary interpretation of stoicism, the essay draws on Agnes Heller's philosophy of existential choice in order to outline a reconstructed stoic theory of happiness and a pneumatic ethics addressing the context and dynamics of cybernetically structured societies in which vocational (professional) ethics play a declining role.