Roman Stoic thinkers in the imperial period adapted Greek doctrine to create a model of the self that served to connect philosophical ideals with traditional societal values. The Roman Stoics-the most prominent being Marcus Aurelius-engaged in rigorous self-examination that enabled them to integrate philosophy into the practice of living. Gretchen Reydams-Schils's innovative new book shows how these Romans applied their distinct brand of social ethics to everyday relations and responsibilities. The Roman Stoics reexamines the philosophical basis that instructed (...) social practice in friendship, marriage, parenting, and community. From this analysis emerge Stoics who were neither cold nor detached, as the stereotype has it, but all too aware of their human weaknesses. In a valuable contribution to current discussions in the humanities on identity, autonomy, and altruism, Reydams-Schils ultimately conveys the wisdom of Stoics to the citizens of modern society. (shrink)
The purpose of this book is to trace the main developments in Greek philosophy during the period which runs from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.c. to the end of the Roman Republic. These three centuries, known to us as the Hellenistic Age, witnessed a vast expansion of Greek civilization eastwards, following Alexander's conquests; and later, Greek civilization penetrated deeply into the western Mediterranean world assisted by the political conquerors of Greece, the Romans. But philosophy throughout this (...) time remained a predominantly Greek activity. The most influential thinkers in the Hellenistic world were Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics. This book gives a concise critical analysis of their ideas and their methods of thought. The last book in English to cover this ground was written sixty years ago. In the interval the subject has moved on, quite rapidly since the last war, but most of the best work is highly specialized. There is a clear need for a general appraisal of Hellenistic philosophy which can provide those who are not specialists with an up-to-date account of the subject. Hellenistic philosophy is often regarded as a dull product of second-rate thinkers who are unable to stand comparison with Plato and Aristotle. This book will help to remove such misconceptions and arouse wider interest in a field which is fascinating both historically and conceptually. (shrink)
Lives of the stoics (Zeno, Aristo, Herillus, Cleanthes, Sphaerus, Chrysippus) on philosophy -- Logic and theory of knowledge -- Perception, knowledge, and sceptical attack -- The stoic-academic debate and Cicero's testimony -- Conceptions and rationality -- Physics -- Theology -- Bodily and non-bodily realities -- Structures and powers -- The soul -- Fate -- Ethics -- The general account in Diogenes Lartius -- The account preserved by Stobaeus -- The account in Cicero on goals -- Other evidence for stoic (...) ethics -- Passions and the goal : criticism within the stoic school and the evidence of Galen -- A critique from the academic-peripatetic point of view -- Pyrrhonist critique of basic ethical concepts -- Later stoic ethics : a sampler -- Musonius Rufus -- Seneca -- Epictetus. (shrink)
In this paper, I clarify some central aspects of Stoic thought concerning identity, identification, and so-called peculiar qualities (qualities which were seemingly meant to ground an individual’s identity and enable identification). I offer a precise account of Stoic theses concerning the identity and discernibility of individuals and carefully examine the evidence concerning the function and nature of peculiar qualities. I argue that the leading proposal concerning the nature of peculiar qualities, put forward by Eric Lewis, faces a number of objections, (...) and offer two constructive suggestions which turn upon reconsidering the nature and function(s) of peculiar qualities. Finally, I examine a simple but potent Academic argument against the view that identification requires detecting some attribute(s) unique to the relevant individual. Such an argument is, I argue, largely successful and may have encouraged later Stoics not to think that peculiar qualities enable identification. (shrink)
This unique volume offers an odyssey through the ideas of the Stoics in three particular ways: first, through the historical trajectory of the school itself and its influence; second, through the recovery of the history of Stoic thought; third, through the ongoing confrontation with Stoicism, showing how it refines philosophical traditions, challenges the imagination, and ultimately defines the kind of life one chooses to lead. A distinguished roster of specialists have written an authoritative guide to the entire philosophical tradition. (...) The first two chapters chart the history of the school in the ancient world, and are followed by chapters on the core themes of the Stoic system: epistemology, logic, natural philosophy, theology, determinism, and metaphysics. There are two chapters on what might be thought of as the heart and soul of the Stoics system: ethics. (shrink)
Stoic work on ambiguity represents one of the most innovative, sophisticated and rigorous contributions to philosophy and the study of language in western antiquity. This book is both a comprehensive survey of the often difficult and scattered sources, and an attempt to locate Stoic material in the rich array of contexts, ancient and modern, which alone can guarantee full appreciation of its subtlety, scope and complexity. The comparisons and contrasts which this book constructs will intrigue not just classical scholars, and (...) philosophers, but also logicians, theoretical linguists, communication theorists and historians of grammar and of literary theory. The Stoics on Ambiguity is designed to be intelligible to readers with no Greek or Latin. (shrink)
This major collection of essays offers the first serious challenge to the traditional view that ancient and modern ethics are fundamentally opposed. In doing so, it has important implications for contemporary ethical thought, as well as providing a significant re-assessment of the work of Aristotle, Kant and the Stoics. The contributors include internationally recognised interpreters of ancient and modern ethics. Four pairs of essays compare and contrast Aristotle and Kant on deliberation and moral development, eudaimonism, self-love and self-worth, and (...) practical reason and moral psychology. The final pair of essays introduces the Stoics as an example of how the apparently antithetical views of Aristotle and the Stoics might be reconciled. (shrink)
This book traces, for the first time, a revolution in philosophy which took place during the early centuries of our era. It reconstructs the philosophical basis of the Stoics' theory that fragments of an ancient and divine wisdom could be reconstructed from mythological traditions, and shows that Platonism was founded on an argument that Plato had himself achieved a full reconstruction of this wisdom, and that subsequent philosophies had only regressed once again in their attempts to "improve" on his (...) achievement. (shrink)
The Hellenistic philosophers and schools of philosophy are emerging from the shadow of Plato and Aristotle and are increasingly studied for their intrinsic philosophical value. They are not only interesting in their own right, but also form the intellectual background of the late Roman Republic. This study gives a comprehensive and readable account of the principal doctrines of the Stoics, Epicureans and various sceptical traditions from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to around 200 A.D. Discussions (...) are arranged topically in order to address underlying issues and to make clear what the different schools have in common and how they differ. At the same time the coherence of each system as a whole is emphasized. (shrink)
The early Greek Stoics were the first philosophers to recognize the object of normal human perception as predicative or propositional in nature. Fundamentally we do not perceive qualities or things, but situations and things happening, facts. To mark their difference from Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics adopted phantasia as their word for perception.
Abstract Can the wise person be fooled? The Stoics take a very strong view on this question, holding that the wise person (or sage) is never deceived and never believes anything that is false. This seems to be an implausibly strong claim, but it follows directly from some basic tenets of the Stoic cognitive and psychological world-view. In developing an account of what wisdom really requires, I will explore the tenets of the Stoic view that lead to this infallibilism (...) about wisdom, and show that many of the elements of the Stoic picture can be preserved in a more plausible fallibilist approach. Specifically, I propose to develop a Stoic fallibilist virtue epistemology that is based on the Stoic model of the moral virtues. This model of the intellectual virtues will show that (in keeping with a folk distinction) the wise person is never befooled, though that person might be fooled. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0158-0 Authors Sarah Wright, Department of Philosophy, University of Georgia, 107 Peabody Hall, Athens, GA 30602, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150. (shrink)
This paper discusses the reports in Diogenes Laertius and in Sextus Empiricus concerning the classification of propositions. It is argued that the material in Sextus uses a source going back to the Dialectical school whose most prominent members were Diodorus Cronus and Philo of Megara. The material preserved in Diogenes Laertius, on the other hand, goes back to Chrysippus.
Overview of the Stoic position. Looks at the roots of their determinism in their theology, their response to the 'lazy argument' that believing that all things are fated makes action pointless, their analysis of human action and how it allows actions to be 'up to us,' their rejection of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities, their rejection of anger and other negative reactive attitudes, and their contention that submission to god's will brings true freedom.
The basis of stoic determinism (a) : everything has a cause -- The basis of stoic determinism (b) : causation is necessitating -- The threat of external determination -- Reflection and responsibility -- The three compatibilist theories of Chrysippus -- Epictetus on responsibility for unreflective action.
This article is a return to a theme I first tackled in “The Stoic criterion of identity” : the Academics’ ‘Growing Argument’ and the Stoic response to its attack on diachronic identity. This time my aim is to separate out approximately five different stages of the debate between the two schools. This will be done by shifting more of the focus onto developments that seem likely to belong to the late second and/or early first century BC.
This paper traces how the dualism of body and soul, cosmic and human, is bridged in philosophical and religious traditions through appeal to the notion of ‘breath’ (πνεῦμα). It pursues this project by way of a genealogy of pneumatic cosmology and anthropology, covering a wide range of sources, including the Pythagoreans of the fifth century BCE (in particular, Philolaus of Croton); the Stoics of the third and second centuries BCE (especially Posidonius); the Jews writing in Hellenistic Alexandria in the (...) first century BCE (Philo); and the Christians of the first century CE (the gospel writers and Paul). Starting from the early Pythagoreans, ‘breath’ and ‘breathing’ function to draw analogies between cosmogony and anthropogony – a notion ultimately rejected by Plato in the Timaeus and Aristotle in his cosmological works, but taken up by the Posidonius (perhaps following the early Stoa) and expanded into a rich and challenging corporeal metaphysics. Similarly, the Post-Hellenistic philosopher and biblical exegete Philo of Alexandria, who was deeply influenced by both Platonist and Stoic physics, approaches the cosmogony and anthropogony described in Genesis (1:1–3 and 1:7) through Platonist-Stoic philosophy, in his attempt to provide a philosophically rigorous explanation for why Moses employed certain terms or phrases when writing his book of creation. Finally, the chapter sees a determined shift in the direction of rejecting pneumatic cosmology for a revised pneumatic anthropogony in the writings of the New Testament: by appeal to the ‘Holy Spirit’ or ‘Holy Breath’ (πνεῦμα ἅγιον), early Christians effectively adapted the Stoic metaphysics of ‘breath’, with its notions of divine intelligence and bonding, to the prophetic and ecclesiastical project of building a Christian community conceived of as the ‘body of Christ’. Hence, the spiritual cosmogony of the Pythagoreans, Stoics, and Philo is effectively subordinated to the spiritual anthropogony that facilitates the construction of the Christian kosmopolis, only fully realised in the form of New Jerusalem, the ‘bride’ which, in tandem with the Holy Spirit, calls to the anointed. At the end of the Christian worldview, the kosmos of Greek philosophy is supplanted by the pneumatic kosmopolis. (shrink)
This paper considers the largely unexplored relation between Schopenhauer’s metaphysical system of Will and the philosophical therapy offered by Stoicism. By focusing on three key texts from disparate points in Schopenhauer’s philosophical career, as well as considering live debates regarding the metaphorical nature of his thought and his soteriology, I argue that the general view of straightforward opposition between himself and the Stoics is not the correct one. Rather, there are deep parallels to be found between the therapeutic aspects (...) of The World as Will and Representation (WWR) and the ethical recommendations made by the ancient Stoics. I will argue, further, that Schopenhauer recognised these similarities between his thought and Stoic ethics, often defending what he sees as the true essence of Stoicism. I conclude with some thoughts regarding the adoption of Stoic ideals by Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, in relation to their reading of Schopenhauer’s work. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the Stoic treatment of fallacies that are based on lexical ambiguities. It provides a detailed analysis of the relevant passages, lays bare textual and interpretative difficulties, explores what the Stoic view on the matter implies for their theory of language, and compares their view with Aristotle’s. In the paper I aim to show that, for the Stoics, fallacies of ambiguity are complexes of propositions and sentences and thus straddle the realms of meaning (which is the (...) domain of logic) and of linguistic expressions (which is the domain of linguistics), but also involve a pragmatic element; that the Stoics believe that the premises of the fallacies, when uttered, have only one meaning and are true, and thus should be conceded; that hence there is no need for a mental process of disambiguation in the listeners; that Aristotle, by contrast, appears to assume that the premises always have all their meanings, and accordingly recommends that the listeners explicitly disambiguate them, which presupposes a process of mental disambiguation. I proffer two readings of the Stoic advice that we ‘be silent’ when confronted with a fallacy of ambiguity in dialectical discourse, and explicate how each leads to an overall consistent interpretation of the textual evidence. Finally, I demonstrate that the method advocated by the Stoics works in all cases of fallacies of lexical ambiguity. (shrink)
This essay develops a comparison between the Stoic and Daoist theories of emotions in order to provide a new interpretation of the emotional life of the wise person according to the Daoist classic Zhuangzi 莊子, and to shed light on larger divergences between the Greco-Roman and Chinese intellectual traditions. The core argument is that both Zhuangzi and the Stoics believed that there is a peculiar kind of emotional responses that emerge by themselves and are therefore wholly natural, since they (...) do not involve evaluative judgment and desire, and distinguished them sharply from emotions, or “passions,” that arise as a result of mistaken evaluative judgments and artificial additions to things as they are, as well as to self-emerging feelings themselves. It is argued that while both Zhuangzi and the Stoics acknowledged the natural and therefore normative status of self-emerging feelings, Zhuangzi assessed them more favorably than the Stoics. The final part of the essay suggests that this divergence can be ultimately traced to different dichotomies that structured the debates in both traditions: rational versus non-rational in the Greco-Roman tradition, and artificial versus natural in the Chinese. (shrink)
Aesthetics is not an area to which the Stoics are normally understood to have contributed. I adopt a broad description of the purview of Aesthetics according to which Aesthetics pertains to the study of those preferences and values that ground what is considered worthy of attention. According to this approach, we find that the Stoics exhibit an Aesthetic that reveals a direct line of development between Plato, the Stoics, Thomas Aquinas and the eighteenth century, specifically Kant’s aesthetics. (...) I will reveal an interpretation of the aesthetic of the Stoics which has more explanatory power for the history of aesthetic theory than a history of aesthetic theory which leaves out the Stoics. (shrink)
For many years, philosophers and other scholars have commented on the remarkable similarity between Spinoza and the Stoics, with some even going so far as to speak of 'Spinoza the Stoic'. Until now, however, no one has systematically examined the relationship between the two systems. In Spinoza and the Stoics Jon Miller takes on this task, showing how key elements of Spinoza's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical psychology, and ethics relate to their Stoic counterparts. Drawing on a wide-range of secondary (...) literature including the most up-to-date scholarship and a close examination of the textual evidence, Jon Miller not only reveals the sense in which Spinoza was, and was not, a Stoic, but also offers new insights into how each system should be understood in itself. His book will be of great interest to scholars and students of ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, Spinoza, and the philosophy of the Stoics. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued the Stoics develop an account of corporeals that allows their theory of bodies to be, at the same time, a theory of causation, agency, and reason. The paper aims to shed new light on the Stoics' engagement with Plato's Sophist . It is argued that the Stoics are Sons of the Earth insofar as, for them, the study of corporeals - rather than the study of being - is the most fundamental (...) study of reality. However, they are sophisticated Sons of the Earth by developing a complex notion of corporeals. A crucial component of this account is that ordinary bodies are individuated by the way in which the corporeal god pervades them. The corporeal god is the one cause of all movements and actions in the universe. (shrink)
This article reviews the influence of Stoic thought on the development of Spinoza's and Nietzsche's ethics and suggests that although both philosophers follow the Stoics in conceiving of ethics as a therapeutic enterprise that aims at human freedom and flourishing, they part company with Stoicism in refusing to identify flourishing with freedom from the passions. In making this claim, I take issue with the standard view of Spinoza's ethics, according to which the passions figure exclusively as a source of (...) unhappiness and bondage from which we must be liberated. I argue that, in fact, Spinoza anticipates Nietzsche and breaks with the Stoics in offering a more positive assessment of the role of passion in a flourishing life. The reading pursued here takes Spinoza's divergence from the Stoic account of the passions to be a consequence of his insistence on the immanence of human being in nature. I outline Spinoza's and Nietzsche's conception of immanence and suggest that it entails a common understanding of our nature as dynamic power or desire, which is simultaneously expressed as a capacity to act and be acted on, to affect and to be affected. The recognition of the complex relationship between passive and active power requires a revaluation of our vulnerability and openness to what can affect us and leads each philosopher to a consideration of the ways in which the passions might be made to support our striving to increase our power and to realize an essentially limited freedom and precarious flourishing. Copyright. (shrink)
The Stoics offer us a very puzzling conception of causation and an equally puzzling ontology. The aim of the present paper is to show that these two elements of their system elucidate each other. The Stoic conception of causation, I contend, holds the key to understanding the ontological category of incorporeals and thus Stoic ontology as a whole, and it can in turn only be understood in the light of this connection to ontology. The thesis I defend is that (...) the Stoic incorporeals are to be understood as effects, as effects of the causality of bodies. What is gained by this thesis? First, it explains how the seemingly heterogeneous item of ‘sayables’ (lekta) fits into the category of incorporeals. Second, it allows for a new interpretation of the two verbs with which the Stoics characterize the way of being of incorporeals, huphistanai and huparchein. And, third, it sheds light on the peculiar features of the Stoic conception of causation. (shrink)
The Stoics incorporeals are "somethings" which, albeit nonexistent strictly, are subsistent. For the Stoics things truly existent are bodies. So, the question is: what role do incorporeals play in Stoic ontology? The author endeavors to demonstrate that the interpretation that incorporeals are secondary realities (bodies being the primary ones) is not consistent with Stoic philosophy as a whole. At this point the argument is that bodies and incorporeals serve to complement each other in the sense that one cannot (...) exist without the other. Thus, between them there seems to be a reciprocal dependence. (shrink)
After Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics, from the third century BCE onwards, developed the third great classical conception of wisdom. This book offers a reconstruction of this pivotal notion in Stoicism, starting out from the two extant Stoic definitions, 'knowledge of human and divine matters' and 'fitting expertise'. It focuses not only on the question of what they understood by wisdom, but also on how wisdom can be achieved, how difficult it is to become a sage, and how this (...) difficulty can be explained. The answers to these questions are based on a fresh investigation of the evidence, with all central texts offered in the original Greek or Latin, as well as in translation. The Stoic Sage can thus also serve as a source book on Stoic wisdom, which should be invaluable to specialists and to anyone interested in one of the cornerstones of the Graeco-Roman classical tradition. (shrink)
Apart from the editors' introduction, the book consists of ten essays originally delivered at a conference at which Greek philosophy specialists were paired with their Kantian counterparts: John McDowell and Barbara Herman on deliberation and moral development; T. H. Irwin and Stephen Engstrom on eudaimonism; Allen Wood and Jennifer Whiting on self-love and self-worth; Christine Korsgaard and Julia Annas on moral worth and practical reason; and John Cooper and J. B. Schneewind on the Stoics and Kant.
This collection of essays contains revised versions of papers delivered at a conference entitled “Duty, Interest, and Practical Reason: Aristotle, Kant, and the Stoics” that was organized by Stephen Engstrom and Jennifer Whiting at the University of Pittsburgh in 1994. One of the main aims of the conference was to bring together scholars on Aristotle, the Stoics, and Kant to reevaluate the common view that Greek and Kantian ethics represent fundamentally opposed conceptions of ethical theory and the roles (...) of morality and happiness in practical reasoning. According to a common view, the ancients are eudaimonists; they derive or justify the virtues by showing how they contribute to the agent’s own eudaimonia or happiness. By contrast, Kant sharply criticizes eudaimonism for deriving or justifying morality in terms of happiness. This criticism applies to eudaimonism of all sorts, even Stoic eudaimonism, which is perhaps closer in some respects to Kant’s own views, and of which he is somewhat less critical than he is of other forms of eudaimonism. For Kant, moral duty and respect for the moral law must be grounded in reason itself and cannot be made to depend on any independent standard. These and related assumptions about ancient and Kantian ethics have helped structure much contemporary systematic work in ethical theory, as well as common conceptions of these ethical traditions. But this common view has been under reexamination lately; some of the most interesting work in the history of ethics in recent years has been in Greek and Kantian ethics, and much of it challenges one or another aspect of the received view of the ethical theory and moral psychology of Kant or the Greeks. However, with some exceptions, renewed interest and recent work in these two traditions has proceeded in parallel. The conference aimed to correct this, by bringing together some of the most distinguished scholars of ancient and modern ethics to compare and assess the role of moral duty and happiness in the two traditions. Most of the essays have such a comparative assessment as their main theme; but even those that focus more exclusively on one of the traditions contribute indirectly to this comparative assessment. (shrink)
This is a relatively short but important book. Boys-Stones argues for the following : Both Platonists and Christians from the end of the first century A.D. onwards grounded the authority of a doctrine in its antiquity. Christian writers claimed that Christianity is the expression of an ancient wisdom from which both Judaism and pagan philosophy are deviations. Platonists claimed that Plato gave the fullest expression to an ancient wisdom also preserved, though less perfectly, in the supposed writings of Orpheus and (...) Pythagoras. This approach is itself a development from the attempts of Platonists to resist skeptical arguments from the disagreements between different schools by claiming that the philosophical schools that developed after Plato changed his doctrines for the worse, this explaining their disagreements, combined with the appeal, developed by the Stoics and more widely influential in the early Imperial period, to a supposed wisdom of earlier mankind preserved in imperfect form in mythological doctrines. Boys-Stones draws careful distinctions: while the early Stoics distinguished between the pre-philosophical, natural understanding of the earliest humans, and the subsequent development of a conscious inquiry into nature, Posidonius argued for the presence of philosophers even in the Golden Age, resisting an innate human tendency towards evil. Boys-Stones describes how the first-century A.D. Stoic Cornutus took the further step of arguing that the early philosophers themselves expressed their doctrines in allegorical form, whereas for the early Stoics the contributions of poets had obscured the truth rather than expressing it. A new emphasis on antiquity is also apparent, Boys-Stones argues, in Josephus’s responses to Hellenistic anti-Semitic arguments, and in Philo of Alexandria’s readiness to interpret Greek myths as allegorical expressions of the truth. Thus, for Boys-Stones, and together gave rise to the view that Plato gave the fullest expression to truths which derived their authority from their antiquity. (shrink)
Roman Stoics of the imperial period developed a distinctive model of social ethics, one which adapted the ideal philosophical life to existing communities and everyday societal values. Gretchen Reydams-Schils’s innovative book shows how these Romans—including such philosophers as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Hierocles, and Epictetus—applied their distinct brand of social ethics to daily relations and responsibilities, creating an effective model of involvement and ethical behavior in the classical world. _The Roman Stoics_ reexamines the philosophical basis that instructed social practice in (...) friendship, marriage, parenting, and community life. From this analysis, Stoics emerge as neither cold nor detached, as the stereotype has it, but all too aware of their human weaknesses. In a valuable contribution to current discussions in the humanities on identity, autonomy, and altruism, Reydams-Schils ultimately conveys the wisdom of Stoics to the citizens of modern society. (shrink)
Greek eudaimonists often discuss the nature and value of friendship. The prominence of such discussions results from the utility of the conception of friendship in formulating and testing central ethical doctrines. As they engage in a radical revision of ordinary ethical concepts, the Stoics challenge us to relinquish conventional beliefs about friendship. Ideal Stoic moral agents are passionless and austere. Yet, the Stoics not only contend that these relatively affectless temperaments have friends but that, in fact, friendship is (...) possible for no one else. Their extraordinary detachment from the external world also seems to disqualify sages from real friendship. This essay examines the Stoic conclusions about friendship and the coherence of their distinctive view. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis essay is a response to C. Kavin Rowe's critique of my 2011 argument that certain dimensions of Roman Stoic ethics are at work in Jonathan Edwards's moral thought. Rowe raises questions about the act of selectively retrieving ideas from a philosophical tradition to support constructive work in another tradition. I argue for the importance of acknowledging how Christian thought has been shaped by what Jeffrey Stout describes as moral bricolage, the selective retrieval of ideas from various traditions, and I (...) contend that this bricolage can continue to be a fruitful means through which Christian ethics engages external traditions. Moreover, the importance of Stoicism's retrieval in early modern philosophy makes the work of eighteenth‐century theologians such as Edwards a particularly valuable resource for exploring the plausibility of Christian engagement with the Stoics. (shrink)
This article takes its cue from an intriguing passage in Hume's September 1739 letter to Hutcheson. After appealing to what Cicero proves ‘against the Stoics’ in book four of De finibus, Hume indicates that he and Hutcheson are in some respect opposed to one another as far as their views on virtue and moral motivation are concerned. While this may seem surprising, given the similarities between their approaches to the foundations of morals, careful analysis of Cicero's criticism of Stoic (...) ethics shows why Hume and Hutcheson should indeed be fundamentally at odds with one another in precisely the respect indicated by Hume. (shrink)
The Hellenistic Schools of Epicureanism, Cynicism and Stoicism are considered to constitute the first, albeit modest, wave of feminism. But the question: ‘Were the Stoics Feminists?’ has attracted little attention due to a paucity of available evidence. What this paper attempts is a comprehensive treatment of the subject. In particular it addresses two distinct claims that have been made about the Stoic attitude to women. The first claim challenges the view that the Stoics were thoroughgoing feminists. The second (...) is that, given the Stoic fixation on social duty, women's relegation to the domestic sphere is a consistent Stoic position. It is argued that Stoicism was fundamentally committed to the emancipation of women even though many of its proponents were inconsistent feminists. This inconsistency put them at odds with Stoicism's avowed mission to provide a critique of social convention and to promote the ideals of the cosmopolis. (shrink)
The latest entry in the long-running series of Companions will hopefully raise the profile of Stoicism in philosophical curricula—hope, however, being a sentiment condemned by the Stoics. There is not a single area of philosophical reflection that could not be advanced by an intensive reexamination of Stoic positions and polemics. The school’s long duration in diverse habitats, molded by a succession of powerful intellects with differing facilities and preoccupations, and represented by a panoply of sources, none of which, however, (...) constitutes an adequate presentation of the Stoic project, has the curious effect of bringing into the foreground the ideas which united the school. As a result, it is the systematicity of Stoic thought that strikes one every time it is presented, despite the diversity of projects to which the appropriation of Stoic thought has lent itself, and despite the fact that it is, for us, a philosophy in fragments. (shrink)
Starting from Leibniz’s complaint that Newton’s views seem to make God the soul of the world, this paper examines Leibniz’s critical stance more generally towards God as the soul of the world and related theses. A preliminary task is determining what the related theses are. There are more of these than might have been thought. Once the relations are established, it becomes clear how pervasive the various guises of the issue of God as the soul of the world are in (...) Leibniz’s thought and how central they are in his debates with contemporaries about the truths of natural religion and even more strictly philosophical issues. Leibniz’s arguments against God as the soul of the world are reconstructed and evaluated, and the difficult question of the exact meaning, or meanings, that Leibniz ascribes to the thesis that God is the soul of the world is taken up. The clearest core of meaning discussed in this paper is most directly relevant to Leibniz’s criticisms of Spinoza and the Stoics, as well as of Descartes. Less clear, but obviously important, are meanings relevant to Leibniz’s debates with the occasionalists and Newtonians. (shrink)
For many years Professor Sandbach, Emeritus Professor of Classics at Cambridge, lectured on the Stoics. His book—reflecting a contemporary interest in Stoicism—is most welcome, even if it is not the long and comprehensive undertaking his friends were hoping for. Even so it is deceptively short and simple, containing vast erudition and a masterly touch for evaluating sources. Sandbach begins with the life of Zeno and his influences, to put Stoicism in perspective, goes on to treat the "system," and ends (...) with the great personalities of the earlier and later Stoa. The plan is excellent and avoids both the misconceptions of systematization and the disunity of purely biographical approaches. While critical of basic illogicalities and defects in the system, he sympathetically illuminates the context of a statement and the nature of Stoic exaggeration, e.g., Chrysippus on eating a parent’s corpse. Some of Sandbach’s observations can be noted here: the system can be understood and explained without recourse to Semitic origin; the Stoics knew nothing more than Aristotle’s now lost exoteric works; correct action was also concerned with morally indifferent acts, and later Stoics valued a good act performed by the ordinary man; a divine sign was not necessary to commit suicide, nor did Zeno receive such ; the Stoics did not want to abolish passion or emotion, as such, but mental disturbance. Finally, with regard to the great personalities, Sandbach considers both Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius as rather unorthodox Stoics. (shrink)
This essay examines Kant's relationship to the Stoics with respect to the affective dimension of the moral life. Besides offering a general description and comparison of the two philosophies in this particular regard, it utilizes numerous specific Kantian references to and parallels with Stoicism to argue that his own position was, throughout its development, shaped by a growing contact with and appreciation of the Stoic view. The paper proceeds from some negative remarks of Kant about suppressing or even eliminating (...) the emotions and inclinations found mainly in the Grundlegung and the second Critique, and then goes on to show how Kant was able to draw upon a number of Stoic distinctions and concepts, such as that between the affects and the passions, in order to mitigate these negative and exclusivistic attitudes and to reincorporate the affective components of the personality into his conception of a fully human moral life. Moreover, because of the numerous subtopics explored in making the main case for the Kant-Stoa link, the essay also accomplishes its subsidiary purpose of showing the importance of the sometimes overlooked emotional factor or dimension of Kant's ethics as such. (shrink)