One Stoic response to the skeptical indistinguishability argument is that it fails to account for expertise: the Stoics allow that while two similar objects create indistinguishable appearances in the amateur, this is not true of the expert, whose appearances succeed in discriminating the pair. This paper re-examines the motivations for this Stoic response, and argues that it reveals the Stoic claim that, in generating a kataleptic appearance, the perceiver’s mind is active, insofar as it applies concepts matching the perceptual (...) stimulus. I argue that this claim is reflected in the Stoic definition of the kataleptic appearance, and that it respects their more general account of mental representation. I further suggest that, in attributing some activity to the mind in creating each kataleptic appearance, and in claiming that the expert’s mind allows her to form more kataleptic appearances than the amateur, the Stoics draw inspiration from the wax tablet model in Plato’s Theaetetus, where Socrates distinguishes the wise from the ignorant on the basis of how well they match sensory input with its appropriate mental ‘seal’. (shrink)
We argue that the extant evidence for Stoic logic provides all the elements required for a variable-free theory of multiple generality, including a number of remarkably modern features that straddle logic and semantics, such as the understanding of one- and two-place predicates as functions, the canonical formulation of universals as quantified conditionals, a straightforward relation between elements of propositional and first-order logic, and the roles of anaphora and rigid order in the regimented sentences that express multiply general propositions. We consider (...) and reinterpret some ancient texts that have been neglected in the context of Stoic universal and existential propositions and offer new explanations of some puzzling features in Stoic logic. Our results confirm that Stoic logic surpasses Aristotle’s with regard to multiple generality, and are a reminder that focusing on multiple generality through the lens of Frege-inspired variable-binding quantifier theory may hamper our understanding and appreciation of pre-Fregean theories of multiple generality. (shrink)
An overview of the ancient philosophers and their philosophical system (divided into the fields of logic, physics, and ethics) comprising the living, organic, enduring, and evolving body of interrelated ideas identifiable as the Stoic perspective.
Literature on the Stoa usually concentrates on historical accounts of the development of the school and on Stoicism as a social movement. In this 1977 text, Professor Rist's approach is to examine in detail a series of philosophical problems discussed by leading members of the Stoic school. He is not concerned with social history or with the influence of Stoicism on popular beliefs in the Ancient world, but with such questions as the relation between Stoicism and the thought of Aristotle, (...) the meaning and purpose of such Stoic paradoxes as 'all sins are equal', and the philosophical interrelation of Stoic physics and ethics. There are chapters on aspects of Stoic logic and on the thought of particular thinkers such as Panaetius and Posidonius, but ethical problems occupy the centre of the stage. (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)
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)
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)
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)
Tad Brennan explains how to live the Stoic life--and why we might want to. Stoicism has been one of the main currents of thought in Western civilization for two thousand years: Brennan offers a fascinating guide through the ethical ideas of the original Stoic philosophers, and shows how valuable these ideas remain today, both intellectually and in practice. He writes in a lively informal style which will bring Stoicism to life for readers who are new to ancient philosophy. The Stoic (...) Life will also be of great interest to philosophers and classicists seeking a full understanding of the intellectual legacy of the Stoics. (shrink)
This paper examines the Stoic account of apprehension (κατάληψις) (a cognitive achievement similar to how we typically view knowledge). Following a seminal article by Michael Frede (1983), it is widely thought that the Stoics maintained a purely externalist causal account of apprehension wherein one may apprehend only if one stands in an appropriate causal relation to the object apprehended. An important but unanswered challenge to this view has been offered by David Sedley (2002) who offers reasons to suppose that (...) the Stoics (or at least Zeno, the founder of the Stoa) did not make such a causal stipulation. I offer a defence of the traditional, causal reading against the challenges raised by Sedley but also argue, against the traditional view, that the Stoic account incorporated an internalist element. On the hybrid account defended here, in order to apprehend not only must the agent stand in an appropriate causal relation to the object apprehended but the agent’s appearance of the object must also be clear (a feature which is accessible to the epistemic agent). The traditional scholarly view rejects internalist interpretations because it is thought that such interpretations cannot make sense of the Stoics’ discussion of the ‘automatic assent’ produced by kataleptic appearances and a purely externalist view is taken to be charitable insofar as it saves the Stoics from a vicious regress which they would otherwise face (were they internalists). I spell out how the regress might be taken to function and defend an internalist interpretation against both these charges. The internalist element embraced by the Stoics does not lead to the problems it is often thought to and the account defended here not only does justice to the textual evidence but also sheds light on the Stoic debates with their sceptical opponents and grants the Stoics an epistemic account fit for purpose. (shrink)
For the past three decades A. A. Long has been at the forefront of research in Hellenistic philosophy. In this book he assembles a dozen articles on Stoicism previously published in journals and conference proceedings. The collection is biased in favour of Professor Long's more recent studies of Stoicism and is focused on three themes: the Stoics' interpretation of their intellectual tradition, their ethics and their psychology. The contents of the book reflect the peculiarly holistic and systematic features of (...) Stoicism. The papers are printed here in their original form for the most part, but the author has made some minor corrections and stylistic or bibliographical changes. He has also added a postscript to three papers whose topics have been the subject of much discussion during the years since they first appeared. (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)
This paper contends that Stoic logic (i.e. Stoic analysis) deserves more attention from contemporary logicians. It sets out how, compared with contemporary propositional calculi, Stoic analysis is closest to methods of backward proof search for Gentzen-inspired substructural sequent logics, as they have been developed in logic programming and structural proof theory, and produces its proof search calculus in tree form. It shows how multiple similarities to Gentzen sequent systems combine with intriguing dissimilarities that may enrich contemporary discussion. Much of Stoic (...) logic appears surprisingly modern: a recursively formulated syntax with some truth-functional propositional operators; analogues to cut rules, axiom schemata and Gentzen’s negation-introduction rules; an implicit variable-sharing principle and deliberate rejection of Thinning and avoidance of paradoxes of implication. These latter features mark the system out as a relevance logic, where the absence of duals for its left and right introduction rules puts it in the vicinity of McCall’s connexive logic. Methodologically, the choice of meticulously formulated meta-logical rules in lieu of axiom and inference schemata absorbs some structural rules and results in an economical, precise and elegant system that values decidability over completeness. (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)
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.
After Plato's Forms, and Aristotle's substances, the Stoics posited the fundamental reality of lekta - the meanings of sentences, distinct from the sentences themselves. This volume analyses the resulting unique, complex, and consistent cosmic view in which lekta are the keystones of the structure of reality: they are all there is to say.
This paper seeks to elucidate the distinctive nature of the rational impression on its own terms, asking precisely what it means for the Stoics to define logikē phantasia as an impression whose content is expressible in language. I argue first that impression, generically, is direct and reflexive awareness of the world, the way animals get information about their surroundings. Then, that the rational impression, specifically, is inherently conceptual, inferential, and linguistic, i.e. thick with propositional content, the way humans receive (...) incoming information from the world. When we suspend certain contemporary assumptions about propositional content, the textual evidence can be taken at face value to reveal why, for the Stoics, rational impressions are called thoughts (noēseis) and how the Stoics’ novel semantic entities called lekta (roughly, the meanings of our words) depend on rational impressions for their subsistence. (shrink)
The book argues that the theological motifs in Stoic philosophy are pivotal to our understanding of Stoic ethics. Part One offers an introductory overview of the religious world view of the Stoics. Part Two examines the Stoic characterizations of virtue and the virtues. Part Three deals with Stoic theories of how human beings can become virtuous. Part Four studies the practices of Stoic ethics. It shows inter alia how the Chrysippean table of virtues is still an (unacknowledged) influence behind (...) Panaetius’ matrix of kathekonta, but how little agreement on the practical implications of their virtue ethics the Stoics could reach. The book suggests that the identity over time and cohesion of the Stoic school depended less on a commitment to the school founder’s memory and writings than on a common core of shared theological principles. (shrink)
In this extended essay, I argue that Frege plagiarized the Stoics --and I mean exactly that-- on a large scale in his work on the philosophy of logic and language as written mainly between 1890 and his death in 1925 (much of which published posthumously) and possibly earlier. I use ‘plagiarize' (or 'plagiarise’) merely as a descriptive term. The essay is not concerned with finger pointing or casting moral judgement. The point is rather to demonstrate carefully by means of (...) detailed evidence that there are numerous (over a hundred) and extensive parallels both in formulation and --more importantly-- in content between the Stoics and Frege, parallels so plentiful that one would be hard pressed to brush them off as coincidence. These parallels include several that appear to occur in no other modern works that were published before Frege’s own and were accessible to him. Additionally, a cluster of corroborating historical data is adduced to support the suggestion, showing how easy it would have to been for Frege to plagiarize the Stoics. This (first) part of the essay is easy to read and vaguely entertaining, or so I hope. (shrink)
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.
A number of late Stoic sources describe either ethical concepts or a supposed universal belief in gods as being innate in the human animal. Though Chrysippus himself is known to have spoken of "implanted preconceptions" (ἔμφυτοι προλήψεις) of good and bad, scholars have typically argued that the notion of innate concepts of any kind would have been entirely incompatible with his theory of knowledge. Both Epictetus' notion of innate concepts of good and bad and the references to an innate belief (...) in gods by other philosophers of the Roman era are thus generally held to be later developments, probably owing to a Platonist-Stoic syncretism. Review of the evidence, however, shows that Chrysippus, like Epictetus, held ethical concepts to represent a special category of conception in that their formation was guaranteed by oikeiôsis. Unlike other concepts, that is, these represent a formal conceptualization of an innate tendency to distinguish between things fitting for one's constitution and things not fitting that all animals, according to the Stoics, bring to their empirical experiences. While the notion that human belief in gods is similarly innate does seem to have been a later development, it too was explained with reference to oikeiôsis rather than resulting from a simple "syncretism.". (shrink)
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)
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.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1978.
This essay considers how ancient Stoic cosmopolitanism – roughly, the claim all human beings are members of the same “cosmopolis”, or universal city, and so are entitled to moral concern in virtue of possessing reason – informs Stoic thinking about how we ought to treat non-human entities in the environment. First, I will present the Stoic justification for the thesis that there are only rational members of the cosmopolis – and so that moral concern does not extend to any non-human (...) part of the natural world – and explore the foundations of these views in Stoic physics. Next, I will show that, like other anthropocentric theories, Stoic cosmopolitanism allows for environmental preservation and protection of non-human entities, so long as these activities ultimately benefit human beings. However, because the Stoics include the appreciation of natural beauty as a component of the happy life, this justification is not as feeble as it might seem. Humans are naturally set up to contemplate the order and complexity of the universe, and so environmental degradation and species loss, in marring this harmonious system, frustrates the achievement of the human goal. After exploring these facets of Stoic philosophy, and assessing to what extent they might justify environmental conservation, I close with a critical appraisal of Stoic theory – specifically, of the claims that (i) only humans possess reason and (ii) only rational creatures are deserving of moral concern. (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.
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)
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)
Whatever specific beliefs pragmatists share concerning experience, knowledge, value, and meaning, they generally agree that a central part of the business of life is to make life better. James speaks of the ideal of meeting all needs, Royce of defeating evil, and Dewey of making experience richer and more secure. They are at one in thinking that human intelligence can make a vast difference to how well we live, and they extol the possibility of improving our circumstances. They tend to (...) be dissatisfied with the status quo and see indefinitely sustained amelioration as the solution to our problems. Stoics, in sharp contrast, are quick to call attention to the limits of our powers and recommend accepting them without complaint. They tend to think that only our beliefs and attitudes fall securely in our control. Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius agree that anything we would consider an improvement of the human condition is temporary and that, in any case, fulfilling our desires accomplishes little. The key to living well, they maintain, is control over self, not over circumstance, and they embrace inner calm in the face of whatever misfortune befalls us. Even such a brief characterization of these two great philosophical traditions makes it clear that pragmatic ambition and... (shrink)
The Stoic understanding of virtue is often taken to be a non-starter. Many of the Stoic claims about virtue – that a virtue requires moral perfection and that all who are not fully virtuous are vicious – are thought to be completely out of step with our commonsense notion of virtue, making the Stoic account more of an historical oddity than a seriously defended view. Despite many voices to the contrary, I will argue that there is a way of making (...) sense of these Stoic claims. Recent work in linguistics has shown that there is a distinction between relative and absolute gradable adjectives, with the absolute variety only applying to perfect exemplars. I will argue that taking virtue terms to be absolute gradable adjectives – and thus that they apply only to those who are fully virtuous – is one way to make sense of the Stoic view. I will also show how interpreting virtue theoretic adjectives as absolute gradable adjectives makes it possible to defend Stoicism against its most common objections, demonstrating how the Stoic account of virtue might once again be a player in the contemporary landscape of virtue theorizing. (shrink)
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 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 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)
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)
The Stoics’ guiding principle in ontology is the Eleatic principle. Their existents are bodies that have the power to act and be acted upon. They account both for the constitution of material objects and the causal interactions among them in terms of such dynamic bodies. Blending is the physical mechanism that explains both constitution and causation; and is facilitated by the fact that for the Stoics all bodies exist as unlimited divided. In this paper I offer a novel (...) analysis of this Stoic stance, and of the role it plays in their metaphysics. I argue that when blended, the substances involved become sharing subjects of qualities and structural features. (shrink)
The impact of Stoicism on Roman culture and early Christianity was considerable. Unfortunately, little survives of the early writings on Stoicism. Our knowledge of it comes largely from a few later Stoics. In this unique book, William O. Stephens explores the moral philosophy of the late Stoic Epictetus, a former slave and dynamic Stoic teacher. His philosophy, as recorded by one of his students, is the most earnest and most compelling defense of ancient Stoicism that exists. Epictetus' teachings dramatically (...) capture the optimistic spirit of Stoicism by examining our greatest human challenges, such as the death of a loved one. Stephens shows how, for Epictetus, happiness results from concerning ourselves with what is up to us while not worrying about what is beyond our control. He concludes that the strength of Epictetus' philosophy lies in his conception of happiness as freedom from anger, fear, worry, grief, and dependence upon luck. (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)
Zeno's so-called proofs of divine existence -- Zeno and the traditional gods: a serious problem -- Cleanthes' proofs -- Cleanthes and the traditional gods -- Chrysippus' contribution -- Chrysippus and the traditional gods -- Other Stoic proofs -- Other (Stoic?) arguments in Sextus -- Polemics against the arguments pro the existence of God(s) -- Abolishing the gods leads to odd consequence: the atopical arguments pro the existence of the gods -- The counter-arguments -- Carneades and the data of Sextus and (...) Cicero -- The sorites arguments as a weapon against the traditional gods -- Epilogue -- Appendix I. Cleanthes' humn on Zeus: a running commentary -- Appendix II. Where is God? -- Appendix III. Alexinus' Parabolai. (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)
Late Stoics and, in particular, Epictetus made ample use of the notion of attention, which they understood as the soul’s vigilant focus on sense impressions and on the Stoic principles. Attention, in their view, was meant to assist our self-examination and lead to ethical progress. It was thus regarded as a Stoic good and a constitutive part of eudaimonia. Early Stoics did not seem to have invoked such a notion, whereas the Neoplatonists appropriated it into their psychology by (...) postulating the soul’s attentive part, which they introduced to explain both perceptual and intellectual attention as well as self-awareness. (shrink)