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Stoic School

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Barry Allen

STOIC SCHOOL Zeno of Citium, founder, c. 300 BCE Chrysippus. Second founder, a generation later. Epictetus, c. 50-130 CE. A Greek-speaking Stoic in the Roman Empire. CYNICS ―Cynic‖ = dog Diogenes of Sinope Crates and his wife Hyparchia CYNIC PRINCIPLES 1. Superiority of nature over culture. – Conventions are without value – Commitments and obligations are without value – Live according to nature (like a dog) 2. Ethical orientation. Philosophy is an art of living well. 3. Discipline (askesis). Train for endurance. Practice or being happy under adverse conditions. STOICS—VIRTUE • Good without qualification. Everything else is indifferent. • Virtue is life according to nature. • Reasonable, complete rationality. • Requires training and discipline. STOICS—THE SAGE • Happy in all circumstances. • Happiness is independent of everything external. • Without passions. • Accepts everything. Acts in harmony with reason and nature. • Sees the big picture and always acts for the best. STOIC MATERIALISM Body: Unqualified passive matter + qualification, qualities; e.g., shape, mass, color Pneuma: cosmic breath • A body • Mixture of fire + air • Mixes with all other bodies • Source of qualities of bodies • Identified with divine Logos STOIC EPISTEMOLOGY Epistemology: philosophical theory of knowledge Sense Impressions Cognitive Impressions: Sense Impressions + Correct Logical Judgment Knowledge: Cognitive Impression + Irrefutable Assent THEORY OF CAUSES Chrysippus: ―Fate is a natural order of the whole by which from eternity one thing follows another and derives from it in an unalterable interdependence.‖ All causes either: Antecedent causes: events leading up to a change and persisting after the effect. Active, operating causes: coexists with the effect and cases when the effect ceases. EPICTETUS Stoic Moral Theory 1. The highest good (= virtue) is right volition. 2. Every act is chosen, voluntary 3. No moral, lick. 4. Suffering is a kind of error, a cognitive mistake, due to wrong judgment and false belief. Stoicism (Greek Στωικισμός) is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection", would not suffer such emotions. [1] Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved. [2] Later Stoics, such as Seneca and Epictetus, emphasized that because "virtue is sufficient for happiness", a sage was immune to misfortune. This belief is similar to the meaning of the phrase "stoic calm", though the phrase does not include the "radical ethical" Stoic views that only a sage [1] can be considered truly free, and that all moral corruptions are equally vicious. From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular with a following throughout Greece and the Roman Empire, including the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, until the closing of all philosophy schools in AD 529 by order of the Emperor Justinian I, who perceived their pagan character as [3][4] being at odds with the Christian faith. Contents  1 Basic tenets  2 History  3 Stoic logic o 3.1 Propositional logic o 3.2 Stoic Categories o 3.3 Epistemology  4 Stoic physics and cosmology  5 Stoic ethics and virtues o 5.1 The doctrine of "things indifferent" o 5.2 Spiritual exercise  6 Social philosophy  7 Stoicism and Christianity  8 Modern usage  9 Stoic quotations  10 Stoic philosophers  11 See also  12 References  13 Further reading o 13.1 Primary sources o 13.2 Studies  14 External links Basic tenets Philosophy does not promise to “ secure anything external for man, otherwise it would be admitting something that lies beyond its proper subject-matter. For as the material of the carpenter is wood, and that of statuary bronze, so the subject-matter of the art of living is each person's ” own life. —Epictetus5] The Stoics provided a unified account of the world, consisting of formal logic, non-dualistic physics and naturalistic ethics. Of these, they emphasized ethics as the main focus of human knowledge, though their logical theories were of more interest for later philosophers. Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason (logos). A primary aspect of Stoicism involves improving the individual's ethical and moral well-being: "Virtue consists in a will that is in agreement with Nature."[6This principle also applies to the realm of interpersonal relationships; "to be free from anger, envy, and jealousy," [7and to accept even slaves as "equals of other men, because all men [8] alike are products of nature." The Stoic ethic espouses a deterministic perspective; in regard to those who lack Stoic virtue, Cleanthes once opined that the wicked man is "like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes." [6]A Stoic of virtue, by contrast, would amend his will to suit the world and remain, in the words of Epictetus, "sick and yet happy,[7] peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy," thus positing a "completely autonomous" individual will, and at the same time a universe that is "a rigidly deterministic single whole." This viewpoint was later described as "Classical Pantheism" (and was adopted by Dutch [9] philosopher Baruch Spinoza). Stoicism became the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire, [10]to the point where, in the words of Gilbert Murray "nearly all the successors of Alexander [...] professed themselves Stoics." [11] History Antisthenes, founder of the Cynic school of philosophy Beginning at around 301 BC, Zeno taught philosophy at the Stoa Poikile (i.e., "the painted porch"), from which his philosophy got its name. [12Unlike the other schools of philosophy, such as the Epicureans, Zeno chose to teach his philosophy in a public space, which was a colonnade overlooking the central gathering place of Athens, the Agora. Zeno's ideas developed from those of the Cynics, whose founding father, Antisthenes, had been a disciple of Socrates. Zeno's most influential follower was Chrysippus, who was responsible for the molding of what is now called Stoicism. Later Roman Stoics focused on promoting a life in harmony within the universe, over which one has no direct control. Scholars usually divide the history of Stoicism into three phases:  Early Stoa, from the founding of the school by Zeno to Antipater.  Middle Stoa, including Panaetius and Posidonius.  Late Stoa, including Musonius Rufus, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. As A. A. Long states, no complete work by any Stoic philosopher survives from the first two phases of Stoicism. Only Roman texts from the Late Stoa survive. [13] Stoic logic Propositional logic Diodorus Cronus, who was one of Zeno's teachers, is considered the philosopher who first introduced and developed an approach to logic now known as propositional logic. This is an approach to logic based on statements or propositions, rather than terms, making it very different from Aristotle's term logic. Later, Chrysippus developed this approach to logic into a system that became known as Stoic logic and included a deductive system (Stoic Syllogistic) which was considered a rival to Aristotle's Syllogistic. New interest in Stoic logic came in the 20th century, when important developments in logic were based on propositional logic. Susanne Bobzien wrote, "The many close similari[14] between Chrysippus' philosophical logic and that of Gottlob Frege are especially striking." Bobzien also notes that "Chrysippus wrote over 300 books on logic, on virtually any topic logic today concerns itself with, including speech act theory, sentence analysis, singular and plural expressions, types of predicates, indexicals, existential propositions, sentential connectives, negations, disjunctions, conditionals, logical consequence, valid argument forms, theory of deduction, propositional logic, modal logic, tense logic, epistemic logic, logic of suppositions, logic of imperatives, ambiguity and logical paradoxes." [15] Stoic Categories The Stoics held that all being (ὄντα) -- though not all things (τινά) -- is corporeal. They accepted the distinction between concrete bodies and abstract ones, but rejected Aristotle's belief that purely incorporeal being exists. Thus, they accepted Anaxagoras' idea (as did Aristotle) that if an object is hot, it is because some part of a universal heat body had entered the object. But, unlike Aristotle, they extended the idea to cover all accidents. Thus if an object is red, it would be because some part of a universal red body had entered the object. They held that there were four Categories. substance (ὑποκείμενον) The primary matter, formless substance, (ousia) that things are made of quality (ποιόν) The way matter is organized to form an individual object; in Stoic physics, a physical ingredient (pneuma: air or breath), which informs the matter somehow disposed (πως ἔχον) Particular characteristics, not present within the object, such as size, shape, action, and posture Somehow disposed in relation to something (πρός τί πως ἔχον) Characteristics related to other phenomena, such as the position of an object within time and space relative to other objects Epistemology The Stoics believed that knowledge can be attained through the use of reason. Truth can be distinguished from fallacy; even if, in practice, only an approximation can be made. According to the Stoics, the senses constantly receive sensations: pulsations that pass from objects through the senses to the mind, where they leave an impression in the imagination (phantasia). (An impression arising from the mind was called a phantasma.) [16] The mind has the ability to judge (sunkatathesis)—approve or reject—an impression, enabling it to distinguish a true representation of reality from one that is false. Some impressions can be assented to immediately, but others can only achieve varying degrees of hesitant approval, which can be labeled belief or opinion (doxa). It is only through reason that we achieve clear comprehension and conviction (katalepsis). Certain and true knowledge (episteme), achievable by the Stoic sage, can be attained only by verifying the conviction with the expertise of one's peers and the collective judgment of humankind. Make for yourself a definition or description of the thing which is presented to you, so as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its complete entirety, and tell yourself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it has been compounded, and into which it will be resolved. For nothing is so productive of elevation of mind as to be able to examine methodically and truly every object that is presented to you in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is, and what kind of use everything performs in it, and what value everything has with reference to the whole. —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, iii. 11. Stoic physics and cosmology Main article: Stoic physics According to the Stoics, the universe is a material, reasoning substance, known as God or Nature, which the Stoics divided into two classes, the active and the passive. The passive substance is matter, which "lies sluggish,[17]ubstance ready for any use, but sure to remain unemployed if no one sets it in motion." The active substance, which can be called Fate, or Universal Reason (Logos), is an intelligent aether or primordial fire, which acts on the passive matter: The universe itself is god and the universal outpouring of its soul; it is this same world's guiding principle, operating in mind and reason, together with the common nature of things and the totality that embraces all existence; then the foreordained might and necessity of the future; then fire and the principle of aether; then those elements whose natural state is one of flux and transition, such as water, earth, and air; then the sun, the moon, the stars; and the universal existence in which all things are contained. —Chrysippus, in Cicero, de Natura Deorum, i. Everything is subject to the laws of Fate, for the Universe acts only according to its own nature, and the nature of the passive matter it governs. The souls of people and animals are emanations from this primordial fire, and are, likewise, subject to Fate: Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the structure of the web. —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, iv. 40. Individual
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