Everything is Something is a book about Stoic metaphysics. It argues that the Stoics are best understood as forging a bold new path between materialism and idealism, a path best characterized as non-reductive physicalism. To be sure, only individual bodies exist for the Stoics, but not everything there is exists — some things are said to subsist. However, this is no Meinongian move beyond existence, to the philosophy of intentionality (as the language of subsistence might suggest), but a one-world metaphysics (...) that both counts its entities by logical criteria, and grounds them in body by physical principles, yielding a tightly ordered ontology in which everything is Something and nothing is not. -/- This last phrase is not innocent. It invokes the Stoic innovation of Something (ti) as the highest genus of reality, and takes the stand that it is not only principled and coherent, but comprehensive — anything that is not Something is nothing at all (for the initiated: there is no class of Not-Somethings between Something and nothing). Further, everything that is Something is either itself a body, or ontologically dependent on body. Herein lies the Stoics’ non-reductive physicalism, and the beating heart of their response to the Battle of Gods and Giants in Plato’s Sophist: a one-world metaphysics. -/- The foundation of Stoic metaphysics is their ground-breaking corporealism, which introduces an alternative to both atomism and hylomorphism. The Stoics are continuum physicists for whom body as such, i.e. solid, three-dimensional extension, is homogeneous, partless, uniform, and infinitely divisible without reaching minima (atoms). And because body is not conceived along hylomorphic lines, i.e. as a composite of matter and form, the Stoics are free to make body fundamental. Out of two basic bodies, then (the archai), and by the tantalizing mechanism of through and through blending (krasis di’ holou), Stoic physics constructs the cosmos (and every body it contains) in completely corporealist terms, composing one thing out of many. And once those bodies are built, Stoic logic gives an account of their identity conditions, kinds, and qualities according to the vexed schema of the Categories, making now many out of one by the constitution relation, as a statue is constituted by its clay. With these distinct mereological relations of composition and constitution, Stoic corporealism artfully divides the labor of Plato’s Forms between physics and logic. -/- Next in the ontological order, with bodies as their foundation, are the incorporeals (asōmata): space (place, room, and surface), time, void, and the (awkwardly named) sayables, or lekta (roughly, though controversially, the meanings of our words). These entities do not exist; they do, however, subsist, inheriting their physical properties and, hence, their subsistence, from the bodies on which they depend. For example, place depends for its three-dimensional (non-solid) extension on the bodies that occupy or delimit it. The ontological dependence of space, time, and their novel semantic entities (the lekta) on body, is what takes Stoic metaphysics beyond corporealism to non-reductive physicalism, beyond a merely sorted ontology to an ordered, one-world metaphysics. Each incorporeal counts as Something according to the Stoic criterion for subsistence (hence, the theory is non-reductive), and what they have in common as incorporeals (and what makes the account physicalist), is their dependence on underlying body. -/- In addition to the incorporeals, the Stoics also recognize the subsistence of things like creatures of fiction and geometrical limits, which they classify as neither corporeal nor incorporeal. What these entities have in common is that they are products of thought; and since thoughts are themselves bodies according to Stoic corporealism, this remains a physicalist account. As before, the account is not Meinongian; neither all objects of thought, nor all products of thought count as Something. Indeed, the Stoics’ eliminative treatment of universals (and Forms) turns on their denying concepts (ennoēmata) a place on the ontological map altogether — concepts are simply not Somethings (and, again, not some further category of Not-Somethings, intermediate between Something and nothing at all). If all this is right, then the Stoics are not flat-footed materialists or ersatz Platonists, as so often assumed, but our first non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
The Stoics have often been compared to the earthborn Giants in the Battle of Gods and Giants in Plato’s Sophist, but with diverging opinions about the lessons they drew in reaction to Plato. At issue are questions about what in the Sophist the Stoics were reacting to, how the Stoics are like and unlike the Giants, the status of being for the Stoics, and the extent to which they were Platonizing with their incorporeals. With these open questions in mind, I (...) reexamine the Sophist from the Stoic perspective, finding eight distinct challenges that are likely to have been salient to the Stoics, and offer a new account of the Stoics as responding to these challenges with an innovative ontology that prises apart something from being to make room for what is not, and a sophisticated one-world metaphysics that grounds everything there is in two fundamental bodies. (shrink)
The chapter replies to Paul Guyer’s (2020) account of the debate between Mendelssohn and Kant about whether humankind makes continual moral progress. Mendelssohn maintained that progress can only be the remit of individuals, and that humankind only “continually fluctuates within fixed limits”. Kant dubs Mendelssohn’s position “abderitism” and explicitly rejects it. But Guyer contends that Kant’s own theory of freedom commits him, malgré lui, to abderitism. Guyer’s risky interpretive position is not supported by examination of the relevant texts in their (...) intellectual context. I first identify the historical origins of the term abderitism, which here signifies the independence of individual progress from social conditions. By contrast, Kant argues that individual progress cannot be independent of the progress of the species, acting as a corporate agent. This arresting position, I argue, must be understood in light of the Stoic ethical-teleological presuppositions generally accepted in eighteenth-century German discussion of human progress. (shrink)
La notion de « pensées de dieu », qui apparaît dans des textes médioplatoniciens et que l'on retrouve chez Sénèque et Épictète, permet de saisir comment ces auteurs comparent la connaissance humaine et la raison divine. Les développements de cette comparaison aident en outre à comprendre, d'une part, le rapport entre épistémologie et physique dans le stoïcisme et, d'autre part, les rapports entre ces deux domaines et l'éthique des relations sociales.
The Stoics are famously committed to the thesis that only bodies are, and for this reason they are rightly called “corporealists.” They are also famously compared to Plato’s earthborn Giants in the Sophist, and rightly so given their steadfast commitment to body as being. But the Stoics also notoriously turn the tables on Plato and coopt his “dunamis proposal” that being is whatever can act or be acted upon to underwrite their commitment to body rather than shrink from it as (...) the Giants do. The substance of Stoic corporealism, however, has not been fully appreciated. This paper argues that Stoic corporealism goes beyond the dunamis proposal, which is simply an ontological criterion for being, to the metaphysics of body. This involves, first, an account of body as metaphysically simple and hence fundamental; second, an account of body as malleable and continuous, hence fit for blending (krasis di’ holou) and composition. In addition, the metaphysics of body involves a distinction between this composition relation seen in the cosmology, and the constitution relation by which the four-fold schema called the Stoic Categories proceeds, e.g. the relation between a statue and its clay, or a fist and its underlying hand. It has not been appreciated that the cosmology and the Categories are distinct — and complementary — explanatory enterprises, the one accounting for generation and unity, the other taking those individuals once generated, and giving a mereological analysis of their identity and persistence conditions, kinds, and qualities. The result is an elegant division of Plato’s labor from the Battle of Gods and Giants. On the one hand, the Stoics rehabilitate the crude cosmology of the Presocratics to deliver generation and unity in completely corporeal terms, and that work is found in their Physics. On the other hand, they reform the Giants and “dare to corporealize,” delivering all manner of predication (from identity to the virtues), and that work is found in Stoic Logic. Recognizing the distinctness of these explanatory enterprises helps dissolve scholarly puzzles, and harmonizes the Stoics with themselves. (shrink)
Disney’s Frozen (2013) and Frozen 2 (2019) are among the highest-grossing films of all time (IMDb 2021) and are arguably among the most influential works of fantasy produced in the last decade in any medium. The films, based loosely on Hans Christensen Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (Andersen 2014) focus on the adventures of the sisters Anna and Elsa as they, together with their companions, seek to safeguard their people both from external threats and (importantly) from Elsa’s inabilities to control her (...) magical abilities to summon ice and snow. While Anna’s choices drive much of the action of both films, Elsa has undoubtedly been the more influential and popular of the two characters, as indicated by measures such as merchandise sales (Ellen Byron and Paul Ziobro 2014), Google search data (Play Like Mum 2020), and even baby name choices (Wolfers 2015). -/- Despite her popularity, Elsa is in many ways a paradoxical sort of hero, as she finds her actions all but predetermined by both external and internal forces. This is particularly the case in the first film, where we meet an Elsa who has been born with a power she cannot control, and which appears more as a force of nature than as anything that “belongs” to Elsa. The film’s action is driven, in large part, precisely by Elsa’s failures to exert control over her emotions and abilities. She begins the film by accidentally injuring Anna. This, in turn, causes Elsa to become fearful and withdrawn and to isolate herself from her sister, even after their parents die on a quest to find a cure for Elsa. Elsa's fear and lack of control lead to an even more dire outcome when she inadvertently calls down winter on Arendelle and abandons her people for the mountains. It is only through Anna's devoted quest to rescue her sister, first by pursuing her to the mountains, and later by throwing herself in front of the villainous Hans’ sword attack on her sister, that Elsa (and Arendelle) are saved. Elsa's most active contribution to this is to appreciate the import of Anna's sacrifice and to discover the power of "love" to overcome her fear. -/- What then, are we to make of Elsa as a character? It is the younger sister Anna who corresponds most closely to Gerda, the unquestioned protagonist of Andersen’s original tale, and her character arc fits neatly with the well-known “Hero’s Journey” model for describing myth (Campbell 2020). It is Anna, for example, who goes on a quest, meets a group of motley companions (the human Kristoff, the reindeer Sven, and the magical snowman Olaf), accepts advice from wise elders (the trolls), undergoes a severe trial, and even gets the "reward" of romantic love at the end. All of this has led some scholars (Niemiec and Bretherton 2015; Heit 2019) to hold up Anna, rather than Elsa, as something like the hero of the story. Existing scholarship on Elsa, by contrast, has focused largely on issues related to her gender and sexuality (Law 2014; Lee 2015; Steinhoff 2017; Streiff and Dundes 2017; Dundes, Streiff, and Streiff 2018; Dundes 2020; Llompart and Brugué 2020). In what follows, I’ll be taking a closer look at Elsa’s unique status as a protagonist, and what her struggles with fate reveal about the nature of free will and ethical responsibility. I’ll argue that Elsa provides a useful model of a “Stoic hero” and that her strengths and weaknesses as a character provide valuable insight into an often-misunderstood school of philosophy. My argument will proceed in several stages. I’ll begin by describing the basic tenets of Stoic philosophy, paying special attention to the role of fate and nature. I’ll then move on to a more detailed treatment of Stoic ethics, as exemplified by Elsa’s own character development. I’ll close by considering the infamous “Lazy Argument” against. (shrink)
In this article, we reflect on our experiences teaching a PWOL course called Philosophy for Living. The course uses modules focused on different historical philosophical ways of life (Epicureanism, Stoicism, Confucianism, Existentialism, etc.) to engage students in exploring how philosophy can be a way of life and how its methods, virtues, and ideas can improve their own lives. We describe and compare our experiences with two central aspects of our approach: engagement with diversity and the use of immersive experiences and (...) assignments. In particular, we discuss how we recognize and center various forms of diversity in philosophy—cultural and gender diversity, but also diversity in how and in what forms philosophy can be done and what “philosophy as a way of life” can be. We also examine how the experimental and experiential aspects of immersive assignments promote deeper understanding and create possibilities for personal transformation. (shrink)
This is a big book. Literally. Each of its almost 800 pages is 6.75” x 9.75” (rather than the somewhat more usual 5.75” x 8.75” sized page of an academic hardcover book), with words in a small font and short margins all-around. It would appear that the publisher used a number of production tricks to squeeze in as many words as possible. Which is understandable because Politics & Philosophy at Rome contains the collected papers (mostly published, but several unpublished) of (...) Miriam T. Griffin, one of the biggest and most important Anglophone scholars of Roman philosophy, who passed away shortly before the book was completed in 2018. Students of Cicero, Tacitus, and Seneca are especially in debt to her for the rigorous and richly contextualized studies she has produced of their ethical, historical, and political works. And all students of ancient Rome are in debt for the republication of fifty of her papers, which range over three areas (and are organized into three subsections in the book). The first part of the book includes ten papers on Roman history (in both the republican and imperial periods). The second part of the book includes seven published papers, five unpublished lectures, and three “occasional pieces” on Roman historiography (especially in the case of Tacitus). A third and final section of the book includes 25 papers on Roman politics and philosophy (which includes almost 400 pages of material). (shrink)
In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...) complex. These logical principles determine the existence of a virtual ideological matrix that contains the sequence of the preformed and folded morphogenetic fields. In this manner, the evolutionary process consists of the sequential unfolding and actualization of these fields, which is motorized by a process of teleologization carried out by the opening consciousness of the forms included in the fields of the ideological matrix. This theory leads to a radical change of perspective regarding the materialist worldview, and places life at the center of the evolutionary process as an activity carried out by a consciousness that seeks to fulfill a purpose by actualizing its own potentialities. (shrink)
To counter the daily anxieties, stress, and emotional swings caused by the barrage of stimuli that plagues modern life, many people have been finding unexpected solace in a philosophy from a very different and distant time: Stoicism. As John Sellars shows in The Pocket Stoic, the popular image of the isolated and unfeeling Stoic hardly does justice to the rich vein of thought that we find in the work of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, the three great Roman Stoics. Their (...) works are recognized classics, and for good reason—they speak to some of the perennial issues that face anyone trying to navigate their way through life. These writings, fundamentally, are about how to live—how to understand your place in the world, how to cope when things don’t go well, how to manage your emotions, how to behave toward others, and finally, how to live a good life. To be a Stoic is to recognize that much of the suffering in your life is due to the way you think about things, and that you have the ability to train your mind to look at the world in a new way—to recognize what you can and cannot control and to turn adversity into opportunity. (shrink)
For Anaxagoras, both before the beginning of the world and in the present, “all is together” and “everything is in everything.” Various modern interpretations abound regarding the identity of this “mixture.” It has been explained as an aggregation of particles or as a continuous “fusion” of different sorts of ingredients. However—even though they are not usually recognized as a distinct group—there are a number of other scholars who, without seemingly knowing each other, have offered a different interpreta- tion: Anaxagoras’ mixture (...) as an “interpenetration” of different ingredients, which are as far-extended as the whole mixture is. As a result, there are different entities occupying the same place at the same time. This explanation assigns to Anaxagoras the same model of mixture which was later used by the Stoics. A new book by Marmodoro helps us to clarify this position. (shrink)
Athenaeus of Attalia distinguishes two types of exercise or training (γυμνασία) that are required at each stage of life: training of the body and training of the soul. He says that training of the body includes activities like physical exercises, eating, drinking, bathing and sleep. Training of the soul, on the other hand, consists of thinking, education, and emotional regulation (in other words, 'philosophy'). The notion of 'training of the soul' and the contrast between 'bodily' and 'psychic' exercise is common (...) in the Academic and Stoic traditions Athenaeus is drawing from; however, he is the earliest extant medical author to distinguish these kinds of training and to treat them as equally important aspects of regimen. In this paper, I propose some reasons why he found this distinction useful, and I examine how he justified incorporating it into his writings on regimen, namely by attributing Plato's beliefs about regimen to Hippocrates, a strategy Galen would adopt well over a century later. (shrink)
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)
En el presente art´ıculo exploramos la carencia de valor que tiene la muerte, el cese de la vida de una persona, para la ﬁlosof ´ıa estoica, que con-sidera a aquella como uno de los factores indiferentes o adi´aphora (“no prefe-ribles”) para la felicidad humana. La idea del “temor hacia la muerte”, comoun sentimiento incorrecto, repercuti´o en la pol´ıtica cotidiana de la Roma im-perial; seg´un concluimos, esta circunstancia demuestra el car´acter pragm´aticoy terap´eutico de la Stoa, escuela que siempre busc´o eliminar tal (...) temor. (shrink)
En este artículo reconstruyo y analizo las respuestas de los escépticos académicos a la objeción de apraxia. Esta objeción afirma que el escepticismo es una doctrina imposible de practicar puesto que sus tesis conducen a la apraxia, esta es, un estado de privación o imposibilidad de acción. Las respuestas a la objeción se dividen en dos clases. La primera prueba que el asentimiento no es una condición necesaria para realizar acciones, por lo que la recomendación escéptica de suspender global y (...) permanentemente el asentimiento no conduciría a la apraxia. La segunda prueba que es posible deliberar y orientar racionalmente nuestras acciones sin impresiones aprehensivas, por lo que la tesis escéptica de que no existen impresiones aprehensivas tampoco conduciría a la apraxia. Tras unas breves consideraciones generales, en la primera parte de este artículo presento las respuestas de Arcesilao y en la segunda parte las repuestas de Carnéades. (shrink)
Вихід у світ перекладу праці Марії Ґрації Бартоліні, відомої італійської славістки та дослідниці українських ранньомодерних текстів, не залишиться поза увагою тих, хто цікавиться історією вітчизняної культури, а тим більш її вивчає. На це є декілька причин. По-перше, ця праця є методологічно цілком новаторською на тлі величезного наукового та науково-популярного доробку, присвяченого творчості Григорія Сковороди. По-друге, авторка не лише декларує давно назрілу потребу «розсіяти стереотипи… про народний, несистематичний характер його рефлексії» (c. 5), а й успішно це здійснює. По-третє, джерела, на які (...) спиралася філософська візія Сковороди, у праці нарешті представлено не тільки на рівні концепцій, частина з яких була притаманною й іншим богословам та філософам (зазвичай, це викликає неабиякі складнощі при інтерпретації певних ідей, а також при спробах пов’язати їх із тими чи тими особами), а й на рівні лексичних запозичень, у збігах окремих фраз, у зіставленні спільних смислових чи семантичних полів, схожому способові мислення тощо. (shrink)
I argue that Hume’s characterization of the passions as “original existences” is shaped by his preoccupation with Stoicism, and is not (as most commentators suppose) a ridiculous or trifling remark. My argument has three parts. First, I show that Hume’s description of the passions as “original existences” is properly understood as part of his argument against the possibility of passions caused by reason alone (rational passions). Second, I establish that Hume was responding to the Stoics, who claimed that a rational (...) passion is caused by a special type of impression that accurately represents its cause—the divine reason administrating the cosmos—in virtue of resembling it. Third, I argue that Hume rejects the Stoics’ claim by appeal to the following feature of his general account of impressions and ideas: for Hume, ideas are exact “copies” or representations of the impressions that caused them, but simple impressions are “originals” that do not represent in virtue of resembling their external or physiological causes. On my reading of Hume, the ‘original existence’ passage therefore signals his rebuke of a key claim in the Stoics’ theory of rational passions. (shrink)
The Stoics claim that the sage is free from emotions, experiencing instead εὐπάθειαι (‘good feelings’). It is, however, unclear whether the sage experiences εὐπάθειαι about virtue/vice only, indifferents only, or both. Here, I argue that εὐπάθειαι are exclusively about virtue/vice by showing that this reading alone accommodates the Stoic claim that there is not a εὐπάθειαι corresponding to emotional pain. I close by considering the consequences of this view for the coherence and viability of Stoic ethics.
At the heart of the Stoic theory of modality is a strict commitment to bivalence, even for future contingents. A commitment to both future truth and contingency has often been thought paradoxical. This paper argues that the Stoic retreat from necessity is successful. it maintains that the Stoics recognized three distinct senses of necessity and possibility: logical, metaphysical and providential. Logical necessity consists of truths that are knowable a priori. Metaphysical necessity consists of truths that are knowable a posteriori, a (...) world order according to certain metaphysical principles and natures that god crafts within the constraints of matter. Finally, what is providentially necessary is what occurs according to the chain of fate, but only once it is in process or past. -/- The method of the paper is a close reading of Diogenes Laertius 7.75, adducing broad textual evidence along the way, to show that the Stoic theory of modality embraces Philonian possibility, both that which is capable of being true as a matter of logical consistency, and that which is possible according to the bare fitness of the entity. What differentiates the Stoics from Philo is their additional commitment to possibility as opportunity, resisting the collapse of determinism into necessity. (shrink)
For Kant, any authentic moral demands are wholly distinct from the demands of prudence. This has led critics to complain that Kantian moral demands are incompatible with our human nature as happiness-seekers. Kant’s defenders have pointed out, correctly, that Kant can and does assert that it is permissible, at least in principle, to pursue our own happiness. But this response does not eliminate the worry that a life organized around the pursuit of virtue might turn out to be one from (...) which we cannot expect any of this (permissible) happiness. To address this worry, Kant would need to establish that there is a kind of harmony between virtue and our own happiness that can give us confidence that aiming at morality does not require us to abandon our hope for happiness in this life. This paper aims to show that Kant—building on insights from Rousseau that Kant identifies with Cynicism—does offer an account of such a harmony between virtue and worldly happiness. (shrink)
Hiéroclès est un philosophe stoïcien méconnu de l'époque impériale. Combinant éthique appliquée et réflexion sur les fondements naturels de la morale, les longs fragments que l'on conserve de lui offrent une image originale du stoïcisme en prise avec bien des débats contemporains. Ils sont tous analysés en profondeur dans cet ouvrage...
The chapter is devoted to the analysis of ancient Stoic philosophy as a source of resilience for soldiers. At first, some historical cases are investigated, from a Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius to more recent instances from Vietnam and Iraq. Secondly, in turn, the Epictetus' distinction between the controllable and the uncontrollable is introduced with the focus on the prescription to assign value only to the former as the Stoic source of resilience. Finally, some further questions are briefly addressed including the (...) ones concerning the sources of the Stoicism's appeal to the soldiers, its more particular applications as well as the potential drawbacks of the Stoic resilience. (shrink)
This paper explores the potential for psychic conflict within Seneca's moral psychology. Some scholars have taken Seneca's explicit claim in De Ira that the soul is unitary to preclude any kind of simultaneous psychic conflict, while other interpreters have suggested that Seneca views all cases of anger as instances of akrasia. I argue that Seneca's account of anger provides the resources for accommodating some types of simultaneous psychic conflict; however, he denies the possibility of psychic conflict between two action-generating impulses, (...) thus rejecting the phenomena of genuine akrasia and enkrateia. Although superficially counterintuitive, Seneca's cognitivist account of anger, according to which anger is complex and requires assent to the propositions that ‘I have been wronged’ and ‘I ought to seek revenge’, renders his denial of akrasia and enkrateia more plausible. (shrink)
In 1966 Gene Roddenberry, then a relatively unknown TV writer, created what was to become a cultural sensation. From cell phones and tablets, to MRI machines and medical jet injectors, Star Trek has undoubtedly anticipated much of the technology that we take for granted today. Moreover, the disagreements, fights and jokes between Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy) were expertly crafted for dramatic impact. But I’m not writing this to confess to (...) you my obsessive infatuation with the Star Trek universe. Instead I want to discuss how the beliefs and practices of Vulcans like Spock are similar to those of the Stoic school of philosophy. (shrink)
The review contains detailed comments on the English translation of Hierocles' treatise with discussion of the philosophical import (terminology, meaning, structure of the argument, etc.) of choices made.
The idea of philosophy as a kind of therapy, though by no means standard, has been present in metaphilosophical reflection since antiquity. Diverse versions of it were also discussed and applied by more recent authors such as Wittgenstein, Hadot and Foucault. In order to develop an explicit, general and systematic model of therapeutic philosophy a relatively broad and well-structured account provided by Martha Nussbaum is subjected to analysis. The results obtained, subsequently, form a basis for a new model constructed around (...) the set of notions intrinsically connected with any, philosophical, psychological, or medical, form of therapy. The conceptual framework of: disease and its symptoms, the health ideal, the process of treatment with its techniques, therapeutic theory, physician, patient, and the physician-patient relationship is constructed and investigated in the context of its possible metaphilosophical use. An illustrative application of this scheme to philosophical therapy developed by Stoicism is, then, discussed. Finally, the issue of the therapeutic metaphilosophy's scope as well as the problem of therapeutic philosophy's specificity and integrity are briefly indicated. (shrink)
Meno's Paradox from Socrates to Sextus Gail Fine. sense that they consider the issues it raises; and they argue, against its conclusion, that inquiry is possible. Like Plato and Aristotle, they also explain what makes inquiry possible; and they do ...
This chapter examines the philosophical context in which Seneca thought and wrote, drawing primarily on evidence within Seneca's works. It considers Seneca's immediate teachers, his debt to the Stoic tradition, other Greek philosophical influences, and other contemporary philosophers.
The engagement with Epicurus in the Epistulae morales is a multifaceted literary device essential to the fabric of that epistolary Bildungsroman. It characterizes a Letter Writer “Seneca” and contributes to the dramatic structure of the Epistulae morales as an introduction not just to Stoicism, but to philosophy itself. The Letter Writer develops into a serious philosopher and progresses from naïve endorsement to a more sophisticated account of Stoic thought. He draws increasingly sharper distinctions between his own views and Epicurean tenets. (...) There are two layers of reception: While the Letter Writer might be blissfully unaware of a theoretical problem, the author L. Annaeus understood Epicurus well enough to know exactly what he was doing when he cunningly manipulated Epicurean tenets and expressions in order to unfold an intellectual drama. (shrink)
Los objetivos específicos son los siguientes: (i) reconstruir en forma sistemática la relación entre λόγος y ἔθος/ἄσκησις desarrollada por Musonio Rufo en las Disertaciones 5 y 6; (ii) postular las reflexiones de Aristóteles sobre el problema de la habituación como un marco conceptual relevante para encuadrar el análisis de ambas disertaciones; (iii) analizar las posibles tensiones lógicas entre la concepción de Musonio de ἔθος/ἄσκησις y la concepción intelectualista de la acción humana defendida por la ortodoxia estoica. Sugeriré asimismo que el (...) recurso a las Dissertationes de Epicteto puede ofrecer una respuesta tentativa a interrogantes no resueltos en las Disertaciones 5 y 6. -/- The specific goals are the following: (i) to put together in a systematic manner the relationship between λόγος and ἔθος/ἄσκησις presented by Musonius Rufus in Lectures 5 and 6; (ii) to propose Aristotle’s reflections on the problem of habituation as a relevant framework to make sense of both lectures; (iii) to analyze the possible logical conflicts between Musonius’ conception of ἔθος/ἄσκησις and the intellectualist conception of human agency defended by Stoic orthodoxy. I will further suggest that Epictetus’ Discourses may offer a tentative answer to questions that are left unanswered in Lectures 5 and 6. (shrink)
This new and important introduction to Seneca provides a systematic and concise presentation of this author’s philosophical works and his tragedies. It provides handbook style surveys of each genuine or attributed work, giving dates and brief descriptions, and taking into account the most important philosophical and philological issues. In addition, they provide accounts of the major steps in the history of their later influence. The cultural background of the texts and the most important problem areas within the philosophic and tragic (...) corpus of Seneca are dealt with in separate essays. (shrink)
In Ps.-Plutarch's epitome,Doctrines of the Philosophers,lemma4.11 bears the heading: Πῶς γίνεται ἡ αἴσθησις καὶ ἡ ἔννοια καὶ ὁ κατὰ ἐνδιάθεσιν λόγος. The text reads: Οἱ Στωϊκοί ϕασιν· ὅταν γεννηθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἔχει τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν μέρος τῆς ψυχῆς ὥσπερ χάρτην εὔεργον εἰς ἀπογραϕήν· εἰς τοῦτο μίαν ἑκάστην τῶν ἐννοιῶν ἐναπογράϕεται. Πρῶτος δὲ [ὁ] τῆς ἀναγραϕῆς τρόπος ὁ διὰ τῶν αἰσθήσεων. αἰσθανόμενοι γάρ τινος οἷον λευκοῦ, ἀπελθόντος αὐτοῦ μνήμην ἔχουσιν· ὅταν δὲ ὁμοειδεῖς πολλαὶ μνῆμαι γένωνται, τότε ϕαμὲν ἔχειν ἐμπειρίαν· ἐμπειρία γάρ ἐστι (...) τὸ τῶν ὁμοειδῶν ϕαντασιῶν πλῆθος. Τῶν δὲ ἐννοιῶν αἱ μὲν ϕυσικῶς γίνονται κατὰ τοὺς εἰρημένους τρόπους καὶ ἀνεπιτεχνήτως, αἱ δὲ ἤδη δι’ ἡμετέρας διδασκαλίας καὶ ἐπιμελείας· αὗται μὲν οὖν ἔννοιαι καλοῦνται μόνον, ἐκεῖναι δὲ καὶ προλήψεις. Ὁ δὲ λόγος, καθ’ ὅν προσαγορευόμεθα λογικοὶ ἐκ τῶν προλήψεων συμπληροῦσθαι λέγεται κατὰ τὴν πρώτην ἑβδομάδα. The Stoics say: When a human being has been born, the commanding part of his soul is like a sheet of paper in good condition for writing upon; upon this each one of his conceptions is written. The first way of writing is through the senses. For when humans perceive something, e.g. something white, they have a memory of it when it goes away; and when many memories of the same kind have come to be, then we say that they have experience; for experience is a plurality of impressions of the same kind. Of conceptions, some come about naturally and non-technically through the aforementioned ways, but others come about through our own learning and efforts. The latter are called ‘conceptions’, but the former are called ‘prolepses’ as well. And reason, according to which we are called ‘rational’, is said to be completely filled out with prolepses at the age of seven years. (shrink)
At the beginning of his Isagoge, Porphyry establishes a famous set of questions concerning genera and species, which is the origin of the medieval “Quarrel of universals”. But this text gave rise to difficulty for interpreters: does Porphyry, when elaborating this set of questions, refer to historical positions or does he offer these alternatives in a lingua franca, which would be neutral from a doctrinal point of view? This article focusing on the first of the three alternatives raised by Porphyry (...) aims to show that replacing Porphyry's text in its historical and philosophical background can shed light on the meaning of this alternative. During the Post-Hellenistic period (100 B.C.–200 A.D.), the different schools discussed the ontological status of universals. Therefore, not only does Porphyry use the terminology shaped by former philosophers, but he also alludes to the debate between Stoics, Middle Platonists and Peripatetics. Alexander of Aphrodisias constitutes a precious help to reconstruct this dispute, which this article tries to depict. (shrink)
The inclusion of De astrologia in the Lucianic corpus has been disputed for centuries since it appears to defend astrological practices that Lucian elsewhere undercuts. This paper argues for Lucian’s authorship by illustrating its masterful subversion of a captatio benevolentiae and subtle rejection of Stoic astrological practices. The narrator begins the text by blaming phony astrologers and their erroneous predictions for inciting others to “denounce the stars and hate astrology” (ἄστρων τε κατηγοροῦσιν καὶ αὐτὴν ἀστρολογίην μισέουσιν, 2). The narrator assures (...) readers that he, the knowledgeable astrologer, will correct for the “stupidity and laziness” (ἀμαθίῃ καὶ ῥαθυμίῃ, ibid.) that bring about false predictions. The narrator’s credibility quickly decays when he attempts to recast Orpheus, Bellerophon, Icarus, Daedalus, and a host of other mythological figures as Greek astrologers. Lucian’s audience would expect such far-fetched interpretations of myth from the stereotypical Stoic philosopher, a character lampooned elsewhere in the Lucianic corpus. (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)
I examine two startling claims attributed to some philosophers associated with Megara on the Isthmus of Corinth, namely: Ml. Something possesses a capacity at t if and only if it is exercising that capacity at t. M2. One can speak of a thing only by using its own proper A6yor;. In what follows, I will call the conjunction of Ml and M2 'Megaricism' .1 The lit erature on ancient philosophy contains several valuable discussions of Ml and M2 taken individually .2 (...) But there is no discussion of them together, much less of their logical relations. I intend to remedy that lack, and to show why it is a lack worth remedying. My aims are both philosophical and historical. Inevitably, in saying anything new and interesting about Megaric views, I will be adopting assumptions scarcely free from controversy, and indulging in quite a bit of charitable recon struction. But the resulting picture is of considerable interest. For it explains why, although Ml and M2 seem to have little to do with one another, it is in fact small wonder that anyone who held one would hold the other, for, as I attempt to show, they entail each other. It explains why the Megarics are associated in the primary literature with the names of such diverse philosophical ancestors as Parmenides and Protagoras. And it explains why, although they are both false, Ml and M2 were claims taken seriously by both Plato and Aristotle, who in developing their own views on modality and language saw reason to mention Megaricism, and to argue against it. (shrink)