Stoicism

Stoicism
   The Stoics took their name from the Stoa or porch in Athens where they taught. The founder of the Stoical school in c. 300 bce was Zeno of Citium; it was developed by Cleanthes (after whom a character in Hume's Dialogues was named) and Chrysippus; and the last of the ancient Stoics were Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, who was emperor of Rome in the second century ce. The Stoics gave a very high place to reason, insisting that the world was deterministically ordered in a reasonable fashion by God to give the best possible arrangement of the matter that wholly composed it. The Stoics concluded from this that there was no place for grief or regret, since everything that happened was for the best. The Stoic theory here goes further than Christian theistic determinism, since Stoicism affirms that the only bad thing is wickedness, so natural disasters were not viewed by the Stoics as bad things, and the wise man should be indifferent to them. For this reason, the Stoics also shunned 'the passions', notably distress, pity and fear. The Stoics were pantheists or panentheists; they thought that God, being a very fine physical body, was in everything. They also believed in the doctrine of eternal recurrence, that events repeat themselves at various intervals, in which doctrine they influenced Nietzsche.
   Further reading: Algra, Barnes, Mansfeld and Schofield 1999; Armstrong 1967; Armstrong and Markus 1960; Arnim 1903-24; Bobzien 1998; Inwood, Michael 2003; Long and Sedley 1987; Rist 1969

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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