Letters from a stoic pdf free download
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Follow the link for more information. Zeno of Citium, bust in the Farnese collection, Naples – Photo by Letters from a stoic pdf free download Monti, 1969. Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD.
The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves, but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”. Alongside Aristotelian ethics, the Stoic tradition forms one of the major founding approaches to Western virtue ethics. Many Stoics—such as Seneca and Epictetus—emphasized that because “virtue is sufficient for happiness”, a sage would be emotionally resilient to misfortune. Stoic comes from the Greek stōïkos, meaning “of the stoa “. This, in turn, refers to the Stoa Poikile, or “Painted Stoa,” in Athens, where the influential Stoic Zeno of Citium taught.
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. The Stoics provided a unified account of the world, consisting of formal logic, monistic physics and naturalistic ethics. 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. Stoic virtue, Cleanthes once opined that the wicked man is “like a dog tied to a cart, and compelled to go wherever it goes”. Stoicism became the foremost popular philosophy among the educated elite in the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire, to the point where, in the words of Gilbert Murray “nearly all the successors of Alexander professed themselves Stoics.
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. 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.
No complete work by any Stoic philosopher survives from the first two phases of Stoicism. Only Roman texts from the Late Stoa survive. 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, which is based on statements or propositions, rather than terms, making it very different from Aristotle’s term logic. They accepted the distinction between Abstract and concrete bodies, but rejected Aristotle’s belief that purely incorporeal being exists. They held that there were four categories. 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. The Stoics propounded 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 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, a substance ready for any use, but sure to remain unemployed if no one sets it in motion”. Chrysippus, in Cicero, De Natura Deorum, i. Everything is subject to the laws of Fate, for the Universe acts according to its own nature, and the nature of the passive matter it governs.
Stoic theology is a fatalistic and naturalistic pantheism: God is never fully transcendent but always immanent, and identified with Nature. Stoicism, just like Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, does not posit a beginning or end to the Universe. The ancient Stoics are often misunderstood because the terms they used pertained to different concepts in the past than they do today. The word “stoic” has come to mean “unemotional” or indifferent to pain because Stoic ethics taught freedom from “passion” by following “reason”. Stoic ethics stressed the rule: “Follow where reason leads.
For the Stoics, reason meant not only using logic, but also understanding the processes of nature—the logos or universal reason, inherent in all things. Living according to reason and virtue, they held, is to live in harmony with the divine order of the universe, in recognition of the common reason and essential value of all people. Following Socrates, the Stoics held that unhappiness and evil are the results of human ignorance of the reason in nature. If someone is unkind, it is because they are unaware of their own universal reason, which leads to the conclusion of kindness. The solution to evil and unhappiness then is the practice of Stoic philosophy: to examine one’s own judgments and behavior and determine where they diverge from the universal reason of nature. The Stoics accepted that suicide was permissible for the wise person in circumstances that might prevent them from living a virtuous life. In philosophical terms, things that are indifferent are outside the application of moral law—that is without tendency to either promote or obstruct moral ends.
Actions neither required nor forbidden by the moral law, or that do not affect morality, are called morally indifferent. As a result of this dichotomy, a large class of objects were left unassigned and thus regarded as indifferent. The principle of adiaphora was also common to the Cynics. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius defines several such practices.
Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. Prior to Aurelius, Epictetus in his Discourses, distinguished between three types of act: judgment, desire, and inclination. According to French philosopher Pierre Hadot, Epictetus identifies these three acts with logic, physics and ethics respectively. Seamus Mac Suibhne has described the practices of spiritual exercises as influencing those of reflective practice. Stoics were also known for consolatory orations, which were part of the consolatio literary tradition.
Three such consolations by Seneca have survived. A distinctive feature of Stoicism is its cosmopolitanism: All people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should live in brotherly love and readily help one another according to the Stoics. They held that external differences such as rank and wealth are of no importance in social relationships. Instead, they advocated the brotherhood of humanity and the natural equality of all human beings.