Chapter

Stoicism: Action, Passion, and Reason

TERENCE IRWIN

in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.003.0012

Series: Development of Ethics

Stoicism: Action, Passion,                         and Reason

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Stoicism is the most ambitious and comprehensive of the philosophical outlooks normally described as ‘Hellenistic’. Characteristics of the Hellenistic age have sometimes appeared to explain some of the distinctive features of Stoic ethics. The (supposed) decline of the Greek city, and the growth of larger units of government, tended to turn an individual's effort away from political and social life to the cultivation of inner freedom and virtue that depends on ourselves, not on unstable external conditions. In this respect, Hellenistic ethics appears to be more individualistic and less social than the ethics of Plato and Aristotle. This chapter discusses the historical claims underlying this story about the interaction of politics, society, culture, and philosophy. Moreover, the chapter explores Stoic views on action, passion, and reason.

Keywords: Stoicism; Hellenistic age; ethics; Plato; Aristotle; action; passion; reason; philosophy

Chapter.  17750 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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