Richard Sorabji

in Gandhi and the Stoics

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745812 | DOI:

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Gandhi was a philosopher, and understanding his philosophy helps to reveal the comparative consistency of the positions he took. He had much in common with the ancient Stoics, even though he discovered them late and it was Plato's Socrates and writers who followed Christ who had more direct influence on him. He was nonetheless in some ways closer to the Stoics than to the others, or even to Indian thought, because of his habit, not applied to the Stoics, of reinterpreting everything he read. The Stoics' logical minds reveal how small variations could yield a philosophy more consistent still. But they admitted that the ideal Stoic had practically never existed, and here Gandhi can throw light on them. His commitment to the ‘experiment’ of putting into practice every ideal, and sharing discussion of the results, reveal what an ideal Stoic might have looked like for good or ill.

Keywords: Gandhi as philosopher; Gandhi's consistency; Gandhi reinterpreting what he read; Gandhi putting into practice his ideals; Plato; Socrates; Christ; Stoic

Chapter.  8777 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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