Restrictions on private property in Gandhi, Christianity, Plato, and the Stoics

Richard Sorabji

in Gandhi and the Stoics

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745812 | DOI:
Restrictions on private property in Gandhi, Christianity, Plato, and the Stoics

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Gandhi praised Christ's advocacy of subsistence-living without hoarding for tomorrow, and required these for a non-violent attitude. Even one's body was not one's own property. Reinterpreting Ruskin, he paraphrased him in support of his vision of a future India of villages, without wealth-producing cities or factories. To avoid violence, he would not expropriate wealth, so long as the wealthy acted as trustees for the poor. Zeno the Stoic, inspired by the Cynics, favoured subsistence-living, like Gandhi, at least for an ideal city of the wise. For actual cities, however, the Stoics applied to private property Zeno's concept of preferred indifferent, which allowed opposite emphases, one distant from Gandhi, that property was to be preferred, the other that it was indifferent. Insofar as subsistence–living was still celebrated, this was because of admiration for the Cynics, or as a quest for freedom from attachments, or with reference to an imaginary past.

Keywords: christ on hoarding; subsistence-living; one's body as property; Ruskin; village vs. city and factory; trusteeship; Zeno; the Stoic; cynics; cities; ideal and actual; preferred indifferent

Chapter.  10984 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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