Chapter

HOW UNIFIED IS STOICISM ANYWAY?

BRAD INWOOD

in Virtue and Happiness

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646043
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743368 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646043.003.0012

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

HOW UNIFIED IS STOICISM ANYWAY?

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Sweeping claims about the internal unity of Stoic philosophy are common, but careful analysis of what is meant by those claims is less usual. After raising general questions about the unity of Stoic thought over the long history of the school and about the way its various parts and doctrines fit together to form an alleged unity, this chapter examines a key text of Cicero (De Finibus 3.74-75) which is universally cited to support unity claims. Once it is properly situated in its dialogue context and once proper account is taken of the characters and their motivations, it becomes apparent that this text will not support any strong unity claims about Stoic philosophy as a whole. Rather, it underscores the tight inferential fit which the Stoics asserted to hold between their value theory and the rest of their ethics. The grander claims made here are hyperbole and should not be used as evidence for the nature of Stoic philosophy as a whole.

Keywords: Stoicism; ethics; meta-ethics; Cicero; De Finibus; consistency

Chapter.  9842 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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