The Stoic Argument For The Rationality Of The Cosmos

Nathan Powers

in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume 43

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199666164
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191751936 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

The Stoic Argument For The Rationality Of The Cosmos

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One of ancient Stoicism's central claims is that the cosmos as a whole is a rational being, with plans and impulses of its own; but their justification for this claim has not been well understood. This paper argues, on the basis of a reexamination of the crucial evidence in Book 2 of Cicero's De natura deorum, that the Stoics took the rationality of the cosmos to be established as a consequence of two further claims which they endorsed: (1) the cosmos is an object unified by a nature; and (2) the various powers (including reason) found in the parts of a natured object originate, and are contained in, the ruling faculty of its nature.

Keywords: Stoicism; Stoics; nature; soul; cosmos; rationality; reason; god; divine; Cicero; De natura deorum

Chapter.  11660 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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