Stoic Eudaimonism and the Natural Law Tradition<sup>1</sup>

Jacob Klein

in Reason, Religion, and Natural Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199767175
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979592 | DOI:
Stoic Eudaimonism and the Natural Law Tradition1

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Stoic ethical thought is sometimes regarded as a transition from teleological accounts of morality to modern or deontological accounts. Yet any such claims about Stoic ethics need to be understood in light of the Stoics' well-attested commitment to eudaimonism. This chapter argues that this commitment is best understood as a commitment to rational eudaimonism in particular and that Stoic ethics, as such, is not correctly regarded as a departure from the teleological framework characteristic of Platonic and Aristotelian theories. Although the Stoics appropriate the notion of nomos to characterize the natural order, and although they regard this order as a source of virtue's content, the Stoic conception of natural law does not imply a source of obligation independent of eudaimonist considerations.

Keywords: Stoicism; teleology; eudaimonism; naturalism; nomos; phusis; voluntarism; virtue

Chapter.  12973 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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