3 what is the relationship of socrates to cynicism and stoicism

Stoicism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

3 what is the relationship of socrates to cynicism and stoicism

Eudaimonism III: Cynics and Stoics The Rationalistic Approach to Eudaimonism Antisthenes argued, following Socrates, that wisdom and virtue are one and the same. . The faith in the relationship between knowledge and action deeply. How is Socrates related to Cynicism and Stoicism? It spread throughout the Roman world because it was advocated by three important public figures: So, our status, good fortunes, mishaps, and relationships should be evaluated with the. 3. What is the relationship of Socrates to Cynicism and Stoicism? While the views of his two students, Plato and Aristotle had views in which the.

According to legend, Diogenes even felt a kind of joy in harming the most fundamental moral commands of society. Diogenes Laertius' Philosophers states: Once Alexander the Great visited Diogenes living in the wine keg, as hehad heard of the great reputation of Diogenes.

Cynicism (philosophy)

After greeting him, Alexander the Great asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes is supposed to have replied, "Step aside, so I can further enjoy the sunshine! Zeno was a merchant and lost all his wealth by a shipwreck and went to Athens. Hearing lectures on Xenophanes' Memorabilia, Socrates and Plato's Apology, Zeno of Kition began his study in philosophy first under the Cynic philosopher, Krates, taking over his ethical ideals.

Zeno of Kition further studied under the Megaric philosopher, Stilpon, then under Xenocrates of Academy, and under Polemon. Zeno was supposedly studied for more than twenty years.

AroundZeno decided to found a school. His followers at the beginning were called "Zenonites," and later "Stoics. It was said that Zeno was not a brilliant orator, but was known as an exemplary man of praxis of his philosophy in his life. According to legend, Zeno of Kition was said to have ended his life after the tortures of an accident, because through this incident Zeno lost the joy of living and paedagogical activities.

Zeno of Kition is known as the founder of Stoicism. Zeno divided Philosophical inquiry into Logic, Physics and Ethics, the last of which Zeno considered the most important.

Zeno's ethical doctrine was based on Socratic philosophy in the form of the Cynics, while his system on physics was supposedly based on the philosophy of Heracleitus. Zeno considers Logic to be the art of definition and the methodology of knowledge under Aristotle's influence.

Despite the fact that Zeno had been influenced by many philosophical schools, he incorporated them all into the knowledge of a new idea of human-being, that of human action and the place of the human-being in the universe, and he exercised profound influence on many philosophical endeavors in the West until the 17th century.

While in his philosophy Zeno emphasized human existence and ethics, his disciples Cleanthes and Chrisippos shifted the emphasis from ethics to cosmology. As a consequence, Zeno's philosophy experienced a great metamorphosis. Further, a radical change in the philosophy of Stoa took place through the Stoics of the middle period, Panaitios and Poseidonios. However, interestingly enough, later Stoics such as Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius Antonius went back rather to Zeno himself and his immediate disciples, Cleanthes and Chrysippos, and followed the direction of Zeno's original thought, expanding upon them on the basis of their own experiences.

According to Zeno, philosophy is an exercise of our inner striving for wisdom sofiawhich was supposed to be knowledge of divinities and human affairs. Zeno of Kition was particularly interested in ethical human endeavor.

The doctrine of drive or appetite was indeed the basis for Fichte's further philosophical investigations. Among the drives, Zeno pointed out the most fundamental drive of all found in all living beings is the drive for "self preservation. The drive is, according to Zeno of Kition, for our soul to be taken toward its object, whereby the soul is driven by a representation of such an object. When it is viewed from the logical point of view, drives or appetites are "concordance" sugkataqeseis of a proposition with certain propositions.

Zeno distinguishes rational beings from non-rational beings. Now the irrational drive or appetite contains in itself "moving power" kinhlitkon as the initiating power to an action besides the concordance to a certain proposition. It is not known how Zeno articulated many, different kinds of drive or appetites. Zeno's doctrine of drive or appetite is closely connected with his doctrine on purpose telos. Since the time of Democritus and Socrates, happiness is the ultimate goal of human moral decision and life.

According to Zeno, happiness consists in "the rational drive or appetite for a moral life. Zeno maintained that what makes our life "virtuous" thus "moral" is revealed in nature itself. So "the purpose of human existence is the virtuous life, which is the life in accordance with nature. Our passion alone brings us into our human nature conflicts. The virtuous life or the life in accordance with nature is no other than the rational life.

According to Zeno, therefore, "virtue" is defined as the condition maintained by the controlling portion hgemonikon--hegemonikon of the mind. What is controlling in the mind is reason or rational knowledge episthmh--episteme in distinction from mere opinion doca--doxa. Reason itself is harmonious and calm.

Therefore, those who are virtuous are the rational human-beings who live in accordance with Nature. Following Plato's traditional distinctions among virtues, Zeno enumerates four fundamental virtues: In contrast, Zeno states very little about vices.

He characterizes vice as the ignorance of things, whose knowledge phronesis is indeed virtue. Once again in agreement with Socrates, 1 knowledge or wisdom about what one ought to do, what one ought not to do and what is neither the case is revealed by Zeno as phronesis or moral sagacity as the highest virtue. As is obvious from the above, Zeno further advanced the Socratic wisdom of holding all virtues as knowledge.

Zeno believed that what is good may be related to these four main virtues and anything participating in any virtue. What is evil is related to the vices ignorance, excessiveness, cowardness and injustice or anything participating in any vice. It is interesting to note that Zeno classified a group of what is valuable, which are neither virtues, nor vices, which are neither good, nor evil. Zeno distinguished these intermediary into three groups, which may be grouped by means of the degree of selectability in questionable cases.

Life, honor, pleasure, wealth, health and beauty 2 abjecta, apoprhgmata--apopregmata: Death, disgrace, toil, poverty, illness, weakness and pain 3 those to which no moral value belongs In Zeno's moral theory of good and evil actions, the notion of "obligation" or "ought" paqhkon -patheekon plays a significant role, which is understood, according to Zeno, as the unwritten laws of nature deeply imbedded in each of us.

His idea of boundedness of each individual to society is to reveal itself in the process of nature. It is the way of action of those who are furthering their knowledge and other virtues.

The harm of virtuous actions by those rational ones who normally act in accordance with nature derives from passions. Zeno of Kition simply defines "passion" as the contra-rational movement of the soul or its movement against nature or the movement away from an overwhelming compulsion.

Cynicism (philosophy) - Wikipedia

Passion is, like drive, a surrender to a certain mental action. Furthermore, Zeno characterizes passion as the illness of the mind. Thus the ideal figure of the Stoic human-being, who possesses wisdom of the divine and the human, to be rational and virtuous has nothing to do with passion. For his soul is healthy. Such a human-being is serene in himself and is not driven by a disquieting urge which is rooted in passion.

Major passions are, according to Zeno, sorrow luph--lupefear fobos-phobosdesire epiqumia--epithumia and pleasure hdonh--hedone. Clear articulations such as these may have been made by Chrysippos, but we do not know. Zeno considered that a transition from virtue to vice, once we possess knowledge or wisdom, is not possible. However, he considered that it is normal to slowly and gradually proceed to the virtuous life as in the case of those who make progress prokopton -prokoption.

Phronesis fronhsis-wisdom produces progress and there is always the potential nature in the human being to become more virtuous, particularly through education. Zeno is also known as the founder of the pedagogic doctrine and is well known as a very competent teacher. The faith in the relationship between knowledge and action deeply connected his ethical system to Socratic philosophy and left a great influence, even in later years up to Spinoza.

Seneca was sent to Rome to be educated to become a rhetorian, but soon he changed his study to philosophy. Seneca was sent to Corsica, however in 49 A. Seneca was later, in 65 A. Seneca was one of the representatives together with Epictetus for the latest development of Stoic philosophy. He came in contact with early Christianity in the field of ethics. Seneca was more a man of practice than of theory and systematic philosophy.

We play with small stones and apply our penetrating insight into absolutely trivial things. These activities do not make us virtuous, but at best learned. Wisdom is far more obvious and simple. To be awaken to and aware of the virtuous motive Gesinnungman need not much sciences. However, as in the case of other things, we do also exaggerate philosophy, too. The absence of the standard is our own fault in all. To be wise and virtuous is the ultimate goal of moral striving.

Only wisdom and virtue are immortal, that the mortal can possess. I hold myself onto nature; in this respect, all the Stoic philosophers agree, and not derail from it, educate oneself by means of its laws and example. This is wisdom De vita beata. Wise persons live in accordance with the laws of nature. Nature, both human and non-human nature, is regulated by reason.

The life in accordance with nature is at the same time rational. To be virtuous means to live rationally. The life in accordance with nature, being rational, virtuous and wise, is anchored in happiness, for which every human being strives. A life is happy, when the life corresponds to its own nature. In addition, there must be a healthy spirit, which takes into consideration the basic bodily needs, and has attained a serene disposition without any fear before fate's changes and attained freedom against desires and passion.

Seneca held, "one attains freedom through indifference against the fat. Out of this, that invaluable Goodness arises: The serenity and noble excellence of the spirit, which has found its own solid standpoint.

Through these thoughts, Seneca referred to the highest good, which found in it happiness, virtue and wisdom. The highest good, according to Seneca, is disposition in which the accidental has no effect and finds joy in virtue.

Happy is the person who is led by reason and wishes nothing else self-sufficient and fears nothing. No one can be happy who has no notion of truth. The happy life therefore is that which resides on the right, reassured judgment and stays with it unmoved.

3 what is the relationship of socrates to cynicism and stoicism

The rational human-being takes nature as its guide, observing and questioning it. The human being obtains "that certain reason, which contracts not with itself, is immovable by opinions, concepts or its own conviction. When such a life is ordered and harmonious, then it attains the highest good. The question, "why do I strive for virtue? The human being is created to be mutually helpful As a human being, everyone must protect everybody else, because we are determined to form a community.

The good of the totality lies in each individual taking part in amiable thoughtfulness to one another. To harm another human being is against human nature. Should someone else try to harm you, return it with a good deed.

Nature demands love, while anger demands hatred. While anger is harmful, nature is full of benefit. To Seneca death and life belongs to the area of things unessential, in the area of Adiaphora. Death is neither good nor evil.

For a good or an evil must be only something actually existing. Ad Marciam de conolatione Whether life in general is so valuable is itself another question. I will not ascribe to myself the courage to remain in such a miserable slave trade. De ira, Book III If the pressure of external circumstances is too strong for the human-being, then the human being has the right to reply: If our heart is sick and miserable due to our own crime, then one can end the misery and life.

Because there are all over enough ways to freedom, short and easy ones. We are grateful to God that no one is forced to keep living. Do you see that fall into the abyss?

Do you see that ocean, that river and that spring? At the base of it, freedom resides! Your neck, your throat and your heart? Mere ways to end the slavery. Is the exit too much, does it ask of you too much courage and skill, then you ask the easiest way to freedom: Each blood vessel of the body is such a way! Epictetus was born in Hierapolis around 30 S. Epictetus was slave to captain of the Emperor Nero's body-guards, was freed after the assassination of Nero and lived in extreme poverty until he had to leave Rome as Domitian's philosophers' prosecutions took place.

Epictetos founded his own school in Nikopoliss in Epirus, which he led until his death around A. The manual or small handbook on morality written and edited by Epictetus was selections from the lectures noted by Arrianos.

Zeno had talked about each virtue in turn being a kind of wisdom, which Cleanthes interpreted in a strict unitary sense that is, all virtues are one: This went against pretty conclusive anatomical evidence that was already available in the Hellenistic period, and earned the Stoics the scorn of Galen for example, Tielemanthough later Stoics did update their beliefs on the matter.

Despite this faux pas, Chrysippus was arguably the most influential Stoic thinker, responsible for an overhaul of the school, which had declined under the guidance of Cleanthes, a broad systematization of its teachings, and the introduction of a number of novel notions in logic—the aspect of Stoicism that has had the most technical philosophical impact in the long run. We have to wait until B. It is interesting to note, as does Sedley that the fourth large school, the Epicurean one, was missing, following their stance of political non-involvement.

The philosophers in question, including the Stoic Diogenes of Babylon, made a huge impression on the Roman public with their public performances and, apparently, an equally worrisome one on the Roman elite, thus beginning a long tradition of tension between philosophers and high-level politicians that characterized especially the post-Republican empirepaving the road for the later shift of philosophy from Athens to Rome, as well as other centers of learning, like Alexandria.

This process seems to have been in part responsible for the further success of Stoicism once the major philosophers of the various schools moved from Athens to Rome, after the diaspora of B.

3 what is the relationship of socrates to cynicism and stoicism

Roman Stoicism If the visit to Rome by the head of various philosophical schools in B. At that time philosophers, particularly the Peripatetic Athenion and—surprisingly—the Epicurean Aristion, were politically in charge at Athens, and made the crucial mistake of siding with Mithridates against Rome Bugh The defeat of the King of Pontus, and consequently of Athens, spelled disaster for the latter and led to a diaspora of philosophers throughout the Mediterranean.

To be fair, we have no evidence of the continuation of the Stoa as an actual school in Athens after Panaetius who often absented himself to Rome anywayand we know that Posidonius taught in Rhodes, not Athens.

However, according to Sedleyit was the events of B. Sedley highlights two Stoic philosophers of the late First Century B. However, as Gill points out, this should not lead us to think that the vitality of Stoicism had taken a nose dive by then: Still, it is certainly the case that the best known Stoics of the time were either teachers like Musonius Rufus and Epictetus, or politically active, like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, thus shaping our understanding of the period as a contrast to the foundational and more theoretical one of Zeno and Chrysippus.

Importantly, it is from the late Republic and Empire that we also get some of the best indirect sources on Stoicism, particularly several books by Cicero ; for example.

And this literature went on to influence later writers well after the decline of Stoicism, particularly Plotinus C.

Stoicism and Cynicism: Lessons, Similarities and Differences

The sources of such vitality were fundamentally two: Indeed, Musonius was, in a sense, both: Others were not so lucky: Stoic philosophers suffered a series of persecutions from displeased emperors, which resulted in murders or exile for a number of them, especially during the reigns of Nero, Vespasian and Domitian.

If then there is an invincible necessity, why do you resist? But if there is a Providence that allows itself to be propitiated, make yourself worthy of the help of the divinity.

More is said about this specific topic in the section on Stoic metaphysics and teleology. There is ample evidence, then, that Stoicism was alive and well during the Roman period, although the emphasis did shift—somewhat naturally, one might add—from laying down the fundamental ideas to refining them and putting them into practice, both in personal and social life.

Debates with Other Hellenistic Schools One should understand the evolution of all Hellenistic schools of philosophy as being the result of continuous dialogue amongst themselves, a dialogue that often led to partial revisions of positions within any given school, or to the adoption of a modified notion borrowed from another school Gill To have an idea of how this played out for Stoicism, let us briefly consider a few examples, related to the interactions between Stoicism and Epicureanism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism—without forgetting the direct influence that Cynicism had on the very birth of Stoicism and all the way to Epictetus.

Epictetus is pretty explicit about his—negative—opinions of the Epicureans, drawing as sharp a contrast as possible between the latter's concern with pleasure and pain and the Stoic focus on virtue and integrity of character. For example, Discourses I. A longer section, II. You might almost say that nothing proves the validity of a statement more than finding someone forced to use it while at the same time denying that it is sound.

When you eat, where do you bring your hand—to your mouth, or to your eye? What do you step into when you bathe? When did you ever mistake your saucepan for a dish, or your serving spoon for a skewer? So what, according to you, is good or bad, virtuous or vicious—this or that?

He very clearly states, however, in Natural Questions: At [41] he writes: For my part, however, nothing seems to me more manifest than that there is more of a real than a verbal difference of opinion between those philosophers on these points.

There are well documented examples of Stoic opinions changing in direct response to challenges from other schools, for instance the modified position on determinism that was adopted by Philopator C. We also have clear instances of Stoic ideas being incorporated by other schools, as in the case of Antiochus of Ascalon B. We will take a closer look to each topos in turn, but it is first important to see why and how they are connected.

Stoicism was a practical philosophy, the chief goal of which was to help people live a eudaimonic life, which the Stoics identified with a life spent practicing the cardinal virtues next section. Later in the Roman period the emphasis shifted somewhat to the achievement of apatheia, but this too was possible because of the practice of the topos of ethics. Logic and Physics are related to Ethics because Stoicism is a thoroughly naturalistic philosophy.

Perhaps the most famous of such analogies is the one using an egg, where the shell is the Logic, the white the Ethics, and red part the Physics. However, given how the three topoi were meant to relate to each other, this is probably misleading, possibly due to a misunderstanding of the biology of eggs the Physics is supposed to be nurturing the Ethics, which means that the former should be the white and the latter the red part of the egg.

The best simile in my mind is that of a garden: While the Stoics disagreed on the sequence in which the three topoi should be presented to students that is, just like faculty in a modern university, they had contrasting opinions about the merits of different curricula! This section describes the first two topoi and the next describe Ethics.

While Stoics held that the Sage, who was something of an ideal figure, could achieve perfect knowledge of things, in practice they relied on a concept of cognitive progress, as well as moral progress, since both logic and physics are related to, and indeed function in the service of, ethics. Diogenes Laertius explains the difference VII. Chrysippus even suggested that it is important to absorb a number of impressions, since it is the accumulation of impressions that leads to concept-formation and to making progress.

In this sense, the Stoic account of knowledge was eminently empiricist in nature, and—especially after relentless Skeptical critiques—relied on something akin to what moderns call inference to the best explanation Liptonas in their conclusion that our skin must have holes based on the observation that we sweat.

It is important to realize that a cataleptic impression is not quite knowledge. The Stoics distinguished among opinion weak, or falseapprehension characterized by an intermediate epistemic valueand knowledge which is based on firm impressions unalterable by reason.

Giving assent to a cataleptic impression is a step on the way to actual knowledge, but the latter is more structured and stable than any single impression could be. Hankinson comments on an interesting aspect of the dispute between Stoics and Academic Skeptics, concerning the epistemic warrant to be granted to cataleptic impressions.

If clarity and distinctiveness are internal features of cataleptic impressions, then these are phenomenal features, and it is easy to come up with counterexamples where they do not seem to work for instance, the common occurrence of mistaking one member of a pair of twins for the other one. This is where we encounter one of the many episodes of growth of Stoic thought in response to external pressure. Cicero tells usin Academica II. Frede advanced the further view that what makes a cataleptic impression clear and distinct is not any internal feature of that impression, but rather an external causal feature related to its origin.

According to this account, then, Stoic epistemology is externalist for example, Almederrather than internalist for example, Goldman Indeed, there is evidence that they became—again as a result of criticism from the Skeptics—reliabilists about knowledge Goldman Athenaeus tells of the story of Sphaerus, a student of Cleanthes and colleague of Chrysippus, who was shown at a banquet what turned out to be birds made of wax.

After he reached to pick one up he was accused of having given assent to a false impression. To which he—rather cleverly, but indicatively—replied that he had merely assented to the proposition that it was reasonable to think of the objects as actual birds, not to the stronger claim that they actually were birds. To simplify quite a bit but see Bobzien for a somewhat in-depth treatmentStoic syllogistics was built on five basic types of syllogisms, and complemented by four rules for arguments that could be deployed to reduce all other types of syllogisms to one of the basic five.

The assertibles then are self-complete sayables that we use to make statements. It is also important to note that truth or falsehood are properties of assertibles, and indeed that being either true or false is a necessary and sufficient condition for being an assertible that is, one cannot assert, or make statements about, things that are neither true nor false.

The Stoics were concerned with the validity of arguments, not with logical theorems or truths per se, which again is understandable in light of their interest to use logic to guard the fruits of their garden, the ethics. They also introduced modality into their logicmost importantly the modal properties of necessity, possibility, non-possibility, impossibility, plausibility and probability.

This was a very modern and practically useful approach, as it directed attention to the fact that some assertibles induce assent even though they may be false, as well as to the observation that some assertibles have a higher likelihood of being true than not. Finally, the Stoics, and Chrysippus in particular, were sensitive to and attempted to provide an account of logical paradoxes such as the Liar and Sorites cases along lines that we today recognize as related to a semantic of vagueness Tye Let us briefly look at each in turn.

This also implies a very different view of natural science from the modern one: Stoics thought that everything real, that is, everything that exists, is corporeal—including God and soul. This may appear as a contradiction, given the staunchly materialist nature of Stoics philosophy, but is really no different from a modern philosophical naturalist who nonetheless grants that one can meaningfully talk about abstract concepts "university," "the number four" which are grounded in materialism because they can only be thought of by corporeal beings such as ourselves.

The active principle is un-generated and indestructible, while the passive one—which is identified with the four classical elements of water, fire, earth and air—is destroyed and recreated at every, eternally recurring, cosmic conflagration, a staple of Stoic cosmology.

The cosmos itself is a living being, and its rational principle Logos is identified with aether, or the Stoic Fire not to be confused with the elemental fire that is part of the passive principle. Consequently, God is immanent in the universe, and it is in fact identified with the creative cosmic Fire.

This also means that the Stoics, unlike the Aristotelians, did not recognize the concept of a prime mover, nor of a Christian-type God outside of time and space, on the ground that something incorporeal cannot act on things, because it has no causal powers. From all of this, as White puts it, emerges a biological, rather than a mechanical picture of causation, which is significantly different from post-Cartesian and Newtonian mechanical philosophy.

It is interesting to muse about the fact that some modern cosmological models also predict either identical or varied recurring universes Ungerer and Smolinbut of course do away with the concept of Providence altogether. Chrysippus had argued that there is no possibility of motion without causes, deducing that therefore everything has a cause. This concept of universal causality led the Stoics to accept divination as a branch of physics, not a superstition, as explained again by Cicero in De Divinatione, and this makes sense once one understands the Stoic view of the cosmos: Metaphysically the Stoics were determinists Frede The Stoics did have a concept of chance, but they thought of it much like modern scientists as a measure of human ignorance: The consequences of Stoic physics for their ethics are clear, and are summarized again by Cicero, when he says that Chrysippus aimed at a middle position between what we today would call strict incompatibilism and libertarianism Griffith White interestingly notes in this respect that—just like Spinoza—the Stoics shifted the emphasis from moral responsibility to moral worth and dignity.

Ethics Stoic Ethics was not just another theoretical subject, but an eminently practical one. It was no easy task: Epictetus famously said in Discourses III. The early Stoics were somewhat more theoretical in their approach, with Zeno, Cleanthes and Chrysippus attempting to both systematize their doctrines and defend them from critiques from both Epicurean and especially Academic-Skeptic quarters. For the Stoics human beings have natural propensities to develop morally, propensities that begin as what we today would call instincts and can then be greatly refined with the onset of the age of reason at the childhood stage and beyond.

3 what is the relationship of socrates to cynicism and stoicism

The Stoics related these propensities directly to the four cardinal virtues of temperance, courage, justice and practical wisdom. Which brings us to the matter of how the virtues are related to each other. To begin with, the Stoics recognized the above mentioned four cardinal virtues, but also a number of more specific ones within each major category complete list in Sharpederived from Stobaeus: Even so, they held to a view of virtue that is much more unitary than it may come across from this kind of list Schoefield Justice can be conceptualized as practical wisdom applied to social living; courage as wisdom concerning endurance; and temperance as wisdom with regard to matters of choice.

Chrysippus further elaborated this idea of pluralism within an underlying unity, making the virtues essentially inseparable, so that, say, one cannot be courageous and yet intemperate—in the Stoic sense of those words.

Hadot draws a series of parallels between the four virtues, the three topoi and what are referred to as the three Stoic disciplines: The discipline of desire, sometimes referred to as Stoic acceptance, is derived from the study of physics, and in particular from the idea of universal cause and effect. It consists in training oneself to desire what the universe allows and not to pursue what it does not allow. A famous metaphor here, used by Epictetus, is that of a dog leashed to a cart: The basic idea is that human beings ought to develop their natural concern for others in a way that is congruent with the exercise of the virtue of justice.

Here the area of study most directly connected to the discipline is that of ethics itself. Teach them then or bear with them. I will get back to the concept of assent in the next section, as it is related to the Stoic treatment of the moral psychology of emotions, but for now suffice to say that the discipline regards the necessity to make decisions about what to accept or reject of our experience of the world, that is, how to make proper judgments.

It is therefore linked to the virtue of practical wisdom, as well as to the area of study of logic. As we have seen so far, Stoic ethics is concerned exclusively with the concept of virtue and associated disciplines —whether understood as a unitary thing with a number of facets or otherwise. In this the Stoics were akin to the Cynics and unlike the Peripatetics, who instead allowed that a number of other things are necessary for a eudaimonic life, including some wealth, health, education, and so forth.

The Peripatetics would not have assented to the idea of a eudaimonic Sage on the rack, a classic Stoic concept. However, Stoic ethics actually attempts to strike a balance between the asceticism of the Cynics and the somewhat elitist views of the Peripatetics. Zeno distinguished between indifferents that have value axia and those that have disvalue apaxia.

The first group included things like health, wealth and education, while the second group was comprised of things like sickness, poverty and ignorance. The move was a brilliant one: There is much more to be said about Stoic ethics, of course, but before closing this introductory sketch let me comment on an issue that does not fail to come up, and which I have already briefly mentioned above: The issue is this: The generally accepted answer is no.

There are, however, other passages in the classical Stoic literature that do not lend themselves to a clear cut position on the matter, such as this one from Epictetus: Is it not sufficient to know the true nature of good and evil, and the proper bounds of our desires and aversions, and also of our impulses to act and not to act; and by making use of these as rules to order the affairs of our life, to bid those things that are beyond us farewell?