Aristotelian and Epictetus: On External Things

2823 WordsJul 12, 201812 Pages
In the world there are two distinct types of things. There are things that exist external to us, such as one's reputation or a relationship. We do not have direct control over these things since they exist outside of us. Then there are internal things that we do have control over, like out desires, or things we dislike. The internal things can be controlled, while the external can be harder to control. Some philosophers even believe that the external things cannot be controlled, and attempting to control them will just bring unhappiness. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus is one such philosopher. In The Enchiridion he outlined how to live a good life as a stoic. Anything that is not one's own action is out of their control and…show more content…
By acting in this manner the individual pays attention to the external things. While Epictetus believes we have no control, it seems that we may have some control. We have control over our actions, and our actions can influence these external things. In this case the care and sympathy, have an effect on the man. While no one can directly control things that are not their actions, they still have things in their control, namely their actions. In fact, our actions can even have an effect on the things that Epictetus believes we can not influence. II According to Epictetus things that are not our actions are out of our control, and attempting to control them will only bring pain. As examples he gives body, property, reputation, and command.8 He thinks people should abandon those things. However, there are certainly times it pays to make an effort to control these things. A person does not just stop paying any attention to their body because they cannot influence the time it takes to heal from an injury. While people do not always have direct control over their body, that alone is not sufficient to say it should be ignored. If someone took this Epictetian view that the body cannot be controlled, then they would have no reason to care for their body. Some things like, disease or injury cannot always be controlled but the body should be cared for and maintained. Epictetus gives no reason to do that, and even encourages that we not

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