The Stoic Tradition
In the approximate year of 320 B.C., one could be walking down the street with a high probability of passing a house where several men would be gathered out on the porch. It is likely that this was a gathering of individuals discussing philosophy. The gatherings became a more common occurrence, and since they would take place out on the porches, the school of philosophy derived from them takes its name from the Greek stoa, or porch. The ideology of that movement is henceforth known as Stoicism. Also, the Stoics have come to use the statement made by Socrates as the cornerstone of their judgments, being that "no harm can come to a good man." However, this concept is taken a bit further by the Stoics, as they …show more content…
This is also the place where Socrates and Plato are heard in the endeavor towards human excellence by means of focusing on the actions of the self as opposed to the actions of others, which cannot be controlled.
Marcus Aurelius wrote that one is to "let no action be done at random, or in any other way than in accordance with the principle which perfects the art," (Aurelius 518). This statement reinforces the notion of following a trajectory. By performing actions with the intention of becoming a better human being, one is following the personal trajectory towards human excellence. This intention in every action undertaken does not make it random, and keeping on course towards self-improvement causes the action in particular to be one which perfects the art. The action becomes an action of being in accordance with the principles of nature, and thus reinforces the venture towards human excellence perpetually. So in acting to improve, one is improving the actions that help to improve in a self-propagating cycle.
Furthermore, following nature is remaining in a state of calm and peaceful apathy in response to the stressing events of life. Epictetus writes,
Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet. As something is being passed around it comes to you; stretch out your hand and take a portion of it politely. It passes on; do not detain it. Or it has not come to you yet; do not project your desire to meet it, but wait
Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher who lived during the height of the Roman Empire, 50 to 135 CE roughly. He was born a slave in modern Turkey. He was given his name from the Greek word επικτητος, meaning ‘acquired’ or ‘slave’. As a slave he was permitted to attend philosophy lectures, which were held by Stoics at the time. During his time as a slave, Epictetus’ leg was injured, either from torture or an accident, and, due to his familiarity with Stoicism, he was able to endure it. He got his freedom when Nero was appointed emperor; however, during the rule of Domitian, Epictetus was exiled and moved to Greece. He started a philosophy school where he continued to teach about Stoicism and eventually died. His student, Arrian, wrote and published his works: The Discourses and Epictetus’ shorter book, the Enchiridion, or The Manual.
What argument does he provide for why we should not fear death? What is the ethical purpose of this argument for how we should live our lives? Do you agree with Epicurus’s views? Why or why not?
According to Socrates one of the most important things that identify with human being is their desire. Socrates argues that desire that can change people minds quickly and very abnormally. The three-part division of the soul is crucial to Plato’s overall project of offering the same sort of explication of justice whether applied to societies or individuals.
The additional position in which Socrates resides, is that of the good man. As he elaborates himself, a good man is one who acts justly and keeps the good interest of others, as well as himself, always in mind (Plato). So a good man acts according to this mindset, acting justly in his treatment towards others, but also in his treatment of himself. Though he may not see the just treatment of himself as the end towards which his action is intended, such potentially altruistic consideration of the
Born of different backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences, Epictetus and Seneca are Roman philosophers who outwardly appear very different. Epictetus spent most of his youth as a slave while Seneca was born into money and became a tutor of Nero. Although these two men seem to be very dissimilar, they each shared a common purpose in studying philosophy and teaching people on how to live well. Each suggested different paths for how to do so. Epictetus suggests in his book, The Discourses and The Enchiridion, that living a life in accordance with nature could be achieved by living moderately. Seneca suggests in his work, Letters from a Stoic, that a happy man is self-sufficient and realizes that happiness depends only on interior perfection. Despite the differences, both Epictetus and Seneca are considered Stoics because of their shared belief in the idea that character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. The world outside ourselves will never give us happiness, nor will it be responsible for our unhappiness. It doesn’t matter what’s happening outside ourselves, Epictetus and Seneca claim that the only thing that matters is how we interpret those events. Further evaluating Seneca’s, Letters from a Stoic and Epictetus’s, The Discourses and The Enchiridion, we will clearly be able to differentiate the two in their ideas and opinions regarding stoicism and the keys to living a well, happy life.
The portrayal of Socrates, through the book “the trial and death of Socrates” is one that has created a fairly controversial character in Western history. In many ways, Socrates changed the idea of common philosophy in ancient Greece; he transformed their view on philosophy from a study of why the way things are, into a consideration man. Specifically, he analyzed the virtue and health of the human soul. Along side commending Socrates for his strong beliefs, and having the courage to stand by those convictions, Socrates can be commended for many other desirable characteristics. Some of those can include being the first martyr to die for his philosophical beliefs and having the courage to challenge indoctrinated cultural norms is part of
A philosophical attitude toward life should play a major part in our lives. It is crucial for us as humans to learn and accept lessons learned through the experience of life. If you do not “examine your life” then what do you learn and what do you gain? Socrates’ in “The Trial and Death of Socrates” he details this in many ways. We can pull all the evidence and ideas we need from this text written by Plato. In the 3 parts Euthyphro, Apology and Crito many conclusions are made and there is much to learn from this text. Some of the most important parts allude to this idea of living life with a philosophical attitude. The book begins with the search for the definition of piety. In the apology Socrates’ details his side of the argument showing everyone the power of his own ideas and that is proved by his execution and finally in the Crito his commitment to his way of life is the last point that Socrates’ made. This text is chalked full of life lessons but the most important is the one that urges people to live their lives while never stopping to learn and think.
Liberation here in the visible realm comes from recognizing the hindering function of the body in the soul's search for knowledge. Socrates comments that a soul associated too closely with the
Socrates then discusses what it would take for an individual and community to achieve self-discipline or self-mastery. To achieve self-discipline one needs to have complete control between all three parts of the soul. When someone has achieved the sense of self-discipline the rational part of the soul has taken control of both the spirited and appetite. “There are better and worse elements in persons mind, and when the part which is naturally better is in control of the worse part, then we use the phrase self-mastery.” (Plato, 431a) When you’re spirited and desire parts of the soul do the job of the rational, you may make decisions that are not morally right. As in a community you would want the guardians to make the decisions rather than the farmers and fisherman because they lack the knowledge to make the decisions that make the community prosper. To Plato the soul is immortal and lives on after death and the body decays.
The Iliad, the Greek epic documented by Homer that describes the battles and events of the ten year siege on Troy by the Greek army. Both Trojans and Greeks had their fair share of heroes and warriors, but none could match the skill and strength of the swift runner, Achilles. Achilles had the attributes of a perfect warrior with his god-like speed and combat abilities. However, even though he was Greek’s greatest warrior, he still possessed several flaws that made him fit the role of the Tragic Hero impeccably. Defined by Aristotle, a Tragic Hero is someone who possesses a high status of nobility and greatness, but must have imperfections so that mere mortals cannot relate to the hero. Lastly, the Tragic Hero’s downfall must be partially
After the death of Aristotle, philosophy that targeted greater complex depths was outrun by philosophy that focused on mere everyday lives. With the rise and fall of Skepticism, Cynicism, and Epicureanism there was an influence that survived years impacting life and that was Stoicism. Zeno of Citium who believed that the world had an ultimate plan and everything--including nature, animals, and humans, were there for a reason (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014, p. 66). The reason Stoicism was easily used is because it was well-suited with the way Romans highlighted their law and order giving the extensive coverage displayed by many philosophers, including Marcus Aurelius.
In the Republic of Plato, the philosopher Socrates lays out his notion of the good, and draws the conclusion that virtue must be attained before one can be good. For Socrates there are two kinds of virtue; collective and individual. Collective virtue is virtue as whole, or the virtues of the city. Individual virtue pertains to the individual himself, and concerns the acts that the individual does, and concerns the individual’s soul. For Socrates, the relationship between individual and collective virtue is that they are the same, as the virtues of the collective parallel those of the Individual. This conclusion can be reached as both the city and the soul deal with the four main virtues of wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice.
Happiness is all around the world, it is a very genuine and important thing, and everyone wants to be happy. Being happy is what makes life worth living, and it makes life a lot better in every way possible. What makes people happy though? Are bodily and external goods necessary to happiness? I would say no because by which they can make you happy, they are not necessary for human happiness. It’s not what things you buy, the pain, the suffering, or enjoyment your body might get. Human happiness comes from somewhere else within the human. Comparing and contrasting Aristotle’s and the Stoics’ view of human happiness will help give a better clear and logical understanding on what really happiness is and why I believe that bodily
Once a person has done this then they can concern themselves with other matters. Stating that you first turn your attention inward and then outward to the larger society could sum up the general message of Socrates.