5
EPICTETUS
Epictetus (c. 50–c. 130), born a Greek slave in Asia Minor, was freed sometime after the death of Nero, in 68. He along with all the philosophers was expelled from Rome by the Emperor Domitian in 90 and died in northern Greece about 130. He was known as a kindly man, humble and charitable, especially to children. He was crippled in slavery, which may have influenced his motto: “Bear and forbear.” He embraced Stoicism and taught that we should submit to our fate as God's sacred gift and design. Epictetus did not publish anything, but his pupil Flavius Arrianus recorded his teachings, the most famous of which is the Encheiridion (a handbook).Stoicism was a Greek school of philosophy founded in circa 300 B.C. in Athens by Zeno of Citium and developed into the dominant philosophy of the Roman Empire. The word stoa from which “Stoic” derives is the Greek word for porch. Apparently Zeno lectured from the “painted porch,” a public building in the Agora. The Stoics believed that we should resign ourselves to our fate, do our duty faithfully, and thereby acquire tranquillity of mind. The world is transient and unstable. We cannot change very much, but we can master our souls so that we attain tranquillity amidst the chaos all around us. Stoics were the first world citizens, “cosmopolitans,” holding that a divine spark indwelt every human being. Chrysippus (c. 280–206 B.C.), referred to in the text, was the third leader of the Stoics and credited with over 700 treatises.
PRINCIPAL IDEAS
I. Religious Materialists: Everything was made up of matter (monists—one vs. many), including God. But there are degrees of condensation and rarefaction of matter (Aristotle's four elements). The soul in every man was a rarefied divine spark, which was manifest in reason (logos).II. The Universe is a Vast Animal whose soul is God, a divine fire, the Universal Logos. We are mini-animals whose soul is a mini-god, possessing as it does sparks of the divine fire. Universe is a spherical plenum held together by tension, the more tension the more value. Accordingly, the world consists of four kinds of beings:
1. Least tension—mere material objects, rocks and sand
2. A little more tension—plants
3. Moderate tension (souls)—animals
4. High tension (mini-cosmos)—man (rational animals)

III. Universalism: The Stoics were the first cosmopolitans, believing that all men were brothers under one Father, God.

-363-

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Classics of Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Time Line xi
  • Part One - The Ancient Period 1
  • 1: The Pre-Socratics 3
  • 2: Plato 20
  • 3: Aristotle 240
  • 4: Epicurus 357
  • 5: Epictetus 363
  • 6: Sextus Empiricus 374
  • 7: Plotinus 391
  • Part Two - The Medieval Period 405
  • 8: Augustine 407
  • 9: Boethius 447
  • 10: Avicenna 455
  • 11: Anselm and Gaunilo 458
  • 12: Thomas Aquinas 462
  • 13: William of Ockham 486
  • Part Three - The Modern Period 493
  • 14: RenÉ Descartes 495
  • 15: Thomas Hobbes 525
  • 16: Blaise Pascal 566
  • 17: Baruch Spinoza 570
  • 18: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 618
  • 19: John Locke 652
  • 20: George Berkeley 690
  • 21: William Paley 723
  • 22: David Hume 726
  • 23: Immanuel Kant 819
  • 24: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 914
  • 25: SØren Kierkegaard 922
  • 26: Mary Wollstonecraft 935
  • 27: John Stuart Mill 942
  • 28: Friedrich Nietzsche 1030
  • Part Four - The Contemporary Period 1059
  • 29: W. K. Clifford 1061
  • 30: Charles Sanders Peirce 1066
  • 31: William James 1076
  • 32: Bertrand Russell 1100
  • 33: G. E. Moore 1142
  • 34: Ludwig Wittgenstein 1150
  • 35: Edmund Husserl 1168
  • 36: Martin Heidegger 1185
  • 37: Jean-Paul Sartre 1207
  • 38: A. J. Ayer 1225
  • 39: Thomas Nagel 1234
  • 40: Philippa Foot 1242
  • 41: Nelson Goodman 1249
  • 42: John Rawls 1254
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