Physics of the Stoics

Physics of the Stoics

Physics of the Stoics

Physics of the Stoics

Excerpt

This book gives an account of the physical doctrine of the Stoics, all the aspects of which were based on a rigorous continuum conception. The main outlines of Stoic physics were briefly given in my earlier book The Physical World of the Greeks, especially in chapter VI (The World of the Continuum) and chapter VII (The Interdependence of Things).

In the present study I have tried to give a more detailed exposition of Stoic physics. The origins of some of its basic notions are traced back to pre-Socratic sources, and the central concepts such as pneuma, force, determinism, the infinite, together with the beginnings of functional thought, have been more fully analysed. In some respects, as for instance in the case of the Stoic idea of Time, I had to revise my former contentions as a result of further investigations. In others, such as their establishment of the causal law and the distinction between partial and closed systems, I have introduced new material.

In addition to quotations from original texts in the main body of the book, further texts in translation illustrating each chapter will be found in the Appendix.

My sincere thanks are due to Professor S. Pines of the Hebrew University for his helpful criticism; to Mr. D. Leslie, M.Litt., who corrected the style; to Mr. J. Landau, M.A., who checked my translations against the original Greek and to my wife who prepared and typed the manuscript.

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