A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine

By Karsten Friis Johansen | Go to book overview

28

EARLY STOICISM

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood.

(The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, adopted 1948, Article 1)

Tous les hommes sont égaux aux yeux de la raison et de la justice. II ne faut point altérer cette vérité éternelle.

(Robespierre, April 19, 1793)

Nihil est profecto praestabilius, quam plane intellegi, nos ad iustitiam esse natos, neque opinione sed natura constitutum esse ius.

(Cicero, De legibus)

Zeno of Citium at Cyprus, the founder of Stoicism (335-265), arrived in Athens in 313 after a perilous voyage (Diog. Laert. VII 2 ff.). In Athens he happened by a bookseller and heard him reading Xenophon's Memorabilia aloud to himself. Zeno was fascinated by what he heard, and asked where one in our day could find such a splendid man as Socrates. 'Follow that man', said the bookseller, pointing to the Cynic Crates who just then was passing in the street. Thereafter, as we are told, Zeno joined Crates, even though he adopted more decent manners than his master's. In 301 he founded his own school-which is to say that he lectured in rooms in the Stoa in the market square (stoa: colonnade).

Crates (VI 85 ff.) was a student of the notorious Diogenes (c.400-325) who earned his fame for all eternity by living in a barrel and speaking familiarly to Alexander the Great (cf. 38). He practised extreme asceticism, rid himself of all conventions, and lived the life of a dog (kyōn: a dog). To posterity Diogenes stands as the figurehead of the Cynics, but the later tradition is probably correct in maintaining that in all essentials the Cynics continued Antisthenes' ethics. Thereby the succession from Socrates to Zeno was established, and the bookseller anticipated the judgement of history when he pointed to the leading Cynic of his day as a Socrates redivivus. Diogenes-and with him the other Cynics-first and foremost showed their ascetic attitude to life in practice, and surely it was part of their strategy to

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A History of Ancient Philosophy: From the Beginnings to Augustine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Presocratic Philosophy 9
  • 1 - Myth, Poetry and Philosophy 11
  • 2 - Ionian Natural Philosophy 20
  • 3 - Heraclitus 29
  • 4 - The Pythagoreans 36
  • 5 - The Eleatics 45
  • 6 - Post-Parmenidean Natural Philosophy 59
  • 7 - Medical Science 79
  • Part II - The Great Century of Athens 83
  • 8 - Pericles' Athens 85
  • 9 - Tragedy and View of History 88
  • 10 - The Sophists 99
  • 11 - Socrates 118
  • Part III - Plato 137
  • 12 - Life, Works and Position 139
  • 13 - What is Virtue? Can Virtue Be Taught? 160
  • 14 - Idea and Man 173
  • 15 - The Good Constitution of State and Man 198
  • 16 - The Late Dialogues: Knowledge and Being 213
  • 17 - The Late Dialogues: Nature, Man and Society 236
  • 18 - Plato and the Early Academy 254
  • Part IV - Aristotle 267
  • 19 - Life, Works and Position 269
  • 20 - Logic and Theory of Science 293
  • 21 - Natural Philosophy and Psychology 316
  • 22 - Metaphysics and Theology 343
  • 23 - Ethics and Politics 366
  • 24 - Rhetoric and Poetics 392
  • 25 - The Early Peripatetics 400
  • Part V - Hellenistic Philosophy 405
  • 26 - Science and Philosophy 407
  • 27 - Epicurus 423
  • 28 - Early Stoicism 442
  • 29 - Scepticism 471
  • 30 - Greece and Rome 484
  • Part VI - Late Antiquity 499
  • 31 - Imperial Rome 501
  • 32 - Plotinus 532
  • 33 - Late Neoplatonism 556
  • 34 - Early Christian Thought 569
  • 35 - Augustine 588
  • Abbreviations General 625
  • Bibliography 639
  • Index 663
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