Marcus Aurelius is one of the most influential human beings in history. He ruled the Roman Empire for two decades. It was the largest civilization in the world at the time. Despite his colossal power, he embodied the Stoic philosophy. Here, he shares his philosophy of life with us. Let’s learn more about Marcus Aurelius. The Stoic philosophy was a way of life, a philosophy of virtue.
Virtue is the highest good
The concept of virtue is an important one in Stoic philosophy, and a key component of its ethical philosophy. Stoic virtue ethics emphasizes the right motive for any action, regardless of whether it is selfish or in the service of others. In other words, virtuous actions are the most appropriate actions a human being can perform. The virtuous act is one that does not harm another person, a distinction that distinguishes Stoic virtue ethics from that of Aristotle.
The highest good in Stoic philosophy is a person’s character. It is in their character and personality that real value resides. Everything else is fleeting, and true Stoics will never compromise their character. This is one of the most profound aspects of Stoic philosophy. If you want to live a happy and fulfilling life, you should strive to live a noble and honorable life. The Stoics believed that virtue is more important than happiness.
According to the Stoics, the highest good is tranquility, which is synonymous to ataraxia, the absence of worry or anxiety. To achieve tranquility, whatever means you use, virtue can be abandoned in favor of an easier route. Sophos and Epicurus were wrong, but this philosophy still resonates today. Sophos and Philodemus both believed that tranquility was the highest good, and Zeno became a Stoic philosopher after reading Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates.
When it comes to living with Stoic virtue, it helps to have a visual aid to remind us of our values. Placing pictures of virtues in prominent areas of your life can remind you of the importance of acting with Stoic virtue. By doing so, we can make our lives better and happier. Moreover, the pursuit of virtue should not be seen as a chore but as a journey, and one should enjoy the process. After all, life can be boring without virtue.
Assent is a power of the commanding faculty
In Stoic philosophy, the commanding faculty is the power of judgment that governs the universe. This faculty is akin to the mind’s reasoning faculties and acts as the basis for virtuous behavior. It is responsible for assimilating our senses, and it may be irrational to think and feel without first having perception. Proper rational adjudication of assent to the truth and reality of something is the key to virtuous living and happiness. The philosophy is consistent with all the philosophical traditions of Greece.
Assent, then, is a power of the commanding faculty. Unlike knowledge, which requires belief in P, assent to an opinion is still ‘weak’. Likewise, in Stoic philosophy, assent is a power of the commanding faculty. Although ‘weak’ assent is inconsistent with knowledge, it is not necessarily an opinion.
Stoic philosophers understood the interdependence of different philosophical views. For instance, physics, ethics, and logic are related to each other. Each is necessary for the other. Stoic philosophers believed that the soul and its faculties were related to each other, much like an animal’s bones, flesh, and soul. However, the commanding faculty of the soul is a powerful faculty.
In Stoic philosophy, assent is a power of the commanding faculties. It is a way for a person to decide what actions are appropriate and which are not. The Stoics view that the original impulse of an ensouled creature is toward appropriate things. Epicureans say it is towards pleasure. A Stoic sage is more likely to choose pleasure and avoid self-mutilation if she has the option to do so.
Assent to a rational impression is a matter of volition
In Stoic philosophy, assent to a rational impression is a choice that can be made by a person. But the idea that the will is not an essential element of rationality does not stand up to rigorous scrutiny. While the Stoics do not dispute that there is a will, they do not stress the importance of assent for the formation of beliefs.
Stoics define assent as the act of evaluating a rational impression, or a fact. In other words, we may have no choice but to accept or reject a rational impression. The Stoics call this assent. Assent is the act of accepting a proposition, while withholding assent is the process of suspending judgment of its truthfulness.
In Stoic philosophy, every action that an adult takes is a result of “willing.” This action is based on a reasoned impression. In Stoic philosophy, a person may have an unreasonable desire, but it must not be overridden by that impulse. But even though an adult may have an unreasonable desire, it is important to remember that assent to a rational impression is not an act of volition.
Stoics differentiate between concern and fear. Fear is a false belief that evil is about to happen. A person who is wise will be concerned, but a fool will be afraid. The Stoics define fear as an impulse that is based on a false belief. And fear is a bodily sensation. In short, a person can be either concerned or afraid depending on his or her state of mind.
Assent to a fresh opinion of something bad is a matter of volition
A state of the soul is an excessive impulse that defies reason. For example, an individual might have a strong fear of dogs even after they have rationally recognized that the dog does not pose a threat. Stoic philosophers call this state of the soul “passion”, referring to its assent to a false impression. In other words, when we are scared of a dog, we are not rationally aware that the dog is not dangerous.
Stoics view moral error as the result of either bad guidance or natural errors in our reasoning. This view is similar to that of David Hume, who wrote a favorable essay about the Stoics and preferred the Skeptics. This view is important to understand because the Stoics consider moral error as an expression of ignorance of the truth, rather than an illusion created by the mind.
The Stoics also believed that a person’s willingness to accept a new opinion was an act of volition. Hence, they believed that they had a responsibility to seek out better answers than what society offered them. This attitude was a hallmark of the Stoics. In their writings, the Stoics argued that one should never accept the opinion of a stranger.
The stoics emphasized the importance of freedom in morality. They said that freedom consists in the power to live according to one’s own will. Cicero also endorsed the high moral tone of the Stoics, and related it to Kantian autonomy. This position reflects Cicero’s view of human freedom.
Assent to a rational impression
According to Stoic philosophy, assent to a rational impression (kataleptic assent) is the power of the commanding faculty. Assent involves the taking of a particular content as true, while withholding implies suspending judgement. According to Stoic philosophy, assent and impression are two aspects of the same commanding faculty and cannot conflict. The following is an analysis of the distinction between assent and kataleptic assent:
According to the Stoics, every object has a specific feature that distinguishes it from all other objects. However, the Academics ask how we know that the feature is present. In their response, Stoics attempt to define the phenomenological features of cognitive impressions and propose that these impressions carry an identity badge. Therefore, assenting to a rational impression is a sign of a rational mind.
In addition to assenting to a rational impression, Stoics also define a criterion for truth. As such, the criterion for truth is an impression that firmly grasps the object. This impression is also called the canon of truth, and is an instrument by which truth is judged. This instrument is similar to that used by all Hellenistic schools to assess truth.
The sages of the Stoic school sought to strike a middle ground. They endorsed twin central ideas – virtue is the only good and eudaimonia is possible no matter what the circumstances. At the same time, they endorsed rational preference and disfavor of other things, without confusing them with inherent value. The Stoics’ definition of happiness, therefore, is based on their view of human psychology and value.