The Stoics believed in three main principles: total blending, living in harmony with nature, and indifference to indifferent things. Heraclitus, the Stoic philosopher, compared reality to a fire that is always kindling and smoldering. According to the Stoics, everything in the world happens according to God’s will. As a result, they are determinists, and the cosmos is eternally repeating its history.
One of the central tenets of Stoic ethics is the premise that everything belongs to the wise. According to Stoic philosophy, everything belongs to the wise, even if it is not necessarily beneficial to the whole. Even though all things belong to the wise, the law may say that some things are not moral. Similarly, certain things belong to the bad. For example, property that is dishonestly obtained belongs to the state, but it belongs to the person enjoying it in another sense. A Stoic would see the property as communal, if it is not in the interests of the individual who owns it.
The Stoics define ‘assent’ as the power of the commanding faculty. Assent is taking something as true, whereas withholding means suspending judgment. According to Stoic ethics, assent and withholding are two different parts of the same faculty, and their opposites cannot conflict with one another. So, a Stoic’s impulse will be different from an Epicurean’s impulse. The difference between the two is that the Stoic is emphasizing assent, and Epicurean ethics emphasizes the opposite.
The Stoics saw nature as a living, organic system, in which all events are rooted in the purpose of God. Their view of nature as a vast, living organism, and the interface between ethics and physics is crucial for understanding how to live ethically. There was a major debate between the Stoics and Epicureans over whether there is meaning in the natural world. The Stoics adopted the first view of the universe, whereas the Epicureans held the second view, linking it to atomic theory.
Philosophers have found that the Stoics benefited from studying physics to improve their understanding of ethical concepts. However, these interpretations of Stoic ethics are inconsistent with ancient texts and raise major questions. Hence, we need to consider the nuances and limitations of each of these interpretations before we make any final judgments. In addition to physics, Stoic ethics also includes a detailed account of the nature of emotions. The Stoics’ view of emotions is a direct consequence of their views of the good.
The Stoics believed in total blending. They argued that the soul and the body are a complete mixture and the two are inextricable. Thus, it is possible for one person to be part of another person, and both bodies have the same physical properties. Total blending does not require the same quantity of bodies. In fact, Chrysippus claimed that a drop of wine could pervade the ocean.
The Stoics thought that the soul is a corporeal substance, like matter. They believed that the soul is an inseparable part of the body and can pervade the physical one like water does a sponge. Stoics also believed that the corporeal pneuma occupied the same space as the passive matter. They called this total blending or mutual coextensiveness.
The Stoics’ theory of the universe is a unique one. According to this theory, the universe was born from a divine artisan-fire, and all events had a common cosmic thread. Their universe started out with reason and was made to fit together, but if reason was lost, the human soul would no longer exist. The Stoics also believed that the soul is a physical unit that combines reason and mind.
The Stoics separated the elements and principles of the universe into three categories, which are referred to as passive elements, dense bodies, and active elements. Each element, including the soul, possessed a high tensional motion. The Stoics categorized these substances into classes and a hierarchy of powers based on their tensional motion. In addition, their theory also allowed them to distinguish between organic and inorganic substances. In short, they believed that the soul is nourished from the passive elements, while active elements are responsible for the body’s physical functions.
Living in agreement with nature
The Stoics posited that all things are inherently “corporeal.” Time, space, and place are corporeal. Imaginary things, on the other hand, are subsistent. Their distinction between existent and subsistent complicates assimilation to modern materialism. Moreover, Stoics rejected the notion of an empty void or space.
The Stoics’ ethical teaching is based on two principles developed in physics – the principle that all things are governed by an absolute law, and the fact that humans are inherently reasoned. They emphasized virtues such as reason, courage, and temperance as the basis of good action and behavior. In order to practice the Stoic virtues, an individual must exercise mindfulness and select rational actions.
The Stoics were a group of Greek philosophers who sought to reduce the emotional hold on the mind. They did so by using logic, discipline, and meditation. They also stressed objectivity, a quality that we all possess. Their founder, Zeno of Citium, studied Cynic philosophy and learned from the great Cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes. The Stoics were highly influential in the political world of the ancient world.
The Stoics believed that the world has a purpose and that all things are in their right place. This way, the universe is harmonious and moves through cycles of phases. They believed that humans, too, were rational and social. Ultimately, everything ends up in a conflagration. The Stoics’ beliefs have been influential for more than 2,000 years, and their philosophy is still relevant today.
The Stoics also reject the idea that mere cognition is knowledge. Although they accept that we have cognitive impressions, these are merely individual facts, they are not knowledge. To be truly knowledgeable, one must act logically, regardless of one’s emotions. In other words, true knowledge requires secure, firm cognition, and a whole of cognitions. Weak assent constitutes ignorance.
The Stoics were ridiculed for their views on emotions. While they do not advocate the suppression of feelings, Stoics do believe that we are capable of cultivating good feelings, which are distinguished from their negative counterparts. Positive feelings are accompanied by correct judgment. They include joy, kindness, and warmth. It is the ability to discern right from wrong and allow ourselves to experience good feelings.
Indifference to indifferent things
The Stoics believed in the indifference to indifferent things, but they did not regard indifferent things as a source of value or normative justification. Instead, they believed that value is derived only from rational order, expressed in the cosmos and human dispositions. Though these beliefs are incompatible with the Academic tradition, they can be used to explain the principles of Stoic ethics.
The Stoics believed in good, bad, and indifferent things. They classified good indifferents as preferred, while bad indifferents were dispreferred. The Stoics aimed to live a life of harmony, in which no one has to live a miserable life. By studying the virtues and disliking bad ones, we can better understand why the Stoics considered indifference to indifferent things so important.
Indifference to indifferent things was the third of the Stoics’ main beliefs. The Stoics believed that happiness was better than poverty, and health over wealth. While stoics do not completely reject emotions, they do strive to live in a way that is honorable, even when undergoing hardship. In their pursuit of happiness, they would never sacrifice their virtues for friendship.
Despite their stance on indifference to indifferent things, they did not consider these factors as a means to change the world. They argued that people should not judge things by the way they feel. They must instead use reason instead of emotion to make the best decisions for themselves. This attitude is not easy to implement in practice, but they do work for us in the end.
The Stoics’ principle of indifference was derived from the Socratic school of cynicism. According to the Stoics, a good life is a virtue and other so-called goods should be treated as indifference. Those who live virtuously could still live in eudaimonia, while those who are not virtuous can be corrupted by external things. This means that the limit of happiness lies within the virtuous individual.
The Stoics had many subclasses of indifferents. Health, in particular, was considered a virtue, while illness was viewed as an indifferent thing. They also used the concept of adiaphora to describe a person’s attitude toward indifferent things. The Stoics had many technical terms for these things, and in the ancient world, they were used to describe health as something of positive value.