The Stoics believed in the validity of arguments. They were not interested in logical theorems, but truths. Logic is a tool for safeguarding ethics, and the Stoics made use of modal properties, which include necessity, non-possibility, and impossibility. They also added probability and affirmed that assertibles are true when they have a greater likelihood of being true.
Stoicism is a psychological fortress against bad fortune
The ancient philosophy of Stoicism can provide a strong ethical scaffolding for people facing tough times. While many people are feeling fearful and frightened by the pandemic, the Stoics show grace under pressure. They don’t get swept up in the shock and horror of the situation, but instead try to take a virtuous response to each adversity.
The Stoics believe that the power of mind can make people invincible. This belief is contrary to the modern concept that the human mind is untouchable and uncontrollable. Rather, the mind is in control of one’s actions, thoughts, and behavior. It is only the way that we interpret situations that damages us. This is why they say that we are only as strong as we make ourselves out to be.
In the first century BCE, Pompey was a Stoic. He visited him several times, and was at times a friend and an enemy. However, he also admired Stoicism as a way of life. In his writings, Pompey outlined the key concepts of Stoicism: the importance of friendship, altruism, time, and the proper use of our abilities.
The Stoics also stressed the importance of right action and living a moral life. This is because they believed that the good life was characterized by action, and that wallowing in self-pity would only deprive us of our ability to act morally. In addition to addressing the common worries of life, the Stoics emphasized that worrying is both futile and irrational.
There is no such thing as moral progress for the Stoics
Stoics do not see the world as a linear progression from one state to another. Instead, they see the world as composed of parts, each of which is composed of two primary elements: air and water. Air is an inward motion, and is capable of preserving, organising, and animating bodies. The same principle applies to virtue, which is the capacity to achieve the highest good.
In the Stoics’ view, virtue is a kind of knowledge, while ignorance is a cognitive state. Consequently, not wise people do everything equally badly. This is a counter-intuitive view, and the Stoics use an illustration of drowning to illustrate their point. But while progress is difficult for a human, it is possible to be more moral than the next person.
According to the Stoics, the world is like the fully rational creature of God. Each part of the world seeks appropriate things, like health, and each body part seeks to preserve its whole. The Stoic doctrine of natural attachment provides the framework for judging our preferences. We prefer health over sickness, for example, and vice versa. Stoics call such things “things according to nature” or “things according to nature.”
The Stoics view of the soul and the good also translates into a view of emotions. They refer to emotions as pathe. In contrast to actions, pathe is a synonym for passion, and vices are the opposite of pathe. And vice versa, both of these concepts are interpreted as ‘good’ in a Stoic context. They also emphasize that the sage is free.
It is based on the virtuous use of indifferents
The Stoics based their philosophy on the virtuous use of indifference, or “the judicious disposition of indifferents.” While they were not indifferent to the external world, they sought to live according to virtue and the eudaimonic way of life. As a result, they tended to do the right thing regardless of external circumstances. However, since Stoicism is a practical life philosophy, it is important to act on its ideas.
Stoics defined indifferents in a variety of technical terms. For example, health is ‘according to nature’. Because it is positive, health is ‘preferred’. It is desirable to enjoy life and avoid pain. On the other hand, illness is ‘dispreferred’ and ‘not to be taken’. The virtuous person seeks the company of his friend when there are no vicious actions. The virtuous person’s soul does not feel the absence of a friend, but the opposite is true for the vicious person.
The Stoics tried to strike a balance between Cynic asceticism and Peripatetics elitism. In addition, they introduced the controversial concept of preferred and dispreferred “indifferents” into their philosophy. While the exact formulation of Zeno’s book on Ethics has not been found, other philosophers like Diogenes Laertius mention the concept. According to Stoic ethics, there are indifferents that have value. These include wealth, health, poverty, and ignorance.
While the Stoics argued that virtue is the highest good, they also defined it as living in accordance with the “virtuous use of indifferents.” Indifferents include the four cardinal virtues, the four vices, and the rest. Other indifferents include fame, wealth, and health. It’s not possible to measure the goodness of a person by the number of indifferents, but instead by the amount of virtue a person has.
It is inimical to freedom
The Stoic philosophy is a form of aristotelian ethics that draws on the work of Plato and Aristotle, along with other competing contemporary investigations into ethics and epistemology. Its name derives from the school of Zeno in Athens, where students met on a covered colonnaded walkway near the market place. It eventually evolved into a practical system of ethics, accessible to more than just the sages.
The Stoics’ views on human rights are based on their rejection of slavery. Despite their opposition to slavery, the Stoics considered slaves to be brethren within the moral law and accepted a separate duty to the political world. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who had himself been a slave, even declared that slavery was an evil. In the modern world, however, these views are outmoded and sadly, many of today’s Stoics are in favor of abolition.
While Stoics reject the concept of “freedom,” they do recognize the power of emotion. Stoics call these positive feelings “good-passions.” However, this is not the case. The Stoics did not seek emotional flatness; they emphasized the importance of well-disposed emotional lives filled with moderate impulses. It’s not surprising that the Stoics’ view of freedom is so antithetical to our modern culture.
The Stoics viewed the world as a living being, and they believed that the soul is a blank slate when born. Their philosophy of passion attempted to explain the mental conflict inherent in all human beings. By rejecting the notion of free will, they essentially condemned the notion of freedom altogether. The Stoics also condemned the idea of freedom and equality. The Stoics believed that freedom is based on the innate disposition of a human being to develop a concept.
It is inimical to emotion
The Stoics understood reason as the process of nature. They believed that the process of reason in all things is the logos, or the “universal reason.” Living according to reason and virtue is a way to live in harmony with the divine order of the universe. They also recognized that human beings have the same reason. So how can a Stoic philosopher help people understand their emotions? Here are four reasons why.
One of the underlying themes of Stoic philosophy is its opposition to consumerism. It is often said that the Stoics are hyper-aware of the power of consumerism, yet most of them become upset when they lack luxury possessions. A great example of this is the fact that Seneca practiced days of poverty. He would wear clothes that were out of style and was essentially reminding himself that he did not need all the luxuries in life to be happy.
Another example is the Stoics’ view of anger. They say that a wise person is never angry, but he will flinch when confronted by a loud noise. In fact, he says that the wise person will not become angry or cry, but will instead just as quickly as he flinches. While the Stoics cannot deny that emotions can be harmful, they can provide useful advice for the rest of us who are suffering from their own emotional responses.
In addition to its criticism of emotions, Stoic philosophy has inspired modern philosophers to reexamine their own feelings. Philosophers like Foucault and Pierre Hadot have taken up the idea of a living philosophy based on Stoic ethics. And in the twentieth century, the Stoics have influenced the development of cognitive and behavioral therapies, such as rational emotive behavioral therapy (REM).