From ancient to modern Stoicism — part II

keep calmAs part of my ongoing exploration of Stoicism — of which this blog is essentially my public diary — I have been keen on thinking about what a modern Stoicism might look like. After all, the ancient version ceased being a live philosophy abut 18 centuries ago, and much has happened in both philosophy and science in the meantime. An update is long overdue (one such was attempted, and enjoyed a brief period of interest, during the Renaissance.)

In part I of this essay I presented three possible major 21st century improvements on ancient Stoicism, derived chiefly from the work of Bill Irvine and of Larry Becker, regarding the dichotomy of control, virtue, and nature. In this second and last part I wish to explore three more major issues: how to think of emotions, the question of preferred indifferents, and the Logos as universal rational principle.

Last time I introduced a partial infographics to aid in following and referring to the discussion. Let me now reproduce the full version of the diagram (again, the figure in the middle represents humanity at large):

ancient to modern Stoicism

On to the fourth topic, then, emotions. As I’ve explained at length recently, the Stoics were not advocating an unemotional life, but rather the achievement of what they called apatheia, a sense of equanimity and mental tranquillity. The recipe for this was to withdraw “assent” from negative emotions, while at the same time cultivating positive ones.

As I’ve explained before, the Stoics held to a concept of “emotions” (more correctly rendered by the term “passion”) not dissimilar from the one currently accepted by cognitive scientists: as neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux points out, when scientists talk about, say, fear, they refer to the evolved, presumably adaptive, nonconscious neural system that allows us to detect threats and to react to them. The classical fight-or-flight response is an obvious example, and the neural machinery that makes it possible is located in the amygdala. The amygdala, then, create the basis for the conscious feeling of what we call the emotion of fear. But emotions in the Stoic and neuroscientific sense are better understood as “cognitively assembled conscious feelings,” which means that they are the result of an active, conscious, construction of the human mind. This construction takes place out of a number of building blocks, only one of which is the non-conscious, amygdala based, threat detection and reaction mechanism. The additional blocks are derived by our understanding of the context in which we are experiencing the reaction, including the social context, as well as from our past judgments of similar situations, our expectations about them, and so on. In other words: conscious deliberation arriving at a judgment, the human use of what Marcus Aurelius famously called the ruling faculty.

This is all good, and I do agree with the ancient Stoics that negative emotions as defined by them (e.g., fear due to irrational expectations of something bad or harmful) need to be “withdrawn assent,” something that Stoic practice (and modern Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is designed to do. But I find the positive Stoic emotions a bit narrowly construed: they include only contemplative aspects of virtue, like “discretion,” the rational aversion of vice, or “willing,” the rational desire of virtue. This is simply too restricted a spectrum to account for a truly eudaimonic human life.

So my proposal in the diagram is to expand the Stoic system from emotions that are concerned only with the exercise of virtue to emotions that are more broadly related to human needs. This, I believe, is a fairly major departure from ancient Stoicism, and I’m not aware of any modern author who proposes it (though of course I may have missed it).

What this means, for instance, is that love of your spouse, your children, and your friends; or a passion for social justice; or a feeling of awe for the beauty of the universe, or for human art, are all positive emotions that a eudaimon should cultivate, even though  they do not directly affect virtue. Then again, I believe that indirectly everything we do affects virtue, understood as excellence of character. Another way to put this is that I think a human being that did not love his family and friends, was not concerned with social justice, and did not appreciate art and beauty would be a non-excellent one, failing to achieve arete in the broadest sense possible for Homo sapiens.

Next up: indifferents. In ancient Stoicism these include everything that is not directly concerned with virtue, and is therefore not an intrinsic good or bad, but can still reasonably be pursued or avoided, such as, respectively: health, education and wealth (preferred) vs sickness, ignorance and poverty (dispreferred).

Now, the ancient Stoics themselves disagreed on this (e.g., compare Seneca and Epictetus), but several of them thought that the indifferents were to be preferred or dispreferred in proportion to how they enabled the pursuit of virtue, and for no other reason.

Again, this seems to me an unnecessary restriction on eudaimonia, and one that can be relaxed in a way similar to what I suggested for the emotions above, without risk of turning Stoicism into either Epicureanism or Peripateticism. My proposal is to say that indifferents may be preferred insofar as such preference doesn’t get in the way of virtue (as opposed to, more limitedly, facilitating virtue). This retains the fundamental Stoic precept that virtue (again, understood as moral excellence of character) is the only intrinsic good, while allowing the “neutral” cultivation of other activities.

(As one of my readers — timbartik — helpfully suggested recently, from a Stoic perspective virtue can be properly positioned by way of what economists call lexicographic ordering. Here is how he put it: “A lexicographic ordering is an ordering such as alphabetical ordering. In such an ordering, the first letter’s place will dominate all subsequent letters in determining the order. However, holding the first letter constant, the subsequent letters also matter. Stoicism is saying virtue is the first letter, and other goods collectively determine the value of the second letter. Therefore, one should always prefer the state of one’s life that maximizes virtue; holding virtue constant, one could also logically prefer states of life that increase other goods. Lexicographic orderings come up in economics because it turns out that if a consumer’s preferences are lexicographic, they cannot be represented by a utlility function that assigns some value to a vector of goods and services, because lexicographic preferences do not allow for any tradeoffs among the goods or services that are lexicographically ordered.” I believe this captures exactly what I’m trying to say here.)

For instance, let us say that I enjoy listening to live jazz music (which I do). This is obviously an indifferent, but under the strict ancient interpretation it is hard to connect it in any way to virtue. Indeed, strictly speaking it is a “pleasure,” and so more pertinent to an Epicurean domain.

But I think a significant part of human life is made of such experiences (in this case, the aesthetic experience of music), which can be cultivated in a virtuous manner, even though they do not directly enable virtue itself. Moreover, not all such experiences are equally good or defensible. I think a good argument can be made that, for instance, trash tv or watching porn is not good for one’s character, and should therefore count as a dispreferred indifferent. But enjoying good art, good music, good literature, and so forth, does — I maintain — contribute indirectly to the formation of an excellent human character, again because I’m using an expanded definition of the latter concept.

(I am leaving out of this what constitutes “good” art, music, literature and so forth. That’s a different discussion that does not alter my main point.)

So, as long as the activity in question is broadly speaking a positive one, and of course as long as it is pursued without interference with, or compromise of, one’s virtue, it ought to be acceptable for a modern Stoic.

Finally, the big issue of teleology. Here there is no question that the ancient Stoics adopted a teleological view of the cosmos, where the Logos was understood as a vitalistic rational principle that permeated the universe. That’s why Marcus, for instance, can deploy the analogy of body parts in order to explain why we should accept bad things happening to us. Say that you are the foot of a body, and because of an accident you develop gangrene. It makes sense, from the point of view of the whole body, to cut you off, even though you, as the foot, may not be happy about it. Accordingly, the Stoics derived a good degree of consolation from being part of an interconnected universe ordered in a rational fashion. Moreover, they also accepted a universal principle of cause and effect that had important metaphysical consequences, including physicalism and determinism (from which they derived a compatibilist view of free will).

As a modern scientist and philosopher, I accept both physicalism and determinism, but I do reject the ancient Stoic teleological view of the cosmos. As I’ve written here, even some ancient Stoics — like Marcus — conceded that their ethical precepts would not be affected regardless of whether “Providence or atoms” were the ruling principle of the universe, but still, this does make a difference in the way one approaches things.

I have also maintained that one of the things that attracts me to Stoicism is that it truly can be a “big tent” from the metaphysical and ideological perspective, which leads me to propose the following update regarding the Logos: besides accepting universal cause and effect, I suggest that a modern Stoic can be neutral about the teleological question. She can either stick with the ancient idea of the universe as an organism that follows a rational principle of organization (and therefore talk of Providence = God = Nature), or she can say that the universe can be understood rationally (otherwise we wouldn’t have science) and lived accordingly, without committing to a further position that is currently at odds with the best available evidence.


To recap, then, my updated Stoic system would consist of:

  1. The realization of a trichotomy of control, leading to the internalization of one’s goals.
  2. Virtue reconceived as the ethical maximization of agency.
  3. A mandate to “follow the facts” about the nature of the universe in general and human nature in particular.
  4. An expanded conception of positive emotions, to include those that are related to fundamental human needs.
  5. An expanded pursuit of preferred indifferents, to include those that are only indirectly related to virtue, itself understood as excellence of character.
  6. A neutral stance on the fundamental metaphysics of the universe, with the Logos interpreted either classically, as a providential ordering principle, or in closer accordance with modern science, as the idea that the universe can be understood and lived rationally.
Advertisements


Categories: Ancient Stoicism, Modern Stoicism

14 replies

  1. Dear Massimo
    In paragraph 8 above you address the concept of love. Since 2013 my relationship with ancient and modern Stoicism had been progressing very smoothly until I attempted to categorise love as an ’emotion’ or ‘passion’ as the Stoics would say. I am simply a student of philosophy and psychology but I have spent 50 years experiencing love in many different forms and I cannot accept it is only an ’emotion’. I am of course always seeking knowledge and would welcome your analysis from a scientific and philosophical perspective. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So just to be clear: Everyone is acknowledging that ancient Stoicism is about Eudamonia=practicing the virtues Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Temperance (the 4 cardinal virtues) and “New” or “Modern” stoicism is about the maximization of agency (and maximization of agency is redefined as virtue). From Tuesdays’s blogpost.(From ancient to modern Stoicism — part I) “He suggests that in modern terms we can think of virtue as the maximization of agency, which is something that all human beings want.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for citing my comment, and I’m glad you found it helpful.

    I have two comments on this post, which I hope are relevant to your subsequent book.

    First, you make the following insightful comment:

    “Another way to put this is that I think a human being that did not love his family and friends, was not concerned with social justice, and did not appreciate art and beauty would be a non-excellent one, failing to achieve arete in the broadest sense possible for Homo sapiens.”

    I think it would be possible to scientifically strengthen this comment, and link it to the psychological literature on the biological and evolutionary basis for morality in human beings. I am not a psychologist, but I have read some of the books for a popular audience of psychologists such as Jonathan Haidt, Joshua Greene, Antonio Damasio, and MIchael Gazzaniga. My understanding of their writings suggest that it is the case that if one does not have properly functioning mirror neurons and other aspects of the brain that have emotional and intuitive components that allow one to rapidly respond to complex social situations, that all the reasoning in the world will not help one to truly have “practical wisdom” in how one handles moral choices.

    In other words, I would hope that a modern version of Stoicism would explicitly take account of this large modern scientific literature on moral psychology and the human brain. The practical implication is compatible with what you said in this post: if one does start with cultivating compassion and love for others, starting but not ending with one’s family, friends and community, it is probably impossible to get to virtue. But our instinctive compassion may need to be modified and generalized by reason and knowledge to get us beyond our own family and our own tribe.

    I think this is a contrast with at least some interpretations in ancient Stoicism, which seem hostile to compassion and attachment to nearby others. As I’m sure you know better than me, Martha Nussbaum has been critical of this aspect of ancient Stoicism, in that at least some of the ancient Stoics seemed to think that the person with arete should not cultivate compassion, and should not feel strong attachments to others. https://emotionsblog.history.qmul.ac.uk/2012/11/an-interview-with-martha-nussbaum-on-neo-stoicism/

    A second comment stems from my background as an economist, who is particularly interested in topics such as poverty and income inequality and what society can and should do about these problems. I think a modern Stoicism should take into account that although it may be true that the good for human beings should be defined as being lexicographically ordered, with virtue defining the first letter, and all other goods and services defining the second letter, in practice the overwhelming majority of human beings are vulnerable enough that the “second letter” causally matters to the cultivation of the “first letter”. I think empirically, it is more difficult for individual human beings to cultivate virtue properly if they are poor. It is also more difficult for societies as a whole to act morally if we do not have at least some economic growth that is broadly shared. Individual and collective virtue are possible even if the individual or society is economically poor, but in practice more difficult to achieve.

    On the effect of poverty on brain functioning, an interesting recent book is by economist Sendhil Mullainathan and psychologist Eldar Shafir: “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much”. http://harvardmagazine.com/2015/05/the-science-of-scarcity What this research shows is that being poor in some contexts can creative such cognitive overload and stress that it significantly reduces decision-making capacity. To put it in a Stoic context, poverty is empirically found to reduce practical wisdom.

    Another relevant book is by economist Benjamin Friedman, “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth”. http://web.stanford.edu/group/scspi/_media/pdf/key_issues/philosophy_journalism.pdf Friedman essentially argues that democracy, tolerance, and other positive aspects of society depend on people feeling they can get ahead. The lack of broadly shared economic growth tends to lead to resentments against minority groups and immigrants, and support for authoritarian solutions. I think perhaps we see some recent events in the U.S. that might be consistent with this hypothesis. To put it in a Stoic context, although of course the goal would be that one’s support for justice and willingness to act justly should not depend on whether one’s standard of living is good or bad or whether it is increasing, in practice, it seems to be an empirical fact that it is more difficult for societies collectively to be tolerant, broad-minded, and just if the economy is tanking for most members of society.

    I don’t think what I am suggesting here is quite the same as what Aristotle said, that the goods other than virtue also matter to achieving eudaimonia. What I am saying is that in practice, in order to achieve more virtue for all individual members of society and for society as a whole, in practice this is facilitated by reducing poverty and income inequality, and increasing economic and social opportunities for all. Therefore, the position is that the other goods, while not strictly speaking NECESSARY to achieve virtue, are in practice often quite helpful in maximizing virtue. So, I am not arguing, as Aristotle did, against the lexicographic ordering. But I am arguing that in practice, human societies and human individuals often are such that the other goods help facilitate virtue.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can you expand on the emotional aspects in so far as how your modern Stoic model expands on eupatheia beyond mere referral to aretē?

    Like

  5. Alison,

    “I have spent 50 years experiencing love in many different forms and I cannot accept it is only an ’emotion'”

    Oh, my, that’s a really complicated question! I have written and/or talked about it in a few instances, like:

    http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2013/05/love-and-reason.html
    http://rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs02-love-a-skeptical-inquiry.html

    Love definitely is an emotion, but I’m not sure what you mean by “just.” Emotions are crucial components of human existence, the result of a complex mix of biology, instincts, cognition, social practices, personal history, an so forth.

    vintage:

    “Everyone is acknowledging that ancient Stoicism is about Eudamonia=practicing the virtues Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Temperance (the 4 cardinal virtues) and “New” or “Modern” stoicism is about the maximization of agency (and maximization of agency is redefined as virtue). From Tuesdays’s blogpost”

    Yes, what I haven’t been able to get across so far is that Becker thinks that maximization of agency (the way he interprets it) *is* virtue, and indeed from it one can recover, in a modern sense, the four cardinal virtues (and a few others). Hopefully, Saturday’s post will clarify further.

    Tim,

    “I think it would be possible to scientifically strengthen this comment, and link it to the psychological literature on the biological and evolutionary basis for morality in human beings”

    Indeed. Should I decide to expand this particular project to book length I would definitely do that (though I tend to be skeptical of Greene and especially Haidt; Damasio is more on target; Gazzaniga depends on the specifics).

    “properly functioning mirror neurons”

    Actually, the very existence of mirror neurons in humans is still under debate. Though of course we do have a natural capacity for empathy, however it is implemented neurologically.

    In general, here too I follow Becker’s approach: in A New Stoicism he does bring in a lot of modern science, particularly cognitive science. But, wisely, I think, he doesn’t rely on the latest research paper, since those have a nasty tendency to eventually be overthrown, dramatically updated, etc.. Rather, he focuses on leading textbooks, on the (reasonable) assumption that they are more representative of what scientists in a particular discipline take to be sufficiently established to be taught to undergraduate students. (Of course, one has to pick *good* textbooks…)

    “As I’m sure you know better than me, Martha Nussbaum has been critical of this aspect of ancient Stoicism”

    Yes, but a number of authors have argued that Nussbaum has been particularly uncharitable to the ancient Stoics. Regardless, if the project is one of modernizing Stoicism, empathy and emotions need to be part of it.

    “in practice the overwhelming majority of human beings are vulnerable enough that the “second letter” causally matters to the cultivation of the “first letter”. I think empirically, it is more difficult for individual human beings to cultivate virtue properly if they are poor. It is also more difficult for societies as a whole to act morally if we do not have at least some economic growth that is broadly shared”

    That’s a very interesting point, though I’m not entirely sure about the empirical evidence. Seems likely that lots of poor and uneducated people are nonetheless virtuous in the Stoic sense, though of course I also think that more education — in the broadest term, not just standardized schooling — would improve things. I’ll think about it some more.

    “What this research shows is that being poor in some contexts can creative such cognitive overload and stress that it significantly reduces decision-making capacity. To put it in a Stoic context, poverty is empirically found to reduce practical wisdom.”

    Thanks for the reference, I’ll look it up!

    “it seems to be an empirical fact that it is more difficult for societies collectively to be tolerant, broad-minded, and just if the economy is tanking for most members of society.”

    Again, good point. I would think a modern Stoic would be concerned with issues of social (and therefore economic) justice. One of the four cardinal virtues, after all, is justice…

    That said, sometimes I feel people require a bit too much of Stoicism. Some seem to think that it ought to be a general philosophy of everything, including economic policies, political philosophy, etc.. Others expect miracles from it, like suddenly being able to ignore pain, or become entirely self-sufficient (which, actually, is clearly not a Stoic concept). This is not what you are doing, mind you, but it is an interesting question to ask, what is the proper scope of Stoicism, or of any personal philosophy of life?

    “I am not arguing, as Aristotle did, against the lexicographic ordering. But I am arguing that in practice, human societies and human individuals often are such that the other goods help facilitate virtue.”

    Yes, I think your distinction is a good one, and actually it can be found in the ancient Stoics themselves, several of whom defined “preferred indifferents” as those that would facilitate / enable the pursuit of virtue.

    Like

  6. I agree that perhaps a personal philosophy cannot be expected to completely answer all questions of political philosophy.

    However, it is helpful if a personal philosophy can be reconciled and made consistent with a broader political philosophy.

    In this regard, I wonder what you think of Martha Nussbaum’s efforts, with Nobel-prize winning economist Amartya Sen, to outline a “Capabilities Apprach” to thinking about economic and social development? http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674050549

    The Capabilities Approach appears to be rooted, at least in part, in a philosophic theory of virtue ethics that could be used as a personal philosophy. Yet the Capabilities Approach also has had some real influence on policymakers thinking about issues of development in low-income countries. So it is relevant both personally and to practical issues of social justice.

    In your opinion, to what extent is a “modernized Stoicism” consistent with the Capabilities Approach? If inconsistent, would your modernized Stoicism have implications for how the Capabilities Approach should be modified?

    Like

  7. I think it’s important to keep the tent as big as possible. Inserting elements of politics and economics into a philosophy which is to be a personal philosophy of life will necessarily exclude many valid viewpoints, such as libertarianism. While many people certainly disagree with libertarianism, I believe most of its proponents think that if libertarian policies are implemented, it will lead to a more just world. The same thing applies to communists and to everything between those two extremes.

    Which is why I’m confused about including social justice as an essential aspect of the philosophy. Justice is already a virtue; but social justice is a loaded term, politically. Thoughts?

    Like

  8. Thanks for your response Massimo. I seem to be coming to the conclusion that agape (which is the best philosophical description of the parental love I have for my offspring) is in a separate category to the modern Stoic definition of love as an emotion.

    Like

  9. Nano,

    “Can you expand on the emotional aspects in so far as how your modern Stoic model expands on eupatheia beyond mere referral to aretē?”

    Well, what I mean is that it seems sensible to acknowledge that a “healthy” (emotionally, mentally) human being cultivates more than just the fairly restrictive classical Stoic emotions, and a modern Stoicism ought to take that into account. So I think eupatheia should include (the right sort of) love for a companion, one’s children, one’s friends, and so forth. The actual relationships would still be outside of one’s control, and so strictly speaking “preferred indifferents,” but one’s way to approach such relationships is within one’s control, and should therefore be (properly, again) cultivated.

    Tim,

    “it is helpful if a personal philosophy can be reconciled and made consistent with a broader political philosophy.”

    Agreed. I haven’t read Nussbaum and Sen, will take a look. I will therefore not comment further on it here.

    Bruno,

    “Inserting elements of politics and economics into a philosophy which is to be a personal philosophy of life will necessarily exclude many valid viewpoints, such as libertarianism”

    Agreed, and I’m very conscious about it. Still, one can also disagree on policy matters (and metaphysics!) with other Stoics and yet welcome them within the big tent.

    “most of its proponents think that if libertarian policies are implemented, it will lead to a more just world. The same thing applies to communists and to everything between those two extremes.”

    Exactly.

    “Justice is already a virtue; but social justice is a loaded term, politically.”

    Ah, you must be taking the phrase as recently highjacked by so-called “social justice warriors.” I simply meant it in the classical sense of justice applied to social issues, a definition that is entirely neutral with respect to progressive, conservative or libertarian politics, since, as you say, they are all concerned — in their own way — with (social) justice.

    Alison,

    “agape (which is the best philosophical description of the parental love I have for my offspring) is in a separate category to the modern Stoic definition of love as an emotion”

    I’m curious why you say that. It isn’t in my way of looking at it. Indeed, I think all Aristotelian categories of love and friendship should be incorporated into an expanded Stoic eupatheia. What would make them distinctly Stoic, rather than Aristotelian, as I mentioned above, is that one can only concern oneself with the effort (one’s judgments and actions), not with the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I wish there were a better phrase than ‘maximization of agency’. The great thing about ancient Stoicism is that it’s expressed in human terms — virtue, excellence, character — and is therefore attractive and accessible to people who might otherwise find ‘philosophy’ to be dry, abstract and only tangentially relevant to their daily lives.

    Like

  11. Seneca,

    yes the more I think about it the more “maximization of agency” is not an attractive turn of phrase, even though I do think Becker’s fundamental insight is right.

    Like

  12. Hello Massimo;

    I think the optimized agency part does shed light on ancient stoicism in unforeseen ways, and certainly can be used to modernize it.
    I found it helped me better understand the intent of some of the old classical texts.
    It needs , however, to be explained better and rephrased to become more palatable for non-philosophy experts. Real life wording.Also I think the overall adaptation should not neglect 2 pieces which are not emphasized (though they are mentioned and in part developed) in Mr. Becker’s outstanding ( in my opinion) contribution, but are routinely part of the recent attempts to revive stoicism.
    The first one is personal value/compassion/reciprocity ( being”good”) and the other is one is the stoic set of practices aimed at the alteration of your mental world/life to increase your agency power and your ability to follow your values. My bias is that the old stoics did have compassion for others but not in the way we think of it now, like “bleeding heart” compassion. rather, they saw the fellowship of humans and the tough life we are sometimes dealt , and the possibility of error being a human thing to expect.For that reason they accepted that others might go against them with no idea of revenge.

    Both reciprocity and mental exercises are mentioned by Mr. Becker, and the reciprocity part may be where the connection is between perfected all-things-considered normative practical rational agency and our social integration. I think though it needs to be better explained and developed to meet the moral content of stoicism ( “being your best self”) and to resonate with non-specialized readers. The mental psychology business is not strongly emphasied but a single book cannot develop every idea mentioned in it. Nevertheless, most modern stoics value these mental practice because it helps them on their way to a better person, a better agent.These are based on a partly outdated, partly very modern psychology. The new psychological mental training tools that are veing developed in current psychology circles could be viewed as modernized ways of approaching this gardening of the inner life.. why not as modern tools for the stoics. My 2 cents.

    I think this book of yours should be a very interesting book…
    thank you for all your insights.

    Like

  13. Perhaps if we include oikeiosis, using whatever translation deemed right — affinity, kinship, community — as a kind of fifth Cardinal virtue into which th Stoic priorities are to be set.

    Like

  14. jdesc,

    “It needs , however, to be explained better and rephrased to become more palatable for non-philosophy experts. Real life wording”

    Indeed, working on it…

    “the reciprocity part may be where the connection is between perfected all-things-considered normative practical rational agency and our social integration”

    Yes, that’s my take as well.

    “I think this book of yours should be a very interesting book… thank you for all your insights.”

    Thanks for the appreciation, though *this* book will have to wait after I’m done with the current one (just started), the title of which is How To Be A Stoic (to be published by Basic Books). At the moment it is shaping as an indirect dialogue between me and Epictetus, where I “learn” from him about Stoicism and he learns from me about modern science and philosophy…

    Nano,

    “Perhaps if we include oikeiosis, using whatever translation deemed right — affinity, kinship, community — as a kind of fifth Cardinal virtue into which th Stoic priorities are to be set”

    Interesting idea. I’m personally against expanding the list of virtues (look at Aristotle’s!), but certainly oikeiosis is a crucial concept, so it has to be in there. I simply see it — with Hadot — tightly connected with the virtue of justice and Epictetus’ discipline of action.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: