What does Epictetus mean when he says, “Whoever wants to be free, therefore let him not want or
avoid anything that is up to others.”?
The Stoic must not desire something controlled by someone else. This jeopardizes the security of
the satisfaction he desires. According to the Stoic, he ought to limit his desires to the things that are
up to him. The things that are up to him are his own desires, aversions, judgements, choices,
volitions, decisions, etc. In order to preserve his own peace of mind and smooth flow of life, he
must accept and embrace each event in the world. He must also let go each person and object that is
taken from him or lost. To do is to accept the will of Zeus in his administration of the universe and
all of its events. Since all enjoyment of things is temporary, the Stoic must be unattached
emotionally and psychologically to these people as well.
What are the implications of Stoicism for: determinism and free will? Materialism? The proper
philosophical way of life?
Determinism- Everything in the external world has already been determined, Everything happens
because of the thing that precedes it and it is the cause of the next thing. They saw logic behind
determinism, which was the logic about the future. All future events are determined.
Free will- Stoics follow the belief of compatibilism (believe in determinism and free will). The
agent can decide what to do, can decide to assent to it, and can decide what to do next. We are not
like an object that moves if acted upon. The agent’s nature has causes that helped add up to it but it
is not the direct cause- these include: upbringing, etc. It is in the power of the agent that allows
them to exercise their free will.
The paradox, explained w/ illustration of a river w/ eddies in its current. We are all being
carried down the river to perfection; the eddies are free will when it resists. But since one
is going to be swept along regardless, and it is the best way anyway, it is better to
voluntarily "go with the flow."
Materialism- Stoics abandoned it, they believed that everything (God, words, emotions b/c have
phys manifestations) are materialistic.
“Nothing incorporeal exists.”
This belief they based upon two main considerations. Firstly, the unity of the world demands it.
The world is one, and must issue from one principle. We must have a monism. The idealism of
Plato resolved itself into a futile struggle involving a dualism between matter and thought. Since
the gulf cannot be bridged from the side of ideal realm of the forms, we must take our stand on
matter, and reduce mind to it. Secondly, body and soul, God and the world, are pairs which act and
react upon one another. The body, for example, produces thoughts (sense impressions) in the soul,
the soul produces movements in the body. This would be impossible if both were not of the same
substance. The corporeal cannot act on the incorporeal, nor the incorporeal on the corporeal. There