Cl36Sp08L21StoicGodAb

Cl36Sp08L21StoicGodAb - CLASSICS 36 LECTURE TWENTY-ONE A...

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C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE T WENTY -O NE A CRAFTSMANLIKE FIRE ”: THE GOD OF THE STOICS 1. Chronology: (i) Early Stoicism: Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, late fourth - third century B.C. — (ii) Middle Stoicism: Panaetius, Posidonius, second - first centuries B.C. (Cicero, first century B.C., more a reporter than an original philosophic thinker.) — (iii) Late Stoicism: Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, first - second centuries A.D. 2. Stoicism (rather than Epicureanism) the Hellenistic inheritor of Plato and Aristotle • highly technical philosophic system, coherent in all its branches • philosophy not just a means to happiness but the chief content of happiness (virtue is knowledge) • cosmos is teleologically ordered by its relation to wise god • but n.b. contrasts: esp. Stoic materialism; soul is mortal 3. God as “craftsmanlike fire” 3.1 The universe consists of an active principle — god — and a passive principle (formless matter). Neither is found separately from the other (except perhaps at periodic ‘conflagrations’ of the universe, p.156 §118); both are material. God is pneuma (literally ‘breath’, hence often translated as ‘spirit’, p.144 §19), a fiery/ airy material principle. • like Aristotelian form/matter contrast, in that pneuma gives formless matter its various qualities; unlike it in that (a) pneuma is material, (b) pneuma is a single principle that pervades entire cosmos, (c) pneuma is intelligent (see §3.3) 3.2 Distinguish this ‘craftsmanlike fire’ (p.150 §57) from ordinary fire (p.148 §41). It is an all-pervasive ‘heat’ that keeps the elements of the cosmos in motion,
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This note was uploaded on 06/08/2008 for the course CLASSIC 36 taught by Professor Ferrari during the Spring '08 term at Berkeley.

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Cl36Sp08L21StoicGodAb - CLASSICS 36 LECTURE TWENTY-ONE A...

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