1. 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.”?
-do not want things that are not up to you
-wishing vice not to be vice
-desire things that are in your control
A person's master is a person who has the power to give or take away what a person
wants and thus if a person desires things that are up to other people he will be enslaving
himself under that master so to be free is to desire things that are only in your control.
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, judgments, 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.
2. What are the implications of Stoicism for: determinism and free will?
Materialism? The proper philosophical way of life?
-align things under your control to the reason of the external things
-see things working out for the best in matter by reason
-your fate is sealed, the only thing you can do about it is take the right attitude about it
-do not state your beliefs but act on them
a. 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.
b. 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.
i. 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."
c. Materialism- Stoics abandoned it, they believed that everything (God, words, emotions