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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008

21 - Stoic ethics

from PART V - ETHICS AND POLITICS
Summary
Stoic ethics starts from foundations and first principles which are more explicit than those of most ancient ethical systems. Chrysippus announced in his Propositions in Physics that there is no other or more fitting way to tackle the theory of good and bad things, the virtues, and happiness than on the basis of nature as a whole and the administration of the cosmos. The Stoic view is that virtue is somehow naturally ingrained in human beings. The Stoic response is expressed in a general theory of human development which is tied to oikeiōsis. Having imperfectly developed rational souls, people make mistakes, commit themselves to false propositions, and so further corrupt their own reason. The most evident result of such psychological weakness is the occurrence of passions. The aim of moral education would, according to the Stoics, have been attained when there is established in the mind a complex of correct opinions.
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The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy
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  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521250283
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