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

17 - Stoic psychology

from PART IV - PHYSICS AND METAPHYSICS
Summary
Modern western thinkers are likely to find the Stoics to be considerably more sophisticated than the Epicureans in analysing the faculties and subjective content of the mind but less plausible than their rivals in accounting for the mind's ontological foundations. Like the Epicureans, the Stoics identify the principle of sentient life with a corporeal psuchē. The physical constituency of the Stoic psuchē, together with its functional division into governing and instrumental parts, differentiates it sharply from the psychology of Aristotle and Plato. The Stoic psuchē is the vital principle of animal as distinct from plant life. Its basic functions are sensation and impulse. The power of the psuchē to govern the whole animal is its constant and dynamic contact with all the animal's parts. The chapter also explores how the Stoics analyse and justify the unitary rationality of the mind or governing part of human beings. In approaching this large question, it recalls the psychic faculties common to all animals.
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The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053617
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521250283
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