Stoicism remains one of the most significant minority reports in the history of Western philosophy. Unfortunately, however, the precise nature of its impact on later thinkers is far from clear. The essays in this volume are intended to bring this picture into sharper focus by exploring how Stoicism actually influenced philosophers from antiquity through the modern period in fields ranging from logic and ethics to politics and theology. The contributing authors have expertise in different periods in the history of philosophy, but all have sought to demonstrate the continuity of Stoic themes over time, looking at the ways in which Stoic ideas were appropriated (often unconsciously) and transformed by later philosophers for their own purposes and under widely varying circumstances. The story they tell shows that Stoicism had many faces beyond antiquity, and that its doctrines have continued to appeal to philosophers of many different backgrounds and temperaments.
In tracing the influence of Stoicism on Western thought, one can take either the high road or the low road. The high road would insist on determining the ancient provenance of Stoic and apparently Stoic ideas in the work of medieval and modern thinkers, using the writings of the ancient Stoics to grade their proximity to the genuine article; this would require paying close attention to the particular questions that exercised thinkers such as Zeno and Chrysippus, in order to determine the extent to which later figures contributed to their solutions.