Stoicism Essay

10634 words - 43 pages

Compared to the leaders of Greek thought and philosophy like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics are considered by many as representatives of a philosophical system of deuterogenic importance. Stoicism revisited Pre-Socratic theories, Plato, Aristotle and even Cynicism. A shared view among the modern analysts of philosophy and particularly Plato is that Stoicism is a stone idol of the teachings of Plato. This is a continuation of the notions of the 19th century scholars, that viewed symptoms of decadence in everything that was chronically distant from the classical period and into the Hellenistic period and of course, the years of the Roman rule.1Roots and Evolution of the StoaThe system of thought that Stoa formed beginning with Zeno towards the end of the 4th century B.C. was later continued by Cleanthes and Chrysippus. It was perfected in the 3rd century and richened by Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. By no means must this school of thought be considered as a bad copy of a glorious past. Stoicism like almost all Hellenistic philosophies is objectively closer to the frame of mind of the modern thought much more than the classical realism of Plato. Historically speaking Stoicism influenced public life from the Hellenistic period to the last century of the Greco-Roman world, having direct impact in science, politics as well the theoretical and ethical thought in general. Most importantly, Stoicism bleed into the teachings of Christian belief, both Seneca and Epictetus were considered Christians by nature. Even though that during the medieval ages the effects of Stoicism was non-existent (like everything else) with the coming of the renaissance Stoic thought came back in the spot light. The arguments about natural theology and natural law are placed according to the terms of the Stoa. From Cartesious to Hume Stoic ethics and epistemology are studies with particular interest. The heroic archetype presented in the tragedies of Shakespeare is drown directly from Stoic thought. From Humanism to modern day philosophical currents, lays the spirit of Stoicism. 2Sortly after the period of the conquests of Alexander the Great at a time that Athens lost the glory of old, a new philosophical system arose. Stoicism became the philosophical preference of many Greeks and non-Greeks. It is believed that it was the Stoic thought that brought together the Greek and Roman culture which in turn meant (combined with the vastness of Alexander's conquests) a universal spread of common thoughts and ideas through out the known world. The Stoic school of philosophy, which (along with its rival, Epicureanism) came to dominate the thinking of the Hellenistic world, and later, the Roman Empire, with some elements of Stoic thought influencing early Christianity. The establishment of the Stoa as an active philosophic current is an extrapolation of the life of Zeno. Focusing on the influence that other schools of thought had on Zeno we will understand better the roots of...

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