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Atoms, Pneuma, and Tranquillity: Epicurean and Stoic Themes by Margaret J. Osler

By Margaret J. Osler

This quantity examines the impression that Epicureanism and Stoicism, philosophies of nature and human nature articulated in the course of classical instances, exerted at the improvement of ecu notion to the Enlightenment. even though the effect of those philosophies has frequently been famous in definite parts, corresponding to the effect of Stoicism at the improvement of Christian notion and the impact of Epicureanism on glossy materialism, the chapters during this quantity ahead a brand new know-how of the measure to which those philosophies and their endured interplay expert ecu highbrow lifestyles good into early smooth occasions. The effect of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies within the parts of literature, philosophy, theology, and technology are thought of. Many thinkers proceed to understand those philosophies as major choices for figuring out the human and average worlds. Having turn into integrated into the canon of philosophical possible choices, Epicureanism and Stoicism persevered to exert identifiable affects on clinical and philosphical suggestion at the very least until eventually the center of the eighteenth century.

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According to Chrysippus, it may be described as the antecedent of a conditional proposition. Let us take the most simple form of a conditional proposition: if A, then B (ei Ta&e, TcrSe). 42 The question arises as to the nature of this link. As we have already explained, the Stoics did not adopt the Aristotelian categories of cause and effect; hence, they did not regard the antecedent as the cause of the consequent. In Chrysippus's view, the antecedent is incompatible with the contradictory proposition of the consequent.

Such an account naturally focused interest both on modal concepts and on questions about how the truth-value of one sentence is related to that of another. Within such a context, Stoic concepts were more useful than Aristotelian conceptions, and the twelfth century looks like a period in which logic moved steadily closer to the form in which the Stoa had practiced it. 21 This shift was slow, and never complete. As E. J. 20 Cf. Christopher J. Martin, "William's Machine," Journal of Philosophy, 83 (1986), 564-72.

Third, there are beings which are nonevident by nature. They are not and never will be perceptible. In his account, Sextus Empiricus provided two examples: empty space beyond the world and the pores of the skin. They could not be perceived by any of the senses, and yet they are knowable by signs which indicate their existence. Sextus Empiricus did not agree with this Stoic teaching. If some things are hidden by nature, he argued, they could never be known, either directly or indirectly. How could one ever be sure what a sign referred to, if the object could never be perceived?

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