Page images

conditions. The intellectual faculties are weak in the period of childhood; they grow strong in youth, and gradually decay in old age. Sickness causes a serious

a reaction upon the soul; without the body the soul has no power to manifest itself. Nay, more than that; the dying man does not feel his soul gradually withdrawing from one organ to another, and then finally making its escape with its powers unimpaired; he experiences a gradual diminution of his mental faculties. If the soul retained full consciousness at death, and if, as certain Platonists maintain, death were the transition of the soul to a higher life, then, instead of fearing death, man would rejoice at it, which is not the case. Moreover, our fear of death is not caused by our dread of non-existence; what makes us regard it with such terror is the fact that we involuntarily combine with the idea of nothingness an idea of life, that is, the notion of feeling this nothingness; we magine that the dead man is conscious of his gradual destruction, that he feels himself burning, or devoured by the worms, that the soul continues to exist and to feel. If only we could succeed in wholly separating the idea of life from its opposite, and bravely relinquish all thought of immortality, death would lose its terrors. We should say to ourselves : Death is not an evil; neither for him who is dead, for he has no feeling; nor for the living, for him death does not yet exist. As long as we are alive, death does not exist for us, and when death appears we no longer exist. Hence we can never come in contact with death ; we never feel its icy touch, which we dread so much.

Consequently, we should not be hindered by foolish fears from attaining the goal of our existence, happiness. Pleasure is the highest good; not the pleasure accompanying a passing sensation (ý dovrò év kivňoei), but pleasure as a permanent state (vdový kataothuatikń), — that state of deep

(καταστηματική), peace and perfect contentment in which we feel secure against the storms of life. The pleasures of the mind are preferable to voluptuousness, for they endure; while sensations vanish away like the moment which procures them for us. We should avoid excess in everything, lest it engender its opposite, the permanent pain resulting from exhaustion. On the other hand, we must consider such painful feelings as, for example, painful operations, as good, because they procure health and pleasure. Virtue is the tact which impels the wise man to do whatever contributes to his welfare, and makes him avoid the contrary. Virtue is not the highest good, but the true and only means of realizing it.

Owing to its simplicity, its anti-mystical character, and its easy application, the Epicurean system became a formidable rival of Platonism, Peripateticism, and Stoicism. Italy received it with especial favor, and reckoned among its disciples, the poet Lucretius, who wrote the De rerum natura, T. Cassius, L. Torquatus, T. Pomponius Atticus, Cæsar, Horace, and Pliny the Younger. During the reign of the Cæsars, Stoicism was represented by the republican opposition, while Epicureanism gathered around its standard the partisans of the new order of things, who were fortunate in being able to realize the ideals of the master under the auspices of a great and peaceful power. Protected as it was by the Emperors, the school destroyed what remained of the crumbling edifice of polytheism, and at the same time attacked the new religion and the supernatural Christian.

1 Diog. L., X., 140: Ουκ έστιν ηδέως ζην άνευ του φρονίμως και καλώς και δικαίως.

3 A Latin and Greek inscription recently discovered in the excavations of the Archæological Society at Athens and dating from the time of Hadrian, wholly confirms what we already know as to the special protection accorded to the school of Epicurus by the Emperors. Owing to this, it exerted the preponderating influence during the first centuries of our era, and aroused great jealousy among the 1 (Ritter and Preller, pp. 392 ff. ; Tiedemann, System der stoischen Philosophie, 3 vols. Leipsic, 1776; Ravaisson, Essai sur le stoicisme, Paris, 1856; Leferrière, Mémoire concernant l'influence du stoicisme sur la doctrine des jurisconsultes romains, Paris, 1860; Hirzel, Untersuchun. gen zu Ciceros Philosophie, :3 vols., Leipsic, 1877–83 (Part II., pp. 1-566, for Stoics); Weygoldt, Die Philosophie der Stoa, Leipsic, 1883; Oge. reau, Essai sur le système philosophique des Stoiciens, Paris, 1885; Bonhöfer, Epiktet und die Stoa, Stuttgart, 1890; and Die Ethik des Stoikers Epiktet, Stuttgart, 1891; Schmekel, Die Philosophie der mitileren Stoa, Berlin, 1892; Zahn, Der Stoiker Epiktet, 2d ed., Leipsic, 1895; Stein, Die Psychologie der Stoa, 2 vols., Berlin, 1886-88; F. Susemihl, Geschichte der Litteratur in der Alexandrinerzeit, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1891–92. — Tr.]


$ 19. Stoicism 1

The founder of the Stoic school, Zeno? of Citium in Cyprus, was the son of a family of merchants of Phænician origin. Upon losing his fortune through shipwreck, he decided to indulge his taste for study. He was alternately the disciple of Crates, the Cynic, of Stilpo, the Megarian, and of the Academicians, Xenocrates and Polemo. Thereupon he taught philosophy in the Etoà Tolkian at Athens. Convinced of the rightness of suicide, he put an end to his life about 260, leaving a great reputation and a large number of disciples behind. The school was continued by Cleanthes,3 a native of the Troad, the supposed author of the so-called hymn of Cleanthes, and after the voluntary


Platonic, Peripatetic, and Stoic schools. The inscription also gives as some information, at least indirectly, concerning matters hitherto little known, as for example, the organization of the school during the imperial period, its mode of appointing scholarchs, etc.

2 Diog. L., VII. [Pearson, Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes, Cam bridge, 1889)

8 Diog. L., VII., 168 ff.
4 Hymn to Jupiter (Stobaeus, Ecl., I., p. 30).

death of the latter, by Chrysippus of Tarsus 1 (according to others, of Soli) in Cilicia (280-210), in whose numerous polemical writings against the Academy, the teachings of the school received their final form.

In order to form a correct conception of Stoicism we must remember (1) that it is not merely a philosophy and a system of ethics, but a religion raised upon the ruins of popular polytheism ; (2) that its founder and its most ardent disciples trace their origin either to Semitic Asia or to Roman Italy; (3) that it is not the work of a single individual, but a collection of doctrines from different sources which meet in one and the same channel like the tributaries of a river. Hence its conservatism in religion and its dogmatism in metaphysics. Hence also its practical turn, and, finally, the complex and wholly eclectic nature of its teachings.

Like Epicurus, Zeno and the Stoics pursue science for the sake of life; truth, in so far as it is good and useful (το επιτήδειον, το ωφέλιμον); the search for the first cause of being, in order to discover the final goal of life (to os). Wisdom, i. e., theoretical and practical virtue, is the goal. Theoretical virtue consists in thinking correctly (apety Loyun) and in having correct notions of the nature of things (åpeti puoikń); but practical virtue, which consists in right living and in acting according to reason, is the highest type of virtue, the goal aimed at by theoretical virtue, which is but a means. Whatever does not tend to make us better, and has no influence on our impulses and actions, is indifferent or bad. Logic, metaphysics, and the sciences have no raison d'être except in so far as they are of practical value. They introduce us to the study of ethics, and this gives them their importance in the teachings of the school.

1 Diog. L., VII., 179 ff; Cicero, passim. 2 Cicero, De fin., IV., 19, 56; Diog. L., VII., 1; Ogereau, op. cit.

Conformably with its voluntaristic and anti-dualistic tendencies, Stoicism rejects Plato's separate Idea, even more emphatically than Aristotle. Ideas or universals have no objective existence.; they exist neither outside of things, as Plato teaches, nor in things, as Aristotle holds; they are mere abstractions of thought (évvońuata), to which nothing corresponds in reality. Moreover, the soul has no innate ideas ; it is an empty tablet, and all its concepts come to it from without (Búpaðev). The sensible impression (TÚTWOIS) is, according to Cleanthes, like an impression made upon a material object, like the mark of a seal upon wax. Chrysippus defines it as a modification of the soul (étepolwois). Sensation (aíonois) is the common source of all our ideas (pavtao laı). The latter are divided into four categories, according as they express : substantiality (υποκείμενα), quality (ποιά), mode of being (πως έχοντα), or relation (Tpós Tws éxovra). An idea is true when it

(πρός τί πως έχοντα) is an exact reproduction of its object. The criterion of the truth of an idea is its clearness, its self-evidence (pavtao lai katalnttikaí). There are, according to Zeno, four degrees of knowledge: presentation, (favtao ía), assent (ouykatáDeois), comprehension (katálnbes), and understanding (ÉTTLOTņun). In order to illustrate the highest degree of knowledge, which the philosopher alone attains, Zeno, it is said, used to place his left hand upon his clenched right. Following the example of Aristotle, the Stoics regarded grammar and rhetoric as integral parts of logic. They are worthy successors of the great logician in this field ; indeed, the majority of our technical terms in grammar and syntax are of Stoic origin.

1 For the Stoic logic, see Diog. L., VII., 41 ff. ; Cic., Acad. pr., II., 47, and post, I., 11 ; Sextus Emp., Adv. math., VIII. ; Stobaeus, Ecl. I.; Simplicius, In Categ., f. 16 b; [Prantl, Geschichte der Logik: Heinze, Zur Erkenntnisslehre der Stoiker, Leipsic, 1880 ; Stein, Die Erkenntnisstheorie der Stoiker, vol. II. of work mentioned above. TR.].

« PreviousContinue »