By Professor of Ancient Philosophy Jonathan Barnes
The most argument of this publication, opposed to a winning orthodoxy, is that the research of common sense was once an important - and a favored - a part of stoic philosophy within the early imperial interval. The argument is predicated totally on distinct analyses of convinced texts within the Discourses of Epictetus. It contains a few account of logical 'analysis', of 'hypothetical' reasoning, and of 'changing' arguments.
Written either for historians and for philosophers, and presupposing no logical services, this can be an immense contribution to the heritage of philosophy within the early imperial interval.
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Additional info for Logic and the Imperial Stoa
Ep Ixxxii 9) 12 Tusc II xii 29; cf. xii 42; fin IV iii 7; and, more generally, fin IV xviii 48-49. g. Lucian, Jup trag 51 : "If there are altars, there are gods. But there are altars. Therefore there are gods'. -Let me finish laughing and I'll tell you'. 13 Philosophy should enable you to stick your neck out (in the literal sense): Epictetus, diss I i 18-19. SENECA 17 Armed with such feeble weapons you have no chance against death: 'I am ashamed to join the battle for gods and men armed with a gimlet [subula armatum]' (ep lxxxv 1).
The question at issue is this: Is courage an animal? This, I suppose, is a matter of metaphysics-at any rate, it is not a matter of logic. Seneca spurns discussion of this metaphysical topic in exactly the terms in which he scorns logic-chopping. He spurns it because it is idle, futile, a waste of time and a distraction. In short, Seneca has a general animus against what he regards as intellectual futility: there are many exercises on which you may waste your mental energies; some of them, but not all of them, as a matter of fact fall within the sphere of logic.
Passages which seem to shed some light on Epictetus' logical prowess are rare. I may here mention three of themY At II xx, the discourse directed against the Epicureans and the Academic sceptics, Epictetus remarks that the greatest evidence that something is clear [£vapy£~] is that we find that anyone who opposes it must necessarily make use of it. tK6v] is true, it is clear that he would have to make the contrary assertion: Nothing universal is true. Idiot-not even that. For what is that but 'If something is universal it is false'?
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