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The Development of Ethics: Volume 1From Socrates to the Reformation$
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Terence Irwin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242673.001.0001

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Stoicism: Action, Passion, and Reason

Stoicism: Action, Passion, and Reason

(p.285) 12 Stoicism: Action, Passion, and Reason
The Development of Ethics: Volume 1


Oxford University Press

Stoicism is the most ambitious and comprehensive of the philosophical outlooks normally described as ‘Hellenistic’. Characteristics of the Hellenistic age have sometimes appeared to explain some of the distinctive features of Stoic ethics. The (supposed) decline of the Greek city, and the growth of larger units of government, tended to turn an individual's effort away from political and social life to the cultivation of inner freedom and virtue that depends on ourselves, not on unstable external conditions. In this respect, Hellenistic ethics appears to be more individualistic and less social than the ethics of Plato and Aristotle. This chapter discusses the historical claims underlying this story about the interaction of politics, society, culture, and philosophy. Moreover, the chapter explores Stoic views on action, passion, and reason.

Keywords:   Stoicism, Hellenistic age, ethics, Plato, Aristotle, action, passion, reason, philosophy

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