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The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought$
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Mirko Canevaro and Benjamin Gray

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2021

Sophists, Epicureans, and Stoics

Sophists, Epicureans, and Stoics

(p.93) 5 Sophists, Epicureans, and Stoics
The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought

A. G. Long

Oxford University Press

The sophists were some of the most important pioneers of Greek political philosophy. This paper discusses how Stoics and Epicureans engaged with sophistic thought and with previous critiques of sophistic thought. Plato’s accounts of sophists are a central object of study, because Plato and the Academy were, most probably, a key target of polemic in Stoic and Epicurean discussions of sophists. But sometimes the paper tries to get away from Plato, as for example when it considers Epicurean theories of conventions and contracts. Section 5.1 sets out the broader evidence for Stoic and Epicurean engagement with sophists, and the philosophical and/or polemical motivations for such engagement. Section 5.2 considers the Hellenistic, and particularly the Stoic, discussion of the teachability of virtue. Section 5.3 considers the origin of justice and disagreement between cities about what justice demands.

Keywords:   sophists, Plato, Epicureans, Stoics, teaching virtue, justice

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