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Stoic astrology

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  • Malcolm Schosha
    Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that
    Message 1 of 21 , Jan 2, 2008
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      Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that sense, Stoicism may actually have something in common with the Buddhism of Tibet, in which the oracles were prominent and important.

      http://www.geocosmic.org/articles/stoicism.shtml
      http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/astr-hel.htm
      http://www.gfisher.org/chapter_1.htm
      http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/nechung_hh.html

      Since it was (is) a part of Stoic philosophy, it might be worth taking a look at the reason it was included in Stoic thought, and the function it served. I know there is a full spectrum of thought on fortune telling among group members -  from those who are modern scientific rationalists to at least one member who does tarot readings.

      Salve.

      Malcolm



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    • John Laerum
      Hi Malcolm You wrote: Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of
      Message 2 of 21 , Jan 2, 2008
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        Hi Malcolm

        You wrote:
        "Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that sense,"

        Yes, they probably belived in oracles and such things most of them but I can not see how this belief has influenced their philosophy in any significant way.

        I snip from one of the articles you refered to:

        "All things in the cosmos have their own Natures or Physis which require that they manifest and be such as they are. This is true of man as well. Thus, in practice, the Stoic found that it was of central importance to know his own nature and the natures of those around him in order to act appropriately."
        OK so far, but then:
         This is where astrology came in. Astrologers argued (and demonstrated) that there was no more efficient and reliable means of ascertaining one's nature (and, hence, Fate) than by astrology."
        Demonstrated?? Give me a break!

         "Even the Fate of the world was represented in the Zodiac which the Stoic came to see as an expression of God's Word (Logos) or Plan. The story of the Conflagration, followed by the Air, followed by the watery state with the seed giving rise to the New Cosmos was shown in the sky by the signs Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries. The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn, the tenth sign (following 9 signs of manifestation) is the conflagration. Aquarius is the airy State, Pisces the Watery State with the Seed. Modern psychological astrologers will be reminded of the role of the twelfth sign and the twelfth house as the "collective unconscious" wherein lie the seeds or archetypes of our actions. Aries, the First sign (clearly designated as such in the Stoic poet Manilius' astrological poem) is the New Cosmos. "
        Sounds impressive but far from convincing to me at least, I do not understand how all this talk can lead to a deeper understanding of Stoic philosophy, is it possible for anyone to explain this in a way that is understandable for someone who do not believe in astrology?


        Blessed is he who finds happiness in his own foolishness. For he will always be happy.  -- Chade Meng

        All the best

        John

        Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:
        Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that sense, Stoicism may actually have something in common with the Buddhism of Tibet, in which the oracles were prominent and important.

        http://www.geocosmi c.org/articles/ stoicism. shtml
        http://www.iep. utm.edu/a/ astr-hel. htm
        http://www.gfisher. org/chapter_ 1.htm
        http://www.tibet. com/Buddhism/ nechung_hh. html

        Since it was (is) a part of Stoic philosophy, it might be worth taking a look at the reason it was included in Stoic thought, and the function it served. I know there is a full spectrum of thought on fortune telling among group members -  from those who are modern scientific rationalists to at least one member who does tarot readings.

        Salve.

        Malcolm



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      • Sophia Shapira
        Epictetus writes something in Enchiridion that affirms that Stoics back in the days would from time to time visit oracles, but in the same breath limits their
        Message 3 of 21 , Jan 2, 2008
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          Epictetus writes something in Enchiridion that affirms that
          Stoics back in the days would from time to time visit oracles,
          but in the same breath limits their significance.

          He mentioned that if you follow the Stoic teachings, when
          you visit an oracle, you already will know the nature of
          what the oracle will tell you. We know that nothing an
          oracle can tell us (or for that matter a physician, or
          anyone who tells us things that are beyond what we previously
          knew) is inherently good or inherently evil -- but is merely
          an indifferent according to Stoic teachings.


          Malcolm Schosha wrote:
          > Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and
          > Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of
          > Stoicism. In that sense, Stoicism may actually have something in common
          > with the Buddhism of Tibet, in which the oracles were prominent and
          > important.
          >
          > http://www.geocosmic.org/articles/stoicism.shtml
          > http://www.iep.utm.edu/a/astr-hel.htm
          > http://www.gfisher.org/chapter_1.htm
          > http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/nechung_hh.html
          >
          > Since it was (is) a part of Stoic philosophy, it might be worth taking a
          > look at the reason it was included in Stoic thought, and the function it
          > served. I know there is a full spectrum of thought on fortune telling
          > among group members - from those who are modern scientific rationalists
          > to at least one member who does tarot readings.
          >
          > Salve.
          >
          > Malcolm
          >
          >
        • Malcolm Schosha
          Sophia wrote: Epictetus writes something in Enchiridion that affirms that Stoics back in the days would from time to time visit oracles, but in the same
          Message 4 of 21 , Jan 3, 2008
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            Sophia wrote:
            " Epictetus writes something in Enchiridion that affirms that
            Stoics back in the days would from time to time visit oracles,
            but in the same breath limits their significance."

            .............................

            Hi Sophia,

            The Stoics put great faith in the oracles, and it is considered that there view of fate made such things important to them as a conformation of the functioning of fate in human life.

            My own view is that this point is one of the most serious flaws in Stoic thinking and shows that some adjustments are needed in modern use. Most current students of Stoicism, if they admit it or not, are taking the teaching 'a la carte'. It is not that I think fortune telling is impossible, but that I think is unreliable and a poor way for a philosopher to conduct his or her life.

            Salve.

            Malcolm

            ...........................

            DIOGENES LAËRTIUS:

            He was a pupil, as has been already stated, of Crates. After that, they say that he became a pupil of Stilpon and of Xenocrates, for ten years, as Timocrates relates in his Life of Dion. He is also said to have been a pupil of Polemo. But Hecaton, and Apollonius, of Tyre, in the first book of his essay on Zeno, say that when he consulted the oracle, as to what he ought to do to live in the most excellent manner, the God answered him that he ought to become of the same complexion as the dead, on which he inferred that he ought to apply himself to the reading of the books of the ancients. Accordingly, he attached himself to Crates in the following manner. Having purchased a quantity of purple from Phoenicia, he was shipwrecked close to the Piraeus; and when he had made his way from the coast as far as Athens, he sat down by a bookseller’s stall, being now about thirty years of age.



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          • Kevin Collins
            As far as I know, all ancient civilizations approached their representatives to the divine to see what the future holds. This makes sense if you believe all
            Message 5 of 21 , Jan 3, 2008
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              As far as I know, all ancient civilizations approached their representatives to the divine to see what the future holds. This makes sense if you believe all events are ultimately controlled by the divine (the stoics certainly did) and understanding that even using rational thought we do not have enough information to reliably predict the future. This of course implies that there is a rational order to the universe and that a sequence of events can be predicted with sufficient information.

               

              In modern society, in secular elements such as business, we use statistics. I use them regularly. Statistics in my view just puts numbers to a particular event which helps to motivate folks to take precautionary measures. They cannot say what will happen rather give some idea on the odds that it will. In a narrow sense the calculated odds are quit repeatable (normally distributed data) however in real life the data is almost never “normal”, that is not to say there is no value in the practice. Clearly there is, but as I said I think it gives us something to base our decisions on.

               

              Regards

               

              Kevin



              ----- Original Message ----
              From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
              To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 1:10:02 PM
              Subject: [stoics] Stoic astrology

              Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that sense, Stoicism may actually have something in common with the Buddhism of Tibet, in which the oracles were prominent and important.

              http://www.geocosmi c.org/articles/ stoicism. shtml
              http://www.iep. utm.edu/a/ astr-hel. htm
              http://www.gfisher. org/chapter_ 1.htm
              http://www.tibet. com/Buddhism/ nechung_hh. html

              Since it was (is) a part of Stoic philosophy, it might be worth taking a look at the reason it was included in Stoic thought, and the function it served. I know there is a full spectrum of thought on fortune telling among group members -  from those who are modern scientific rationalists to at least one member who does tarot readings.

              Salve.

              Malcolm



              Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.




              Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.
            • Malcolm Schosha
              Hi Malcolm You wrote: Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of
              Message 6 of 21 , Jan 3, 2008
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                Hi Malcolm

                You wrote:
                "Belief in oracles and fortune tellers was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, and that thinking seems to have become an integral part of Stoicism. In that sense,"

                Yes, they probably belived in oracles and such things most of them but I can not see how this belief has influenced their philosophy in any significant way.

                I snip from one of the articles you refered to:

                "All things in the cosmos have their own Natures or Physis which require that they manifest and be such as they are. This is true of man as well. Thus, in practice, the Stoic found that it was of central importance to know his own nature and the natures of those around him in order to act appropriately."
                OK so far, but then:
                 This is where astrology came in. Astrologers argued (and demonstrated) that there was no more efficient and reliable means of ascertaining one's nature (and, hence, Fate) than by astrology."
                Demonstrated?? Give me a break!

                 "Even the Fate of the world was represented in the Zodiac which the Stoic came to see as an expression of God's Word (Logos) or Plan. The story of the Conflagration, followed by the Air, followed by the watery state with the seed giving rise to the New Cosmos was shown in the sky by the signs Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries. The exaltation of Mars in Capricorn, the tenth sign (following 9 signs of manifestation) is the conflagration. Aquarius is the airy State, Pisces the Watery State with the Seed. Modern psychological astrologers will be reminded of the role of the twelfth sign and the twelfth house as the "collective unconscious" wherein lie the seeds or archetypes of our actions. Aries, the First sign (clearly designated as such in the Stoic poet Manilius' astrological poem) is the New Cosmos. "
                Sounds impressive but far from convincing to me at least, I do not understand how all this talk can lead to a deeper understanding of Stoic philosophy, is it possible for anyone to explain this in a way that is understandable for someone who do not believe in astrology?


                Blessed is he who finds happiness in his own foolishness. For he will always be happy.  -- Chade Meng

                All the best

                John

                ..........................

                Hi John,

                The Stoics believed in fate; and astrology, for them, put fare into the context to the universal design with the complex movements of stats and planets (which they considered gods) influencing the fate of individuals in predictable ways.

                A lot of effort went into their astrology, and that effort led to interesting technological developments. It is thought by some scholars that Posidonius (a Stoic who was also an astrologer) developed this:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism
                http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/05/14/070514fa_fact_seabrook

                In the ancient world there was no separation between astrology and astronomy, and even now many people believe in astrology. Actually, I rather think that it can be correct, but doubt the benefits of diverting the process of making intelligent life choices by relying on fortune tellers.

                Salve.

                Malcolm


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              • John Laerum
                Hi again Malcolm I can readily understand that a belief in astrology (in the modern sense of the word) can give a deeper feeling of the inter-connectedness of
                Message 7 of 21 , Jan 3, 2008
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                  Hi again Malcolm

                  I can readily understand that a belief in astrology (in the modern sense of the word) can give a deeper feeling of the inter-connectedness of everything in the Cosmos, our place in the "great web" that Marcus Aurelius talks about, so if there is an influence from astrology in stoicism, perhaps it is here then.

                  But one can have this feeling without believing in astrology, I get it simply by observing the night sky on a clear night. Then, sometimes, it strikes me "I am a part of all this - not even a speck of dust but still..."
                  Fate, yes, several people I know believe that our fate is fixed for us from the moment we are born, indeed I lean in that direction myself. But one does not have to believe that ones fate depends on the position of stars and planets.

                  Buddhist monks here in Korea practise fortunetelling, they use some ancient Chinese system. I witnessed it once and I must admit the advise the monk gave made good sense.

                  But it the emphasis on Reason that makes Stoicism so attractive to me and I am very sceptical to supernatural claims. Studying Stoicism has helped me to get my priorities right and when Reason is perfected - oh well, improved at least, one can make good decisions without the aid of astrology or whatever.
                  All the blunders I have made in my life, they would fill a book, I can trace to my mindset at the time I made them. This again because I was uneducated in the really important things in life.

                  One thing more, you wrote that the ancient Stoics believed the stars and planets were gods. I thought they rather saw these as manifestations of the gods, like proof that the gods existed or something like that.

                  All the best

                  John

                  Blessed is he who finds happiness in his own foolishness. For he will always be happy. -- Chade Meng

                  Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:


                  Hi John,

                  The Stoics believed in fate; and astrology, for them, put fare into the context to the universal design with the complex movements of stats and planets (which they considered gods) influencing the fate of individuals in predictable ways.

                  A lot of effort went into their astrology, and that effort led to interesting technological developments. It is thought by some scholars that Posidonius (a Stoic who was also an astrologer) developed this:
                  http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Antikythera_ mechanism
                  http://www.newyorke r.com/reporting/ 2007/05/14/ 070514fa_ fact_seabrook

                  In the ancient world there was no separation between astrology and astronomy, and even now many people believe in astrology. Actually, I rather think that it can be correct, but doubt the benefits of diverting the process of making intelligent life choices by relying on fortune tellers.

                  Salve.

                  Malcolm

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                • Malcolm Schosha
                  John wrote: But it the emphasis on Reason that makes Stoicism so attractive to me and I am very sceptical to supernatural claims. Studying Stoicism has helped
                  Message 8 of 21 , Jan 4, 2008
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                    John wrote:

                    But it the emphasis on Reason that makes Stoicism so attractive to me and I am very sceptical to supernatural claims. Studying Stoicism has helped me to get my priorities right and when Reason is perfected - oh well, improved at least, one can make good decisions without the aid of astrology or whatever.

                    .............................

                    Hi John,

                    I think that Stoicism is a uniquely good system of philosophy. But I also think that modern students have made adaptations to the original teaching. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is unavoidable. But I also think it important to stay as clear as possible on what the differences are between what the original teaching up till the time Justinian forced the schools of philosophy to close in CE 529, and current views.

                    Salve.

                    Malcolm 


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                  • John Laerum
                    Cheers Malcolm OK, let s continue a little further, somehow I never seem to get my meaning clear in my first posts, well then - never give up. Malcolm wrote, I
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jan 4, 2008
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                      Cheers Malcolm

                      OK, let's continue a little further, somehow I never seem to get my meaning clear in my first posts, well then - never give up.

                      Malcolm wrote,

                      I think that Stoicism is a uniquely good system of philosophy. But I also think that modern students have made adaptations to the original teaching. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is unavoidable. But I also think it important to stay as clear as possible on what the differences are between what the original teaching up till the time Justinian forced the schools of philosophy to close in CE 529, and current views.

                          Yes, most likely has some adaptions been made, at any rate each individual will have his/her own emphasis on what is important and what is less so. One uniquely useful thing with this group is that it has a number of knowledgeable and dedicated professionals (and also amateurs) that spends much of their time to explain what the original Stoic position was. I have learned much from them and I am very grateful for that.

                      And in a response to Jan:

                      3. My main point in this thread has to do with the Stoic acceptance fortune telling. I think it is an interesting point, and has significance.

                          Yes, let's stick to that. And I can not see that there is much influence of fortune telling/astrology etc. in Stoic Philosophy, as philosophy. As I mentioned earlier - perhaps in their view of Fate.
                      As individuals they may have believed in fortune telling, astrology, oracles etc. (Marcus Aurelius mentions that he has been adviced by "dreams and oracles") but I can not see this have influenced their philosophy in any significant way. Do you have some special aspect of the teaching in mind?

                      All the best

                      John

                      Blessed is he who finds happiness in his own foolishness. For he will always be happy.
                      -- Chade Meng


                      Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com

                    • Malcolm Schosha
                      John wrote: Yes, let s stick to that. And I can not see that there is much influence of fortune telling/astrology etc. in Stoic Philosophy, as philosophy. As I
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jan 5, 2008
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                        John wrote:

                        Yes, let's stick to that. And I can not see that there is much influence of fortune telling/astrology etc. in Stoic Philosophy, as philosophy. As I mentioned earlier - perhaps in their view of Fate.
                        As individuals they may have believed in fortune telling, astrology, oracles etc. (Marcus Aurelius mentions that he has been adviced by "dreams and oracles") but I can not see this have influenced their philosophy in any significant way. Do you have some special aspect of the teaching in mind?

                        ...........................

                        Hi John,

                        Stoicism is primarily a way of life, and is based on certain ideas that guide judgments. If a Stoic includes fortune telling as a part of his or her life, how can that not be important?

                        It is exactly the judgments and assents we make, and actions that we take based on our judgments and assents, that are the focus of the whole philosophy.

                        Malcolm



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                      • Robin Turner
                        ... Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones. Suppose a sage believes that a brick will fall on his head tomorrow because Mars is bifurcating the
                        Message 11 of 21 , Jan 5, 2008
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                          On 05/01/2008, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:
                          John wrote:

                          Yes, let's stick to that. And I can not see that there is much influence of fortune telling/astrology etc. in Stoic Philosophy, as philosophy. As I mentioned earlier - perhaps in their view of Fate.
                          As individuals they may have believed in fortune telling, astrology, oracles etc. (Marcus Aurelius mentions that he has been adviced by "dreams and oracles") but I can not see this have influenced their philosophy in any significant way. Do you have some special aspect of the teaching in mind?

                          ...........................

                          Hi John,

                          Stoicism is primarily a way of life, and is based on certain ideas that guide judgments. If a Stoic includes fortune telling as a part of his or her life, how can that not be important?

                          It is exactly the judgments and assents we make, and actions that we take based on our judgments and assents, that are the focus of the whole philosophy.

                          Well yes, but I thought the only judgments Stoics were interested in _as Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones. Suppose a sage believes that a brick will fall on his head tomorrow because Mars is bifurcating the quadriceps of Jupiter in Capricorn. Now if astrology is nonsense, or he has visited a bad astrologer, then he has made a bad factual judgment, but this is not important; the only thing that is important is his judgment of the falling brick as a dispreferred indifferent.

                          Robin

                          --
                          "First things first, but not necessarily in that order" - Dr. Who

                          Robin Turner
                          IDMYO
                          Bilkent Üniversitesi
                          Ankara, Turkey

                          http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~robin
                          http://solri.livejournal.com
                        • Malcolm Schosha
                          Robin wrote, Well yes, but I thought the only judgments Stoics were interested in _as Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones.
                          Message 12 of 21 , Jan 5, 2008
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                            Robin wrote,
                            "Well yes, but I thought the only judgments Stoics were interested in _as Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones."

                            ...............................

                            Hi Robin,

                            That's news to me. Also, it seems clear that if a person consults a fortune teller, there is a serious intention to replace his or her own judgment with that of another.

                            Epictetus says time and again that knowing Stoic texts is of little importance compared to making actual Stoic judgments of impressions, and then acting like a Stoic. It seems clear that it is acts, not words, that count in Stoicism. As a result, how could the act of consulting a fortune teller not be significant?

                            I have said many times that I am just an uneducated worker, so ,my reasoning cold be wrong....but that's how it looks to me.

                            Salve

                            Malcolm

                            .......................................

                            Re: [stoics] Stoic astrology
                            On 05/01/2008, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:
                             John wrote:
                             Yes, let's stick to that. And I can not see that there is much influence of fortune telling/astrology etc. in Stoic Philosophy, as philosophy. As I mentioned earlier - perhaps in their view of Fate.
                             As individuals they may have believed in fortune telling, astrology, oracles etc. (Marcus Aurelius mentions that he has been adviced by "dreams and oracles") but I can not see this have influenced their philosophy in any significant way. Do you have some special aspect of the teaching in mind?
                             ...........................


                             Hi John,
                             Stoicism is primarily a way of life, and is based on certain ideas that guide judgments. If a Stoic includes fortune telling as a part of his or her life, how can that not be important?
                             It is exactly the judgments and assents we make, and actions that we take based on our judgments and assents, that are the focus of the whole philosophy.
                            Well yes, but I thought the only judgments Stoics were interested in _as Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones. Suppose a sage believes that a brick will fall on his head tomorrow because Mars is bifurcating the quadriceps of Jupiter in Capricorn. Now if astrology is nonsense, or he has visited a bad astrologer, then he has made a bad factual judgment, but this is not important; the only thing that is important is his judgment of the falling brick as a dispreferred indifferent.
                            Robin 


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                          • Robin Turner
                            ... If the intention were indeed to replace one s own judgment with that of another, then that may be questionable. If one asks the fortune teller how one
                            Message 13 of 21 , Jan 7, 2008
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                              On 06/01/2008, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:
                              Robin wrote,
                              "Well yes, but I thought the only judgments Stoics were interested in _as Stoics_ were moral judgments, not empirical ones."

                              ...............................

                              Hi Robin,

                              That's news to me. Also, it seems clear that if a person consults a fortune teller, there is a serious intention to replace his or her own judgment with that of another.

                              Epictetus says time and again that knowing Stoic texts is of little importance compared to making actual Stoic judgments of impressions, and then acting like a Stoic. It seems clear that it is acts, not words, that count in Stoicism. As a result, how could the act of consulting a fortune teller not be significant?

                              I have said many times that I am just an uneducated worker, so ,my reasoning cold be wrong....but that's how it looks to me.


                              If the intention were indeed to replace one's own judgment with that of another, then that may be questionable. If one asks the fortune teller how one should act, and acts on this unreflectingly (rather than considering it as a piece of advice), then that would probably be bad from a stoic point of view, since one is abdicating moral judgment. On the other hand, if someone believes that astrologers, oracles and the like can predict future events, then it makes sense to consult one, in much the same way that I might look at a weather forecast before going on a journey, or consult a financial analyst before investing money. That astrologers have a somewhat worse record than weather forecasters (or even financial analysts) is of practical but not moral importance.

                              Robin

                              --
                              "First things first, but not necessarily in that order" - Dr. Who

                              Robin Turner
                              IDMYO
                              Bilkent Üniversitesi
                              Ankara, Turkey

                              http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~robin
                              http://solri.livejournal.com
                            • Grant Sterling
                              ... As a statement of Stoic views, I agree completely. One never looks to astrologers for advice about _what is good_, but if they have information about the
                              Message 14 of 21 , Jan 7, 2008
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                                At 04:35 AM 1/7/2008, Robin Turner wrote:

                                >If the intention were indeed to replace one's own judgment with that
                                >of another, then that may be questionable. If one asks the fortune
                                >teller how one should act, and acts on this unreflectingly (rather
                                >than considering it as a piece of advice), then that would probably
                                >be bad from a stoic point of view, since one is abdicating moral
                                >judgment. On the other hand, if someone believes that astrologers,
                                >oracles and the like can predict future events, then it makes sense
                                >to consult one, in much the same way that I

                                As a statement of Stoic views, I agree completely. One never looks
                                to astrologers for advice about _what is good_, but if they have information
                                about the likely outcomes of events, then so be it. Epictetus, I believe,
                                warns against asking soothsayers for the outcome of events _when you know
                                what must be done_. That is, if you know that it is your duty to fight against
                                the barbarians, there's no need to ask the soothsayers whether you will win
                                or whether you will be slain, because bad news might deter you from your duty,
                                and in any event the information will be practialy unimportant, since
                                it is already
                                clear to you what action musdt be performed.

                                >might look at a weather forecast before going on a journey, or
                                >consult a financial analyst before investing money. That astrologers
                                >have a somewhat worse record than weather forecasters (or even
                                >financial analysts) is of practical but not moral importance.

                                Actually, I read a study once that compared the accuracy of weather
                                forecasts in my region with the accuracy of almanacs prepared a full year
                                before the events. The results--the two were almost dead even in their
                                astonishing inaccuracy when predicting weather more than 8 hours in
                                advance. [And I can predict weather less than 8 hours in advance by
                                looking at the sky and checking a map of current weather.] So maybe
                                instead of weather forecasters you'd do just as well to consult the stars,
                                or perhaps entrails or flights of birds.

                                >Robin

                                Regards,
                                Grant
                              • Malcolm Schosha
                                Robin wrote: If the intention were indeed to replace one s own judgment with that of another, then that may be questionable. If one asks the fortune teller how
                                Message 15 of 21 , Jan 7, 2008
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                                  Robin wrote:

                                  If the intention were indeed to replace one's own judgment with that of another, then that may be questionable. If one asks the fortune teller how one should act, and acts on this unreflectingly (rather than considering it as a piece of advice), then that would probably be bad from a stoic point of view, since one is abdicating moral judgment. On the other hand, if someone believes that astrologers, oracles and the like can predict future events, then it makes sense to consult one, in much the same way that I might look at a weather forecast before going on a journey, or consult a financial analyst before investing money. That astrologers have a somewhat worse record than weather forecasters (or even financial analysts) is of practical but not moral importance.

                                  ................................

                                  Robin,

                                  The process of philosophy (as I understand it) is to develop and apply human intelligence to life, but I admit philosophers sometimes do otherwise.

                                  Financial advising, and weather reporting, are human trades, based of analysis of known factors in the dynamics of financial forces, or in atmospheric dynamics.

                                  Astrology, on the other hand, analyzes the patterns created by planetary motions as viewed from a particular spot on the surface of the earth (usually the natal location). If it works is debated, and -  if it does work - the reason why is a mystery. I actually studied astrology at one time. It is an interesting subject with a long and complex history.

                                  I consider Stoic interest in oracles an even greater mistake than their interest in astrologers. I am actually willing to concede that communication with spirits through mediums could be possible; and, obviously, an oracle is nothing but a medium transmitting the knowledge of a spirit. The problem (as I see it) is that, if this is accepted, millions of humans become spirits and cross the River Styx every day. Obviously the vast majority of these spirits were fools in this world and will still be fools when communicating back to us from the next world. Since I have no way of knowing if a spirit channeled by a medium is a fool (most likely) or a philosopher (most unlikely), I think it safer for us in this world to form our own judgments.

                                  I understand the reasons Stoics accepted fortune telling, but I think that undermines the core Stoic practice of learning to judge impressions correctly.

                                  salve.

                                  Malcolm






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                                • Sophia Shapira
                                  Howabout arts that don t involve observation of external patterns (such as astrology) or communications with spirits (as done by mediums) - but rather involve
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Jan 7, 2008
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                                    Howabout arts that don't involve observation of external patterns
                                    (such as astrology) or communications with spirits (as done by
                                    mediums) - but rather involve amplification of one's intuition?


                                    Malcolm Schosha wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I consider Stoic interest in oracles an even greater mistake than their
                                    > interest in astrologers. I am actually willing to concede that
                                    > communication with spirits through mediums could be possible; and,
                                    > obviously, an oracle is nothing but a medium transmitting the knowledge
                                    > of a spirit. The problem (as I see it) is that, if this is accepted,
                                    > millions of humans become spirits and cross the River Styx every day.
                                    > Obviously the vast majority of these spirits were fools in this world
                                    > and will still be fools when communicating back to us from the next
                                    > world. Since I have no way of knowing if a spirit channeled by a medium
                                    > is a fool (most likely) or a philosopher (most unlikely), I think it
                                    > safer for us in this world to form our own judgments.
                                    >
                                  • Malcolm Schosha
                                    Sophia wrote: Howabout arts that don t involve observation of external patterns (such as astrology) or communications with spirits (as done by mediums) - but
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Jan 7, 2008
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                                      Sophia wrote:
                                      Howabout arts that don't involve observation of external patterns
                                      (such as astrology) or communications with spirits (as done by
                                      mediums) - but rather involve amplification of one's intuition?

                                      ..................................

                                      Hi Sophia,

                                      I do not recall a discussion of intuition in surviving Stoic texts, but it may be there and I missed it. It is difficult for me to imagine what objection to intuition there could be. I consider intuition a natural part of the complete thought process.

                                      I had discussed my view of intuition in an earlier post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/10682

                                      I am not sure what you mean by "amplification" of intuition.

                                      Salve.

                                      Malcolm 


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                                    • Sophia Shapira
                                      By that I mean training one s self to be more accurately aware of one s intuition - and thereby able to see things that otherwise would not be possible to see.
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Jan 8, 2008
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                                        By that I mean training one's self to be more accurately
                                        aware of one's intuition - and thereby able to see things
                                        that otherwise would not be possible to see.


                                        Malcolm Schosha wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Hi Sophia,
                                        >
                                        > I do not recall a discussion of intuition in surviving Stoic texts, but
                                        > it may be there and I missed it. It is difficult for me to imagine what
                                        > objection to intuition there could be. I consider intuition a natural
                                        > part of the complete thought process.
                                        >
                                        > I had discussed my view of intuition in an earlier post:
                                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/10682
                                        >
                                        > I am not sure what you mean by "amplification" of intuition.
                                        >
                                        > Salve.
                                        >
                                        > Malcolm
                                        >
                                      • Steve
                                        Sophia writes in answer to Malcolm: __________________ By that I mean training one s self to be more accurately aware of one s intuition - and thereby able to
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Jan 8, 2008
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                                          Sophia writes in answer to Malcolm:

                                          __________________

                                           

                                          By that I mean training one's self to be more accurately
                                          aware of one's intuition - and thereby able to see things
                                          that otherwise would not be possible to see.

                                          Malcolm Schosha wrote:

                                          >
                                          > Hi Sophia,
                                          >
                                          > I do not recall a discussion of intuition in surviving Stoic texts, but
                                          > it may be there and I missed it. It is difficult for me to imagine what
                                          > objection to intuition there could be. I consider intuition a natural
                                          > part of the complete thought process.
                                          >
                                          > I had discussed my view of intuition in an earlier post:
                                          >
                                          title="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/10682">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/10682
                                          >
                                          > I am not sure what you mean by "amplification" of intuition.

                                          __________________

                                           

                                          Sophia and Malcolm,

                                           

                                          I have had difficulties explaining a notion of intuition as well.  In the past I have referred to a non articulate reasoning flash of insight that brings with it certainty.  And that idea comes mostly from my exposure to sources outside of Stoicism.  Once I admit that anyone who is basically hostile to this kind of intuition that wondered about a classical Stoic source of such a thing loses interest.

                                           

                                          However, I think it is justified.  Stoic epistemology rests on the cognitive impression, which gives the person who has such an impression ‘scientific’, or certain, knowledge.  From mere empiricism which the Stoics do seem to rely on as the input data for the cognitive impression we pretty well accept today that the best we can do is well justified opinion or ‘expertise’, which admits to degrees in that it is provisional.

                                           

                                          Today we use ‘scientific’ to mean well justified opinion that can be verified empirically (which we call facts).  That does not endow us with certain knowledge.

                                           

                                          So, there are two routes to go with the cognitive impression.  Either a) the Stoics were just wrong about certain knowledge entirely (with consequences to Stoicism that would have to be studied) or b) the ancients did not separate raw sensory data from intuition that was part of the same process.

                                           

                                          So, rather than borrow from sources external to Stoicism I would like to restate what I mean by intuition as just what bridges the gap between scientific empirical fact as we understand it today and the certainty of the cognitive impression as the Stoics meant that term to be used.

                                           

                                          There are still a can of worms to resolve (how does the certainty distill down into articulate thought and what is the source for this intuition for starters) but this gets me back closer to classical Stoicism than I was before , kind of an Occam’s razor exercise.

                                           

                                          Malcolm, I looked at the post you referred to and I think we have all had these problem solving epiphanies.  However, that is not, on the face, any different from more efficient reasoning once the mind is relaxed.  I use intuition differently, as a direct Logos to logos insight that, coupled with the normal sensory data, will result in the cognitive impression.

                                           

                                          Live well,

                                          Steve

                                        • Steve
                                          Too much simplify my last post: The classical Stoic cognitive impression - modern scientific empirical fact = Stoic intuition. Stoic intuition alone will not
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Jan 8, 2008
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                                            Too much simplify my last post:

                                             

                                            The classical Stoic cognitive impression – modern scientific empirical fact = Stoic intuition.

                                             

                                            Stoic intuition alone will not be found in the classical texts although much about the cognitive impression will.  Modern empiricism hadn’t been invented yet to question the mind’s potential for certain knowledge.

                                             

                                            A modern fact is objective (well justified community opinion) while the cognitive impression is subjective (experienced first person only) but I do not see why the two would disagree.  Stoic intuition along this line would not be like many other types of intuition that rely on some source that clashes more often with empiricism than not.

                                             

                                            Live well,

                                            Steve

                                          • Malcolm Schosha
                                            Sophia wrote: By that I mean training one s self to be more accurately aware of one s intuition - and thereby able to see things that otherwise would not be
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Jan 8, 2008
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                                              Sophia wrote:
                                              By that I mean training one's self to be more accurately
                                              aware of one's intuition - and thereby able to see things
                                              that otherwise would not be possible to see.


                                              Malcolm Schosha wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Hi Sophia,
                                              >
                                              > I do not recall a discussion of intuition in surviving Stoic texts, but
                                              > it may be there and I missed it. It is difficult for me to imagine what
                                              > objection to intuition there could be. I consider intuition a natural
                                              > part of the complete thought process.
                                              >
                                              > I had discussed my view of intuition in an earlier post:
                                              > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/10682
                                              >
                                              > I am not sure what you mean by "amplification" of intuition.
                                              >
                                              > Salve.
                                              >
                                              > Malcolm
                                              >
                                              ..................................

                                              Sophia,

                                              You might find it interesting to search Keith's annotation of Diogenes Laertius Book Seven for the word "breath" (pneuma). I think he has the PDF in the  form's files section. For instance, I find this:

                                              An impression 65 is an imprint on the soul, its name being appropriately borrowed from the imprint on wax made by a seal; [7.46] there are two types of impression, one that apprehends real objects, and one that does not. The first they call the test of reality, being produced by a real object, and is therefore in agreement with the object itself, having been imprinted like a seal and stamped upon the mind. The other sort, the non-apprehending impression, does not arise from any real object, or, if it does, fails to correspond to reality, not being clear and distinct.

                                              You seem to be using the word "intuition" to describe the sense impression of the soul. My use of the word is a little different.

                                              Malcolm


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