Re: [stoics] A flashcard representation of Stolic practice
- Good stuff. Thanks!!From: Dave Kelly <ptypes@...>
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:02 PM
Subject: Re: [stoics] A flashcard representation of Stolic practice
On Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 2:51 PM, Dave <ptypes@...> wrote:
> from flashcardmachine.com
> What are the three topoi of Epictetus?
> Discipline of Desire - a truly virtuous person only desires goodness, virtue and actions motivated by virtue.
> Discipline of Action - our actions should be motivated by virtue.
> Discipline of Assent - evaluate a situation before reacting to it.
> Best wishes,
The "flashcard" of the three topoi may have been derived from this:
The Three Topics
Epictetus concentrated on teaching his students how to lead an ideal
Stoic life. His teachings on logic, natural philosophy and ethics did
not vary greatly from the original ideas set out almost four hundred
years earlier by Zeno of Citium and Chrysippus, the founders of the
Stoic school, but Epictetus developed a new system for teaching the
practice of Stoicism. Like all the Hellenistic philosophers, he
regarded moral philosophy as a means of teaching people to lead better
lives and achieve eudaimonia ('happiness' or 'a flourishing life').
For the Stoics this meant a life motivated by virtue.
To this end, Epictetus identified three topoi (topics) on which a
Stoic should focus in order to achieve happiness. The first,
Discipline of Desire, was an examination of desire, and the
realization that a truly rational being only desires goodness, virtue,
and actions motivated by virtue. A person who limits his desire to
virtue can never be thwarted, disappointed or discouraged.
The second topic, Discipline of Action, involved performing the
actions appropriate to one’s position in the family, society and
world, in order to fulfill the role of a rational, sociable being. Our
actions, said Epictetus, should be motivated by the specific
obligations that we have in virtue of who we are, our natural
relations to others, and what roles we have adopted in our dealings
with the wider community. We should not perform actions that are
destructive or damaging to these roles; in other words we should not
act carelessly or give way to impulses of violence, anger or jealousy.
The third topic, Discipline of Assent, involved learning to evaluate a
situation before reacting to it, and choosing an appropriate response.
The Stoics taught that in every situation we receive an initial
“impression” of what is happening around us, and that we must then
apply judgment and interpretation to truly understand its meaning.
Epictetus emphasized that we must first understand a circumstance
before we can judge whether it is desirable or not and decide on an
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According to Pierre Hadot, the discipline of assent is the _method_ of the other two disciplines, so that the philosophical life can be said to be practiced by the disciplines of desire and action.
Here's my new flashcard version of those two disciplines.
It was not only this that you wanted, but also to keep your moral character in accordance with nature.
Don't think about what he or she is doing, but what you must do to keep your moral character in accordance with nature.
Value only virtue.
Pursue appropriate objects of aim, not objects of desire.