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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« I choose a rational path to the restaurant, but when we get there we find it closed. I am not in the least upset, because all along I was _not_ aiming to produce the outcome of eating at that restaurant, but
rather aiming at the outcome of eating at that restaurant _is possible_. Now I recognize that it was not possible-- the gods did not will it.»
Which leads to my very first point.
How would be deemed a "failure when the restaurant being closed is out of cour control? Only the final result "failed", but all steps on the way were appropriate. That was my very first quibble. Only instead of "appropriate" I used the terms "excellent / arete" which were technically incorrect.
But I believe the saleint point is still correct that one still find solace in taking "appropriate" steps, as opposed to being negligent. And that I was inappropriate or imprecise by using incorrect terminology.
'I know you won't believe me,
but the highest form of
Human Excellence is
to question oneself and others.'