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Re: [stoics] Re: Atheist Stoicism

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  • Steve Marquis
    Ther is nothing in my post about combining Stoicism with anything.  It s not even part of the discussion topic.  The topic is attemtping to define what
    Message 1 of 141 , May 7, 2013
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      Ther is nothing in my post about combining Stoicism with anything.  It's not even part of the discussion topic.  The topic is attemtping to define what Stoicism is to begin with.
      Live well,

      --- On Tue, 5/7/13, Michael van der Galien <mpfvandergalien@...> wrote:

      From: Michael van der Galien <mpfvandergalien@...>
      Subject: Re: [stoics] Re: Atheist Stoicism
      To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 6:20 AM

      What nonsense. It is perfectly fine to combine stoicism with one or such religion. The only question then is: are you only influenced by stoicism, or are you best described as a Christian stoic, an Islamic stoic, a Buddhist stoic andsoforth? The idea that you have to be an atheist or pantheist to be a stoic as well is utter garbage. 

      For instance I am a Sufi Stoic. They go together rather well, and I know there are a significant amount of Christians who are also stoic.

      On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Steve Marquis wrote:
      My point right now (and there are many different points by different people in this thread) is that comparing a western religion to a western philosophy for what to use to define the movement is invalid.  In a religion what constitutes the essence of the movement can be somewhat arbitrary because there isn’t any hard requirement for consistency or evidence

      In a philosophy, especially one that puts so much emphasis on reason and rationality, there is a fairly hard requirement for logic and internal consistency.  What that means for our current discussion is it’s not going to work to take the same arbitrary approach to what one wishes Stoicism to be.  IOW making it contain whatever one wants is not justified.  The authority for what is or is not Stoicism certainly starts with the ancient texts.  But we avoid everyone interpreting those any way they want like religious denominations do the Bible _because of the requirement for logic and consistency_ not to mention some training in ancient philosophy.  This is why someone who is labeled a ‘Stoic’ in ancient literature who espouses a foundational principle that is not consistent with the rest of the body of knowledge can be challenged.  This helps avoid the trap of who has the right interpretation. What is correct or not has to face the gauntlet of established scholarly opinion and logical consistency both.
       Religion and philosophy _do not_ have the same basis for forming a definition of what they are.
      Furthermore, since this is a philosophy the ancient sources and the scholarly work in the subject area is remarkably consistent.  The system presented to us is certainly not 100% hierarchal and complete as Julia Annas states, but the primary pieces do fit pretty well together.  What bugs me in these discussions, and we have them fairly often, is those lobbying so hard to make Stoicism what they want apparently do not know what is essential to Stoicism and what isn’t.
      Any rational system must start with axioms accepted as is.  A familiar example is Euclidian Geometry.  These axioms will define what is unique about this system that warrants a separate label from all the others. One place to start for Stoicism is ‘our happiness is fully within our power’.  If we label ideas or followers of those ideas as members of the group yet violate this core beginning axiom we have a contradiction.  I don’t care what kind of definition we are trying to do.
      So, once again, we do not have Euclidian Geometry without the axiom that parallel lines never cross.  We don’t have Stoicism without the axiom our happiness is fully within our power.  There are things that are certainly changeable like adopting the modern periodic table of the elements instead of the 4 Greek elements of earth, air, fire, and water.  That is not a primary starting axiom required for the 1) uniqueness of the system and 2) required for internal consistency.  See the difference?
      When I was online the other day I read somewhere that there is controversy amongst the classical scholars who do this kind of work if Stoic theology is necessary for Stoic ethics or not.  So here is an example of a point discussed often here that is not resolved.  Now, how can it resolved if the scholars themselves are in disagreement?  Only by a careful logical analysis.  That could never be used as a tool for final arbitration in the same way to resolve interpretational disputes between religious denominations.  Major, major, difference.
      Theo you are saying that whoever labels themselves a Stoic has as much right to define what Stoicism is as the next person who labels themselves a Stoic even if the two definitions are in contradiction.  I’m saying this is entirely wrong.  It has the cart before the hose.  Stoicism is a system of ideas already established independent of what those who label themselves Stoics want it to contain.  This applies to those now who wish to call themselves Stoics and those in ancient times who wished to call themselves Stoics.
      What takes precedence is not what people want to call themselves but what the objective system of ideas is.  What that is takes professional scholarship in both ancient literature and philosophy and logical analysis to establish.  Stoicism can be right or wrong, but it is not relative to what its current followers want it to be, it is objective set of ideas already there.
      Live well,

      From: TheophileEscargot <snailman100@...>
      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tue, May 7, 2013 2:32:59 AM
      Subject: [stoics] Re: Atheist Stoicism

      This all sounds very reasonable, but I'm not sure how, or if, it's supposed to relate to Grant's original quest for a descriptive definition of stoicism.

      Sure, we don't believe the ancient stoics had any divine revelation. In terms of what we believe, logic has to come first. There's no particular need for the drudgery of citing ancient stoic texts if we have other logical reasons to believe something. And if it is illogical, even the most firmly attested ancient stoic doctrine must be ruthlessly abandoned.

      But the original question wasn't what we should believe; it was what set of doctrines, if any, should we label as stoic.

      For that question, logical consistency isn't enough. Lots of doctrines may be consistent with each other, but not stoic. Stoics disagreed on some doctrines, so not all doctrines held by stoics will be consistent.

      For a descriptive definition, relying on the ancient stoic texts doesn't mean we're treating the texts as divine revelation. We're just treating them as reference points to draw useful boundaries for our terms.

      --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Steve Marquis <stevemarquis@...> wrote:
      > Because one can be tested by logic while the other is based on revelation.
      > Live well,
      > Steve
      > ________________________________
      > From: Richard <pmsrxw@...>
      > To: Stoics <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Mon, May 6, 2013 6:36:16 PM
      > Subject: Re: [stoics] Re: What is a "Stoic"?
      > «A philosophy has another standard â€" it is subject to logical analysis and
      > dispute.  If it is found to be inconsistent then that is simply not a problem
      > one can ignore.  Even those here who just use quotes from the original sources
      > don’t seem to recognize this fact.»
      > This is fuzzy to me
      > How does quoting from a classic Stoic Master's work differ from quoting from a
      > Religious Master's work - in terms of proving the validity of a given principle?
      > EG how does a Stoic quoting from Epictetus or Marcus differ qualitatively from a
      > Protestant quoting Luther or Calvin?
      > Regards, Richard
      > -----------------------
      > God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world, and each of us
      > contains a part of the Divine Fire. All things are parts of one single system,
      > which is called Nature.
      > ------------------------------------
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      Michael van der Galien
      Managing Editor De Dagelijkse Standaard
      Izmir, Turkey
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    • karaouka
      The stoic is a philosopher ever faithful to reason and to the rational order of the Whole. His character is noble and tranquil. His concern is his and every
      Message 141 of 141 , May 10, 2013
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        The stoic
        is a philosopher
        ever faithful to reason
        and to the rational order
        of the Whole.
        His character
        is noble and tranquil.
        His concern is his and every
        one's well-being though he well
        knows that Good lies within.
        He has no doubts
        about what is and what is not
        in his power so that his desires are
        ever fulfilled, his aversions never incurred.
        He assents only to true values.
        He embraces life
        with courage and temper,
        is righteous and happy regardless
        time, place or circumstances, for he uses
        all semblances to a virtuous end.
        Since he is
        a free man, no one
        is his master, nor is he the master
        of anyone. His attitude is such that he
        exemplifies a virtuous life for others.

        If you
        find such a man,
        please tell me, for nothing
        is more dear to me than to meet
        a true friend…
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