What is Stoicism? Things You Need to Know about Stoic Philosophy
Although they lived in the old century, the Stoics thought about the problems that plague man in the 21st century. They were looking for ways to achieve peace, fulfilment, and happiness. They were looking for simple instructions for life.
The Origin Of Stoicism
The term stoicism is very rarely used and there is little chance that you have heard of it. However, if you are interested in what Stoicism means, you have come to the right place.
Stoicism originates from the Greek language and marks the school of ancient philosophy that was very popular with the educated elite in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. With scepticism and Epicureanism, it’s the main philosophical direction in the so-called ethical period of Greek philosophy.
The founder of Stoicism is the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium, who was the first to establish the concept of Stoicism in 308 BC. This school existed until 529. when the Byzantine emperor Justinian closed all philosophical schools. He thought Stoicism isn’t in accordance with the Christian religion, and it originates from paganism.
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History of Stoicism
Stoicism’s centuries-long work, which spread throughout the Hellenistic-Roman world, is divided into three periods. Zeno, Cleanthes, and his disciples Aristo and Sphaerus belong to the Early Stoa. In the 3rd century BC Chrysippus of Soli developed systematic stoic teaching, and in this so-called Middle Stoa, the most important philosophers were Panaetius of Rhodes and Posidonius. The school experienced its greatest prosperity with Seneca, Epictetus, and Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the Late Stoa.
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What Is This Philosophy Based On?
According to Stoicism, the world is composed of logic, physics, and ethics, that is, following their laws. Its followers believe that the world is ruled by destiny, so all events are predetermined. Following this direction, wise people should live in harmony with nature, because that is the only way to achieve the peace they strive for.
While the Stoic cognitive theory was oriented mainly empirically and even sensually, and the physics, i.e., the teaching of nature, materialistic and strictly deterministic, ethics was based on the rationalist predominance of reason over passions and affects. In addition to physics and ethics, the Stoics paid considerable attention to logical research (logic is divided into grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic). However, the centre of the Stoic original philosophical preoccupations was primarily ethical issues, so logic and physics were in the service of ethics, and moral validity became the goal of all philosophizing.
Living in harmony with nature is a stoic ethical ideal. It means living by one’s own nature, in accordance with the logos and the cosmos. Therefore, for Zeno, the goal of life is: “Living in harmony with nature, that is, living in harmony with virtues.”
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