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A Little Book of Stoicism

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Author: St George Stock
Language: English
Wordcount: 18,120 / 58 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 50.3
LoC Category: BL
Downloads: 3,301 6686

If you strip Stoicism of its paradoxes and its wilful misuse of language, what is left is simply the moral philosophy of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, dashed with the physics of Heraclitus. Stoicism was not so much a new doctrine as the form under which the old Greek philosophy finally presented itself to the world at large. It owed its popularity in some measure to its extravagance. A great deal might be said about Stoicism as a religion and about the part it played in the formation of Christianity but these subjects were excluded by the plan of this volume which was to present a sketch of the Stoic doctrine based on the original authorities.

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ring that period. At all events under Strato the successor of Theophrastus who specialized in natural science the school had lost its comprehensiveness. Cicero even finds it consonant with dramatic propriety to make Cato charge the later Peripatetics with ignorance of logic! On the other hand Chrysippus became so famous for his logic as to create a general impression that if there were a logic among the gods it would be no other than the Chrysippean.

But if the Stoics were strong in logic they were weak in rhetoric. This strength and weakness were characteristic of the school at all periods. Cato is the only Roman Stoic to whom Cicero accords the praise of real eloquence. In the dying accents of the school as we hear them in Marcus Aurelius the imperial sage counts it a thing to be thankful for that he had learnt to abstain from rhetoric, poetic, and elegance of diction. The reader however cannot help wishing that he had taken some means to diminish the crabbedness of his style. If a lesson were wanted



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