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Answers for Chapter 8

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									Answers for Chapter 8 (in Soccio)

4. Compare and contrast hedonism, Cynicism, and Stoicism.
     Hedonism is the view that goodness is pleasure and evil is pain. The hedonist
       seeks to maximize pleasure over one‟s lifetime. Hedonism is often identified with
       over-indulgence; however, this is a mischaracterization. The hedonist emphasizes
       such pleasures as simplicity, tranquility, and friendship. Epicurus argued that to
       maximize pleasure one ought to satisfy one‟s necessary natural desires as simply
       as possible – and overcome one‟s vain desires entirely.
     Cynicism is another school of thought inspired by the life of Socrates. Yet, the
       Cynics saw the Hedonists as overly soft (with their emphasis on friendship, for
       example). The heart of this view – founded by Antisthenes and personified by
       Diogenes – is that civilization corrupts people by making them soft and
       dependent. We ought to overcome every possible want, desire, or need.
     Stoicism also comes from this line of thought and can be traced to Socrates as
       well. Yet, with Stoicism there is much more emphasis placed on virtue and duty.
       Virtue, according to the Stoics meant life according to “nature.” This should be
       understood as saying that, by nature, man is rational – and so the virtuous life is
       the life of reason. Reason dictates that we abide by the LOGOS – the “law” of the
       universe.
5. Discuss how the social climate of ancient Rome encouraged the emergence of
Stoicism.
        Stoicism was founded by Zeno (334-262 BCE) in Greece. However, it arose
           to popularity in the context of the Roman Empire.
        The Romans, not particularly interested in abstract, speculative thinking –
           (think of Plato here!) – but being very interested in social order, were attracted
           to the Stoics‟ emphasis on duty and self-control.
        Stoicism appealed to Romans living in times of great uncertainty, under
           emperors of widely differing abilities and virtues.

           6.    Discuss the relationship of the lives of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus to
                 their philosophies.
                    i. Epictetus was a slave who saw that true freedom came through
                       self-mastery.
                   ii. Aurelius was a man of truly awesome power and yet remained a
                       good man by attaining self-control and concentrating on what he
                       believed to be his duty.
           7.    What is the Logos?
                    i. The Logos is the force that governs the universe and goes by
                       various names: Fate, Destiny, Nature, God‟s Will, The Word, The
                       Law, Cosmic Mind, etc.
           8.    How are the Logos and fate related in Stoicism?
                    i. The Stoics believed that everything is determined by the Logos.
                       The rational individual will shape one‟s own will to accord with
                       the dictates of the Logos, i.e. one‟s Fate.
9.    Identify and discuss possible problems with the Stoic notion of fate.
         i. On one hand Stoicism tells us that the Logos dictates everything
            that occurs – and yet at the same time counsels us to resign
            ourselves to our respective fates (as if we have a choice). What if it
            is fated that I do NOT ever resign myself to my fate?
        ii. The problem here – which is a long-standing one in philosophy – is
            this: how can I BOTH have a “destiny” and yet still remain “free”?
            Any thoughts?
10.   Stoicism was quickly absorbed into Christianity. Identify and comment
      on any similarities you are aware of.
         i. Clearly, the Stoics‟ notion that one ought to resign oneself to
            “God‟s Will” had an impact on the early Christian theologians.
            What else do you suppose?
11.   What is the disinterested rational will, and why is it important to Stoic
      doctrine?
         i. This is the idea that one will be calm and serene in the face of
            destiny.
        ii. To be disinterested is to remain detached from a particular
            situation – without any personal feelings concerning the issue at
            hand. Well, Stoicism counsels us to be disinterested in this way
            regarding our own lives! (Remind you of anything?)
12.   Explain and defend the Stoic view of emotions. Then analyze it.
         i. All emotions are bad! We ought to extinguish all emotions to
            whatever extent possible. Merely controlling one‟s emotions is still
            a “half-way disease.” The emotions – all emotions – lead us away
            from the Stoic ideal: complete detachment. (Defense?)
13.   What do the Stoics think fall under our control? What do the Stoics feel
      does not fall under our control?
         i. Under Our Control: Perception (our interpretation of events);
            Intention (our immediate will); Desire (what we are drawn
            towards); and Aversion (what we are repelled by).
        ii. Not Under Our Control: Body (our health); Property (our material
            wealth); Reputation and Political Office.
14.   Analyze the relationship between influence and control.
         i. Let‟s take the instance of our health as an example. You might
            think, “Wait a minute. My health is under my control. I can eat,
            drink and sleep the way I‟m supposed to. I can avoid smoking and
            exercise. So how is this „not up to me‟?”
        ii. The response is that this example demonstrates influence over our
            health but not control. Even someone who did all these things
            could still get sick – even seriously sick like cancer or heart
            disease. Moreover, someone could be born with a condition that
            affects him throughout his life and there would be nothing he could
            do about it. (Recall that Epictetus walked with a limp all of his life
            due to his torture at the hands of his master.)
15. Discuss the difference between avoidable and unavoidable suffering.
    How can we tell which is which? Why does it matter?
       i. Skip.
16. State the essence of Stoicism in twenty-five words or less.
       i. Well? (I‟ll leave this for you!)
17. Explain the Stoic attitude towards relationships. How does it differ from
    today‟s attitudes?
       i. If you are a father, then be a good father. If you are a husband, then
          be a good husband. It is irrelevant whether your children and
          spouse reciprocate in kind. You are to fulfill your duties as a
          husband and father, again, with a sense of complete detachment
          and serenity.
      ii. Today we are likely to believe that there is much damage poor
          parenting can do to a child. But the Stoics would maintain that no
          one “needs” good parents. Regardless of one‟s upbringing, every
          rational person has everything he or she needs to be happy: the
          ability to resign oneself to the Logos. If we truly needed good
          parents then the Logos (Nature, God, etc.) would provide
          them. Agree?
18. Skip
19. Skip
20. What does Seneca mean when he says “I count you unfortunate because
    you have never been unfortunate”?
       i. A very strong candidate for extra-credit! ;-)
21. Skip
22. Skip

								
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