The Stoic Tradition

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The Stoic Tradition In the approximate year of 320 B.C., one could be walking down the street with a high probability of passing a house where several men would be gathered out on the porch. It is likely that this was a gathering of individuals discussing philosophy. The gatherings became a more common occurrence, and since they would take place out on the porches, the school of philosophy derived from them takes its name from the Greek stoa, or porch. The ideology of that movement is henceforth known as Stoicism. Also, the Stoics have come to use the statement made by Socrates as the cornerstone of their judgments, being that "no harm can come to a good man." However, this concept is taken a bit further by the Stoics, as they deduce it to symbolize the eventually complete rejection of worldly things. These things they also deem "things which cannot be controlled." The current inquiry considers some of the chief notions of the Stoics, but more specifically it focuses upon one important question: what does it mean to follow nature for the Stoics? To answer this question, the testimonies of several of the Stoics are pooled and examined together in the end. Not only does this inquisition illustrate chief attributes of Stoicism, but those attributes are eventually evaluated in light of their coherence as well. One of the main ideas which form part of the answer as to what it means to follow nature for the Stoics is the following of an intended trajectory. As the oak tree strives to achieve its natural form of the best oak tree that it can become, it is upon its natural trajectory of reaching its potential. So too, borrowing from Aristotle, humans have the potential of becoming excellent in their own right through... ... middle of paper ... ...become cattle. This position forms a contradiction between the endeavor to attain human excellence, become a noble being, and the want to give back. This position is, once again, not human. For one cannot become the best possible oak tree and at the same time reach the highest possible potential of a human being. One is either human, or a plant. Works Cited Aurelius, Marcus. "Meditations." Ancient Philosophy. 3rd Ed. Philosophic Classics, vols. 1. Baird, Forrest E., and Walter Kaufman. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2000. Epictetus. "Encheiridion." Ancient Philosophy. 31 Ed. Philosophic Classics, vols. 1. Baird, Forrest E., and Walter Kaufman. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2000. Plato. "Apology." Ancient Philosophy. 3rd Ed. Philosophic Classics, vols. 1. Baird, Forrest E., and Walter Kaufman. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2000. 82-100.
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