Missing posts / members X
Philosophy Forums was hacked on September 6th. Due to the hacker, everything between July 24th and September 6th is permanently missing. Unfortunately, automated backups had to be turned off months ago because they were crashing the server. We're evaluating how to stop this from happening again. You may be able to find your own posts in a google cache to re-post them, if you want to.

Feeble Critique of Stoicism.

Feeble Critique of Stoicism.
Q~uestion
Ya!
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Sep 15, 2010
Location: United States of America

Total Topics: 142
Total Posts: 1342
#1 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 1, 2012 - 11:30 PM:
Subject: Feeble Critique of Stoicism.
The main points of Stoicism can be outlined as follows;

1) Knowing what is under one's control and what isn't.

2) Guiding one's actions in accordance with nature.

3) Professing a state of indifference. Or rather, "reacting less".

It can be said that these points do express some tenets of Stoicism that are relevant today.

It is worth asking, "Why are these points still relevant today?"



On what basis can you say that you know what is under your control? If you cannot provide one, then you cannot truthfully assert that you know what is under your control for you do not know.

As for nature, it is sufficient to appeal to Moore's naturalistic fallacy in order to dispel the ethical foothold Stoicism has had in regards to "nature". "Nature" has yet to conform to our view of it. Stoicism is no different in committing the naturalistic fallacy by using "nature" as a placeholder for its views on ethical behavior

Stoicism can also be viewed as an answer to the questions posed by Plato in his Dialogues. Now, if those questions are unanswerable in nature, then doesn't that deem Zeno's answers irrelevant too?

Edited by Caldwell on Mar 2, 2012 - 12:54 AM. Reason: spelling
ciceronianus
Gadfly
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Sep 20, 2008
Location: An old chaos of the Sun

Total Topics: 95
Total Posts: 5195

Last Blog: Orwell's Foresight

#2 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 2, 2012 - 9:56 AM:

You determine what is in your control (because it is in the control of another or otherwise) by experience. Someone you love is killed in a car accident. That was not in your control, nor is how they may be killed. How that effects you is something that is in your control. Someone hates you. Depending on the circumstances, that is not in your control (sometimes, what is or is not in your control must be determined on a case-by-case basis). How it effects you is in your control.

Reasonable judgments and conclusions may be made regarding human nature, and nature (or so I think, as did the ancient Stoics). It is not necessary to decide what is ultimately "good" before we can make judgments regarding what human nature may be. Generally, we all have certain basic needs, desires, feelings in common; for example, we want to live and to be able to do what is required in order to live, we would rather not be in pain and don't want those we love to be in pain (the fact that there may be sick or psychotic individuals who don't doesn't mean that we can't make judgments as to what is generally the case and in that sense "natural"). Whether or not it is ultimately "good" to have these fundamental desires, etc., should not determine whether or not we should honor them.
unenlightened
How many cows? 0, 1, 2?
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Aug 10, 2007
Location: Wales

Total Topics: 89
Total Posts: 10277
#3 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 2, 2012 - 11:33 AM:

An education in Stoicism?

The Duchess wrote:

Speak roughly to your little boy
and beat him when he sneezes
he only does it to annoy
because he knows it teases.
I speak severely to my boy
I beat him when he sneezes
for he can thoroughly enjoy
the pepper when he pleases.
Q~uestion
Ya!
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Sep 15, 2010
Location: United States of America

Total Topics: 142
Total Posts: 1342
#4 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 9, 2012 - 12:37 PM:

ciceronianus wrote:
You determine what is in your control (because it is in the control of another or otherwise) by experience. Someone you love is killed in a car accident. That was not in your control, nor is how they may be killed. How that effects you is something that is in your control. Someone hates you. Depending on the circumstances, that is not in your control (sometimes, what is or is not in your control must be determined on a case-by-case basis). How it effects you is in your control.
On the contrary. If determining what is in our control were such an easy task, then there would not be so much grief around the world. It is also a highly metaphysical claim to assert that you know what is actually in your control as opposed to what isn't. What I may be asking for is some sort of formalization of this concept of having things under control. Did the Stoics become professed in logic, specifically modal logic, for this very reason?

Reasonable judgments and conclusions may be made regarding human nature, and nature (or so I think, as did the ancient Stoics).
Yet another seemingly simple; but, complex assertion. What are reasonable judgments? A Randian might assert that only selfish acts are reasonable acts while some other philosopher might say something completely different. On what basis are these judgments made upon? Are they only those which are made in accordance with nature?

It is not necessary to decide what is ultimately "good" before we can make judgments regarding what human nature may be.
Alright, in that case I'll just ask the big question. Why are you a Stoic?
ciceronianus
Gadfly
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Sep 20, 2008
Location: An old chaos of the Sun

Total Topics: 95
Total Posts: 5195

Last Blog: Orwell's Foresight

#5 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 9, 2012 - 1:23 PM:

Q~uestion wrote:
On the contrary. If determining what is in our control were such an easy task, then there would not be so much grief around the world. It is also a highly metaphysical claim to assert that you know what is actually in your control as opposed to what isn't. What I may be asking for is some sort of formalization of this concept of having things under control. Did the Stoics become professed in logic, specifically modal logic, for this very reason?

Yet another seemingly simple; but, complex assertion. What are reasonable judgments? A Randian might assert that only selfish acts are reasonable acts while some other philosopher might say something completely different. On what basis are these judgments made upon? Are they only those which are made in accordance with nature?

Alright, in that case I'll just ask the big question. Why are you a Stoic?

I'm something I call a Pragmatic Stoic, a devotee of something I call Pragmatic Stoicism. It's a curious, rather undefined combination of philosophies of my own creation (though I read that a philosopher named John Lachs is coming out with a book to be entitled Stoic Pragmatism--apparently he's been reading my posts here and my blog, and means to take the credit for it, the fiend; well, probably not really). It's an attempt to merge the practical wisdom and pantheistic tendencies of Stoicism with the Pragmatism of Peirce and Dewey.

The interesting thing about the Stoic view of things within one's control is that it is a very simple, "easy" concept and yet is something we seemingly are unwilling to accept or grasp. The Stoics maintain that we need not be emotionally affected by the thoughts, feelings and actions of others or by events that take place which we cannot prevent. Thus the assertion we see in Epictetus, that we are not distubed by things or others but by the view we take of them. We can control our views, our opinions of things and others and our feelings regarding them. Stoicism has been called the orginal cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) by some.

Although this seems obvious enough, we have problems accepting this view and acting on it. We have to discipline ourselves to do so; this discipline has been called stoic practice.

Reasonable judgments and conclusions are, first, necessarily uncertain as they are subject to modification. Most of us share certain needs and desires the fulfillment of which we find necesary to live and live well. We seek to fulfill them. We encounter problems in the course of doing so and seek to resolve them based on what evidence there may be indicates would be the most effective way to do so. We may make mistakes, in which case we should correct ourselves and make future decisions on what we learn from our mistakes--we try something else to address problems, and judge whether the problems are resolved in that fashion.

Pragmatism takes the position that there is no ultimate good, no single rule which should be applied in making moral decisions or in determining appropriate conduct. While the injunction "live according to nature" which is associated with stoicism may seem such a rule or good, I think it's made up of several guidelines to conduct.

locked
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



This thread is closed, so you cannot post a reply.