Discipline: Philosophy

Philosophy named from the Stoa, or portico, in Athens where its adherents gathered.

It was founded by Zeno of Citium (c.336-c.264 BC) - different from Zeno the Elea - but considerably developed by his successors, notably: Chrysippus (c.280-c.206 BC), Posidonius (C.135-C.51 BC), Seneca 'the Younger' (c.4 BC-AD 65), Epictetus (C. AD 50-138).

The emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-80) was its last famous adherent, and Cicero (106-43 BC) is one of our main sources.

It rivalled Epicureanism and ancient skepticism through much of its history, and eventually gave way to neo-Platonism and Christianity, both of which it heavily influenced.

The Stoics divided philosophy into three branches, logic, physics, and ethics. In logic they went substantially beyond Aristotle (384-322 BC), inventing the propositional calculus.

In physics (which included metaphysics) they developed a pantheistic but materialist and determinist system contrasting with Epicurean atomism. In ethics they aimed at self-sufficiency and acceptance of fate, treating 'virtue' as the only real value, though among the remaining things ('indif-ferents') some were 'preferred'.

A A Long and D N Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (1987)


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