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research articles
1. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin, William O. Stephens Introduction
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2. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Chuck Chakrapani Stoic Minimalism: ‘Just Enough Stoicism’ for Modern Practitioners
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Stoic Minimalism may be described as ‘just enough Stoicism.’ Just enough for what? Just enough to lead the good life. Just enough to cope with the stress of modern life. Just enough to not be rattled by the constant changes that characterize the times we live in. Just enough to be resilient in the face of misfortune. Just enough to have the freedom to reject unproven or unprovable concepts. In essence, Stoic Minimalism is an attempt to retain whatever is valuable in ancient Stoicism and the freedom to discard whatever is unproven, unhelpful, or incompatible with our everyday lives. For the Stoic Minimalist, Stoic ethics is a logically self-contained system in which rationality is the principle, wisdom is the means, and happiness is the end. The purpose of this paper is to expand on this theme.
3. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Christopher Gill Stoic Ethical Theory: How Much Is Enough?
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How much theory is enough for a complete account of ancient Stoic ethics and for modern life-guidance? Stoic ethics was presented either purely in its own terms or combined with the idea of human or universal nature (or both). Although the combination of ethical theory with human and universal nature provides the most complete account, each of these modes of presentation was regarded as valid and can provide modern life-guidance.
4. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Kai Whiting, Aldo Dinucci, Edward Simpson, Leonidas Konstantakos The Environmental Battle Hymn of the Stoic God
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In Stoic theology, the universe constitutes a living organism. Humankind has often had a detrimental impact on planetary health. We propose that the Stoic call to live according to Nature, where God and Nature are one and the same, provides a philosophical basis for re-addressing environmental degradation. We discuss the value of the logocentric framework and aligning oneself with Divine will and natural law (as stated by reason) in order that living beings can thrive.
5. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Scott Aikin The Stoic Sage Does not Err: An Error?
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The Stoics held that the wise person does not err. This thesis was widely criticized in the ancient world and runs afoul of contemporary fallibilist views in epistemology. Was this view itself an error? On one line, the view can be modified to accommodate many of the critical lines against it. Some of these lines of modification are consistent with traditional Stoic value theory (for example, importing the notion of preferred indifferents into epistemic considerations). However, others require larger modifications to Stoic axiology (in particular, a revision of the equality of errors thesis). A version of the no errors thesis emerges as defensible against the criticisms of the view, but there is then the question as to whether it is an orthodox Stoicism.
6. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Emily McGill Prohairesis and a Stoic-Inspired Feminist Autonomy
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The idea that the ancient Stoics are (proto)feminists is relatively common. Even those critical of this position acknowledge that certain features of Stoicism render the philosophical program appropriate for a feminist reimagining. Yet less attention has been paid to developing a positive theory of Stoic feminism. I begin this task by outlining Stoic insights for a feminist conception of personal autonomy. I argue that, present in the Stoic doctrine of prohairesis, we find a dual conception of personal autonomy according to which socially constructed selves maintain an individualist autonomy. This individualist view of autonomy is in line with Stoic compatibilism about freedom and selfhood, which I use as structural analogies to motivate my account. I then highlight potential feminist payoffs of a Stoic-inspired view, particularly for the contemporary feminist debate about autonomy under oppression.
7. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
William O. Stephens Stoicism and Food Ethics
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The norms of simplicity, convenience, unfussiness, and self-control guide Diogenes the Cynic, Zeno of Citium, Chrysippus, Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius in approaching food. These norms generate the precept that meat and dainties are luxuries, so Stoics should eschew them. Considerations of justice, environmental harm, anthropogenic global climate change, sustainability, food security, feminism, harm to animals, personal health, and public health lead contemporary Stoics to condemn the meat industrial complex, debunk carnism, and select low input, plant-based foods.
8. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Tristan J. Rogers Stoic Conservatism
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What might a Stoic approach to politics look like? David Goodhart aptly describes the political divide pervading Western societies in terms of the ‘somewheres,’ who are communitarian, rooted in particular places, and resistant to social and political change, versus the ‘anywheres,’ who are cosmopolitan, mobile, and enthusiastic embracers of change. Stoicism recognizes a similar distinction. This paper defends a conservative interpretation of Stoic politics. According to ‘Stoic conservatism,’ cosmopolitanism is an ethical ideal through which we perform the obligations assigned by our communitarian role(s) in society. The view is ‘conservative’ in that it favors existing institutions as the starting point for virtue instead of reasoning a priori about what virtue requires. Stoic politics consists neither in cosmopolitan transcendence of particular attachments, nor in passive acceptance of the communitarian status quo, but in ethical improvement toward virtue, within the political structure of society.
9. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Alyssa Lowery The Promises and Problems of Two Stoic Big Tents
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Stoicism’s tremendous recent popularity provides an opportunity to update the tradition for a contemporary audience. In this paper, I review one such update: Stoicism’s conception as a ‘big tent,’ first as depicted by two prominent figures in contemporary Stoicism – Ryan Holiday and Massimo Pigliucci – then how it fares in light of two challenges, Stoic Resignation and Stoic Reductionism. I conclude by arguing for a self-determination that emphasizes Stoic ethical commitments and attends to its social features, even at the cost of such a big tent.
10. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Information about Authors
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11. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
About the Journal
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12. Symposion: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1
Author Guidelines
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research articles
13. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Alex Blum Kripke on Identity Statements
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We show that Kripke’s argument for the necessity of identity statements relating objects a and b by their rigid designators demands an additional significant premise.
14. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Robert Donoghue Hegel’s Treatment of the Free Will Problem: A Conceptual Oversight and Its Implications for Legal Theory
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G.W.F. Hegel offers a thorough, complex, and unique theory of free will in the Philosophy of Right. In what follows, I argue that Hegel’s conceptualization of free will makes the mistake of collapsing the possibility of organic freedom (the ability to act freely of causal determination) into the potential for moral freedom (the capacity to act in accordance with Reason). This article engages in three distinct tasks in making this argument. First, I provide a critical overview of Hegel’s conception of free will – namely, how he envisages the movement from the abstract, incomplete, and undeveloped will, to that of a concrete, complete, and developed one through the unfolding of Reason. Second, I introduce the contemporary debate regarding nomological determinism between libertarians and skeptics, of both the in compatibilist and compatibilist variety. I suggest that, in the context of the modern free will debate, Hegel is best categorized as a compatibilist as he both accepts causal determinism but remains committed to the notion that certain persons can act in concert with their own volition. Third, I argue that Hegel’s compatibilist understanding of free will has important and problematic consequences for legal theory, particularly normative jurisprudence. Compatibilism, generally, and Hegel’s particular version, substantiates the idea of basic moral desert which poses a serious threat to the possibility of moral progress from a retributive justice system to a consequentialist one.
15. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Janelle Pötzsch The Early J.S. Mill on Marriage and Divorce
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This paper discusses Mill’s early essay on marriage and divorce (1832) and gives two possible sources of influence for it: Plato’s arguments on the appropriate scope of the law in book IV of his Republic and Unitarian ideas on motherhood. It demonstrates that Plato’s Republic and Mill’s essay both emphasize the crucial role of background conditions in achieving desirable social aims. Similar to Plato’s claim that the law should provide only a rough framework and not concern itself with questions of etiquette (Republic, 425d), Mill envisions a society in which men and women meet as equals and hence are in no need of marriage laws. Besides, this paper will relate Mill’s essay on marriage and divorce to Unitarian ideas on the social role of women to account for his reservations about the gainful employment of married women and mothers. Mill’s claim that the rightful employment of a mother is “the training of the affections” (Mill 1970, 76) is fueled by the Unitarian conception of women as the moral educators of future citizens.
16. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Daniel Rönnedal The Highest Good and the Relation between Virtue and Happiness: A Kantian Approach
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The paper develops a Kantian view of the highest good and the relation between virtue and happiness. Several Kantian theses are defended, among them the thesis that the highest good is realized only if every virtuous individual is happy, the view that virtue is neither necessary nor sufficient for happiness, and the proposition that virtue is both necessary and sufficient for the worthiness of being happy. The author argues that the highest good ought to be realized and that it ought to be that everyone who is virtuous is happy. To prove these claims, the author will use techniques developed by modern deontic logicians. According to Kant, we do not have an immediate duty to promote our own happiness, the aim of morality being not personal satisfaction but rather virtue and the good will. The important question is not “How do I become happy?” but “How do I become good?”. The arguments in this paper support this view.
17. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Rajesh Sampath An Inhuman God for Our Inhuman Times: Death in Heidegger’s Being and Time and Jesus’s Agony in the Garden
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This paper attempts a careful reading of chapter I of Division Two, particularly section 53, on death in Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927). Our aim is to deconstruct some of Heidegger’s assumptions while imagining the margins of his text that could warrant a comparison and contrast with the biblical theological material of the New Testament. In parallel by reading the Synoptic Gospel of Mark on Jesus’s agony in the garden prior to his arrest, trial, death, and resurrection, we can initiate a series of comparisons and contrasts. For Heidegger, there is no conception or idea beyond death, and yet death itself as a possibility, even as the greatest possibility to be, is not like any other point in time that a human being can experience, grasp, remember, or anticipate while they are alive. It is not the witnessing of the medically certified death of another person or animal. Out of this paradox, we will argue for a greater philosophical degree of complexity that Jesus the human being experiences when it comes to the possibility of death and the impossibility to surmount it. In the same token we cannot exclude the theological doctrine of the single hypostatic substance (as two natures) of the historically finite person Jesus as human flesh and divine transcendence. So philosophically speaking, his death is unique even though its event as physical expiration on the Cross is like any other human being. However, the physical death of the human called Jesus does not answer the question of the meaning of death in the split-natured unified hypostatic substance of Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Christian God, which includes the First Person of the Father and the Third Person of the Holy Spirit. By tracing a series of complicated philosophical relations, we hope to contribute to the fields of philosophical theology, albeit a heterodox one, and the philosophy of religion while attending to the inherent secular limits that Heidegger’s philosophy requires in so far as he imagines his project as ‘ontological,’ and not ‘theological’ or ‘historical.’ We conclude with certain philosophical speculations to what is other to both Heidegger’s ontology and mainstream Christian theology.
18. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Information about Authors
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19. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
About the Journal
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20. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Author Guidelines
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