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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2
Ancient Greek Philosophy: Pre-Socratic Philosophy

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articles in english
1. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Valentin Kalan Personalization of Ethics in the First Ennead of Plotinus
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Plotinus’ ethics is based on our inner manner of looking towards the beauty of the good soul. Civic virtues must have an existential basis which is provided through a dialectical education. The greatest happiness is achieved in a transparent and rational life. The activity of thought is concealed, and can only be seen through the psychic acts of apprehension and reflection. Plotinus’ moral ideal is a virtuous person that receives the good from the transcendent good. If we neglected the meaning of meditation for an active life, we would destroy “the existence of happiness”. Evils are produced in the soul when it is looking towards becoming which has the matter as its principle. Plotinus pays close attention to the manner in which “we” perceive. The psychic capacity of sensation is based on the capacity to understand (ἀντιληπτικὴν) impressions in the soul, which are already objects of the intellect. In this way, Plotinus introduces the notion of the personal self, or “I” and the notion of the subjectivity. His ethics estimates each individual according to his own worth, at the same time taking into account the cosmic dimension of human existence.
2. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Menahem Luz Porphyry’s Philosophy of Art and Religious Imagery
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In the fragments of Porphyry’s On statues we find a coherent account of artistic appreciation by means of theological and metaphysical mechanisms, resolving some of the Platonic issues in Plotinus’ examination of art. He shows how divine wisdom is revealed on the level of myth and religious art, but also through philosophical contemplation. The former is through the influence of God’s powers (dynameis) by means of images akin to our perception used by the artist and grasped by the viewer. At the bottom level there comes sensation, through which imagery is conceived, but which imprints unclear (truths) by means of the sensually clear. Porphyry develops Plotinus’ analogy: we should learn to read truths about the gods from their imagery and statues as from books. We do not look at stelae as a mere matter of blocks of stone, but regard them as an expression of truth. Porphyry’s explanation of religious imagery offers us a new and modern rendition of artistic representation. The viewer uses the artist’s product in order to grasp conceptualized ideas behind the artist’s presentation, though some remain locked in a world of myth and physical representation, while others reach beyond to what art represents.
3. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Shervin Moghimi, Maryam Pirshodeh Political Implications of Plotinus’s Philosophy
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The majority of commentators, in particular those who concentrate on Plotinus’s philosophy, maintain that he, in contrast to Greek philosophy in its flourishing period, and especially in contrast to Plato as founder of political philosophy, does not pay any attention to politics and to planning a good political system as ground of ancient political philosophy. However, though Plotinus does not consider the state, the government, liberty and justice independently, and he is not a political philosopher - from this point of view - we can find some political implications in his “non-political” philosophy, and thereby design his “political philosophy”. We attempt in this article to enumerate some of the most important political implications of Plotinus’s philosophy and fit them together, so that we can offer a coherent view of his ideal politics. One of the most important and influential Platonic dialogues in political terms for the Enneads is Plato’s Laws, and in this paper we will examine some very significant passages from the Laws which Plotinus appeals to them for outlining his ideal politics.
4. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Yohei Nishimura The Death of Philosophers in Porphyry’s Sententiae 9
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The starting point of this paper is a proposition in Porphyry’s Sententiae. There he says, “death is of two sorts: the one is the generally recognized one involving the loosing of the body from the soul; the other is that of the philosophers, involving the soul loosing itself from the body” (9, 1-3). What is most problematic is the last passage of this sentence: «καὶ οὐ πάντως ὁ ἕτερος τῷ ἑτέρῳ ἕπεται». This can be translated as “it is not always necessary that either should follow upon the other” or “it is never the case that either should follow upon the other”. I read this line as a denial of both the natural death as a consequence of the death of philosophers and the reverse. Considering what Porphyry understands as the death of philosophers, I would like to give an insight into the Sententiae themselves, and into the fact that this work is entitled “Pathways to the intelligibles” (‘Ἀφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά’) in the manuscripts.
5. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Daniel Regnier Oikeiôsis in Plotinus
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Plotinus’s debt to the Stoic thought is well documented. Not only was this debt a function of the general intellectual atmosphere in which Plotinus worked, but the philosopher frequently adopted and modified Stoic positions consciously and carefully. The concept of oikeiôsis / οἰκείωσις (and its cognates) plays an important role in Stoic thought. Indeed, some scholars assert that it provides the very foundations for Stoic ethics and political philosophy. In the present study, we will exam Plotinus’ use of this important concept. It shall become clear that, on account of the great differences between Neoplatonic and Stoic metaphysics, Plotinus employs the notion of oikeiôsis in manners that are very distinct from the ways in which it was deployed by various Stoic thinkers. Nevertheless, it shall also become evident that Plotinus’ appropriation of the concept of oikeiôsis accorded him a conceptual tool by which to better think problems concerning the nature of the self.
6. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Dimitrios A. Vasilakis Aspects of the Erotic Way of Life in Proclus
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The Neoplatonists have been criticized for giving forced interpretations of Plato. Can this verdict justify modern commentators’ not paying attention to the Neoplatonic views on central Platonic problems, such as the accusation of ‘moral egoism’? The issue of Platonic eros, a proposal for a modus vivendi, serves as a significant test-case in order to answer this challenge. My approach is based on Proclus’ Commentary on the First Alcibiades. The Platonic successor approaches Socrates’ relation to Alcibiades as mirroring the structure of the divine realm. From this point of view, which platonically merges ethics with metaphysics, Proclus repeatedly states that it is an essential feature of the divine lover, who patterns himself upon the god Eros, to elevate along with himself his beloved towards the intelligible Beauty. This seems to go against the Symposium, which might suggest that the lover needs his beloved, because the latter constitutes the means for the former to recollect the source of real beauty. In contrast, for Proclus the ideal loving relationship is parallel to the demiurge’s providential relation to the Receptacle, and that of the philosopher-king to his city. Hence, Proclus presents us the quintessence of the erotic way of life and responds to Plato’s critics.
articles in spanish
7. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
José María Nieva El mito como forma de vida en Damascio
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Damascius splits his Commentary of Phaedo in three parts. The last part is devoted to the eschatological myth which is also split in three parts. The descent in the Hades needs to be read together with two other platonic myths that tell about the soul destiny: Gorgias and the Republic. In such triadic conception, Damascius is in debt with Proclus who was the first in evidencing the imbrications in these three dialogues.According to Damascius, the purpose of the myth is to assign tén choristén diagogén after the souls are separated from the body thus acquiring a certain way of life embodied as the highest, intermediate or lowest perfection.Thus, this paper puts foward the hypothesis that the myth is revealed as a way of living present in the term “diagogé” in which a religious sense is hidden. That sense implies considering philosophy like an initiation in the mysteries. That will demand taking into account the reflections carried out by Damascius when he analyses the “argument of the affinity of the soul with the Ideas” of the Platonic dialogue and his consideration of the philosopher as the happiest man that has been completely identified with Dionysos.
articles in greek
8. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Χριστίνα Πλακούτση Το Γράμμα προς Μαρκέλλαν του Πορφυρίουκαι οι αριστοτελικές επιρροές του
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Το Γράμμα προς Μαρκέλλαν του Πορφύριου είναι ένας προτρεπτικός λόγος για τη φιλοσοφία. Με την επιστολή αυτή παροτρύνεται η σύζυγός του Μαρκέλλα να συνεχίσει να διάγει φιλοσοφικό βίο και να ακολουθεί πιστά τις αρετές του βίου αυτού. Η συγκεκριμένη επιστολή θυμίζει έντονα το Βιβλίο Κ των Ηθικών Νiκομαχείων, όπου ο Αριστοτέλης αναφέρεται στον θεωρητικό βίο. Στην ανακοίνωσή μας θα προσπαθήσουμε να βρούμε τα κοινά στοιχεία ανάμεσα στα δυο έργα. Και οι δυο φιλόσοφοι θεωρούν το θεωρητικό βίο και την άσκηση της νοητικής δραστηριότητας κοπιαστικό έργο που απαιτεί αφοσίωση και σκληρές δοκιμασίες. Όμως μέσα από το βίο αυτό ο άνθρωπος-φιλόσοφος μπορεί να ξεπεράσει την ανθρώπινη υπόστασή του και να ανέλθει σε ένα ανώτερο επίπεδο. Η φιλοσοφία είναι τόσο για τον Αριστοτέλη όσο και για τον Πορφύριο ο μόνος δρόμος προς το θείο. Βεβαίως όλοι οι άνθρωποι δεν μπορούν να διάγουν αυτόν τον βίο, γι’ αυτό και οι δυο φιλόσοφοι διαχωρίζουν τρία είδη βίων ή νόμων και στην κορυφή βάζουν το νόμο του θεού ή το θεωρητικό βίο. Βασική ιδιότητα και για τους δυο είναι η αυτάρκεια που επιτρέπει στον φιλόσοφο να είναι ανεξάρτητος από τους άλλους ανθρώπους. Βασιζόμενοι στα παραπάνω φαίνεται πως ο Πορφύριος είχε δεχτεί και αριστοτελικές επιρροές.
articles in english
9. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Dimitrios Dentsoras Intermediate and Perfect Appropriate Actions in Stoicism
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The essay examines the Stoic notion of appropriate actions (καθήκοντα), focusing on the relationship between the perfectly appropriate actions of the virtuous person (the Stoic κατορθώματα) and “intermediate appropriate actions” (καθήκοντα μέσα). I present some of the philosophical motivations behind the general Stoic theory of καθήκοντα, and argue against the common interpretation of μέσα καθήκοντα as action types that make no reference to the manner of their performance, and of κατορθώματα as μέσα καθήκοντα that are rightly performed by an agent with a virtuous disposition. Instead, I claim that the different types of καθήκοντα should be distinguished with reference to the kinds of things they aim at, rather than the manner in which they are performed. So, μέσα καθήκοντα should be understood as actions aiming at natural advantages that are indifferent, and κατορθώματα as actions aiming at the only true good, i.e., virtue. I discuss some of the advantages of the alternative view and outline the account of virtuous motivation that arises from it.
10. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Panos Eliopoulos Passions and Individual Responsibility in Seneca
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For Seneca passions are not just bad judgments that need to be defeated. Even though he generally agrees with Chrysippus on the matter of the ontology of passions, Seneca differentiates mainly in his emphasis that passions are the reason why man leads an inauthentic, unhappy and undignified life. The Roman philosopher employs practical techniques that refer to the ordinary man, the man who rationally desires to change his merely-being into well-being. But that action requires the energetic engagement of the individual and the admittance of his particular responsibility. The role of individuality is particularly stressed, especially on the premises that man needs to make this constant and conscious effort to help himself, and to cure his own soul, often with the aid of others who share the same path. Under this prism, the treatment of passions leads to a culmination where man is not only bound to achieve his ontological excellence, but also to relieve his soul from the traumas of passions and to connect himself with the moral and existential safety that the presence of “recta ratio” guarantees. Seneca in De Ira defines passion as the result of an ‘impetus’, an horme, which lacks self-control and is closed to reason and counsel. As such, a passion makes the soul unfit to know the right and the true. In such a condition, man loses contact with the firm cognitive criteria that would allow him this knowledge and would ensure a eudaemonistic living “secundum naturam”. Although Seneca is convinced that the stoic teaching should address literally everyone in order to ameliorate one’s life and make it authentic and right, he upholds that it is better to totally exclude passions from the soul than try to control them. That gives certain gravity to the recognition that virtue, although it potentially belongs to every human being, is an absolute good, the only good that can be attained. But virtue, through this condition of emancipation from passion and of correction, is not an idealistic situation. Virtue is necessary, because only virtue can save man from leading an unhappy life, since it is the crucial prerequisite for the life of a rational and conscientious being.
11. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Tristán Fita The Socratic Aporia in Ancient Skepticism
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The study of the figure of Socrates, although infinite, is necessary not only for understanding the work of Plato and the Platonists of every time, where it is a fundamental piece, but also for the study of the so called “Socratics” and their influence during the Hellenistic period. In this paper, we will try to define these most prominent ‘tools’, “ideas” or ‘qualities’ about which we can say - without fear or ‘trembling’ - that skepticism, especially academic skepticism, was inherited by the philosophy of the historical person, Socrates. Or rather, what kind of simple connections can be set between the “gadfly” of Athens and the late skeptics? We will try to show how there are close resemblances in the core of these philosophers’ conceptions, even though their way of philosophizing leads them to different conclusions and different stances.
12. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Laura Liliana Gómez Espíndola Chrysippean Theory of Co-fated Events
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In this paper, I will deal with the Chrysippean theory of co-fated events. In order to do so, in the first part, I will present Chysippus’ simile of the dog tied to a car and its fatalistic implications. In the second part, I will present the ancient critique known as lazy argument (ἀργὸς λόγος). In the end, I will propose a new interpretation of Chrysippus’s distinction of fated and co-fated events in order to re-examine how he answered this critique. This Chrysippean theory shows how relevant philosophical understanding of fate is in order to avoid fatalism, and safeguard the value of our personal efforts and practical thought.
13. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Robert Heller Tensile Motion, Time and Recurrence in Stoicism
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The Stoic theory of recurrence is founded on Stoic biological and cosmological doctrines. This paper argues that these connections are far more elaborate and well-determined than generally assumed. Evidence from the Stoic theory of the motion of pneuma is brought to bear and a rival geometric model of time is supported against the standard linear and circular models supported by Salles and Long. The new ‘torus model’ is inspired by Alexander of Aphrodisias’ inquisitive questioning of what form the peculiar motion of pneuma may possibly have and based on the evidence in which the Stoics discuss the simultaneous inward/outward motion of pneuma. A new perspective is offered as to what form this motion may take, which ultimately offers an insight into the mechanics of recurrence as also some of the long-standing paradoxes of recurrence.
14. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Archontissa Kokotsaki Physical Theories of the Soul: Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius
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The Epicurean philosophy is based upon the theory of Democritus, who believed that everything is composed of ‘atoms’, physically but not geometrically indivisible, and lie in a void. Democritus paid a great deal of attention to the structure of the human body, the noblest part of which is considered to be the soul. These all-pervading souls - atoms perform in different functions. In this case, Epicurus and his followers believed that the soul, just like the body, was somehow material, consisting of atoms as well. The body by keeping soul-atoms together without much dispersion allows them to vibrate with the motions that generate sensations. Lucretius also describes the atomic theory in his De rerum natura and observes the materiality of the soul. At last, Epicurean “pleasure” is the greatest good, but the one and only way to attain such pleasure is living modestly and be of the limits of one’s desires. This can lead everyone to attain a state of equanimity (ataraxia) and freedom from fear of death, as well as absence of body pain (aponoia). The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form.
15. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Tomohiko Kondo The Birth of Stoic Freedom from Plato’s Republic
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This paper will show how the Stoic Chrysippus appropriated Plato’s Republic by picking up the Platonic definition of justice as ‘doing one’s own’ (ta hautou prattein) and by applying it to the Stoic concept of freedom as ‘the authority of self-action’ (exousia autopragias). I argue, based on the analysis of Plutarch’s De Stoicorum repugnantiis 1043A-B - and other related sources - that Chrysippus in his On ways of life, employed the concept of freedom and explicated it in terms of ‘autopragia’ or ‘ta hautou prattein’. He did so by showing that, given the correct understanding of freedom, not only life of leisure, but also the active life of politics can be said to lead to freedom. Chrysippus’ strategy of reading Plato’s texts will be seen as a kind of appropriation used to extract the best from them by making certain conceptual adjustments; an approach which he must have thought necessary to achieve a unified and consistent theory. Accordingly, he re-interpreted the Platonic phrase ‘ta hautou prattein’ along with terms, such as: ‘uninvolved’ (apragmōn), ‘to will’ (boulesthai), and the ‘authority’ (exousia). Chrysippus, in extracting the Stoic concept of freedom from Plato’s Republic, took particular care to overcome the introverted and escapist tendency, lurking therein by radically re-reading the Platonic texts.
16. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Andityas Soares de Moura Costa Matos, Marina Palmieri Stoicism is Not a Proto-Christianity
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This paper intends to discuss the relations between Stoicism and Christianity, demonstrating that the approach between both doctrines is artificial and moved by ideological purposes. Firstly, some conceptions, which tend to unify Stoicism and Christianity, will be shown. In the second part of the article, those positions are criticized, and Stoicism shall be redirected to its philosophical patterns.
17. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Pedro Savaget Nascimento The Influence of Stoic Language Theory on Classical Roman Law
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This paper will discuss the insertion of the Stoic dialectic or, more exactly, the differentiation between the signifier and signified of Stoic language theory, regarding the hermeneutics of words in the Roman Law. The development and expansion of Roman territories allowed the jurists to be in close contact with the Hellenistic philosophical systems, which represented a moment of historic cleavage whose consequences have been reflecting in the contemporary world: the juridical thinking, previously characterized by excessive rigor, started realizing its fallibility, becoming epistemologically more sophisticated and open to interconnecting with knowledge produced by other cultures. The juridical argument of Romans reached its peak of efficacy on the threshold of practicality and rationality inherited from the Greeks, however, without losing its original characteristics of simplicity and concision.
18. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Paulo Fernando Tadeu Ferreira A Note on τὸ παρ’ ἡμᾶς and τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν in Chrysippus
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The present paper draws a contrast between the notions of τὸ παρ’ ἡμᾶς and τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν to the effect that, according to Chrysippus, each has a different role to play and different requirements to meet, the former being especially tailored to suit the exigencies of praise and blame taken as exhortations, the latter those of desert and justice in praising and blaming as well as honoring and punishing.
19. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Olga Theodorou Epicureanism of Pierre Gassendi
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Pierre Gassend, or, as he is widely known, Gassendi, was a French materialist philosopher, physicist, astronomer, theologian and Catholic priest. He was the son of Antoine Gassend2 and Françoise Fabry, and was born on January 22nd in 1592 in Champtercier, a village of Provence, and died on October 24th in 1655 in Paris. He received his first education in the cities Digne and Riez and by the age of twelve (1604) he began his initiation to Catholicism. He belonged to the Franciscan Order.3 The continuation of his formal education was supported by the Catholic Church as an aspect of his preparation for priesthood.4 He studied Aristotelian philosophy and Catholic theology for the next eight years (1604-1611) at the College of Aix in Provence. Pierre Gassendi is typically remembered for introducing the ancient atomic philosophy of Epicurus in 17th century European thought. Gassendi aspired to articulate a new philosophy of nature, in order to replace Aristotelianism, which had been prominent in the context of scholastic thought for centuries, and had constituted the foundation of physics as well as moral philosophy. Gassendi was a priest and an ardent follower of the new scientific methodology of empiricism and of experimental trial. He devoted his life’s work to bringing together the Christian doctrines with the principles of the new science. Gassendi, along with Francis Bacon and Descartes, was one of the most significant figures who exerted influence on the development of science and mechanistic philosophy in the second half of the 17th century, especially in England. His views can be seen throughout the summary of Francois Bernier (1678/84), a work that emphasizes the atomic views, and materialistic tendencies, of philosophical thought. Gassendi’s adapted Epicurean philosophy spread to Britain with Opera Omnia and the Abregé of Bernier, and also due to Walter Charleton, who published a modified English translation of parts of Animadversiones in 1648. There was also a group of enthusiastic empiricists, who belonged to the circle of Newcastle, as well as a small Epicurean club whose members were among others Kenelm Digby and Nathaniel Highmore. All of the above saw a deep and pervasive influence of Gassendi’s views on British thought. His influence is seen in the writings of major thinkers, such as Boyle, Locke, Hobbes, Newton, Hume, Reid, and in the early works of Leibniz. The multi-dimensional personality of Gassendi, as a pastor, humanist and physical philosopher, accords with a moral and the physical universe in which the Creator God of the Christian faith holds a prominent role. He has been characterized by many researchers as the founder of mechanical philosophy, and as the successor of humanistic historiography. He was a defender of atomic theory, which was flourishing in the second half of 17th century, and also inspired Locke, one of the major proponents of moral theory. Gassendi’s contribution in moral philosophy is unexceptionable; his notions of freedom and pleasure formed the basis of the liberal tradition of late 17th and 18th centuries.
20. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Miriam van Reijen Stoic Philosophy as Inquiry and a Way of Life in the 21st Century
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Stoic philosophy and, above all, one sentence of Epictetus (55- 135), still is very important as a philosophical inquiry and a happy way of life. Albert Ellis’ wrote about his rational emotive therapy (RET) in the 20th century that he borrowed from philosophy: especially from the Stoics. My claim is that I restore the philosophy in his method. The A(ctivating situation) - B(elief) - C(onsequences) refer to the sentence of the stoic Epictetus: Things themselves or other people (A) don’t hurt (C) us; it is how we view (B) these things. The insight (D) follows another sentence of Epictetus: happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: some things are within our control, and some things are not. Keep your attention focused entirely on what you can do, and accept all other things. To distinguish between the one and the other, philosophy can help you, and practicing this is, is the true art of living. It is a misunderstanding that Stoic philosophy makes passive, because it concerns only the acceptance of what you cannot change. It makes you active, concerning the things that are under your control.