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Law, Reason, and the Cosmic CityPolitical Philosophy in the Early Stoa$
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Katja Maria Vogt

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320091.001.0001

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The Disturbing Theses

The Disturbing Theses

(p.20) 1 The Disturbing Theses
Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City

Katja Maria Vogt

Oxford University Press

Early Stoic political philosophy is misrepresented in the sources—as recommending such practices as anthropophagy and incest—mostly because of the large role that the Sceptics had in transmitting the theory (the Sceptics' role in this was first shown to be important by Schofield, 1991). Sextus Empiricus cites the scandalous Stoic views when discussing the question whether there is an art of life. He contrasts them with ‘normal life’, and through the opposition between theory and appearances calls into question whether there is an art of life, an issue which is of central importance to the Sceptical project and is discussed repeatedly. The Stoic theses thus gain a disproportionate eminence within the overall sparse evidence on early Stoic philosophy. The chapter closes with a discussion of the ‘disturbing theses’ (the infamous ideas ascribed to the Stoics) which tries to assess them as what they most likely are: examples that the Stoics put forward when explaining the revisionary implications of their theory of value and appropriate action, rather than general recommendations, rules, or an account of life in a city of sages.

Keywords:   Stoics, Sceptics, Sextus Empiricus, Schofield, anthropophagy, incest, appropriate action, paradox

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