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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 Community of All Human Beings

The Community of All Human Beings

Chapter:
(p.65) 2 The Community of All Human Beings
Source:
Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City
Author(s):

Katja Maria Vogt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320091.003.0003

The Stoics propose a cosmopolitan theory, but not in a modern sense of the term: their cosmic city is the cosmos. The Stoic theory is also not well described as impartialist or universalist; it calls for a certain kind of affiliation with all human beings. It is argued that the evidence does not speak in favor of seeing a marked development within early Stoicism: it does not seem that, while Zeno conceives of a city of sages, Chrysippus comes to compare the cosmos with a city, thus creating the notion of a cosmic city. Rather, it seems that early Stoic political philosophy is, throughout, concerned with a complex mix of two ideas—that the cosmos is the common home of all human beings, and thus like a city, and that, in order to truly live by the law of this cosmic city and thus be its citizen, one must be wise. These ideas are deeply connected with Stoic thought about affiliation (oikeiôsis): we should view everyone as belonging to us, thus understanding something which is the case (all human beings do belong to us as fellow‐inhabitants of the world); but only through gaining a full understanding of what this means (i.e., by becoming wise) can we achieve a full integration into the cosmos.

Keywords:   Stoics, cosmic city, citizens, cosmopolitanism, sages, affiliation (oikeiôsis), world, cosmos, all human beings

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