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The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought$
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Christopher Gill

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152682

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152682.001.0001

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Competing Readings of Stoic Passions

Competing Readings of Stoic Passions

Chapter:
(p.207) 4 Competing Readings of Stoic Passions
Source:
The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought
Author(s):

Christopher Gill (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152682.003.0004

Stoics and Epicureans, while holding that all human beings are constitutively capable of achieving a fully coherent state of character, also maintain that failure to realize this capacity results in a radically un-structured and incoherent state of personality. This chapter examines the Stoic theory of the passions (which are seen as expressing this un-structured state) and explores the relationship between this theory and their view that human beings function as psychological wholes. It shows how an intense debate emerged in Hellenistic-Roman thought between Stoic (holistic) and Platonic-Aristotelian (part-based) ways of conceiving emotions. It shows how this controversy underlies the critical presentation of the Stoic theory by Plutarch and Galen, and how it leads Galen to give a misleading account of the ideas about passions held by the Stoic thinkers Chrysippus and Posidonius.

Keywords:   Chrysippus, Galen, part-based self, passions, Platonic-Aristotelian thought, Plutarch, Posidonius, psychological holism, Stoicism, un-structured state

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