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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

(p.207) 4 Competing Readings of Stoic Passions
The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought

Christopher Gill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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