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The Active Principle In Stoic Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

The chapter briefly sketches the historical background and context out of which the author believes the Stoic position arose. Then, it looks at the notion of body, which the Stoics seem to regard as the pivotal one in their theory. This leads to a discussion of that into which body can be analyzed, i.e. the active and the passive principle. And this in turn leads to a discussion of pneuma, the bodily vehicle of the active principle. The chapter also looks at how pneuma moves in its own right and how it is mixed ?through and through? with sluggish matter, made up of the elements earth and water. And since pneuma is a causal power, the chapter discusses the Stoic theory of causation. Finally, it presents some general remarks on the relation between Stoic physics and Stoic ethics.

Keywords: active principle; passive principle; pneuma; Stoic ethics; Stoic physics; Stoic theory of causation



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