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The Αristotelian Origins Of Stoic Determinism

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Chapter Summary

Based on similarity of theory, the author argues that the deterministic view of human agency of the early Stoic school was significantly influenced by certain Aristotelian views. Both explain human action in terms of a psychological and a physiological dimension. Regarding the former, there are striking similarities between their theories of action and responsibility. Regarding the latter, they share a peculiar theory in which the soul moves the body by the expansion and contraction of πνεῦμα. Aristotle occasionally affirms a sort of determinism, and if the Stoics coupled Aristotle's physiological account of action with the view that sufficient conditions necessitate their effects, the result would be a physical determinism. If this determinism were coupled with Aristotle's thesis in De Generatione et Corruptione II 11 that whatever is necessary is eternal and cyclical, the result would be the infamous Stoic doctrine of eternal recurrence.

Keywords: Aristotelian views; eternal recurrence; physiological dimension; psychological dimension; Stoic doctrine



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