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Stoicism In Political Humanism And Natural Law

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Chapter Summary

Neo-Stoicism was a variegated phenomenon in the early modern era. Mostly, it was a moral attitude to life characterized by the effort to control ones desires and feelings and to prepare for the adversities and vicissitudes of life. Apart from the moral and social functions, Stoicism had an intellectual role in two political discourses of the early modern era, i.e. natural law and political humanism. This chapter examines the Stoic element in these two discourses. Lipsius will represent the latter and Grotius and Pufendorf the former. An outright example of moral relativism, finally, is the notorious idea of mixed prudence launched in the Politica, that allows for dissimulation and measured amounts of fraud in the practice of politics. The role of Stoicism in natural law is smaller than the alleged Stoic element in political humanism, but it is more distinct and unambiguous.

Keywords: Grotius; Lipsius; natural law; political humanism; Pufendorf; relativism; Stoicism



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