The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)


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And there is no other way for the wise man to show himself to be sharp, quick witted, and, in general, clever in arguments. For the same person will be able to converse properly and reason things out and also take a position on issues put to him and respond to questionsthese are characteristics of a man experienced in dialectic. The Stoics choose to put first the account of presentation and sense- perception, insofar as the criterion by which the truth of facts is known is, generically, the presentation; and insofar as the account of assent and the account of grasping and conception which is basic to other accounts cannot be given without presentation.

For the presentation is first, and then the intel- lect, which is verbally expressive, puts into rational discourse what it experi- ences because of presentation. Presentation and phantasm are different. For a phantasm is a sem- blance in the intellect of the sort that occurs in sleep, and presentation is an impression in the soul, i.

For one should not interpret impression as [being like] the. Logic and Theory of Knowledge One conceives of a presentation which is from an existing object and is molded, outlined, and stamped in accordance with the existing object, such as could not come from a non-existing object. According to them, some presentations are sensible, some are non-sen- sible. Those received through one or more sense organs are sensible; non-sen- sible are those which come through the intellect, for example, presentations of incorporeals and the other things grasped by reason.

Of sensible presentations, those which come from existing objects occur with yielding and assent. But [representational] images which are as if from existing objects are also [counted] among the presentations. Again, of presentations, some are rational, some are non-rational. The presentations of rational animals are rational; those of non-rational animals are non-rational.

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The rational, then, are thoughts, and the irrational have been given no special name. And some pre- sentations are technical, some non-technical. For an image is considered dif- ferently by a technical specialist and by a non-specialist.

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According to the Stoics, sense-perception refers to [a] the pneuma that extends from the leading part to the senses and [b] the grasp that comes through the senses and [c] the equipment of the sense organs which some people may be impaired in , and [d] their activation is also called sense-per- ception. According to them, the grasp occurs [a] through sense-perception in the case of white objects, black objects, rough objects, smooth objects and [b] through reason in the case of conclusions drawn through demonstration, for example, that there are gods and that they are provident.

Sensibles are conceived on the basis of direct experience. On the basis of similarity are conceived things [known] from something that is at handas Socrates is conceived of on the basis of his statue.

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On the basis of analogy things are conceived by expansion, for example, Tityos and the Cyclops, and by shrinking, for example, a Pygmy. And the center of the earth is conceived through analogy with smaller spheres. On the basis of transposition, for exam- ple, eyes in the chest. On the basis of composition, the Hippocentaur is con- ceived of, and death on the basis of opposition [to life]. Some things too are conceived of on the basis of transference, for example, the things said [lekta] and place; and there is a natural origin too for the conception of something just and good; also on the basis of privation, for example, a person without a hand.


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These are their doctrines on presentation, sense-perception, and conception. They say that the graspable presentation, i. Antipater and Apollodorus too. For Boethus says that there are a number of criteria: mind, sense-perception, desire, and knowledge. But Chrysippus, disagreeing with him in book 1 of On Rational Discourse, says that sense- perception and the basic grasp are criteria.

A basic grasp is a natural con- ception of things that are universal. And other older Stoics say that right reason is a criterion, as Posidonius says in his On the Criterion.

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Most of them are agreed that the study of dialectic should begin from the topic of utterance. An utterance is air that has been struck or the proper sensible of hearing, as Diogenes of Babylon says in his Treatise on Utterance. An animals utterance is air struck by an impulse, whereas a human [utterance] is articulate and emitted from the intellect, as Diogenes says; and this [the intellect] is completed from the age of fourteen on.

And utterance is a body, according to the Stoics, as Archedemus says in his On Utterance and Diogenes and Antipater, and Chrysippus in book 2 of his Physics. For everything which acts is a body, and voice does act when it comes to the listeners from the utterers. As Diogenes says, speech, according to the Stoics, is an utterance in letters, for example, day.

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And dialect is speech marked both as Greek and as distinctive of a [specific] ethnic group or speech from a particular region, i. For example, in Attic [one says] thalatta [for thalassa], and in Ionic hemere [for hemera]. The elements of speech are the twenty-four letters. There are seven vowels among the elements: alpha, epsilon, eta, iota, omicron, upsilon, omega; and six mutes: beta, gamma, delta, kappa, pi, tau. Utterance and speech differ in that utterance also includes echoes, whereas only what is articulate [counts as] speech. And speech differs from rational dis- course in that rational discourse is always significant, and speech [can] also [be] meaninglesslike the word blituriwhereas rational discourse cannot be.

There is a difference between saying and verbalizing. For utterances are verbalized, whereas what is said are facts which [is why they] are also things said [lekta].

There are five parts of rational discourse, as Diogenes says in On Utterance and also Chrysippus: name, noun, verb, conjunction, article. According to Diogenes, a noun is a part of rational discourse which sig- nifies a common quality, for example, person, horse. A name is a part of rational discourse that reveals an individual quality, for example, Diogenes, Socrates. A verb, as Diogenes says, is a part of rational discourse which signi- fies an incomposite predicate, or as others [say], it is an undeclined element of rational discourse which signifies something put together with [lit.


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  • A conjunction is an undeclined. An article is a declined element of rational discourse which distinguishes the genders and numbers of names, for example, ho, he, to, hoi, hai, ta. There are five virtues of rational discourse: good Greek, clarity, brevity, propriety, elaboration.

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    Good Greek, then, is diction which is in conformity not with any random usage but one sanctioned by art. Clarity is speech which presents what is thought in a recognizable fashion. Brevity is speech which includes exactly what is necessary for the revelation of its object. Propriety is speech which is appropriate to its object. Elaboration is speech which has tran- scended ordinariness.

    Of the vices, barbarism is a [form of ] speech which vio- lates the normal usage of reputable Greeks. Solecism is rational discourse which is put together incongruently. According to Posidonius in his Introduction to Speech, a poem is metri- cal speech or rhythmical speech together with elaboration that escapes being prosaic. The rhythmical is2. But a poiesis is a poem that signifies in virtue of containing an imitation of divine and human affairs.

    A definition is, as Antipater says in book 1 of his On Definitions, an analyt- ical statement [logos] expressed precisely, or as Chrysippus says in his On Defi- nitions, the rendering of what is proper [to the thing]. An outline is a statement which introduces [us] to the objects by a [general] impression, or a definition which introduces the force of the definition [proper] in simpler form.

    A genus is a conjunction of several inseparable concepts, for example, animal; for this includes the particular animals. A concept is a phantasm of the intellect and is neither a something nor a qualified thing, but [rather] a quasi-something and a quasi-qualified thing; for example, there arises an impression of a horse even when no horse is present.

    A species is that which is included by a genus, as human is included in ani- mal. The most generic is that which, being a genus, does not have a genus, i. Division is the cutting of a genus into its immediate species; for example, of animals, some are rational and some are irrational. Counterdivision is a.

    The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics) The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)
    The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics) The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)
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    The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics) The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)
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