I argue that the motivating aim of the progressor—the practicing Stoic who is not yet a sage—is to avoid hamartêmata. It is a tenet of older Stoic theory that although the non-sage cannot achieve what is good and beneficial, she can avoid those harms to herself and others—blammata—that are the causal effects of vice. Though virtuous character and activity are beyond her reach, the avoidance of error is not. This is the doctrine behind the puzzling injunction in Epictetus to suspend orexis and to act on the basis of ekklisis. It answers to one half of the natural law as the older Stoics conceive it, to the proscriptions issued to those who are not yet wise.
Chair: Luca Castangoli
If you would like to join the speaker for dinner after the seminar, please email the chair, Luca Castangoli, by Tuesday 5th June.
Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Prof Ursula Coope, Dr Karen Margrethe Nielsen, and Dr Luca Castagnoli