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Cosmology and Psychology in Stoicism: The Unifying Role of Mind in the Stoic System

SINATTI, CESARE (2023) Cosmology and Psychology in Stoicism: The Unifying Role of Mind in the Stoic System. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The Stoics commit to a view of the universe as a unified living being endowed with a mind. But what is the explanatory value of this cosmological model? Generally speaking, most scholars believe Stoic cosmic psychology to work either as a metaphor for the unification produced by natural processes, or to be a consequence of the fact that mind is a primitive component of the Stoic system, given that one of the Stoic first principles is usually considered to be endowed with intelligence. In this thesis, I will argue against both views by claiming that the Stoics developed a highly sophisticated cosmic psychology in order to articulate an original theory of the unity of the cosmos. In doing so, I will first show how the Stoics introduce a new use of the notion of sympathy or co-affection (συμπάθεια) in order to produce an emergentist account of cosmic mental faculties. Then, I will then examine the unifying functions performed by the two main faculties of the cosmic mind: perception (αἴσθησις), which unifies the cosmos by endowing it with the ability of representing itself as a subject, and therefore, as an agent; and will (βούλησις), which unifies the cosmos by granting its activity a unified teleological orientation. I will thus make a strong claim regarding the relation between mental faculties and corporealism in the Stoics, showing how they are neither a metaphor for natural processes, but instead develop naturally from the principles on which Stoic philosophy is based, with the aim of articulating and unifying the complexity of the cosmos into a coherent whole.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:ancient philosophy, stoicism, stoic cosmology, stoic psychology, Chrysippus, Hierocles, sympathy, self-perception
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Feb 2023 12:55

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