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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: May 2020

Chapter 6 - Soul, Pneuma, and Blood: The Stoic Conception of the Soul

Summary

Throughout its long history, Stoic philosophy was subjected to much criticism, from inside the school as well as from outside. This is particularly true when it comes to psychology. Roughly speaking, the Stoic soul is characterised by two main features: first, it is defined as a single and entirely rational substance which has no parts, in particular no irrational parts as is the case in Platonic and Aristotelian theories; this psychological monism is the ground for what I will call the ‘Stoic pledge’, namely that the moral agent is absolutely responsible for all his mental acts: impressions (phantasiai) and assents (sunkatatheseis), and also passions, virtues and vices, sensations, and so on. All of these are in our power, because we always have the ability to avoid them, to have second thoughts about them, and to put them right if they are wrong.

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