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Socrates in Hellenistic Philosophy*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

A. A. Long
University of California, berkeley


In what sense did the Hellenistic philosophers see themselves as the heirs or critics of Socrates? Was Socrates, in their view, a philosopher on whom Plato was the decisive authority? What doctrines or strategies of Socrates were thoroughly alive in this period? These are the principal questions I shall be asking in this paper, particularly the third. To introduce them, and to set the scene, I begin with some general points, starting from two passages which present an image of Socrates at the beginning and at the end of the Hellenistic era. Here first are three lines from the Silloi of the Pyrrhonean Timon of Phlius:

From these matters (i.e. the inquiry into nature) he turned aside, the people-chiselling moralising ‘chatterer, the wizard of Greece, whose assertions were sharply pointed, master of the well-turned sneer, a pretty good ironist.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1988

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1 Diog. Laert. 2.19 = Timon fr. 799 Lloyd-Jones/Parsons, Supplementum Hellenisticum: κδ’ ἂπα τν πκλινεν ó λαξóος, ννομολσϰης, | ‘Ελλνων κπιβολòγονς ποφνλς, | μνκτπ πητοπóμκτος ὑπααττικòς εíπωνεντς. For the interpretation of the opening phrase as an allusion to Socrates' disavowal of physics, cf. Sextus, , M 7.8Google Scholar and Clement, , Strom. Scholar. Details of the whole passage are well discussed by Cortassa, G., RFIC 106 (1978), 140–6Google Scholar.

2 See also 1.9.22–4 (paraphrase of Plato, Ap. 29c as in 3.1.19–21), 1.12.3 (S. coupled with Odysseus), 1.12.23 (S. was not in prison since he was there voluntarily), 1.29.16—19 (Plato, , Ap. 30c-dGoogle Scholar, as in 2.2.15–18), 1.29.65–6 (Plato, , Phd. 116d)Google Scholar, 2.1.32 (S. did write, for self-examination), 2.12.5 (How did S. behave? He forced his interlocutor to give him testimony, and had no need of any other; cf. Gorg. 474a), 3.24.60–1 (S. behaving as a free man, dear to the gods), 4.1.159–60 (S.'s life as a paradigm of making everything subordinate to the laws, drawing on Xen, . Mem. 1.1.18)Google Scholar, 4.4.21–2 (Plato, , Crito 43d)Google Scholar, 4.11.19–21 (, S.'s toilet habits, rejecting Aristophanes, Nub. 103)Google Scholar. Other refs. to Socrates in Plato and Xenophon: 1.26.18, 3.12.15 (Plato, , Ap. 38a)Google Scholar; 2.1.15 (Phd. lit, Crito 46c); 2.2.8–9 (Xen, . Ap. 2)Google Scholar; 2.5.18–20 (Plato, , Ap. 26e)Google Scholar; 3.1.42 (Ale. 1, 131d); 3.22.26 (Plato, , Clitopho 407ab)Google Scholar; 3.23.20–6 (Plato, , Ap. 30cGoogle Scholar, 17c, Crii. 46b); 3.24.99 (Plato, , Ap. 28d29a)Google Scholar; 4.1.41 (Xen, . Mem. 4.6.1)Google Scholar. Doring, K. includes a chapter on Epictetus in his Exemplwn Socratis, Hermes Einzelschrift 42 (Wiesbaden, 1979), 4379Google Scholar, but misses an opportunity to deal with the subject in a searching way; cf. my review in CR NS 31 (1981), 298–9Google Scholar.

3 De stoicis cols. 12–13, Σωκπατ[ι’κοì καλεῖσθαι θ[λο]νσιν; see Giannantoni, G., Socraticorum reliquiae (Naples, 1986) II, Diogenes V B 126Google Scholar.

4 Cf. Plato's use of ἒννομος in combination with σπονδαῖος, Rep. 4, 424e.

5 Cf.Nub. 130, where Strepsiades wonders how he will learn λóγων κπιβν σκινδαλμονς.

6 Irony for the Stoics was exclusively a feature of the inferior man; cf. SVF 3.630.

The original philosophers opted only for the study of nature and made this the goal of their philosophy. Socrates, who succeeded them much later, said that this was inaccessible to men (for he regarded secure cognition of non-evident things as most difficult), and that investigation of how one might best conduct one's life and avoid bad things and get the greatest possible share of fine things was more useful. Believing this more useful he ignored the study of nature…and devoted his thought to an ethical disposition that would distinguish good and bad, right and wrong…Observing that authorities in these matters would need to be persuasive and would

7 Timon's Cynic leanings are discussed in my paper, Timon of Phlius: Pyrrhonist and Satirist’, PCPhS NS 24 (1978)Google Scholar. See also Brancacci, A., ‘La filosofia di Pirrone e le sue relazionicon il Cinismo’, in Giannantoni, G. (ed.), Lo Scetticismo antico (Naples, 1981), 213–42Google Scholar.

8 Ps.-Galen, Hist. phi/, ap. Diels, , Dox. Graec. 597, 117Google Scholar: τν ξ ἂπς φιλοσοφησντων φνσιογεῖν μóνον πποελομνων καì τλος πτ’ αὐτοὐς φιλοςοφíλς πεποιημνων πιγεγονὠς πολλοῖς ὓστεπον χπóνοις Σωκπτης τοτο μν νφικτον ἓφησεν νθπὠποις ὑππχειν (τνγπ δλων κατληψιν βεβαíαν λβεíν τὢν χαλεπωττων νóμισε), τò δ ζητεῖν ὂπως ἃμεινον διγοι τις, καí τν μν κακων ποτ;παεíη τν δ καλν ὡς πλεíστων μτασχοι τοὑτο μλλον σννοíσειν. καì τοτς νομíσας χπησιμὡτεπον τσ φνσιολογíασ ἠμληκεν…ἠθικν δ τινα διθεσιν πινενοηκὡς διαγνωστικἠ γαθὡν τε καí κακν αíσγπν τε καì καλὣν… κατιδὠν δ τι δεσι τοὐσ τοὑτων πποεστησομνονσ εὐπειθεíασ μετγειν, τοὒτο δ’ ἃν ὑππξειειν εí λóγοισ διαλεκτικοῖσ φαíνοιντο ππòς τοὓς πποσιóντας καλὣς κεγπημνοι, καì τν διαλεκτκν πινενóηκεν.

9 For Aristippus' repudiation of mathematics, dialectic and physics, cf. Giannantoni, , Socraticorum reliquiae I, Aristippus IV A 170, 172Google Scholar. Antisthenes, at least as viewed by the Cynics, disparaged the study γπμματα (Diog. Laert. 6.103).

10 Cf. Grote, G., ‘Antisthenes and his disciple Diogenes were in many respects closer approximations to Socrates than Plato or any of the other Socratic companions’, Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates (London, 1885), iii. 505Google Scholar.

11 Moral. 796e: πρτος ποδεξας τν βον ἄπαντι χρνω κα μρει κα πθεδι κα πργμαδιν πλς ἃπαδι φιλοσοφαν δεχμεον.

12 Cf. On philosophy fr. I Ross (Plutarch, Moral. 1118c), in which Aristotle reported the Delphic ‘know yourself as the starting-point of Socrates’ philosophy.

13 I have noticed only two inconsequential references to Socrates in the material collected by Fortenbaugh, W. W., Quellen zur Ethik Theophrasts (Amsterdam, 1984)Google Scholar: L 74 B, and L 106.

14 Plutarch, Aristides 335c-d (= Panaetius fr. 132 van Straaten), which includes Hieronymus of Rhodes as another of the Peripatetic scandalmongers: πρς μν οῢν τοτους ἱκανς Πανατις ν τοῖς περ Σωκρτονς ντερηκεν.

15 ‘Scurra Atticus. The Epicurean View of Socrates’, Suzetesis. Studi sull' Epicureismo Greco e Romano offerti a Marcello Gigante, edited by Carratelli, G. P. (Naples, 1983), i. 227–53Google Scholar.

16 Cicero, , Brutus 292 (Usener 231)Google Scholar.

17 Socrates' hardiness and self-control: Xen. Mem. 1.2.1, 1.2.14, 1.3.5, 1.5.4–6, 1.6.1–3; Socrates made those of his associates who had πονηρς πιθνμας give them up: ibid. 1.2.64.

18 For Colotes' books Against Plato's Lysis and Against Plato's Euthydemus, cf. Cronert, W., Kolotes und Menedemos (Leipzig, 1906), 163–70Google Scholar. Colotes also wrote against the myth of Er in Republic 10 (cf. Plutarch, , Moralia XIV, B. Einarson, and De Lacy, P. (edd.), 154–5Google Scholar). Metrodorus wrote Against Plato's Euthyphro (Philodemus, Piet. col. 77, 1 ff.), and Zeno of Sidon, Against Plato's Gorgias (fr. 25, Angeli-Colaizzo [Cron. Ere. 9, 1979, 80]). Nor was it just Plato's Socrates that was attacked. In his Περ οἰκονομας, Philodemus objected point by point to the Socrates of Xenophon's Oeconomicus. On all of this, cf. Kleve (n. 15 above).

19 For the Greek text, cf. , C. Mancini, Cron. Ere. 6 (1976), 61–6Google Scholar; and see also Plutarch, Adv. Col. 1118a.

20 Diog. Laert. 7.162–3. Cf. my remarks in Diogenes Laertius, Life of Arcesilaus’, Elenchos 7 (1986), 442Google Scholar.

21 Cf. Plutarch, Adv. Col. 1120c.

22 They fall outside the scope of Sedley's, David article, ‘Epicurus and his Professional Rivals’, Cahiers de Philologie 1 (1976), 122–59Google Scholar, which is largely concerned with the attitude of Epicurus himself to earlier philosophers and to his elder contemporaries.

23 Arcesilaus primum, qui Polemonem audierat, ex variis Platonis libris sermonibusque Socraticis hoc maxime arripuit, nihil esse certi quod aut sensibus aut animo percipi possit; quem ferunt…aspernatum esse omne animi sensusque iudicium primumque instituisse – quamquam id fuit Socraticum maxime – non quid ipse sentiret ostendere, sed contra id quod quisque se sentire dixisset disputare. Cf. also Fin. 2.2; 5.10.

24 ‘Socrates’ Disavowal of Knowledge’, Philosophical Quarterly 35 (1985), 131Google Scholar. Vlastos argues, with great force and originality, that Plato's Socrates disavows certain or infallible knowledge of anything (knowledgecc), but avows elenctic or fallible knowledge of propositions arrived at and tested by his elenctic method (knowledgeE).

25 Two fragments of Aeschines Socraticus should be mentioned. In fr. 3 Krauss, Socrates says he would convict himself of considerable δμωρα if he attributed any help he had been to Alcibiades to any τχνη rather than to ‘divine dispensation’; and in fr. 4, he says he has no knowledge of any μθημα which he could teach a man and thereby help him. According to Demetrius, De eloc. 297, the properly Socratic method of instruction, convicting the interlocutor of ignorance, was especially imitated by Aeschines and Plato.

26 Antisthenes ap. Diog. Laert. 6.11: αὐτρκη δ τν ρετν πρς εὐδαιμοναν, μηδενςπροσδεομνην τι μ Σωκρατικςἰσχος τν τ’ ρετν τν ἒργων εȊναι, μτε λγων πλεστων δεομνην μτε μαθημτων.

27 See Lloyd-Jones/Parsons, Supplementum Hellenisticum 779 (Protagoras), 820 (Demo-critus), and for Timon's praise of Xenophanes, Sextus Empiricus, PH 1.223.

28 Cicero, Acad. 2.15 (cf. Quintilian 9.2.46, Dio Chrysost. 12.14, Themistius 21, 259b). In Acad. 1.16, however, Varro (speaking for Antiochus) reports Socrates’ practice of ‘saying that he knew nothing except that very thing’, and says that he surpassed everyone else in thinking that he knew nothing – an opinion in which he consistently persisted. This passage, unlike Acad. 2.15, seems to reflect Antiochus’ sympathy for Arcesilaus’ interpretation of Socrates (Acad. 1.45), which, of course, he will have fully endorsed during his own sceptical phase; cf. the report of Socrates’ total disapproval of an ars quaedam philosophiae et rerum ordo et descriptio disciplinae (ibid. 17), which is hard to reconcile with Antiochus’ own mature conception of philosophy, or his bracketing of Plato and Socrates inAcad. 2.15.

29 Epictetus’ Socratesknows various moral principles, yet ‘never said that he knew or taught anything'(Diss. 3.5.17; cf. 3.23.22). Andrea Wilson has suggested to me that this may be read as an alternative both to the sceptical Academics’ Socrates and to the ironically ignorant Socrates of Antiochus. Epictetus interestingly differentiates Socrates from Diogenes and Zeno, viewing Socrates’ special province as the elenchus, Diogenes’ as reproof, and Zeno's that of instruction and doctrine (Diss. 3.21.18–19).

30 For the interpretation of Socrates’ procedure here, cf. Vlastos (above n. 24), 20–2.

31 Acad. 1.45:itaque Arcesilas negabat esse quidquam quodsciriposset, ne illudquidem ipsum, quod Socrates sibi reliquisset. For this thesis, Arcesilaus could cite the authority of Metrodorus of Chios, mentioned by Cicero at Acad. 2.73.

32 ν[Arcesilaus] δ κα ξιωματικώτατος κα συνηγμνος κα ν τῇ λαλᾳ διαστικς τν ονμτων, πικπτης θ’ ἱκανς κα παρρησιαστς.

33 Adv. Haeres. 3.29 (Diels, Dox. Gr., p. 592.6): ’Aalpaha; ρκεσλαος ἔϕασκε τῷ θεῷ ϕικτν εȋναι μνῳ [diels: μνον cood.] τ ληθς,νθρώπῳ δ’ οὔ.

34 In the article cited above (n. 20), 440–1.

35 Diog. Laert. 4.18: ἔϕασκε δ πολμων δεȋν ν τοȋς πργμασι γυμνξεσθαι κα μ ν τοȋς διαλεκτκοις θεωρμασι, καθπερ ρμονικν τι τχνιον καταπιντα κα μ μελετσαντα, ὡς κατ μν τν ρώτησιν θαυμξεσθαι, κατ δ τν διθεσιν αυτοȋς μχεσθαι.

36 Stobaeus 2.22., 9 Wachsmuth: ’αρκεσλαος… ἔϕη , τοὺς διαλεκτκοὺς οικναι τοȋς ψηϕοπακταις, οἴτινες χαριντως παραλογξονται. 2.23.13: διαλεκν ϕεȖγε συγκυκᾷ τἄνω κτω. I am grateful to David Blank for suggesting that the second passage may be a reminiscence of Plato, Phd. lOle: ἱκανο γρ ὐπ σοϕας μοȖ πντα κυκντες.

37 For the Dialectical School, cf.Sedley, D. N., ‘Diodorus Cronus and Hellenistic Philosophy’,PCPhS NS 23 (1977), 74120Google Scholar.

38 For such acknowledgements, cf. Dyroff, A., Die Ethik der alien Stoa (Berlin, 1897), 320Google Scholar;Maier, H., Sokrates (Tubingen, 1913), 610Google Scholar.

39 Note that Sphaerus, who spent time with the Spartan reformer Cleomenes, also wrote a book On the Spartan constitution (loc. cit.).

40 Diogenes Laertius 2.64: πντων μντοι τ Σωκρατικν διαλγων πανατιος ληθεȋ εȋναι δοκεȋ τοὺς πλτωνος, Ξενοϕντος αντισθνους αἰσχνου διοτξει δ περ τ ϕαδωνος κα Σὐκλεδου, τοὺς δ ἄλλους ναιρεȋ πντας. Does ληθεȋς ‘authentic’, in the sense that Panaetius accepted Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes and Aeschines as the authors of the Socratic works ascribed to them ? Or does it mean that he regarded their works as genuine or truthful accounts of Socrates? The latter is more likely. ληθς does not appear to be Diogenes’ normal word for describing a work's authenticity, for which he uses μνος with the genitive, e.g. Σωτων… ταȖτα μνα ϕησ Διογνους εȋναι 6.80 (cf. 7.163), or γνσιος a distinct from νοθεονται (3.57, 3.62). At 2.105 he contrasts γνσους with δισταξμενον.

41 Die Stoa(ed. 2, Göttingen, 1959), i. 194–5Google Scholar; ii. 10, 98.

42 For Zeno's studies with Polemo and Crates, cf. Diog. Laert. 7.2, Suda s.v. Zνων, Numenius, fr. 25 des Places; and with Polemo in particular, Cicero, Acad. 1.35, Fin. 4.3.

43 For evidence and discussion of these anti–Platonic points, cf. Long, A. A. and Sedley, D. N., The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge, 1987), i. 435Google Scholar (Zeno's, Republic), 181–2,274Google Scholar(metaphysics and physics), 272, 318 (soul's corporeality and destructibility), 421 (pleasure). A more positive attitude towards Plato himself seems to begin with Chrysippus, who drew heavily on the Timaeus; cf. Long/Sedley, i.278.

44 Cf. the anachronistic introduction to this account of Antisthenes' point, fr. 50C Caizzi: 6 τονυν'αντισθνης ἒγεγετ γνη κα τ εἳδη ν Ψιλαȋς πινοαις εἷναι λγων ὅτι ἳππον μν ρ, ππτητα δ οὐϰ ρ, and compare it with SVF 1.65. For the Stoic view of universals, cf. Long/Sedley (n. 43 above), i. 179–82.

45 For the various versions of Antisthenes' dictum, ‘madness is preferable to pleasure’, cf. fr. 108 Caizzi.

46 On the positive side, see especially von Fritz, K., RE XXI 2 (1952), 2524–9Google Scholar, and Brink, C. O., Phronesis 1 (1956), 123–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and on the negative, Pohlenz, , Die Stoa (above, n. 41), i. 249–51Google Scholar.

47 Lintke, K., ‘Xenophon und die Stoa’, Neue Jahrb. 17 (1906), 673–91Google Scholar. Among the many things which vitiate his argument is a chronology of Zeno which places his birth, and the origin of the Stoa, far too early.

48 τ δ', πειδ πολλ μν καλ ὠΦλιμα, διαΦροντα λλλων στ, προσθεȋναι [ѕϲ. τοᾀῂ θεοᾀῂ] τοȋῂ νθρᾃποιῂ αἰσθσειῂ ρμοττᾁσα πρῂ ἒκαστα, δι' ὧν πολαᾁομεν πντων τν γαθν τ δ κα λογισμν μȋν μΦȗσαι ᾧ περ ὧν αἰσθανμεθα λογιζμενο τε κα μνηονεᾁ΁ντες καταμανθνμεν ὃπῃ ἒκαστα συμΦρει, κα πολλ μηϰανᾃμεθα, δι' ὧν τν τε γαθν πολαᾁομεν κα τε κακ λεξμεθα τ δ κα ρμηνεαν δοȗναι δι' ἧς πντων τν γαθν μεταδδομν τε λλλσκοντες κα κοινωνοȗμεν κα νμους τιθμεθα κα πολιευμεθα.

49 Antisthenes has often been suggested as Xenophon's source, but on the flimsiest of grounds; cf. Caizzi, F., ‘Antistene’, Studi Urbinati 1 (1964), 65–9Google Scholar.

50 A somewhat garbled conflation of Memorabilia 4.3.14–15 and 1.1.13–15.

51 Ariston of Chios and the Unity of Virtue’, Ancient Philosophy 4 (1984), 8396CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

52 Ioppolo, Anna Maria, in her fine book Aristone di Chio e lo stoicismo antico (Naples, 1980)Google Scholar, though well aware of Socrates' importance to Aristo, does not, I think, suggest this point anywhere. For passages in her book which discuss Aristo's relation to Socrates, see pp. 70, 76, 79, 86–9, 104, 136, 196, 208.

53 SVF 1. 351, 361–9. For the Stoic doctrine of value, and the heresies of Aristo andHerillus, cf. Long/Sedley (n. 43 above), 354–9.

54 ἒλεγε [Σωκρ] δ κα ἒν μ͹νον εἶναι, τν πιστμν, κα ἒν μνον, τν μαθαν πλοȗτον δ κα εὐδν σεμνν ἒϰειν,πν δ τοὐνατον κακν.

55 The inclusion of courage and temperance as examples within this section of the argument, 281b4-c9, should not be taken to imply that they, as distinct from C (1) goods, could ever be detached from wisdom; cf. Vlastos (n. 56 below), 210 n. 84.

56 Translation (modified) of Vlastos, G., ‘Happiness and Virtue in Socrates' Moral Theory’, PCPhS NS 30 (1984), 199Google Scholar. It is a pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to this outstanding article.

57 Euthyd. 281d2–e5;Ἐν κεφαλαίῳ δ' ἔφην, ὦ κλεινία, κινδυνεει σμπανταἃ τò πρτον ἔφαμεν γαθ εἶναι, οὐ περ τοτου λóγος αὐτοῖς εἶναι, πως αὐτ γε κα' αὑτ πφυκεν γαθ, λλ' ὡς ἔοικεν ὧδ' ἔχει ν μν αὐτν γται μαθία, μείζω κακ εἶναι τν ναντίων, σῳ δυνατώτερα ὑπηρετεῖν τῷ γουμνῳ κακ ντι, ν δ φρóνησίς τε κα σ7ogr;φία, μείζω γαθ, αὐτ δ καθ' αὑτ οὐτν οὐδενòς ἄξια εἶναι. – Φαίνεται, ἔφη, ὡς ἔοικεν, οὕτως, ὡς σὺ λγεις. –Τί οὖν μῖν συμβαίνει κ τν εἰρημνων; ἄλλο τι ἢ τν μν ἄλλων οὐδν ν οὔτε γαθòν οὔτε κακóν, τοτοιν δ δυοῖν ντοιν μν σοφία γαθóμ, δ μαθία κακóν; – Ὡμολóγει. Cf.Meno 87e–89a for a strikingly similar argument.

58 Cf. 292b, where Socrates reminds Cleinias of their agreement that only πιστμη τις is good.

59 I take it that τν νατίων in 281d6 must mean ‘the opposites of health etc. when these opposites are controlled by ignorance’, and μείζω γαθ, 281d8, ‘greater goods than the opposites of health etc. when these opposites are controlled by wisdom’. This is what the argument requires, and it receives support from 281b6–8: ‘Would a man be benefited who had acquired much and does much without intelligence, or rather one who had [acquired and does few things] with intelligence?’ The upshot of what immediately follows this question is that opportunities for doing wrong and thereby faring badly are diminished the less the wrongdoer has or does. Sickness provides less of an opportunity for doing wrong or for doing right than health.

60 Op. cit. (n. 56 above), 199–201.

61 Vlastos writes (n. 90, 211): ‘From “χ is F only in conjunction with W” it would be crazy to infer “χ is not F”. The sober inference from that premise would be “χ is not F in disjunction from W”, i.e., “χ is not Fjust by itself”.’ For my response to this, see main text below and n.

62 Vlastos, , op. cit. 200Google Scholar, argues that this is how Socrates' conclusion must be read, in order that (a), ‘none of those other things is either good or bad’, should be entailed by the previous claim that no non-moral good is good ‘just by itself’; and (b), consistency be secured with the trichotomy of Gorgias 467el–468b4, in which health is classified as a ‘good’. With regard to (b), see main text below and n. 70.(a), on Vlastos' reading, turns out to be not a significant inference, but a repetition of what it is said to follow from. In 281d3–5, Socrates has already asserted that ‘the things we first said were good are not good just by themselves.’ If this is all that he is asserting in the first part of his conclusion, ‘none of these other things is either good or bad’, his ostensible conclusion is reduced to a summary, which contributes nothing new. I find it more plausible to suppose that Socrates takes the non-goodness/ total valuelessness of health, wealth etc., just by themselves, together with the claim that what confers value on them (if anything does) is wisdom alone, to sanction the conclusion that wisdom, strictly speaking, is the only good. I.e., wisdom alone is good, because all other so-called ‘goods’ like health, in cases where they can be truly called good, owe all their goodness to wisdom.

63 I am assuming that Stobaeus, 2.82,20–83,4 represents a position Zeno pioneered: health is καθ' αὑτò ληπτóν This is in line with Stobaeus 2.84,18–85,11, where the προηγμνα (Zeno's original term) are likened to courtiers whose rank is second to that of the King.

64 Translation by Long/Sedley (above, n. 43) text 64J. The notion of ‘good selection’ reflects formulations of the ethical end by Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater (see our commentaryad loc.). But there is no reason to think that these depart in substance from the spirit of Zeno's philosophy.

65 See his article, cited in n. 56 above.

66 Τò δ εὖ κα καλς κα δικαίως τι ταὐτóν στιν, μνει ἢ οὐ μνει; – Μνει.

67 Op. cit. 191–201.

68 This paper is not the place to deal adequately with Vlastos' detailed arguments, but one issue must be mentioned. Vlastos writes (op. cit. 196–7): ‘If the Identity Thesis were true, we would have no rational ground for preference between alternatives which are equally consistent with virtue – hence no rational ground for preference between states of affairs differentiated only by their non-moral values. And if this were true, it would knock the bottom from eudaimonism as a theory of rational choice. For most of the choices we have to make throughout our life have to be made between just such states of affairs, where moral considerations are not in the picture at all: Shall I walk to my destination or ride the bus? Shall I have my hair cut today or next week?…We do make such choices all the time…and the grounds on which we have to make them are clearly non-moral: hedonic, economic… or whatever. This being the case, if the Identity Thesis were true it would bankrupt the power of eudaimonism to give a rational explanation of all our deliberate actions by citing happiness as our final reason for them. On that theory, if happiness were identical with virtue, our final reason for choosing anything at all would have to be our concern for our virtue; so the multitude of choices that have nothing to do with that concern would be left unexplained.’ Zeno's doctrine of the προηγμνα, I would respond, was formulated precisely to reconcile the Identity Thesis with the need to have rational grounds for preference between states of affairs differentiated only by their non-moral values. (Contrast the position of Aristo.) A Zenonian wise man will make happiness = virtue the only ground for any choice he makes. But, unlike Vlastos, he takes non-moral differences of value to form the very material (ὕλη) to which the virtuous agent must attend. His concern for happiness = virtue involves a concern for every detail of his life. (Was not this also Socrates' concern [cf. n. 11 above]?) Given the choice, he prefers health to sickness, not because he would be less happy if he could not avoid sickness, but because, if he can be healthy, he should prefer health because of its naturalness to the human condition. So although, considered just by itself, health is not a constituent of happiness for Zeno, he would expect anyone concerned for happiness in his sense to prefer health to sickness etc.for the sake of happiness. Vlastos (n. 77, 209) thinks the Stoics would have done better to adopt ‘the multicomponent model of happiness’ he attributes to Socrates. For what can be said for and against the Stoic position in general, cf. Long/Sedley (above, n. 43), vol. 1, commentary on 64.

69 Cf. the Stoics' use of the following proposition as a premise in an argument concluding to the non-goodness of wealth and health: ὡς γρ ἴδιον θερμο το θερμαίνειν, οὐ τò ϕυχεῖοὕτω κα γαθο τò ὢφελεῖν, οὐ τò βλπτει‘statements put forward by Socrates’, since the question of his assent to such statements must be distinguished from the role they play in his arguments. Thus it is surely evident that the status of the ‘goods’ initially proposed to Cleinias at Euthyd. 279a–b is radically altered by the conclusion of the argument at 281d–e; and the same is true if we compare Meno 78c with 88d.

71 MM 1. 1182a 15–17: γίνονται οὔν αἱ ρετα πσαι κατ' αὐτòν ν τῷ λογιστικῷ τς ϕυχς μορίῳ συμβαίνει οὔν αὐτῷ πιστμας ποιοντι τς ρετς ναιρεῖν τò ἄλογον μρος τς ϕυχς, τοτο δ ποιμ ναιρεῖ κα πθος κα ἦθος.

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