Ideas of Epictetus, by Theme

[Greek, 55 - 135, Born in slavery at Hierapolis. Taught by Musonius Rufus. Freed, and founded his own school at Nicopolis. Arrian was a pupil.]

green numbers give full details    |    back to list of philosophers    |     expand these ideas
1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
A wise philosophers uses reason to cautiously judge each aspect of living
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
The task of philosophy is to establish standards, as occurs with weights and measures
Philosophy is knowing each logos, how they fit together, and what follows from them
Even pointing a finger should only be done for a reason
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
Philosophy investigates the causes of disagreements, and seeks a standard for settling them
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 8. Naturalising Reason
Reason itself must be compounded from some of our impressions
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
Because reason performs all analysis, we should analyse reason - but how?
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs
We can't believe apparent falsehoods, or deny apparent truths
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 2. Self-Evidence
Self-evidence is most obvious when people who deny a proposition still have to use it
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Nature of Free Will
We make progress when we improve and naturalise our choices, asserting their freedom
Freedom is making all things happen by choice, without constraint
Freedom is acting by choice, with no constraint possible
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Sources of Free Will
Zeus gave me a nature which is free (like himself) from all compulsion
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 3. Constraints on the will
Not even Zeus can control what I choose
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 4. For Free Will
You can fetter my leg, but not even Zeus can control my power of choice
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism
If we could foresee the future, we should collaborate with disease and death
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / b. Fate
If I know I am fated to be ill, I should want to be ill
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 4. Responsibility for Actions
Epictetus developed a notion of will as the source of our responsibility [Frede,M]
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 8. The Arts / b. Literature
Tragedies are versified sufferings of people impressed by externals
Homer wrote to show that the most blessed men can be ruined by poor judgement
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Death
Don't be frightened of pain or death; only be frightened of fearing them
I will die as becomes a person returning what he does not own
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / f. Love
Knowledge of what is good leads to love; only the wise, who distinguish good from evil, can love
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / b. Types of good
The essences of good and evil are in dispositions to choose
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
We consist of animal bodies and god-like reason
The evil for everything is what is contrary to its nature
We see nature's will in the ways all people are the same
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / f. ‹bermensch
Every species produces exceptional beings, and we must just accept their nature
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
All human ills result from failure to apply preconceptions to particular cases
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / a. Natural virtue
We have a natural sense of honour
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / c. Motivation for virtue
If someone harms themselves in harming me, then I harm myself by returning the harm
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character
In the Discourses choice [prohairesis] defines our character and behaviour [Frede,M]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion
Epictetus says we should console others for misfortune, but not be moved by pity [Taylor,C]
If someone is weeping, you should sympathise and help, but not share his suffering
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / b. Health
Health is only a good when it is used well
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / b. The natural life
A person is as naturally a part of a city as a foot is part of the body
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / c. A unified people
We are citizens of the universe, and principal parts of it
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 4. Citizenship
A citizen should only consider what is good for the whole society
A citizen is committed to ignore private advantage, and seek communal good
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 3. Punishment / a. Right to punish
Punishing a criminal for moral ignorance is the same as punishing someone for being blind
Perhaps we should persuade culprits that their punishment is just?
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / a. Final purpose
Asses are born to carry human burdens, not as ends in themselves
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
God created humans as spectators and interpreters of God's works
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 6. Divine Morality / a. Divine morality
Both god and the good bring benefits, so their true nature seems to be the same
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / a. Immortality
Each of the four elements in you is entirely scattered after death