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Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3400, Austin, TX 78712-1738 • 512-471-5742

Fall 2005

GK 390 • Posidonius

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30830 TH
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
WAG 10
White, S

Course Description

Stoicism is notoriously systematic, and Posidonius (c. 135-c. 50 BCE) probably the most systematic Stoic of all. At any rate, he is certainly one of the most acute Stoics, and probably the single greatest influence on our information about ancient Stoicism as a whole. His range was encyclopedic: mainly physics (including ontology, cosmology, theology, and numerous special sciences), but also ethics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, logic, and even history and geography. And in the course of advancing new arguments for central Stoic doctrines and principles, he went far beyond any of his predecessors -- or successors -- in attempting to integrate both natural and human sciences into a comprehensive theory of everything. The seminar will examine material from both Posidonius and other Stoics -- and also their philosophical critics -- with the twofold goal of 1) constructing a broad map of systematic Stoicism, and 2) gauging Posidonius contributions to the Stoic system. After a preliminary survey of some central Stoic doctrines and arguments, well explore a series of topics and problems in Stoic ontology, cosmology, theory of explanation, moral psychology, and normative ethics -- probably with a special emphasis on explanation and psychology. A satellite group will meet weekly to read passages in Greek. Requirements: 5 responses papers, 1-2 oral presentations, a research paper

Texts

Posidonius, vol. 3: The Translation, I. Kidd (Cambridge pb) A.A. Long and D. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers vol. 1 (Cambridge pb) Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, ed. B. Inwood (Cambridge pb) Optional Greek text Posidonius, vol. 1: The Fragments

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