The Stoics on Determinism

and Compatibilism
RICARDO SALLES
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
ASH GATE
Contents
Acknowledgements ix
xi Notes on Abbreviations, Translations and References
Introduction xiii
PART I DETERMINISM
1 The Basis of Stoic Determinism (a): Everything has a Cause 3
1.1 Bivalence, Future Truth and Causation 3
1.2 Fatalism and Idleness 9
1.3 Incoherent Fatalism, Non-causal Fatalism and Chrysippean
Fatalism 16
2 The Basis of Stoic Determinism (b): Causation is Necessitating 19
3
4
5
2.1 The Orthodox Version of the Doctrine of Everlasting Recurrence 19
2.2 The Argument for Transcyclical lndiscernibility 23
2.3 Transcyclical Identity and Determinism 28
PART II COMPATIDILISM
The Threat of External Determination
3.1 The Stoic Theory of the Psychology of Action
3.2 'Epicurus' and the Threat of External Determination
3.3 Chrysippus' Internal Causes
3.4 How much is the Theory intended to prove?
Reflection and Responsibility
4.1 Overview of the Evidence
4.2 Chrysippus' Account of Human Nature
4.3 The Role of Reflection in the Psychology of Action
4.4 The Argument for Compatibilism
4.5 Chrysippus and Harry Frankfurt
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus
5.1 The Dispute over the Authorship of T3
vii
33
34
39
42
49
51
52
54
56
61
63
69
69
viii
6
Contents
5.2 The Differences between T 1 and T 3
5.3 T
3
and Aristotle
5.4 The Relation between T
2
and T
3
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action
6.1 The Psychology of Unreflective Action
6.2 Epictetus' Normative Argument
6.3 Ought and Can: Responsibility and Epictetan Therapy
Select Bibliography
Index of Names
Index Locorum
73
78
82
91
92
97
101
111
123
127
Acknowledgements
Although the final version of this book was completed in June 2004, I have been
working intermittently on the topic since it first caught my attention as an
undergraduate student. There are several people who have helped me to carry out
this project and whom I should like to thank.
I owe a special debt to Margarita Valdes, who taught me how to do research in
philosophy, to M.M. McCabe, who guided my first steps in the field of ancient
philosophy, and to Richard Sorabji, who turned me towards the study of Stoicism.
They have discussed with me over the years many of the ideas that I present in this
book. Christopher Gill and Bob Sharples also discussed with me extensively the
first version of the arguments I develop here. I am grateful to them all for their
guidance and encouragement.
At the end of my postgraduate studies, I became a member of the Institute of
Philosophical Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. My
warmest thanks go to all my colleagues for their interest in my research and for
giving me the opportunity, and in fact the privilege, to work with them at the
Institute. I also wish to record my gratitude to Marcelo Boeri, now at the
Universidad de Los Andes in Chile, and to Hector Zagal from the Universidad
Panamericana in Mexico City, for many years of relentless discussion on the
subject of determinism and responsibility in Stoic philosophy and on related topics
of shared interest.
The final version of this book was completed while I was a Fellow of Harvard's
Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC. I wish to thank the Center's staff
for their help and support throughout the academic year 2003-04. While I was in
Washington, David Sedley and Jim Lesher read parts of the book, and helped to
improve my arguments by drawing my attention to ideas that required
clarification. I very much appreciate their help. They are of course blameless for
all the errors and obscurities that may still remain.
My deepest thanks go to my wife Claudia Agostoni and to our daughters,
Andrea and Sofia, for their love and friendship. The book is dedicated to them.
***
The research for this book has benefited from the generous financial support that
was granted by two Mexican Institutions - the Office for Academic Affairs
(DGAPA) of the UNAM and the National Council for Science and Technology
(CONACYT) - to the following research projects that I have directed: PAPIIT
401799,401301 and 407705, and CONACYT J30724H and 40891H. Some of the
IX
X Acknowledgements
material in Chapters 2 and 4 has already appeared in earlier publications as
'Determinism and recurrence in early Stoic thought', Oxford Studies in Ancient
Philosophy 24 (Summer 2003), 253-72, and 'Compatibilism Stoic and Modern',
Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 83 (2000), 1-23, respectively. I would like
to thank Oxford University Press and Walter de Gruyter Verlag for permission to
reprint this material.
Notes on Abbreviations,
Translations and References
The following abbreviations have been used:
a. po. (Aristotle)
Acad. (Cicero)
aet. mundi (Philo)
an. (Aristotle)
ben. (Seneca)
cael. (Aristotle)
Cels. (Origen)
Col. (Plutarch)
comm. not. (Plutarch)
D (Epictetus)
DF (Alexander of Aphrodisias)
DG (Diels)
DL (Diogenes Laertius)
DM (Aristotle)
DRN (Lucretius)
E (Stobaeus)
EE (Aristotle)
EN (Aristotle)
ep. (Seneca)
Ench. (Epictetus)
F (Cicero)
FDS (Hiilser)
int. (Aristotle)
in Tim. (Calcidius)
ir. (Seneca)
LS (Long and Sedley)
LSJ (Liddell-Scott -Johnson)
M (Sextus Empiricus)
MA (Marcus Aurelius)
Met. (Aristotle)
mixt. (Alexander of Aphrodisias)
N (Nemesius)
NA (Aulus Gellius)
Posterior Analytics
Academica
de aeternitate mundi
de anima
de beneficiis
de caelo
contra Celsum
adversus Colotem
de communibus notitiis contra Stoicos
dissertationes ab Arriano (Discourses)
de Jato ad imperatores
Doxographi Graeci
vitae philosophorum
de motu animalium
de rerum natura
eclogae physicae et ethicae
Eudemian Ethics
Nicomachean Ethics
epistulae morales ad Lucilium
Encheiridion
defato
Die Fragmente zur Dialektik der Stoiker
de interpretatione
commentarium in Platonis Timaeus
de ira
The Hellenistic Philosophers
Greek-English Lexicon
Adversus Mathematicos
ad se ipsum
Metaphysics
de mixtione
de natura hominis
noctes Atticae
xi
xii
nat. deor. (Cicero)
orat. (Origen)
phil. (Aristotle)
PHP (Galen)
phys. (Aristotle)
praep. ev. (Eusebius)
princ. (Origen)
rep. (Plato)
Stoic. rep. (Plutarch)
strom. (Clement of Alexandria)
SVF (Hans von Arnim)
Tim. (Plato)
Tusc. (Cicero)
virt. mor. (Plutarch)
Abbreviations
de natura deorum
de oratione
de philosophia
de placitis Hippocratis et Platonis
Physics
praeparatio evangelica
de principiis
Respublica
De Stoicorum repugnantiis
Stromateis
Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta
Timaeus
Tusculanae disputationes
de virtute morali
I have used (and sometimes modified) the excellent translations given in the
following works:
Barnes, J. (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle. Revised Oxford Translation.
Princeton, N1: Princeton University Press, 1984.
Bobzien, S., Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1998.
Gill, C. (ed.) and Hard, R. (trans.), 1995: Epictetus: The Discourses, The
Handbook, Fragments. London and Vermont: Everyman.
Long, A.A. and Sedley, D.N., The Hellenistic Philosophers. 2 vols. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Sharples, R.W., Alexander of Aphrodisias: On Fate. Text, translation and
commentary. London: Duckworth, 1983.
Sharples, R.W., Cicero, On Fate (De Fato) & Boethius, The Consolation of
Philosophy iv.5-7, v (Philosophiae Consolationis). Warminster, England: Aris
& Phillips, 1991.
References to ancient works and authors are normally accompanied by the text in
SVF and in LS where the passage occurs. For example: 'D 2.6.9 (SVF 3.191; LS
581)' refers to Epictetus' Discourses, book 2, chapter 6, section 9, which occurs in
text 191 of the third volume of SVF and in text 581 of LS. The Greek and Latin that
I have printed is from the editions that I cite in the Select Bibliography.
Introduction
Is responsibility compatible with determinism? This question is the focus of the
present book, where I undertake a reconstruction of the ancient Stoic response
through an analysis of their determinist theory and their views on responsibility.
The ascription of responsibility, as understood in this work, is a backward-
looking practice connected to praise and blame. To hold people responsible is to
regard them as deserving either praise or blame for something that they did. But is
one justified in ascribing responsibility to other people for actions they performed,
if these were necessitated by prior causes? The issue has been a long-standing
source of philosophical controversy. The Stoics themselves were determinists: on
their view, every state and event
1
-including our actions and their psychology- is
necessitated by prior causes. But they were also compatibilists, that is, they
contended that prior necessitation does not preclude on its own that we genuinely
deserve praise or blame for the actions we perform. Thus, the Stoics depart from
two other positions. First, they depart from the position of the eliminative
determinist, labelled in modern discussions 'hard-determinists', but already active
in antiquity: every state and event is necessitated, and, for this very reason, we
cannot be responsible for anything, either morally or legally. The Stoics by
contrast argue that, despite determinism, we are genuinely responsible for at least
many of our actions, both morally and legally. Second, they also depart from the
position of the libertarian or 'anti-determinist', advocated by the Epicureans in the
early Hellenistic period and by Alexander of Aphrodisias on behalf of the
Peripatetics, towards the end of the second century AD. The libertarian agrees on
the incompatibility alleged by the hard-determinist, but preserves responsibility by
rejecting determinism. The Stoics, by contrast, preserve both responsibility and
determinism.
At first sight, the compatibilist position may seem questionable. It is often
thought that we are responsible for an action that we have performed only if we
were free to do otherwise. However, the intuition runs, this freedom is cancelled if
the action took place by necessity; hence, determinism, understood as the thesis
that everything is necessary, rules out responsibility. The two assumptions on
which the argument proceeds are (i) that determinism rules out the freedom to do
otherwise, and (ii) that responsibility presupposes this freedom. This line of
reasoning is so appealing to many philosophers that a recent author has rightly
1
An example of event (in Stoic Greek: ytvOIJ.EVov; would be Plato's walking; and an
example of state would be Plato's being white. I argue in section 1.1 that for the Stoics any
event is reducible to a state of some sort.
xiii
xiv The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
remarked in connection with the second assumption that it 'has generally seemed
so overwhelmingly plausible that some philosophers have even characterised it as
an a priori truth' .
2
Although in dealing with this particular problem the Stoics do
not seem to have used the term 'freedom' (eA.eu8ep(o:), their defence of
compatibilism does have implications for this line of argument. For there are
different Stoic arguments that address each of the assumptions above mentioned.
However attractive incompatibilism may seem, it is a mistake to suppose that
compatibilism is thereby misguided. This book is intended to bring out the
philosophical strength of this position as defended by the Stoics. Despite my
sympathy for Stoic compatibilism, I shall grant to the incompatibilists that there is
a prima facie tension in asserting that determinism leaves room for responsibility.
I give the Stoics the onus of proof.
Before giving an outline of the argument of the book, I should like to make
some clarificatory remarks on the nature of Stoic determinism.
There are three forms of determinism that should be distinguished from Stoic
determinism: general determinism, crude fatalism and external determinism.
General determinism holds that every counterfactual state or event is forever
impossible and, correlatively, that every factual state or event is forever necessary.
An example of a state that is subject to this kind of necessity - which I shall call
'general' necessity- is that expressed by the factual proposition snow is cold. As a
matter of fact, snow is always cold, and it cannot be hot so long as it remains snow.
This proposition expresses a state that does seem to be subject to a general necessity,
but is every factual state and event subject to this kind of necessity? According to
general determinism the answer should be in the affirmative. Before we consider
why Stoic determinism is not general in this sense, we should notice that general
determinism runs against the possibility of change. In order for a change to occur,
either a state or an event that is now counterfactual must become factual at some
other time or a state or event that is now factual must become counterfactual at some
other time. But neither condition can be met if, as the general determinist holds,
every counterfactual state or event is forever impossible and every factual state or
event is forever necessary.
3
As Aristotle observes, 'what is standing will always stand
and what is sitting will always be sitting; as a matter of fact, if it is sitting it will not
get up for what cannot get up will be incapable of getting up'. The example is taken
from his discussion of the Megarians in Met. 9.3, to whom he ascribes this extreme
form of determinism and the corresponding denial of change.
4
2
H. Frankfurt, 'Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility', Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969),
829-39 at 829.
3
Let Fa be a counterfactual state of affairs at time t. If a change is to occur with respect to Fa, Fa
must become factual at some timet* > t. Now, according to general determinism, if Fa is counterfactual
at t, it is forever impossible and, thus, cannot become factual at t*. In the same vein, given that Fa is
conterfactual at t, not-Fa is factual at t. But if general determinism is correct, not-Fa, being factual at
t, must always be actual, which precludes that not-Fa be counterfactual at t*.
4
See Met. 1046b29-1047a29. The example occurs at 1047al5-16: ae\ y&p to te
KO:t to K0:6llflEVOV Ko:6e6eito:t· ou y&p ci:vo:crtl'jcreto:t &v K0:6E,T]t!!:t' aatiVO:tOV
y&p EOt(!:t avo:crtf\vo:t 0 ye ILTJ Mvo:to:t ci:vo:crtf\vo:t.
Introduction XV
General determinism is untenable if our experience of the world is to be trusted.
For we just see that most objects do admit different states at different times and do
not always display the same behaviour. Even though Maria was sitting yesterday
morning, she stood up and walked out later in the day. Stoic determinism does
justice to this aspect of our experience. Although it recognizes that some states and
events are generally necessitated, it denies that general necessity encompasses
every state and event. In Stoic determinism, most objects do admit different states
and patterns of behaviour at different times. In these cases, necessity only operates
in the determination of the state in which an object is at each particular time, or
of the kind of behaviour it displays at that time. To take an example, suppose that
the water in the glass in front of me is now cold and that it will be hot in one hour
from now. If so, in one hour from now a change will have occurred. But this
change is compatible with its being necessary both that it be cold now and that it
be hot one hour later.
Crude fatalism is another form of determinism that should be distinguished
from Stoic determinism. Like Stoic determinism, crude fatalism departs from
general determinism in that it is compatible with the possibility of change. In
particular, the crude fatalist plainly accepts that the future may differ from the
present and the present from the past. However, according to crude fatalism, the
future is already fixed in a way that what is due to happen, or be the case, will
happen regardless of what states or events obtain in the present or the past. For
example, if I am ill but am due to recover, then I will recover whether or not I call
in a doctor and follow his prescriptions. More generally, the obtention of states and
events at a particular time is not dependent upon the obtention of earlier states or
events - a point that one may express by saying that the former would have
obtained even if, per impossibile, the latter hadn't.
5
This sheds light on an
important aspect of crude fatalism: factual states and events at a particular time do
not obtain because of the states or events that obtained earlier. There is no
explanatory relation between past, present and future. To pursue the example, if I
do call in the doctor and recover from illness, then, given that I would have
recovered even if I had not called in a doctor, I did not recover because I called in
the doctor. As we shall see in due course, we seem to find a version of crude
fatalism in chapter 9 of Aristotle's de interpretatione.
After Aristotle, crude fatalism became a form of determinism that was wrongly
associated with the Stoics. For crude fatalism is certainly not a view upheld by the
Stoics. It is true that their determinism is fatalistic. It maintains that the future is
already fixed: the course of states and events that will take place is already
determined, and nothing can prevent its coming about. The Stoics, who identify
this course with fate (Eif.LO:pf.LEVT]), express this idea by saying that it is an
'invincible, and unimpedible and inflexible' causal sequence (avtKT]'toV KO:t
aKWAU1:ov Kat &'tpen·wv, Stoic. rep. 1056C). But in sharp contrast with crude
fatalism, Stoic determinism contends that the future is determined by the present,
s The qualification 'per impossibile' is needed to stress that, according to any logically consistent
version of crude fatalism, the present is not contingent. I discuss this problem in section 1.2.
xvi The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
just as the present is determined by the past. So, the obtention of states and events
at particular times is necessary, but it is also contingent upon the obtention of
earlier states or events. An ancient critic, Alexander of Aphrodisias, reports this
Stoic view in a text written between AD 198 and 211:
nothing comes to be in it [namely in the cosmos] in such a way that there is not
something else which follows it with no alternative and is attached to it as to a cause;
nor, on the other hand, can any of the things which come to be subsequently be
disconnected from the things which come to be previously, so as not to follow some of
them as if bound to it. But everything which has come to be is followed by something
else which of necessity depends on it as a cause, and everything which comes to be has
something preceding it to which it is connected as a cause. For nothing either is or comes
to be in the universe without a cause, because there is nothing of the things in it that is
separated and disconnected from all the things that have preceded.
6
Although the crude fatalist would agree on the necessity of all states and events
that will ever obtain (if I am due to recover from illness, I will recover come what
may), there is no place in Stoic determinism for anything in the future that is not
connected to prior necessitating causes on which its occurrence is dependent.
Everything that is fated to happen will happen by necessity, but in virtue of prior
necessitating causes, and insofar as these causes obtained.
A word of caution is needed here. According to some recent scholars, the Stoics
at some point dissociated fate from necessity in order to argue that everything is
fated, but not everything is necessary.
7
This interpretation of Stoicism is
contentious and the kernel of the debate was, in my view, well summarized by
Robert Sharples in an important article published in 1981: 'The question, in other
words, is still open whether Chrysippus [c.280-c.206, third Head of the Stoa]
simply held that some things were possible and their opposites non-necessary even
though the latter were fated, or whether he also asserted that what was fated to
happen, even if non-necessary from one point of view, was necessary from
another.'
8
Sharples himself sided with the latter reading, which is the one I favour.
In fact, I shall go further and claim that in Stoic philosophy there are two senses
of necessity. And the answer to the question whether the Stoics believed that
everything that occurs is necessary or necessitated will vary depending on the kind
of necessity that is at stake.
9
One sense of necessity is that involved in the relation
6
DF 192, 3-11: f.Lll't"E EV ati't"<jl ytVOf.LEVOU, llTJ E1t(XKOA.ou8eiv
a\n<jl K(X\ auvijq>Sat ai't"t!jl hep6v 't"t, f.Lllt (XU 't"WV E1ttYtVOf.LEVWV cX1tOA.eA.ua8at
llUV(Xf.LEVOU 't"WV 1tpoyeyov6't"WV, llll nvt ati't"wv cXI<:OAOU8eiv W01tep auvlle6f.L&VOV,
IXA.A.& 1t(XV't"( 't"& <<\> yeVOf.LEV!jl en:p6v n E1t(XK0AOU8eiv, 'ljp't"T]f.LEVOV ati't"oil
IXi't"(ou, KIX\ 1t&V 't"O YlVOf.L&VOV exew n 1tpo IXti't"oil, cjl IXi't"t!jl UUVllP't"TJ't"IXt.
f.LT]Ilev yap f.Lll<e dviXt f.Lll't"& y(vea8at 't"WV Ev <<\> KOOf.L!jl llt& 't"O f.LT]IlEV dviXt
<wv ev au<<\> altoA.eA.uf.Livov <e Ka\ Kexwpwf.Levov <wv 1tpoyeyov6<wv altav<wv.
7
See, for example, J. Rist, Stoic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1969), 123-8 and 131, and LS l, 393-4.
8
See R.W. Sharples, 'Necessity in the Stoic doctrine of fate', Symbolae Os/oenses 61 (1981),
266-79 at 81-2.
9
In Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy (Oxford, 1998), 136-43, Bobzien too
distinguishes between two kinds of necessity. I return to her distinction in section 5.4 below.
Introduction xvii
between cause and effect: in any particular causal relation, the cause cannot obtain
without the effect, which is 'necessitated' by the cause. In the words of Zeno of
Citium (334-262 BC), the founder of the school: 'it is impossible that the cause be
present yet that of which it is the cause not obtain' .
10
The Stoics did hold that
everything fated is subject to this kind of necessity (insofar as whatever is fated has
a prior cause, as we have seen). However, another sense of necessity is that
envisaged by Chrysippus in his logical modal system as described by Boethius in
his commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics (2.234, 27-235, 4) and by Diogenes
Laertius at 7.75 (LS 38D), according to which one of my actions, for example, is
necessary if something external to me is the cause of why I perform the action.
According to this sense of necessity, not everything that is fated to obtain is
necessary. For many of the things that I do are not fully determined by external
causes alone.
Chrysippus' modal system is discussed in Chapter 5. For the moment, the topic
of external causation leads us to the third form of determinism that one ought to
distinguish from Stoic determinism, namely external determinism. Like Stoic
determinism, and in contrast to crude fatalism, external determinism maintains
that any event or state is contingent upon earlier events or states. The distinctive
claim of external determinism is that the prior causes of what we do and of what
we are may all be traced back to things that are external to us: our present
environment, our teachers, our family and even the biological make-up of our
ancestors. In consequence, everything we do and everything we are is, in fact,
ultimately fully determined by external causes alone. Now, external determinism
does not seem to be compatible with responsibility, either in a moral or in a legal
sense of the term 'responsibility'. To take one example, I cannot be morally
blamed for having missed my daughter's graduation ceremony if the reason why I
missed it is that I was kidnapped by some ruffians. There is one exception to this
principle: I may be responsible for something that happens to me, if it happens to
me as a result of some earlier thing that I did and for which I am responsible. For
example, I am morally blameworthy for being at the mercy of the ruffians who
kidnapped me if the cause of my kidnap was, to some extent, my lack of care in
circumstances that I knew were dangerous. However, this is precisely what
external determinism denies is possible. According to external determinism, all the
states or events that we supposedly bring about, or to the production of which we
supposedly contribute, are ultimately fully determined by causes external to us.
My lack of care, the external determinist would argue, is itself ultimately fully
determined by external factors alone.
Some philosophers have argued that any form of causal determinism is,
willingly or not, a form of external determinism. In fact, by the time of Aristotle,
'force', or fully external determination (pia), was already one of the connotations
of the term 'necessity' (avayKT]) and its cognates.
11
And in modem times Robert
10
Zeno ap. Stobaeus in E 1.138, 16-17 (SVF 1.89; LS 55A): &.Mvcnov a' dvctt 'tO f.LEV
o:tnov no:pe'ivo:t, ou ae eonv O:tttOV f . L ~ U7t1Xp)(etv.
11
See a. po. 94b37-95a3 and Met. 1015a26.
xviii The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Nozick has claimed: 'without free will, we seem diminished, merely the
playthings of external forces' ,12 This claim seems to rest on the assumption that
either we have free will, in which case the states or events that we bring about are
not determined by prior causes at all, or these states and events are determined by
prior external causes alone. The Stoics denied this disjunction. The thesis that
everything is determined by prior causes leaves ample room for a substantive
distinction between things that we do, or bring about, and things that merely
happen to us. In fact, it will be seen that the Stoics provide us with philosophically
powerful reasons for thinking that this distinction is based on a real difference
between kinds of events and between kinds of state. I deal with external
determinism in detail in Chapter 3.
The book is divided into two parts. Its first part is devoted to analysing the
arguments produced by the Stoics in favour of their determinism. The thesis that
every individual state and event is causally necessary is based on the combination
of two claims: (a) everything has a cause and (b) causes, that is, the whole set of
causal factors involved in the production of a state or an event, are necessitating.
To quote again Zeno's claim about causation: 'it is impossible that the cause be
present yet that of which it is the cause not obtain'. The inference from these two
theses to the conclusion that everything is causally necessary is valid and
straightforward. Given some state or event A, (a) implies that A has a cause, B; and
given that B causes A, it follows from (b) that A obtains by necessity given the
obtention of B. Thus, to establish the causal necessity of an individual state or
event, (a) and (b) merely require the empirical claim that the state or event in
question obtains. Neither claim, however, is sufficient on its own for establishing
determinism. From a general philosophical point of view, (a) without (b) is
consistent with the view that nothing is causally necessary; and (b) without (a) is
consistent with the view that not everything is causally necessary.
13
In order to
secure determinism, either claim requires the other. As I shall argue, it is the
combination of (a) and (b) that constitutes the basis of Stoic determinism. I deal
with these two claims in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, respectively.
The first thesis was argued for by the Stoics by appealing to the logical principle
of bivalence and its application to propositions about future occurrents. The
argument goes back to Chrysippus. The intuition underlying the argument may be
spelled out as follows. If propositions about future occurrents are already either
true or false, as Chrysippus maintains, then, the states or events these propositions
express must have a cause in the present, which explains why the propositions are
already true or false. If the proposition is false, there must be a cause in the present
for the state's or the event's not obtaining - a cause that explains why the
proposition is already false. If the proposition is true, then, likewise, there must be
a cause in the present for the state's or event's obtaining (which explains why the
12
See his Philosophical Explanations (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), 291.
13
If everything has a cause, but causes are not necessitating, then there is nothing that is necessary
in virtue of having a cause; and if causes are necessitating, but not everything has a cause, only that
which has a cause is causally necessary.
Introduction xix
proposition is already true). And since in the past the present was in the future,
every state or event that obtains in the present must itself have a cause in the past.
The critical analysis I offer of this argument will lead us to discuss the nature of
Chrysippus' fatalism. I examine at some length the reasons he adduces in his
theory of 'co-fated' states and events for distinguishing his fatalism from other
forms of fatalism, including the 'crude' variety.
The second claim - (b) - rests on the idea that individual causal relations are
necessary in virtue of being subsumed under strict regularities. This principle of
'same causes, same effects' is entailed by the doctrine of everlasting recurrence
developed by the orthodox Stoics Zeno, Cleanthes (331-232 BC, second Head of
the school), and Chrysippus himself. In Chapter 2, I explain in detail why the
principle is indeed entailed by the orthodox version of the doctrine. The outcome
of Chapters 1 and 2 is that Stoic determinism is based on substantive logical and
cosmological grounds: given Chrysippus' argument from bivalence and the
orthodox doctrine of everlasting recurrence (the two elements are needed), every
state and event must have a cause and must be necessitated by its cause.
There is an important objection to the notion that everlasting recurrence has
determinist implications: the idea of identically the same world occurring at
different times - a tenet of the orthodox theory of everlasting recurrence, and also
the reason why everlasting recurrence implies the principle of 'same causes, same
effects'- may seem to be logically inconsistent with the views that the orthodox
Stoics themselves hold on the nature of time. As I explain elsewhere,
14
this alleged
inconsistency does not really arise. A central assumption made by the objection is
that for the Stoics particular times are individuated by reference to the qualities
and the dispositions of the bodies that exist in time; in consequence, if the bodies
that exist at t
1
are identical in their qualities and dispositions to the bodies that exist
at h, t
1
and t
2
cannot be two different times. This is a view to which the orthodox
Stoics never subscribed, and which is not logically implied by anything that they
said. On the contrary, they suggest that differentiations in time are a primitive
component of reality that is not contingent upon differentiations in bodies. Stoic
time is independent from change.
The second part of the book is devoted to compatibilism- the thesis that despite
determinism we are responsible for many of our actions. In Stoicism, there are at
least four different theories that dealt either directly or indirectly with this
problem, and three of them were explicitly compatibilist. To understand why the
Stoics produced these theories and not others - to appreciate why they adopted the
lines of argument they actually adopted - we need to focus on the dialectical
context in which they were produced by paying close attention to the views they
were intended to rebut or refute.
14
SeeR. Salles, 'On the individuation of times and events in orthodox Stoicism', in R. Salles (ed.),
Metaphysics, Soul, and Ethics in Ancient Thought: Themes from the Work of Richard Sorabji (Oxford,
2005).
XX The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
The First Theory
1
s
Three of the four theories were authored by Chrysippus. The ftrst one was
designed to rebut an objection that takes us to the problem of external
determinism. The objection itself is attested in Cicero (1 06-43 BC) and was
probably designed by Epicurus (341-271 BC), a contemporary of Zeno and the
founder of the Epicurean school. The objection is that if everything has an
antecedent cause, as Stoic determinism demands, then everything we do is in fact
fully determined by external factors alone; thus, it is these factors, if anything, that
should get the credit or the blame for what we do. This 'externalist objection', as
I shall call it in Chapter 3, runs under the assumption that the ascription of
responsibility, either moral or legal, requires, as a necessary condition, that my
actions be events that are not determined solely by factors that are external to me.
This 'internality requirement' is not questioned by Chrysippus. His argument
focuses rather on the further assumption made by the objection, namely that Stoic
determinism implies external determinism. On the basis of a distinction between
types of causes, he contended that the thesis 'everything is determined by prior
causes' does not have to imply that everything we do is in fact determined by
external factors alone. The internality requirement can be met in a world governed
by determinism. Chrysippus' argument, as we shall see, hinges on the idea that the
causation of our actions is structurally different from the causation of those events
and states in which we are involved that are fully determined by factors that are
indeed external to us.
This Chrysippean theory is a powerful response to the externalist objection. But
it may not satisfy an incompatibilist who argues along the lines mentioned at the
beginning of this introduction, namely (i) determinism rules out the freedom to do
otherwise, and (ii) responsibility presupposes this freedom. Such an
incompatibilist may concede after all that in a determinist system not everything
we do is determined by external factors alone. Nevertheless, he might stress that
one cannot be held responsible for an action if it is predetermined at all. In order
to be responsible, one has to be free to do otherwise, and this freedom is
incompatible with any form of determinism.
The Second Theory
1
6
To this line of argument, Chrysippus reacted in two different, but complementary,
ways. In Chapter 4, I focus on one of them. It is part of a second theory, attested
in Alexander of Aphrodisias and Nemesius of Emesa. The target of this
Chrysippean theory is a strong version of the incompatibilist claim that
responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise. According to the
incompatibilist, responsibility for an action <I> performed at a specific time t
1s In Chapter 5, I call this theory 'T,'.
16 In Chapter 5, I call this theory 'T3'.
Introduction xxi
presupposes the dual specific capacity of either performing <I> at t or not
performing <I> at t. According to Chrysippus, this is false because it suffices for
moral responsibility that one acts from a desire or 'impulse' based on a prior
reflection. It is not required that one should have, in addition, the dual capacity to
do otherwise mentioned above. This Chrysippean theory may be compared to a
leading modem compatibilist theory, proposed by Harry Frankfurt. I offer a
detailed analysis of the two theories, and conclude that the main intuitions put
forward by Frankfurt are already present in Chrysippus' theory. This is of both
historical and philosophical interest. It should lead us to reconsider the place that
has been given to the Stoics not only in the history of compatibilism, but also in
the current philosophical debate on the nature of responsibility.
The Third Theory
17
As I explain in Chapter 5, however, Chrysippus also reacted against the first
premiss of the incompatibilist argument: determinism rules out the freedom to do
otherwise. Against this view, Chrysippus maintained that, despite the specific
determinism that governs every state and event, a factual action might be
contingent in a sense that the agent may either perform it or not at a specific time.
This thesis - apparently contradictory - is developed by Chrysippus in a third
theory that should not be confused with the other two. It is not a theory of
responsibility at all. In particular, it does not address the ethical question whether
responsibility requires the dual capacity to do otherwise (this question is addressed
by the second theory). It deals rather with the metaphysical question whether
determinism is compatible with this dual capacity. This third theory and the second
complement each other as the two parts of a single strategy adopted by Chrysippus
against the incompatibilist argument. Each theory is aimed at a different premiss
of the argument. A considerable part of Chapter 5 is devoted to showing that the
argument itself has its origins in Aristotle and that Chrysippus himself is the author
of the second theory.
The Fourth Theory
The fourth theory was developed by Epictetus, a prominent Stoic philosopher of
the end of the first century AD (c.55-c.135). In contrast with the three other
theories, which are compatibilist, Epictetus does not formulate this theory in
compatibilist terms. Although there is nothing in it that runs against
compatibilism, it is not intended to prove this thesis. His goal is rather to address
a question that Chrysippus did not tackle, but that is important for any
comprehensive account of responsibility. In the second theory I just described,
17 In Chapter 5, I call this theory 'T2'.
xxii The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Chrysippus sought to explain how the agent of an action who lacks the specific
dual capacity to do otherwise may still be morally responsible for the action: the
agent is responsible if the action is done from a fully rational desire, which
presupposes reflection. The reason why the agent is responsible resides in the
reflection. So what could justify the ascription of responsibility to agents who do
not act from fully rational impulses? Would not the lack of reflection be an
exculpating factor? An account of responsibility that is specifically designed to
cover these cases is needed. This is the issue that concerns Epictetus' theory of
responsibility. And his distinctive contribution to Stoic theories of responsibility
consists precisely in complementing Chrysippus' theories with this missing
account. Also, as I explain at the end of Chapter 6, Epictetus is the first Stoic
philosopher to claim that some form of the dual capacity to do otherwise is needed
for responsibility. But he does not contradict Chrysippus, who only denies that the
specific dual capacity is needed. Seen retrospectively, the four theories fit perfectly
well together into a systematic whole. It offers a comprehensive treatment of the
philosophical issues surrounding the problem of responsibility and determinism.
This book has been written with those in mind who are more interested in the
philosophical issues addressed by Stoic determinism and compatibilism than in the
historical and philological problems arising from the edition and interpretation of
Stoic philosophical texts. In order to bring out the philosophical issues, however,
a treatment of the latter problems is necessarily required to some extent.
Accordingly, I have tried to subordinate my treatment of these problems to the
presentation of the philosophical issues. To provide readers with an opportunity to
make up their own minds on these issues, a translation of nearly all the crucial
passages is given in the main text with the original Greek or Latin text in a
footnote. I hope that the impression emerges from this book that Stoic
compatibilism represents a real challenge to the rival position, and that the Stoic
arguments may invite further reflection on the part of those whose intuitions side
with incompatibilism.
PART I
DETERMINISM
Chapter 1
The Basis of Stoic Determinism (a):
Everything has a Cause
The claim that everything - states and events - has a cause is one of the two theses
on which Stoic determinism is grounded. In the first section of this chapter, an
analysis is offered of the argument developed by Chrysippus to support this thesis.
This argument introduces the fatalistic idea that the future is already fixed. So the
analysis of the argument is complemented in the second section with a discussion
of the nature of Chrysippus' specific brand of fatalism. Section three is devoted to
recapitulating the argument presented in this chapter and to drawing a map of
different kinds of fatalism, in which the difference between Chrysippean fatalism
and the fatalist theory attacked by Aristotle in int. 9 is studied in some detail.
1.1 Bivalence, Future Truth and Causation
Before looking into why Chrysippus thought that everything has a cause, some
elements of the Stoic theory of causation are worth considering.
In outline, Stoic causation works as follows:
1
(i) causal relations obtain between
bodies, one of which, the cause, causes the other to satisfy a certain predicate (for
example, the knife is a cause to the flesh of its satisfying the predicate to be cut);
(ii) when a body A causally acts upon a body B, the effect of A's activity is the
predicate satisfied by B,2 although this may mean, not that the effect is literally the
predicate itself, but rather, as has been pointed out by one of the latest scholars to
deal with this issue,
3
that the effect is the predicate's being satisfied by B; finally
(iii) this satisfaction is often an event: Dion's desire to walk caused that the
predicate to walk be satisfied by him, where his walking is an event; but it may also
be a mere state: the knife's acting upon my flesh caused that the predicate to be in
pain be satisfied by me, where my being in pain is a state, not an event.
1
For a book-length treatment of Stoic causation, see J.J. Duhot, La Conception Stoicienne de Ia
Causa/ire (Paris, 1989). See also M. Frede, 'The original notion of cause', in Essays in Ancient
Philosophy (Oxford, 1987); M.D. Boeri, 'La transmisi6n del concepto estoico de causa sinectica',
Methexis 5 (1992), 99-121; and S. Bobzien, 'Chrysippus' theory of causes', inK. Ierodiakonou (ed.),
Topics in Stoicism (Oxford, 1999).
2
See E 1.138, 14-16 (SVF 1.89; LS 55A); M 9.211 (SVF 2.341; LS 55B); and Clement, strom.
8.9.26.3-4 (LS 55C).
3
R.J. Hankinson, 'Explanation and causation', inK. Algra et al. (eds), Cambridge History of
Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1999), 484.
3
4 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Regarding the notions of states and events, the latter, as construed in modern
event theory,
4
are for the Stoics logically reducible to states. Think of an event
type such as the walking by Plato from the Academy to the outer walls of Athens.
In it, Plato satisfies the predicate to be walking from the Academy to the outer
walls of Athens. In Stoic theory, the identity of this event is fixed by two elements:
(a) the qualities in virtue of which the body that walks is Plato as opposed to, for
example, Aristotle; and (b) the disposition ( e ~ t ~ ) in virtue of which the body
Plato is disposed in a certain way ( 1 t w ~ exov), namely in such a way as to be
walking from one place to the other.
5
The disposition mentioned in (b) may be
exercised by a different body differently qualified, for example, Aristotle. If so, a
different type of event occurs: the walking by Aristotle from the Academy to the
outer walls of Athens. Similarly, the same qualified body may be disposed in a
different way, in which case too a new event type occurs, for example, Plato's
walking back from the outer walls of Athens to the Academy.
6
These events are
different although each is analysable in terms of a certain state of a body, namely
the possession by the body of certain qualities and dispositions. States, therefore,
are logically prior to events. This, however, does not mean that there is a one-to-
one relation between the set of Stoic events and that of Stoic states. For there are
states such that no event is analysable in terms of them ('Plato's being white'
would be an example).
To go back to the notion of cause, the Stoics also maintained that any cause is
active. In order for A to cause a predicate P to be satisfied by B, A itself has to
undergo some activity or change, and A has this causal efficacy in virtue of this
activity or change. Thus, any body that acts as a cause must itself satisfy a
predicate that expresses an activity. In order for the knife to cause the flesh to
satisfy the predicate to be cut, it must engage in a cutting activity and thus satisfy
the predicate to cut. The Stoics were thereby departing from Aristotle and his
followers. On Aristotle's view, there are things that do not have to undergo any
motion or change to cause other things to move or change. Among these we find,
notably, the unmoved movers of Met. A, but also the Aristotelian final causes in
4
See D. Davidson, 'The logical form of action sentences' and 'The individuation of events', both
reprinted in Essays on Action and Events (New York, 1980), and J. Kim and E. Sosa (eds), A
Companion to Metaphysics (Oxford, 1995), s.v.
5
The difference in Stoic theory between qualities and dispositions being that the latter were
supposed to explain cases that cannot comfortably be accounted for in terms of the possession by an x
of a corresponding quality ofF-ness. Thus Plato's walking is Plato 1tws exov rather than his having
a certain quality of 'walkingness'. See Simplicius, In Aristotelis categorias commentarium (hereafter
referred to as In Ar. cat.), 212, 12-213, 7 with discussion by S. Menn, 'The Stoic theory of categories',
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 17 (1999), 215-47, at 217-27.
6
These combinations indicate that a body is not identical to its qualities or dispositions nor to its
possessing these qualities or dispositions. This implies that objects are not identical to the states and
events in which they are involved, and also that Stoic Ttot& and 1tWS exono: are analysable in terms
of more basic entities: the body that is qualified and disposed, on the one hand, and the qualities and
dispositions it possesses, on the other. See Menn, 'The Stoic theory of categories', 222 n. 10. For a
different interpretation, seeR. Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion (London, 1988), 89-93, discussed by
Menn.
Everything has a Cause 5
general.7 For the argument of the present chapter, we only need to bear in mind
that 'everything has a cause' simply means that whenever a predicate is satisfied
by a body, there must be a cause of its being satisfied by that body.
To show that everything does have a cause, Chrysippus employed an argument
based on the principle of bivalence:
(PB) For any proposition P, Pis either true or false.
The argument focuses on propositions that express events, or 'motions', but it
would also apply to propositions that express the states into which these events are
analysable and, presumably, also to propositions that express states into which no
event is analysable, for example, the proposition Plato is white.
In essence the argument proceeds as follows: (i) if there were causeless events,
(PB) would not apply to propositions about future occurrents; but (ii) every
proposition is either true or false (including those about future occurrents);
therefore, (iii) there cannot be causeless events; thus, (iv) every event has a cause.
According to Cicero at F 20:
If there is movement without a cause, it is not the case that every proposition (what the
dialecticians call an axiOma) will be either true or false. For what does not have any
efficient causes that bring it about will be neither true nor false. But every proposition is
true or false; so there is no movement without a cause.
8
The argument as a whole is formally valid in virtue of its logical form, which is a
modus tollendo to/lens. Its eventual soundness will depend on whether each of its
two premisses is plausible. In the Cicero passage, neither is argued for. Both are
1
See Met. A 7 1072a21-34, which deals with the ultimate cause of motion and introduces the
idea that it must be something that moves without being moved and, therefore, that it must move in
the same way as the object of a desire moves the agent of an action, namely as the end or purpose
of the motion. For the thesis that the object of desire is unmoved see also an. 3.10 433b13-29 (cf.
DM 700b20-70la5). For discussion, see C. Kahn, 'The place of the prime mover in Aristotle's
teleology', in A. Gotthelf (ed.), Aristotle on Nature and Living Things (Bristol-Pittsburgh, 1985)
and J. Barnes, 'Metaphysics', in J. Barnes (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle
(Cambridge, 1995), 101-108.
8
'Si est motus sine causa, non omnis enuntiato (quod dialectici appellant) aut vera aut
falsa erit. causas enim efficientis quod non habebit, id nee verum nee falsum erit. omnis autem
enuntiatio aut vera aut falsa est; motus ergo sine causa nullus est.' Cf. F 26: 'Since this is so, what
reason is there why every proposition should not be either true or false if we do not grant that
whatever comes about does so by fate? "Because," he [Chrysippus] says, "those future things
cannot be true in the future that do not have causes for their future being; so those things that are
true necessarily have causes; and thus when they have come about, they will have done so through
fate".' ('quod cum ita sit, quid est cur non ornnis pronuntiatio aut vera aut falsa sit nisi
concesserimus fato fieri quaecumque fiant? "quia futura vera,'' inquit, "non possunt esse ea quae
causas cur futura sint non habent; habeant igitur causas necesse eat ea quae vera sunt; ita, cum
evenerint, fato evenerint".') The dialectical context that immediately precedes F 26 is the report at
F 23-5 of Carneades' discussion of the dispute between Epicurus and Chrysippus on uncaused
events and his criticism of the Epicurean thesis that to avoid external determinism it is necessary to
postulate uncaused events.
6 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
attested elsewhere either for Chrysippus or simply for 'the Stoics' .
9
But again they
are introduced without argument. To examine their plausibility, we need to look
into their meaning.
The second premiss may be read as implying that any future-tense proposition
is now either true or false, as is somehow suggested by the text: 'every proposition
is either true or false' (assuming that the 'is' is tensed and refers to the present).
On this reading, Chrysippus is not holding the trivial thesis that every future-tense
proposition will be either true or false at the future time indicated by its tense (and
its temporal indicator, if any); to take an example, that a proposition such as I go
to the cinema on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p.m. will be either true or
false on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p.m.
10
The idea is, rather, that any
proposition asserting the occurrence of a future state or event is already either true
or false (that is, before the time indicated by its tense and by its temporal indicator,
if any):
(P
2
) For any proposition P such that S occurs at t, where S is an event and tis a
future time, P is already either true or false.
As far as the text goes, no implications are drawn for predytermination. In other
words, the emphasis is on (P
2
) and not on either (P.) or (P;):
(P.) If Pis already true, it is thereby necessary either now or at t (or both) that
S occurs at t.
(P;) If P is already false, it is thereby impossible either now or at t (or both) that
S occurs at t.
9
For the first premiss, see F 26, cited earlier. For the second premiss, see DL 1.65 (SVF 2.193; LS
34A); Acad. 2.95 (SVF 2.196; LS 37H); M 8.10 (SVF 2.195); and, in connection with propositions
about future occurents in particular, Simplicius, in Ar. cat. 406, 34-407, 5 (SVF 2.198).
10
In the example, 'go' is used tenselessly and the proposition is meant to be equivalent to I will go
to the cinema on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p.m. These are temporally definite propositions
and, therefore, truth/falsity can attach absolutely to them (they are true/false at all times). In contrast,
ancient theories, including that of Aristotle ( cf., for example, Met. 1051 b 13-15) and that of Chrysippus
(DL 7 .65), regard truth/falsity as properties that attach at times to temporally indefinite propositions,
for example, Dion is walking is true when Dion is walking and false when he is not. Propositions about
future occurrents as used in the ancient debate are, however, an exception to this. For in this case the
propositions were intended to involve a future-tense verb and/or a temporal (indexical) operator, for
example, there is/will be a sea-battle tomorrow (eoea8a.t va.ulla.xia.v a.iiptov). To avoid a confusion
that does not seem to have been made either by Aristotle or by Chrysippus, in our discussion of their
views we must treat the verb and the temporal indicator of such propositions as refen-ing to an
absolutely specific day and event (and thus, following the same example as above, as equivalent to
there is [tenselessly] a sea-battle 011 day D). Otherwise, the proposition there will be a sea-battle
tomorrow will not be made true by the occummce of the event that is 11ow being referred to by the
expression 'tomorrow's sea-battle'. For discussion of this and related problems, see R. Sorabji,
Necessity, Cause, a11d Blame (London, 1980), 96-103. See also R. Gaskin, The Sea Battle a11d the
Master Argume11t (Berlin/New York, 1995), 1-6 and Barnes eta!., 'Logic', inK. Algra eta!. (eds),
Cambridge Histol)' of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1999), 95-6.
Everything has a Cause 7
Generally, philosophical objections to the prior truth or falsity of propositions
about future occurrents as expressed in (P2) are not directed so much against their
prior truth or falsity per se, as against the possible link their prior truth or falsity
may bear to prior necessitation as in (Pn) and (Pi). Aristotle, for example, on one
influential interpretation of int. 9, rejects prior truth on the belief that, if it were
conceded, prior necessitation would also have to be conceded.
11
But in fact prior
truth and prior necessitation are two logically independent claims, the former of
which does not have to imply the latter to be coherent.
12
If so, Chrysippus is not
adopting a philosophically incoherent position in F 20 if, while holding (P
2
), he is
not espousing the view that prior truth on its own entails prior necessitation (or that
prior falsehood on its own entails prior impossibility). Before we proceed any
further, it is important to stress this latter point. Chrysippus is certainly committed
to the prior necessitation of any state or event and, in particular, to the idea that the
future is fixed down to the smallest details by causes that extend indefinitely back
to prior world-cycles. What Chrysippus is not committed to is simply the idea that
prior truth is sufficient for establishing prior necessitation. More about this in
section 1.3 and the next chapter.
The most substantive claim in the present argument is no doubt its first premiss:
'if there were causeless events, the principle of bivalence would not apply to
propositions about future occurrents'. The propositions that would lack a truth-
value (in the present) if there were causeless events would be those that describe
the events in question and assert their occurrence at some future time. For
example, the proposition England wins the World Cup in 2022 would lack a true
value if the future event consisting in England's winning the World Cup final in
2022 (or its not winning it) were to lack a cause. Thus, the first premiss of
Chrysippus' argument from bivalence would be:
11
In modern times, versions of this 'anti-realist' interpretation (for this label, see Gaskin, The Sea
Battle and the Master Argument, 12) may be found in J. Lukasiewicz, 'On determinism', in S. McCall
(ed.), Polish Logic 1920-1939 (Oxford, 1967); D. Ross, Aristotle's Metaphysics (Oxford, 1924), 1,
lxxxi; C. Baylis, 'Are some propositions neither true nor false?', Philosophy of Science 3 (1936),
155-66; V. Quine, 'On a so-called paradox', Mind 62 (1953), 65-7; W. Wieland, 'Aristoteles und die
Seeschlacht', Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 2 (1979), 25-33; Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and
Blame, chap. 5; and J. Vuillemin, Necessite ou Contingence (Paris, 1984), chap 6. A rival, 'realist',
interpretation defends the opposite view: Aristotle concedes prior truth or falsity but denies his
opponent's inference from prior truth or falsity to prior necessitation or impossibility. See, for example,
E. Anscombe, 'Aristotle and the Sea-Battle', in J. Smart (ed.), Problems of Space and Time (New York,
1964); C. Williams, 'What is, necessarily is, when it is', Analysis 40 (1980), 127-31; and M. Lowe,
'Aristotle on the sea battle: a clarification', Analysis 40 (1980), 55-9. On the general issue of time and
determinism in ancient philosophy, see M.J. White, 'Time and determinism in the Hellenistic
philosophical schools', Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 65 (1983), 40-62 and 'Cosmic cycles,
time and determinism', in Agency and Integrality (Basel, 1985).
12
As is pointed out by J. Hintikka in 'The once and future sea-fight', The Philosophical Review 73
(1964), 461-92, esp. 487-8. See also Gaskin, The Sea Battle and the Master Argument, 15; G. Fine,
'Truth and necessity in De lnte1pretatione 9', History of Philosophy Quarterly 1 (1984), 23-47; and R.
Bosley, 'An interpretation of On lilt. 9', Ajatus 37 (1977), 29-40. Hintikka's suggestion is explored by
S. McCall in section 5 of 'Temporal flux', American Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1966), 270-81.
8 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
(P
1
) For any event S that occurs causelessly at some future time t, the
proposition S occurs at t is neither already false nor already true.
Even though no argument is provided in Cicero, we may conjecture that the
following reasons were behind the thesis. The claim that the proposition is not
false rests perhaps on the further claim that for any proposition asserting the
occurrence of an event, its falsity requires the non-occurrence of the event.
13
So
given that the event does occur, the proposition cannot be false. I give a different
possible reason further in this section. As for the claim that the proposition cannot
be already true, one possible reason would be:
(Tc) For any eventS that occurs at some future timet, the propositionS occurs
at t calUlot be true now, unless there is a cause now (that is, a causal chain
stretching from the present to the future timet) for S's occurring at t.
A version of (Tc) is ascribed to Chrysippus in F (26): 'because those future things
cannot be true in the future that do not have causes <now> for their future being;
so those things that are true necessarily have causes <now>' .
14
And one reason for
(Tc) could be this. The future-tense propositionS occurs at t cannot be true now if
there is nothing in the present that guarantees its truth, but nothing in the present
could guarantee its truth other than the presence itself of the causes of the future
event described in the proposition. This presupposes that for any proposition about
future occurrents of the form S occurs at t, there is a causal chain stretching from
some present event Sp to the future event S such that Sp is, at the very least, a distal
but sufficient cause of S. S should be 'present in its causes' as it were. For example,
the proposition I go to the cinema tomorrow cannot be true now unless there are
distal causes for the event in the present, for example, I now have the desire to go
to the cinema tomorrow and, for the time being, there are no external obstacles to
my desire that could prevent me from acting in accordance with this desire. Given
this line of reasoning, if Slacks a cause, the necessary condition stated in (Tc) for
the present truth of the future-tense proposition S occurs at t cannot be satisfied:
the proposition calUlot be true now. A similar argument may be mounted to prove
that no proposition about a future occurrent can be false if the non-occurrence of
the future event it describes is also supposed to lack a cause.
To recapitulate, Chrysippus infers causation from prior truth through (Tc). This
inference, in turn, explains why (P
1
)- the first premiss of Chrysippus' argument:
'if there were causeless events, propositions about future occurrents would lack a
truth-value' - holds true and, in particular, why propositions about future
occurrents expressing causeless events cannot be true. And (P
1
), combined with the
13
The thesis is attested for the Stoics. See M 8.1 0.
14
'quia futura vera non possunt esse ea quae causas cur futura sint non habent; habeant igitur
causas necesse eat ea quae vera sunt'. The 'now' is presupposed by the context, the idea being, as
Sharples observes, that 'statements about future events can only be true now if there are already causes
which will, directly or indirectly, bring these events about' (see his Cicero, on Fate (Warminster,
England, 1991) 178).
Everything has a Cause 9
second premiss of the argument- 'propositions about future occurrents are already
either true or false' -yields that no future event is causeless.
We may generalize the thesis to all times, which is Chrysippus' intended
conclusion ('motus ergo sine causa nullus est'). Since in the past what is now
present was in the future and what is now past was present, then, for any present
event, there was in the past a true proposition asserting. its future occurrence; in
consequence, there was at that time a cause of its (then) future occurrence; so
every event in the present has a cause; mutatis mutandis, every event in the past
has a cause; thus, every event (past, present and future) has a cause.
1.2 Fatalism and Idleness
Fatalism, or the idea that propositions about future occurrents are already true or
false and that the future is already fixed, is earlier than Stoic philosophy. It is a
position that was already the target of Aristotelian criticism in the difficult chapter
9 of the de interpretatione. And it is to Aristotle that we owe the objection that
fatalism encourages idleness: if it is already true that I will win the elections (or
already false that I will lose), why should I do a campaign? Is not a campaign
superfluous? And if it is, why should I not sit back and relax until the elections?
Chrysippus attempted a defence of fatalism against this objection. He provided
strong reasons for thinking that fatalism does not render our actions and efforts
superfluous. The aim of this section is to bring out the philosophical reasons
adduced by Chrysippus in his defence. As we shall see, he suggests that a
distinction needs to be drawn between what we could call 'non-causal fatalism',
which is the target of Aristotle's objections (and is the crude fatalism I described
in the Introduction), and 'causal' fatalism, which Chrysippus regards as the only
tenable kind of fatalism. Let us consider first Aristotle's objection.
Aristotle's objection in int. 9 focuses on the idea that it would be pointless to
deliberate if fatalism were true. Aristotelian deliberation is a practical reasoning that
starts from a desired goal and works back to the discovery of the means to achieve
it. As a consequence of deliberation, we choose the actions that our deliberation has
shown to be conducive to our goal, and engage in the pursuit of this goal by means
of these actions.
15
The argument is set out at 18b26--33: 'if for every affirmation
and negation ... it is necessary that one of the opposites be true and the other false
<already>' (dm:p KCXt ... avayKT] 't'WV
dvcxt 't'TJV fXAT]8i] 't'TJV l'Je 1Jreul'lij),
16
then,
15
See EN 1111b26--9, 1112a15-17, 1113a2-9 and 1139a31-b13. The Greek expressions used by
Aristotle to refer to the object of choice (,;a ,;a and ,;a ,;a 1:EAT]) are ambiguous
as to whether choice is of the means for achieving a certain goal or of instances of that goal. On this
question, seeR. Sorabji, 'Aristotle on the role of intellect in virtue', 203-204 and 206 and D. Wiggins,
'Deliberation and practical reason', 227-31, both in A.O. Rorty (ed.), Essays on Aristotle's Ethics
(Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1980).
16
Following D. Frede ('The Sea-Battle reconsidered', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3
(1985), 31-87), I take this sentence to be a formulation of the principle of bivalence. See C.W.A.
10 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
[a] there would be no need to deliberate or take trouble ([b] thinking that if we do this,
this will happen, but if we do not, it will not).
17
The text deserves close attention. The parenthetic remark in [b] states that we
deliberate on the assumption that 'if we do this, this will happen, but if we do not,
it will not'. The assumption is not just that our deliberation and trouble elicits
certain actions ('if we do this [that is, deliberate], this will happen': p - q), but
also that the former is a condition sine qua non for the latter ('but if we do not, it
will not': ...,p - ...,q, which yields by contraposition q - p ). It is likely that for
Aristotle this assumption is correct: our deliberation and the trouble we take are
indeed both sufficient and necessary for their actual consequences.
18
Now,
according to [a], 'there would be no need to deliberate' if fatalism were correct. In
other words, if fatalism were correct, our deliberations and efforts, which are, as a
matter of fact, necessary for their outcome, would become superfluous. This
supposed consequence of fatalism is also stressed by Alexander of Aphrodisias,
some five hundred years later:
But if we should do everything we do through some causes laid beforehand, so as to have
no power to do this particular thing or not . . . what advantage comes to us, as far as
action is concerned, from deliberating about what will be done? For <on this view> it is
necessary for us, even after deliberating to do what we would have done if we had not
deliberated, so that no advantage comes to us from the deliberating beyond the fact of
having deliberated itself.l9
But well before Alexander, the Aristotelian objection was already a philosophical
topic of debate. In the Hellenistic period it was known as the 'Idle Argument'
An important version of it is reported by Cicero in F 28-9:
20
Whitaker, Aristotle's de interpretatione (Oxford, 1996) (esp. 113-19) for the latest defence of a rival
interpretation. However we interpret the sentence, it is noteworthy that the view it expresses is taken
by Aristotle to imply prior necessitation 'everything [in the future] is and happens of necessity'
eivat KIXl y(yvecr6at
!7 oihe &eo\ &v OU'tE 1tpiXyj.LIX'tEUecr6at, i:&v j.LEV 'to&l. 1t0\ll<JWj.LEV,
E(J't(X\ 'tO&(, e&v a& llft 'to&\, OUK ecr'ta\.
18
The sufficiency claim is best understood in the context of Aristotle's theory of deliberation in EN
3 (cf. esp. 1112a30-31, 34-5, b2-4), according to which it is reasonable to deliberate only about how
to achieve goals that depend on us. From this perspective, a reasonable deliberation would be sufficient
for action aimed at the goal pursued by the agent. The sufficiency claim, however, would be false in
connection with weak deliberation as described in EN 7: the weak agent fails to act in accordance with
his deliberated choice (see, for example, 1150bl9-22 and 1152al8-19).
19
DF 11 at 179, 12-14 and 17-20:-Ei- a& ElTlj.LEV 7t&v'ta ii. 7tp&noj.LEV &t&
ll11&Ej.LtiXV EXE\V 'tOU 't"o&e 't\ KIXl
llll ... 'tt 1t1Eov tilltV 'to 7tp&netv eK 'toil 7tep\ 'toil 1tpax611croj.Levou
y(ve'tat; o y&p &v llft 'toil'to Ka.l. llt•& 'tO
1tp&netv av&yKTl. W<J't' ou&ev till tV 1tAEOV EK 'tOU IXlhoil 'tOU
1tEpl ytVE'tiX\. .
20
Two other sources for the argos logos are Origen, Ce/s, 2.20 (SVF 2.957) and Eusebius, praep.
ev. 6.8.25 (SVF 2.998; LS 62F).
Everything has a Cause 11
If it is fated for you to recover from this disease, then you will recover, whether you call
in a doctor or not; similarly, if it is fated for you not to recover from this disease, then
you will not recover, whether you call in a doctor or not. But one or the other is fated,
so there is no point in calling in a doctor.
21
Before we come to Chrysippus' reply to this Aristotelian objection, we need to
bring out an ambiguity in the objection itself.
In its three versions the objection admits of two quite different readings, to
which I shall refer as (1) and (2). For a present state or event Panda future state
or event F such that apparently P is the cause ofF,
( 1) it is a consequence of fatalism that F would have to obtain even if P did not,
meaning that (a) Pis contingent (that is, P may not obtain) and that (b) if P did
not obtain, F would obtain anyway, which is absurd;
(2) it is a consequence of fatalism that, although P and F are necessary (both
must obtain), F will not obtain because P does: there is not really any
explanatory causal relation between P and F, which is absurd.
Under either reading the objection is that, if fatalism were correct, no future state
or event is contingent upon the obtention of those present states or events to
which they are apparently causally related. But the first reading, unlike the
second, also attributes to the fatalist the belief that, in contrast with future states
and events, which are necessary because they are inevitable, actual present states
and events are contingent insofar as they may not obtain. It follows from the first
reading that future states and events are underdetermined by their actual cause, if
by 'underdetermination' we mean that the state or event in question would occur
even if the actual cause of its occurrence did not obtain in the sense that it may
have not obtained. Abel will be murdered even if Cain does not kill him, which is
possible. On the second reading, by contrast, no such belief is attributed to the
fatalist: future and present states and events are equally necessary. In our
example, Cain's murdering Abel is as necessary as Abel's being murdered.
However, in a sense of 'underdetermination' weaker than the one mentioned
above, here too future states and events are underdetermined by their actual
present cause. For a weaker sense of the notion could be that even though the
actual cause ofF is apparently P, there is no real causal relation between the two:
F will not obtain because P does and, therefore, the obtention of F does not
depend on the obtention of P even though both must obtain. A convenient, but
different, way of cashing out this weaker sense of underdetermination is by
saying that F would obtain even if, per impossibile, P did not. If so, when F
obtains it will not have obtained because P did and in this sense the obtention of
F does not depend on that of P.
21
'si fatum tibi est ex hoc morbo convalescere, sive tu medicum adhibueris sive non adhibueris,
convalesces; item, si fatum tibi est ex hoc morbo non convalescere, sive tu medicum adhibueris sive
non adhibueris, non convalesces; et alterutrum fatum est; medicum ergo adhibere nihil attinet.'
12 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
To tackle the objection, therefore, one needs to address two different issues: (a)
does Stoic fatalism hold that present states and events may be contingent while
denying this possibility for future states and events, as the first reading supposes?
(b) is it really a consequence of fatalism that there is no real explanatory causal
relation between present and future states, as is assumed by the second reading?
The answer to the former question ought to be in the negative. No internally
consistent form of fatalism can admit such a disanalogy between present and
future. Given that in the past the present was in the future, the present is fixed if
the future also is. To be sure, a perfectly consistent version of fatalism may allow
the dual possibility for any state or event (including present and future ones) that
it either obtains or not at a particular time. This is stressed by Chrysippus himself,
as we shall see in section 5.4. What threatens consistency is the disanology above
between present and future regarding their modal behaviour. Therefore,
Chrysippean fatalism is immune to the argos logos if the point of the objection is
that this disanalogy is something the Stoics (or any fatalist) is committed to.
Now, if the concern that motivates the objection is merely that, conceding that
there is an analogy between present and future regarding their modal behaviour,
future states and events would not obtain because present ones do, the objection is
philosophically powerful. The onus of proof clearly lies on the shoulders of the
fatalist, who will be forced to explain how future events are inevitable and
necessary and yet depend on their actual present cause to obtain.
Chrysippus addressed this problem by designing a theory of 'co-fated' events
(confatalia).
22
This is not the place to undertake a detailed examination of this
theory, as this has already been excellently done by others.
23
Its core idea is that
many future events are 'co-fated' with present ones in the following sense: a
predetermined future event F is co-fated with a present event P if and only if what
is predetermined to happen is not just F but also the complex event FP consisting
in F obtaining because P does. Thus, ifF is co-fated with P, then by definition FP
will obtain ifF does and, for this reason, ifF obtains it will do so because P does.
One event that Chrysippus would regard as co-fated is my recovery from illness.
24
It is co-fated with my calling in the doctor and following the prescriptions. Here
the complex event FP is that I recover from illness because I call in the doctor and
follow the prescriptions. Thus, if I am fated to recover, it is also fated that I will
recover because I call in the doctor and follow his prescriptions. Through this
theory, Chrysippus departs not only from the incoherent fatalist, who holds that
every future state and event is underdetermined in a strong sense by its actual
22
The sources for this theory are praep. ev. 6.8.26-9 (SVF 2.998; LS 62F); F 30 and Cels. 2.20
(SVF 2.957).
23
See M.E. Reesor, 'Fate and possibility in early Stoic philosophy', Phoenix 19 (1965), 285-97;
Rist, Stoic Philosophy, chap. 7; Sorabji, Necessif)\ Cause, and Blame, chap. 14; LS, chap. 55; Sharples,
Cicero, On Fate; D. Sedley, 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causality', in J. Brunschwig and M.
Nussbaum (eds), Passions and Perception (Cambridge, 1993). The latest and most thorough treatment
of this theory is chapter 5 of Bobzien, Detenninism and Freedom.
24
Even though Cicero suggests in F 30 that this is not the kind of event that Chrysippus would
regard as co-fated. I discuss this issue further in this section in connection with 'simple' events.
Everything has a Cause 13
present cause, but also from the non-causal fatalist, who claims that there is no real
explanatory causal relation between present and future and who thinks, for this
reason, that future states and events are also underdetermined by their present
cause albeit in a weaker sense.
But why should there be any co-fated events in Chrysippus' sense? Is not
Chrysippus just assuming that there are?
In fact, Chrysippus did provide a reason for the existence of co-fated events
(and states). Some future events conceptually presuppose a causal link between
these events and present ones. To establish that there are future events that are co-
fated with present ones, and to know which future states or events are co-fated with
present ones, an analysis of the concepts involved to describe these events is
sufficient. This line of argument is suggested by Diogenianus, a late Epicurean of
the second century AD reported by Eusebius, in a discussion of Chrysippean
confatalia:
For, he [Chrysippus] says, just as if someone asserted that the boxer Hegesarchus will
emerge from the fight completely unscathed, it would be absurd if one expected that he
would fight with his mms by his side because he was fated to emerge unscathed (for the
one who made the assertion said this because of Hegesarchus' excellent guard against
blows); so too in all other cases.
25
It is important to notice that the gist of the argument is indeed a conceptual point.
It relates to the implicatures of an assertion made by a speaker: one
cannot assert 'Hegesarchus will emerge from the boxing fight completely
unscathed' without meaning that he will do so because of his excellent guard
against blows; therefore, the event consisting in Hegesarchus' emerging from a
fight completetely unscathed is co-fated with a certain (negative) event, namely the
one consisting in Hegesarchus' not fighting with his arms by his side. The term
'meaning' is not in the text. But we do find in the text the notion that there is a right
way and wrong way to understand the assertion, and that the latter is not merely
wrong but also absurd, which implies that the meaning of the assertion is at issue.
How does the argument work in detail? The asserted proposition is Hegesarchus
the boxer will emerge from the fight completely unscathed ('Hyt1oa:pxov 't"OV
1tUK't"TJV 't"OU &1tATJK't"OV). It expresses a
future event F. The complex event FP would be the combination of F and the
negative present event P consisting in his not fighting with his arms by his side. For
the sake of simplicity, I shall describe Pin positive terms: Hegesarchus' having his
guard up.
26
Chrysippus' point, then, is that F is co-fated because the proposition
25
Praep. ev. 6.8.28: wom:p yap, <pT]o(v, ei 'Hy1loo:pxov 'I"OV mlKtT]V
toil cXTtAT]KtOV &v K0:6tevto: 't"lh
't"ov 'Hy1loo:pxov IJ.axeo6o:t, ETtE\ cXTtAT]K't"ov o:1hov Ko:6d1J.o:p't"o a1teA.6eiv, 't"Oil 'l"i]v
cXTto<pO:OtV TtOtT]OO:IJ.EVOU lh& 't"i]V m:pt't"'t"O't"Epo:v 't"cXV6pW1tOU '1"0 IJ.iJ 1tA1l'I"'I"E060:t
<puA.o:Ki]v 't"OU't"O oii't"w Ko:\ t1t\ 't"Wv &A.A.wv exet.
26
The concept of 'having one's guard up' is entailed by the concept, employed in the text of 'using
an excellent guard against blows'.
14 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
expressing FP - Hegesarchus will emerge from the fight completely unscathed
because he has his guard up - would be contained, as it were, in the meaning of the
proposition expressing F. So the reason why F is co-fated with P, and why it is
absurd to say that F will occur wihout P, is simply conceptual. The explanatory
relation between Hegesarchus' emerging unscathed and having his guard up is
implied by the very concepts used by a Greek speaker in the assertion of F.
To appreciate the thrust of Chrysippus' argument we need to take into account
the specific context in which it is developed. This is needed, for why should there
be, in general, a conceptually necessary causal link between emerging unscathed
from a fight, on the one hand, and having one's guard up, on the other, as if the
former could only be caused by the latter? Both Chrysippus and his opponent seem
to agree that the link must hold.
27
But why? Apparently, to emerge unscathed one
may just run away from the adversary - something that one can do without using
one's arms at all. Now, if we look carefully at the context, the reason why the two
parties agree that the link must hold becomes apparent. According to the rules of
boxing in antiquity, no one abiding by them could emerge unscathed from a
boxing fight without using his guard.
28
A fight where one did so would not be a
boxing fight at all. Thus, the causal connection between the two events is
conceptually necessary given the specific concept of a boxing fight employed in
the exchange between Chrysippus and his opponent: given the rules that define
boxing (in antiquity), it is impossible that one emerges unscathed from a boxing
fight without using one's guard.
As far as the text quoted earlier from Diogenianus is concerned, this sort of
conceptual analysis seems to be central to Chrysippus' theory of confatalia. To
determine which future events are co-fated with present ones, it is sufficient to
exploit the connection between the concepts that are used to describe the future
events at stake. An implication of this theory is that whether two events are co-
fated or not depends on the concepts that we use to describe them. Anyone who
decides not to describe the fight between Hegesarchus and his adversary as a
boxing fight, with all the rules that boxing involves, might find the proposition
Hegesarchus will emerge from the fight completely unscathed with his anns by his
side perfectly plausible. The relation of co-fatedness holds only under certain
descriptions of the events involved because different concepts may be used to
describe the same events.
27
According to the text, Ch1ysippus regards it as absurd that Hegesarchus emerges from
the boxing fight completely unscathed with his anns by his side. But it is also something that
Chrysippus' opponent would typically identify as an unacceptable (albeit inevitable) consequence of
fatalism.
2
" See M.B. Poliakoff, Combat Sports in the Ancient World (New Haven and London, 1987), 80-85
and 141-2. According to the rules of Greek boxing, a boxer had to confront his adversary either by
giving blows or by holding up his guard against his adversary's blows or both. Thus although a boxer
could in principle win a fight unscathed (Melancomas is reported by Dio Chrysostom to have a flawless
record of victory without ever having either given or taken a blow on account of his ability to hold up
his guard tirelessly until his exhausted adversary acknowledged defeat; cf. Discourses 29.11-12), no
boxer could emerge unscathed from a fight with his guard down.
Everything has a Cause 15
It is worth stressing something that was mentioned earlier in my account of
Chrysippus' theory. On his view, only some states and events are co-fated with other
states or events. There are some that are not and they are referred to as 'simple'
(simplicia). An example of a simple event (res sbnplex) is, perhaps, that I will die
some day.
29
Notice that simple events, too, depend on the obtention of earlier
events or states. They are not an exception to the Stoic view that 'the things that
obtain first are causes of those that obtain after them and in this sense all things are
bound together with each other' (1:wv 1tpw1:wv IJ.e't'& 1:afmx ytVOIJ.EVOt'l
ai 't'tWV yt VOIJ.EVWV KO:t 1:01h<p 1:4> 1:p01t<p auv5eOIJ.EVWV aAAllAOl.'l
a1tUV't'WV).
30
In the example just given, my dying some day in the future is caused
by, and does require, as a necessary condition, some present state or event, for
instance, my not being an iminortal God. But then how does a simple event like this
one differ from a co-fated event such as my winning a boxing fight? One answer
we may give to this question is this: in contrast with co-fated events, simplicia do
not have their actual causes in any of my actions. Whatever I do, I will eventually
die. On this interpretation, the application of the notion of res simplex to a particular
case must always make reference to a particular person. An event is simple always
relative to someone. Thus, a possible definition of Chrysippean simplicia would be
a future state or event F is simple relative to someone S if and only if F will take
place at S but the cause ofF does not reside in any of the actions of S. To follow the
example, my dying some day is a simple event because it will some day take place
'at' me (the predicate to die will some day be satisfied by me) independently of
what I do. In contrast, when, where and how I die are co-fated events. For instance,
if I am a chain smoker, my actions may determine that I die sooner rather than later.
In section 3.1 I deal in detail with the Stoic concept of action and the way in which
Stoic actions differ from events that merely take place 'at' me.
On the basis of his theory of co-fated events, Chrysippus is also in a position to
do justice to the assumption that Aristotle ascribes to us all when we deliberate,
namely that 'if we do this, this will happen, but if we do not, it will not'. Suppose
that we 1ji and believe that our lji-ing will result in our «P-ing ('if we do this, this
will happen': 1ji - «P). According to Aristotle, this belief entails a further belief,
namely, that we would not «P unless we 1ji ('if we do not, it will not': ...,lji - ...,cp,
which by contraposition is equivalent to «P - lji). But this is precisely what
Chrysippus insists on. To quote again Diogenianus' report in Eusebius:
For many things cannot happen without the fact that we want <them> to occur and that
we contribute <to their occurring> the most intense readiness and eagerness to act, since,
he says, these things are fated to occur together with this fact.
31
29
We should bear in mind that in Cicero's report the example is 'Socrates will die on such and such
a day' ('morietur illo die Socrates') as if the specific day on which he will die were predetermined and
not just the fact that he will die some day. On this unexpected and puzzling example, cf. Sedley,
'Chrysippus on psychophysical causation', 315-19 and Bobzien, Detenninism and Freedom, 217-21.
30
DF 192, 1-3.
31
1tOAAcX yap f.i.Tt &uvn:o6oa yeveo6n:t xwph 'tOil KO:t Kat
eK'tEVEo'tli'tT]V ye 1tEpt O:li'tcX 1tp06Uf.LtO:V 'tE KO:t 0'1tOU&f}v Ei()'(pepeo6n:t, eltetl\f} f.LE'tcX
'tOU'tou, IJIT]oiv, n:1h& yevecr6n:t Kn:6etf.LO:p'to (praep. ev. 6.8.29).
16 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
In our example, if <P is co-fated with lJr, our <P-ing does require as a necessary
condition our tJr-ing: the former cannot happen 'without' ( x w p ( ~ ) the latter. And
if we believe that, we will certainly not suppose that our tJr-ing was superfluous to
bringing about our <P-ing. The Aristotelian objection and the connected charge of
superfluousness is only pertinent and effective against those versions of fatalism
that suppose that future states and events are underdetermined by present states
and events. But it is not effective against Stoic fatalism, which addresses the
problem originally posed by Aristotle by showing how one may be a fatalist while
denying that all future states and events are underdetermined by our actions.
1.3 Incoherent Fatalism, Non-causal Fatalism and Chrysippean Fatalism
To end this chapter, it is appropriate to draw systematically the various distinctions
between the different kinds of fatalism considered so far and to locate Chrysippus'
fatalism within this broader picture.
There are two different ways in which one may divide the concept of fatalism,
depending on the question that our division is expected to answer. Regarding those
future states and events that are already due to occur, if the question is 'will they
occur because, and insofar as, certain states and events are currently occurring?',
the appropriate way of dividing fatalism is into causal and non-causal. The answer
of non-causal fatalism to the question is 'no'. If the politician wins the election
next week it will not be because she is now campaigning. Nor is it because of
anything else that is happening in the present. In consequence, this kind of fatalism
does encourage idleness: if what we do in the present is superfluous for bringing
about what is due to occur in the future, what is the point of the trouble we are
taking for bringing it about? In contrast, the answer of causal fatalism to the
question is in the affirmative: the future is already fixed but it nevertheless
presupposes whatever is actually occurring in the present. It will come about
because, and insofar as, it is occurring. Chrysippus' fatalism is causal and thereby
does not encourage idleness. Now, if regarding the states and events that occur in
the present the question is rather 'are they contingent while future ones are
necessary?', the right way of dividing fatalism would be into coherent and
incoherent. The answer of incoherent fatalism to this question is in the affirmative:
whether or not the politician carries out her actual campaign - meaning that in the
present whatever she does is contingent- she will win at next week's election,
which is something necessary (nothing else could happen instead). We have
already seen in section 1.2 why this is incoherent. Chrysippus' fatalism, by
contrast, is coherent because it is not committed to any disanalogy between future
and present in their modal behaviour.
Although the two questions above are distinct, the sets of divisions they yield
are logically related to each other. First, any incoherent form of fatalism is non-
causal. If the politician will have to win at next week's election whether or not she
actually carries out her current campaign (incoherent fatalism), then her victory
will not have occurred because of her current campaign (non-causal fatalism).
Everything has a Cause 17
Second, non-causal fatalism is not necessarily incoherent. A fatalist may
consistently claim that future states and events are not contingent upon any present
state or event in particular, while holding that present and future are strictly alike
in their modal behaviour. In this case, however, the fatalist may still appeal to
counterfactual states or events in the present to stress the causal irrelevance of the
actual ones. If per impossibile the politician did not carry out her current
campaign, she would win at next week's elections anyway; in consequence she
will not win because she is currently campaigning. The three sources examined in
section 1.2 for the Idle Argument- Aristotle, Cicero and Alexander of Aphrodisias
- are ambiguous as to whether the use of counterfactual events is supposed to
attribute to the fatalist a non-causal position only or an incoherent one as well. As
for Chrysippus' own theory of confatalia, which is his reply to the Idle Argument,
it stresses both that Stoic fatalism is coherent (both future and present are fated)
and that it is causal (future and present are co-fated).
I should like to conclude with some remarks on the main fatalist theory attacked
by Aristotle in int. 9.
32
As we have already seen, it is a theory that, in contrast with
Chrysippus', reaches the conclusion that the future is already fixed and necessary,
from the thesis that propositions about future occurrents already possess a definite
truth-value (18b26-33).
33
This version of fatalism is clearly non-causal as it does
not employ here, nor anywhere else in the chapter, the notion that future states and
events presuppose specific present states or events. Nor a fortiori does it employ
the Chrysippean idea that propositions about future occurrents are already true or
false because the causes of future states and events are already present. In
Chrysippus' fatalism, by contrast, the crucial inference is from the prior truth of a
proposition to the existence of a cause for the corresponding state or event; it is
not an inference from its prior truth to the event's being necessitated, nor, a fortiori,
32
As opposed to the theory referred to at 18b17-25, which holds that neither a proposition about
future occurrents nor its negation is already true. This latter theory seeks to resolve the necessitarian
consequences of the main theory (if prior truth, then prior necessitation), but it does so at the cost of
espousing nihilism or the view that nothing at all will happen in the future: 'a sea-battle would have
neither to take place nor not to take place' (Mot y&p &v 1.nj,;e yeveoB«t V«Uil«Xt«v llfl't"e llf!
yeveoBat, 18b25).
33
A clear antecedent of this inference is to be found in the 'Reaper Argument' (Bept(c:.>v
whose authorship apparently goes back to the Dialectic school (c.320--250 BC), and which concludes
the necessity of each disjunct of a contradictory pair of propositions (about future occmTents) from the
truth of the disjunctio: if either p or not-p, then either necessarily p or necessarily not-p. The three main
sources for the Reaper Argument are Stephanus, in Ar. int. 34, 36--35, 5, Ammonius, In Aristotelis de
imerpretatione commentarium (hereafter referred to as in Ar. int.), 131, 20--132, 7 and Anon., In
Aristotelis de i11te1pretatione commentarius (FDS 1253). For discussion, see G. See!, 'Zur Geschichte
und Logik des Bep((c:.>v inK. Doring and T. Ebert (eds), Dialektiker und Stoiker (Stuttgart,
1993); R. Sorabji, 'The three deterministic arguments opposed by Ammonius' (London and Ithaca,
1998); and Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 78-81 and 189-91. A similar argument is reported in
F 21. It infers the necessity of one of the disjuncts of a contradictory pair of propositions from the truth
'from eternity' (ex aetemitate) of the disjunct. The inference itself from truth from eternity to necessity
is already suggested in int. 18bl1-13: 'but if it was always true to say that it was so, or would be so,
this could not (oinc oiov n: ,;oiho) not be so, or not be going to be so'.
18 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
to the event's being necessitated by the proposition's prior truth.
34
To be sure, the
Stoics do believe that the future is already fixed in the sense that what is due to
happen is fated and, hence, already necessitated. But this conclusion is reached
through a further step in their overall argument for determinism - a step that leans
on the further thesis that causation is necessitating, with which I deal in Chapter
2. But prior necessitation is not entailed, nor intended by Chrysippus to be
entailed, by the thesis of the prior truth of propositions all by itself. Cicero is
misleading when later on in F (cf. 28) he presents the Stoics as inferring
predetermination from prior truth.
35
They do make this inference, but only given
the thesis introduced at F 20 that prior truth implies causation and the extra thesis
that causation is necessitating, which does not occur either in the argument from
F 20 or in Chrysippus' thesis at F 26.
34
As is brought out by Sharples in Cicero, On Fate, 174.
35
An inference that Cicero himself does not endorse: 'Nor, if every proposition is either true or
false, does it for that reason follow that there are unchangeable and eternal causes which prevent
anything from coming about in a different way from that in which it will in fact come about' (nee si
ornne enuntiatum aut verum aut falsum est, sequitur ilico esse causas imrnutabiles easque aeternas quae
prohibeant quicquam secus cadere atque casurum sit).
Chapter 2
The Basis of Stoic Determinism (b):
Causation is Necessitating
The present chapter deals with the thesis that causation is necessitating, the other
constitutive premiss of Stoic determinism. This thesis follows from the
combination of two ideas: (i) particular causal relations are subsumed under strict
regularities and (ii) these regularities necessitate- in the same circumstances, the
same effects have to obtain. On this view, for any causal relation r where a set of
causal conditions c brings about an effect e, r is necessary in virtue of the
impossibility of a situation in which c obtains, but e does not. Thus, e will be
brought about in every possible situation where c obtains again. This 'regularity-
based' account of causal necessitation is central to Stoic philosophy as it is a
consequence of an essential part of Stoic physics, namely, the doctrine of
everlasting recurrence. We may appreciate how, exactly, this doctrine implies
regularity-based determinism if we look closely at the arguments the orthodox
Stoics provided in favour of the doctrine itself. This question will occupy us in
section 2.2. Section 2.1, where I present the main features of the orthodox version
of the doctrine of everlasting recurrence, is a preamble to the argument in section
2.2. In section 2.3, I bring out the deterministic consequences of orthodox
everlasting recurrence.
2.1 The Orthodox Version of the Doctrine of Everlasting Recurrence
In Stoic thought, the earliest orthodox version of the doctrine asserts not just that
the world will be destroyed by a conflagration and that a new world will rise once
the conflagration subsides, but also that this new world will be indiscernible from
the present one. These three orthodox theses are jointly attested
in a report by Nemesius (N 111, 14-25; SVF 2.625; LS 52C). The passage is worth
quoting in full.
The Stoics say that when the planets return to the same celestial sign, in length and
breadth where each was originally when the world was first formed, at set peiiods of
time they cause conflagration and destruction of existing things and once again the world
returns anew to the same condition as before. And when the stars are moving again in
the same way, each of the things that occurred in the previous period will come to pass
indiscernibly. For again there will be Socrates and Plato and each of mankind with the
same friends and fellow citizens; they will suffer the same things and they will encounter
the same things, and put their hand to the same things, and every city and village and
19
20 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
piece of land retum in the same way. The periodic return of everything occurs not once
but many times, or rather, the same things return infinitely and without end.
1
I begin with some clarificatory remarks on the three theses.
The thesis of reconstitution presupposes that the conflagration does not last
forever. But why should it not last forever? Although no reason is given in the
present passage, Jaap Mansfeld has shown that one reason in particular may be
gathered from other sources, all of which reflect early Stoic thinking and,
especially, Zenonian physics.
2
The idea is that nothing - not even god - could
prevent the conflagration from subsiding. It is in the nature of fire to bum until it
has used up all the combustible matter contained in what is burning. So, if the
quantity of matter in the world were infinite, the fire of the conflagration would
bum forever. But, as the Stoics maintain, the quantity of matter contained in the
world cannot be infinite: given the very structure of the universe (1:0 1t&v), the
world ( 6 KOOIJ.O<;) has to be finite, and so must be the quantity of matter of which
it is composed.
3
Therefore, given its finiteness, the conflagration will certainly
consume all there is in the world,
4
but will have to subside.
On the other hand, the very idea of there being a time where god does nothing
is contrary to his nature as an essentially active entity.
5
In consequence, he has to
1
Oi 1>£ :E1:<a>t Kof cpa ow 'to a1ho OTJf.lel:ov Ka't&
'te Klllt ev6a 'tTJV apxf!v ihe 'tO 1tpG>'tOV 6 OUVEO'tT],
EV xpov<a>v EK1t\lp<a>ot v Klllt cp6op&v 'tG>V OV't<a>V cX1tepyci(eo6at Klllt
1tciA.t v eh 1:0 a1i'to 1:ov Kooj.lov a1toKa6Ca'taa6at, Kal 1:G>v ao'tip<a>v
1tcXAtv cpepoj.liv<a>v, EKOIO'tOV <'tG>V> ev 'tTI yevof.LEV<a>v
cX1tO'teAeto6at· eaea6at yap 1tcXAtv :E<a>KpcX'tT] Kill( ilAcX't<alVIll Klllt EKOIO'tOV 'tG>V av6pW1t<a>V
ouv ail'toh Kal Klllt Kat 1:& a1i't& 1teioeo8at Kat
Klllt 'tcX OIU'tcX j.IE'tlliXEtpte1:o6at, Klllt 1t&oav 1t0At V Klllt KWj.IT]V Klllt aypov
cX1tOKCX6to'tCX06at· y(veo6at 1)£ 'tTJV cX1tOKCX'tcXO'tCXO\V 'tOU oux a:U&
j.!&A.A.ov l'li: &1tetpov Kal 1:& cxu't& a1toKa6(a'taa6at (Long and
Sedley translation modified).
2
See J. Mansfeld, 'Providence and the destruction of the universe', in M.J. Vermaseren (ed.),
Studies in Hellenistic Religions (Leiden, 1979), 161-2 and 'Theology', in K. Algra et al. (eds),
Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1999), 467-8.
3
On the finiteness of the Stoic cosmos see notably M 9.332 (SVF 2.524; LS 44A) and DL 7 .140.
According to Mansfeld ('Providence and the destruction of the universe', 162 n. 99), the Stoic idea that
matter (1tpW'tT]V UAT]V) does not become 'either more or less'- attested for Zeno in E 1.132, 26-133,
5 (SVF 1.87) and DL 7.150 (SVF 1.87), and for Cluysippus in E 1.133, 6-10- is also evidence that its
overall quantity is finite.
4
See Zeno ap. Alexander Lycopolis, Contra Manichaeorum opiniones disputatio 19, 2-4 (LS 461):
'tOV 'toil Kt ... A.Oyov, "'to mxv EK1tUp<a>61loe'tcxt" A.iy<a>v· "1t&V 'tO
KllltOV exov <O'tt> Kavan oA.ov KOIVO&l" Klllt 6 1tilp EO'ttV Klllt 0 exet ou KOIUOet;"
oo ouv1lye'to, <jle'to, "'to 1t&v EK1tup<a>61loe'tcxt" ('The argument of Zeno of Citium, who
states that the "all" will be subject to conflagration: "Everything which burns and has something to burn
will burn it completely; now the sun is a fire and will it not burn what it has?" From this he concluded,
as he supposed, that the "all" will be subject to conflagration').
5
A conception of god that Plato had already put forward in the Laws (901A-903A). For the Stoics,
see DL 7.134 (SVF 2.300) which identifies god with the active principle of the universe ('to 1tOtoilv).
See also the argument for god's existence in M 9.75-6 (SVF 2.311). The idea of god's idleness is
implicitly attacked by Boethus (SVF 3 Boethus 7): "En 'tOV'tOn, e&v EK1tUp<a>6'fi, cpaai, 'tcX
Causation is Necessitating 21
be active once the conflagration subsides. And his activity, the orthodox Stoics
maintain, will be cosmogonic: a new world will arise from it. In reporting the
views of Zeno (from his treatise On the Whole), of Cleanthes and of Chrysippus
(from the third book of his Physics), Diogenes Laertius explains:
The world is created when the substance is turned from fire through air into moisture;
then the thicker parts of the moisture condense and are made into earth, but the finer
pat1s are thoroughly rarefied, and when they have been thinned still further, they produce
fire. Thereafter by mixture plants and animals and the other natural kinds are produced
out of these.6
The reconstitution proper begins when the fire of the conflagration is exhausted and
changes to air, and then from air to water. At this stage, some of it remains water, but
the rest transforms itself through three different processes: one which generates earth
through the condensation of the thicker parts of water; a second one that generates air
through the rarefaction of its thinnest parts; and fmally a third process, similar to the
second, that produces fire when the thinnest parts of water thin out still more. From
then on plants, animals and 'the other natural kinds' are gradually produced out of the
elements by mixture. This account is apparently couched in purely mechanistic terms.
But the original idea is that god purposively guides the whole process through his
active presence in every single stage of the world's development,?
As regards the thesis of transcyclical indiscernibility, how strong is the identity
in question? The identity is very strong indeed. In what is probably the earliest
attested use of the term in the Hellenistic period (Arcesilaus ap. Sextus Empiricus,
ncina, 'tt K«'t' eKeivo 6 1:ov xpovov; f} 1:0 napcinav oM&v; K«t llll1tO't ·
('Further, they say, if all things undergo conflagration, what would god do during that time?
Nothing at all? That surely is the natural inference').
6
DL 142 (SVF 1.102; LS 46C): yivea6at l>e 1:ov Koaj.lov o1:av eK 1'1 ouaia 1:pann
l>t. uyp6v· eha 'tO «li'tou aua'taV cX1tO'teA.ea6n yij, 'tO 1)£
K«t 'tOU't. en\ 1tAEOV AE1t'tUV6ev nup anoyevv1lan. eha K«'ta EK
'tOihwv <pU'tci 'tE K!Xt 'ta &Hex YEVTJ. Reading with Long and Sedley uyp6v instead ofuyp6'tT)'t!X.
7
See: SVF 2.1027 (LS 46A) and SVF 2.439 (LS 47F). The former identifies god with pneuma and
asserts the latter's all-pervading presence: oi. !:'twtKol. voepov 6eov ano<pa{vov't«t, nup
'tEXVtKov Ol><jl PrxiHCov en\ yeveaet Koaj.lou, <'te>
KIX6' &n!XV't!X K«6' eij.l!Xpj.lEVT)V ytVE't!Xl, K«t 1tVEUj.l!X j.lEV
tvlhijKov l>t' oA.ou 1:ou K6allou, l>e ll&'trxA.rxi!Pcivov Krx'ta
l>t' KEXWPTJKE, ('The Stoics made god out to be intelligent, a designing fire which
methodically proceeds towards creation of the world, and encompasses all the seminal principles
according to which everything comes about according to fire, and breadth pervading the whole world,
which takes on different names owing to the alterations of the matter through which it passes'). The
latter passage, in turn, identities pneuma with a cohesive, or sustaining, cause, which in Stoic theory
implies activity: K!Xt yap oi. j.lcXAtO't!X eiOT)YTJOcXj.lEVOl 'tTJV OUVEK'tlKTJV /)UV!Xj.llV, oi.
!:'tWlKOt, 'tO j.lEV OUVEXOV e'tepov 1tOlOUOl, 'tO OUVEXOj.lEVOV /)f: &A.A.o· 'tTJV j.lEV y&;p
1tVEUj.l!X'tlKTJV oua{av 'tO auvexov, 'tTJV oe UAlKTJV 'tO auvexoj.lEVOV ('The chief proponents
of the sustaining power, such as the Stoics, make what sustains one thing, and what is sustained
something different: the breathy substance is what sustains, and the material substance what is
sustained'). On Stoic pantheism and its origins see D. Sedley, 'The origins of Stoic god', in D. Frede
and A. Laks (eds), Traditions of Theology (Leiden-Boston-Koln, 2002).
22 The Stoics on Detem1inism and Compatibilism
M 7.409-10), is not a relation between objects (or whole worlds),
but a relation between impressions of objects. In this use, two impressions are
tX1t1XpiXAAtXK1:ot if the objects they represent are 'exactly alike'
Oj.LOtWV).
8
The orthodox Stoics, however, never accepted the
metaphysical assumption that numerically different objects can be exactly alike.
As Cicero puts it: 'no hair or grain of sand is in all respects the same as (omnibus
rebus talem qualis) another hair or grain of sand' .
9
Numerically different objects
always display some difference in their qualities and, notably, in their peculiar
quality (iMcx

however dim, this qualitative difference may be in
principle physically registered in the impressions we receive from the objects, u
and this precludes that these impressions be in principle epistemically
indistinguishable from each other.J2 Thus, as used in connection with objects,
Stoic indiscemibility is metaphysical and conveys numerical identity. It is
metaphysical, as opposed to merely epistemological, because it does not mean just
that no observer can register the differences - it also means that there are no
differences there to be registered between them; and it conveys numerical identity
because if A and Bare indiscernible, A and Bare not really 'two' discrete things,
but rather one and the same object numerically. It is because they are indiscernible
that they are in fact numerically the same. As applied to everlasting recurrence,
indiscemibility implies that the world of the present cycle is the same in all
respects (and hence the same even in number)
13
as the world of any other cycle:
8
See especially M 7.252: 'The Academics, unlike the Stoics, do not suppose it to be impossible
that an impression totally indiscernible <but false> should be found' (OUX wonep o\ a no tijs 01:0&s
UOUVO:tOV imetA.Tjq>txot KO:tcX n!ivto: uno:p!XA.A.txKtOV nvo: eupe6Tjoeo6o:t, oihw KO:t oi uno
tijs
9 Acad. 2.85.
10
On the Stoic notions of iliio: notO'tT]S and iliiws not6v, see, for example, Chrysippus ap.
Alexander of Aphrodisias, In Aristotelis analyticorum priorum librum I commentarium (hereafter
referred to as inA1: a. pr.) 180,33-6 (SVF2.624; LS 52F); Diogenes of Babylon (a pupil ofChrysippus)
ap. DL 7.58 (SVF 3 Diogenes 22; LS 33M); Posidonius and Mnesarchus (early first century BC) ap.
Stobaeus in E 1.177, 21-179, 17 (LS 280). Two other relevant texts on this issue that refer to the
'Stoics' in general are Simplicius, In Aristotelis de anima commentaria (hereafter referred to as in Ar.
de an.), 217, 32-218, 1 (SVF 2.395; LS 281) and Dexippus, in Aristotelis categorias commentarium 30,
20-26 (LS 28J).
11
If the impressions are 'cognitive' as defined in M 7.248: 'A cognitive impression is one which
arises from what is and is stamped and impressed according to the very thing that is, and is of such a
kind as could not arise from what is not' (KatO:A111t'ttKT] Iii !:ott i) uno un!ipxovtos KO:t
KO:t' auto to un!ipxov evo:nOIJ.EIJ.O:YilEV11 KO:t i:vo:neaq>po:ytollEV11, 6no(o: OUK &v yevot to
uno IJ.Tj un!ipxovtos).
12
This, again, applies to cognitive impressions. See M 7.252: 'this kind of impression has a
peculiarity (tt iliiwlltx) which differentiates it from other impressions [i.e. cognitive impressions of
similar things]'.
13
The idea of a numerically identical world repeating itself may be hard to grasp. But an analogy
could help. According to ancient myth, the Phoenix burnt itself on a funeral pyre and rose from the
ashes with renewed strength to live through another cycle. Now, the story tells us, what rose from the
ashes was not another bird numerically, but the very same bird that existed earlier. Similarly, according
to the orthodox version of the theory, it is not another world which rises from the ashes of the
conflagration, but the very same world numerically.
Causation is Necessitating 23
in the qualities of its objects, in how each of them is intrinsically disposed, and in
how they are related to each other.
14
As Nemesius indicates further down in his
report: 'Everything will be just the same and indiscernible down to the smallest
details' .
15
2.2 The Argument for Transcyclical Indiscernibility
Why should the present world and the world that will rise after the conflagration
be indiscernible from each other?
There is no surviving evidence that explicitly reports what the Stoic argument
was. But as has been suggested by some modem scholars it may have proceeded
from considerations about the nature of god and, in particular, from his incapacity
for creating a new world other than one strictly identical to the present one.
16
Suppose that the world created by god in the next cycle were discernible from the
world of the present cycle; it would have to be either worse or better than the
present one; but, given god's nature, neither the option of creating a better world
nor that of creating a worse one is really available to him;
17
therefore, the new
world cannot be discernible from the present one.
18
14
As a matter of fact, the transcyclical indiscernibility is meant to cover all objects however
described: as qualified (1toux), as somehow disposed exov.-o:) and as somehow relatively
disposed n EJCOV"t"O:). In the Nemesius passage quoted at the beginning of this section we
are given examples of each of these descriptions: (A) 'again there will be Socrates and Plato and each
of mankind' (ecrecr8o:t 1t!XAtv :EwKp(hTj KO:t IU!itwvo: KO:t EKO:OtOV t&v av8pW1tWV), which
implies an identity in peculiarly qualified objects 1tOta); for the recurrence of peculiar
qualities, see also Chrysippus ap. Alexander, in Ar. a. p1: 180, 33-6 (SVF 2.624; LS 52F): 'even the
same peculiarly qualified individual as before comes to be again in that world' (Kat "t"OV Ttotov
Tt!iA.tv .-ov a.u.-ov •!\> 1tp6cr8ev eivo:i n: Ka.'i yivecr8a.t tv eKeivljl t!\> (B) 'they will
put their hand to the same things' (.-&: a.u.-&: fLE"t«.JCetpteicr8a.t), that is, each individual person will
be so disposed as to perform the same actions, which implies an identity in disposition; and (C) 'every
city and village and piece of land return in the same way' (1tiicro:v 1t6A.w Ka.t KWfLTJV Ka.\ aypov
tX1t01Ctt8icr.-o:cr8o:t), which arguably implies an identity in relative disposition if cities and
villages are regarded as something that is not over and above a group of individual things related to
each other in a certain way.
15
N 112, l-3: 1ttXV"ta. KO:t &JCpl Ka.t .-&v t\A.a.xia.-wv <eaea8a.t>.
16
See Mansfeld, 'Providence and the destruction of the universe', 160-63; M. Pohlimz, Die Stoa
(Gottingen, 1949), 181; F.H. Sandbach, The Stoics (London, 1975), 79; and D. Furley, 'Cosmology',
inK. Algra et al. (eds), Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1999), 438-9.
1
7 A change for better or worse would have to involve a change for better or for worse in god's
nature, which is impossible. For in Stoic theology god is what he is by necessity insofar as his attributes
are deductively inferred from a conceptually necessary initial claim such as 'god is something than
which a greater cannot be thought of'. For this initial claim, see notably Cicero, nat. deor. 2.18. On the
role of this initial claim for establishing god's attributes (with the exception of existence, which is
presupposed rather than proved), see J. Brunschwig, 'Did Diogenes of Babylon invent the ontological
argument?', in Papers in Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1994), 170 n.l.
18
This line of argument, which Mansfeld ascribes to Zeno, resembles one developed by Aristotle
in de philosophia, even though in Aristotle it is used for a totally different purpose, namely, to establish
the etemity of the world (and, in particular, the idea that a wholly good demiurgic god could not
possibly destroy the present world). See Aristotle, fr.l9c Ross.
24 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
This line of argument, however, is open to a potential objection. Granting that
the world in the next cycle will be equally good, an identity in goodness does not
imply complete indiscemibility all by itself; for the new world can contain an
equal amount of goodness (as many good things as there are now and with the
same degree of goodness) and yet differ in other respects, and especially in respect
to the Stoic indifferents it contains, which are neither good nor bad.
19
Given the
Stoic distinction between goodness and indifference, and their claim that there are
indifferent things, which they further divide into preferred, dispreferred and
completely indifferent indifferents,
20
the Stoics themselves should not infer
complete indiscemibility from mere indiscemibility in goodness.
In the remainder of this section, I explore (a) a possible line of reply to this
objection, (b) a counter-objection to this reply, and (c) a response the orthodox
Stoics could give to this counter-objection. Although this dialectical exchange is
not attested in our sources, imagining what would have been the Stoic position in
it will help us understand some crucial ideas they actually developed in connection
with regularity-based causal determinism.
A reply to the initial objection could run as follows: exactly the same amount
of dispreferred indifference as is contained in the present world will have to recur
transcyclically if, as is granted by the opponent, the same amount of goodness has
to recur; but if the amount of dispreferred indifference is the same, the amount of
preferred indifference must also be the same, for these latter two amounts are
strictly correlative to each other - any variation in either of them entails an
inversely proportional variation in the other.
21
19
This philosophical point is often missed by modern scholars. See, notably, Sandbach, The Stoics,
79; Mansfeld, 'Theology', 467-8; and Furley, 'Cosmology', 439.
20
See DL 7.101-3 (LS S8A), DL 104-S (SVF 3.119; LS S8B); E 2.79, 18-80, 13 (LS S8C); E 2.84,
18-SS, 11 (SVF 3.128; LS SSE); M 11.64-7 (SVF 1.361; LS S8F); Stoic. rep. l048A (SVF 3.137; LS
SSH).
21
This is true in at least two complementary senses: (I) the degree of preferredness embodied in
any one entity is inversely proportional to its degree of dispreferredness (the more disprefened
something is the less preferred it is), and (2) the total amount of preferred indifference contained in
the world is inversely proportional to the total amount of dispreferred indifference it contains (for
example, a new case of measles in the same population means that a person who was healthy became
ill, which implies an increase in dispreferred indifference, but also an inversely proportional decrease
in preferred indifference). All this is a consequence of the orthodox Stoic notion that preferred ness is
the strict opposite of dispreferredness, both in definition and in its individual instances. See DL
7.101-3 (LS S8A). Cf. E 2.S4, IS-SS, II (SVF 3.128; LS SSE). There is, however, an alternative
strategy for proving that the amount of preferred indifference must remain constant from cycle to
cycle. It consists in arguing that a transcyclical change in this amount is, as in the case of goodness
(see above), contrary to god's nature: he cannot create a new world with a lesser amount of preferred
indifference, because, all else being equal, preferred indifferents are objectively preferable to
dispreferred indifferents and god is perfectly rational; and neither can he create a new world with a
greater amount of preferred indifference, because, if he could create in any one cycle a world whose
amount of preferred indifference is greater than that contained in the world of the previous cycle, this
would mean that in the creation of the world of the previous cycle he was imperfectly rational. For the
idea that ceteris paribus preferred indifferents are objectively preferable to disprefened indifferents,
see, for example, Zeno and Antipater in E 2.S4, 18-SS, II (SVF 3.12S; LS SSE) and 2.S3, 10-S4, 2
(SVF 3.124; LS SSD).
Causation is Necessitating 25
The crucial contention that the amount of goodness determines the amount of
dispreferred indifference may find support in detailed argument. Stoic dispreferred
indifferents are inevitable concomitants to the teleological ordering of the world.
22
If so, in any world-cycle there will have to be the same amount of dispreferred
indifference, if the amount of goodness is also the same. To illustrate this idea, we
may focus on a concrete example from Chrysippus.
23
One good end pursued by
the Stoic god in the present world is human rationality. The necessary means for
achieving this end is our skull's being composed of thin and tiny portions of bone.
But precisely for this reason human skulls are fragile and susceptible to being
damaged by small blows and knocks. In other words, the extent to which a skull
may encase a brain capable of rationality is directly proportional to its thinness;
but the thinner it is, the more fragile it becomes. In consequence, if the present
world and the next do possess the same amount of human rationality, as is
demanded by the indiscernibility of their goodness, they will also have to possess
the same amount of dispreferred indifference with respect to the fragility of our
skull: its degree of fragility in the present world and in the next will have to be
identical.2
4
One important aspect of this idea is that god himself is not in a
position to give us a stronger skull: its current degree of fragility is a necessary
concomitant to its current thinness, which is the indispensable means to achieve
our current degree of rationality. As Mansfeld has observed,
25
Chrysippean
concomitants are best understood as the result of a compromise: god knows in
advance that the execution of his overall plan inevitably requires the use of means
22
See NA 7.1.7-13 (SVF 2.1170; LS 54Q). Although the passage is mainly concerned with
explaining the existence of evil, it is in connection with illnesses, infirmities and diseases (which are
dispreferred indifferents, not evils) that Chrysippus introduces the notion of events that are
concomitant to (Ketta ltetpo:KoA.otlBTJcrtv) good ends. See especially 7.1.7-11. However, it might
have been Chrysippus' original position that not all dis preferred indifferents are concomitant to good
ends. See Chrysippus ap. Plutarch, Stoic. rep. 10440 (SVF 2.1163; LS 540), which appears to suggest
that some are concomitant to ends that are just preferred. On this interpretation, the amount of
goodness would not fix the total amount of dispreferred indifference, as one part of it would be fixed
by the amount of preferred indifference. This would require an argument for transcyclical
indiscernibility that would differ from the one I propose in the main text. In particular, it would have
to establish first an indiscernibility in preferred indifference (instead of inferring it from an
indiscernibility in dis preferred indifference; cf. the argument at the end of the previous footnote). On
the other hand, and given the necessary benevolence of the Stoic god, I do not see how the Stoics
could justify the existence of dispreferred indifferents without ascribing to them the status of
'inevitable concomitants' to ends (either good or preferred). I believe there is a tension in Stoic theory
between, on the one hand, the idea intimated in some sources that dispreferred indifferents may be
indispensable as a means for achieving goodness (for example, Chrysippus ap. Epictetus in D 2.6.9
(SVF 3.191; LS 58J)) and, on the other, the idea that goodness does not require indifferents, which we
find in DL 7.104-105 (SVF 3.119; LS 58B).
2
3 The example occurs in the Gellius passage cited in the previous footnote. It is borrowed by
Chrysippus from Plato. See Tim. 74e-75d.
24
Strictly speaking, the argument just developed can only establish that our skull's degree of
fragility cannot be lower than it actually is. To the objection that it could be higher, Chrysippus would
reply that a benevolent god - as is the case with the Stoic god - would not cause us to have a skull
whose degree of fragility is needlessly high.
25
See 'Providence and the destruction of the universe', 158-9.
26 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
that bring about negative phenomena;
26
thus, he determines their occurrence in
return for being allowed to execute his plan.
A potential counter-objection to this Stoic line of reply is that the
indiscernibility in the total amount of preferred or dispreferred indifference does
not guarantee on its own an indiscernibility in the things that are totally indifferent.
Consider again Chrysippus' skull example. Different skulls that differ in their size
or shape may have exactly the same degree of thinness and, hence, of fragility.
Thus my skull may be slightly larger in the next cycle and yet embody the same
amount of dispreferred indifference. If so, the present world will be indiscernible
from the next in the amount of dispreferred indifference it contains with respect to
the fragility of my skull; but it will be discernible regarding the size of my skull,
which, all else being equal, is a totally indifferent thing. Thus, god can in principle
introduce various changes in the set of totally indifferent things from one cycle to
the other without prejudice to the teleological necessity of always reproducing the
same amount of goodness and the same amount of concomitant dispreferred
indifference.
To be sure, god would need to undertake a highly complex calculation to
introduce changes of this sort. For any of them could have a more or less
substantive knock-on effect on the overall amount of dispreferred indifference. For
example, the larger size of my skull in the next cycle may cause the barber to take
slightly longer to cut my hair, with the result that he leaves the shop slightly later,
which may result in his being run over by a car that had just missed him in the
present cycle. To avoid the risk of such effects taking place, god would need to
introduce a series of adjustments to counterbalance the changes he introduced.
Lest the barber be run over by the car, god would need to ensure, for example, that
he cuts my hair at a greater speed, which would require that the barber spends a
greater amount of energy, which would have to be compensated somehow, and so
on. The counter-objection, then, would be that there is apparently nothing that
could prevent god from introducing changes from cycle to cycle in the set of
totally different things, provided that he undertakes a calculation aimed at
establishing the adjustments needed for securing a constant amount of dispreferred
indifference, which could otherwise be affected through the potential knock-on
effects of such changes. Unless this calculation does take place, there would be no
guarantee that the amount of dispreferred indifference remains constant from one
cycle to the other, as is required by the teleological necessity that the amount of
goodness remains constant.
How would the orthodox Stoics have reacted to this counter-objection? A
historically plausible possibility is that they would have simply drawn the
opponent's attention to the fact that, when he was planning the course of events of
26 Regarding god's incapacity to do otherwise, cf. the use of modal terminology in Gellius' report
at NA 7.1.9, and especially the idea that 'while [nature] was bringing about many great works and
perfecting their fitness and utility, many disadvantageous things accrued as inseparable from her actual
products (alia quoque simul adgnata sunt incornmoda his ipsis quae faciebat cohaerentia). These, he
says, were created in accordance with nature, but through certain necessat)' [necessaria]
"concomitances" (which he calls Ka-ca napaKoA.oll6T]Ol v)'.
Causation is Necessitating 27
a new cycle, the Stoic god did not undertake any calculation at all. And there is at
least one powerful reason that explains why he does not undertake any calculation.
Why would he take the trouble involved in undertaking it if ex hypothesi the total
amount of dispreferred indifference will not be affected? The trouble would be
pointless and arbitrary (and hence contrary to god's rationality), unless he could
use the change to decrease the amount of dispreferred indifference. But we have
seen that this is something he cannot do. Now, the suggestion has some degree of
plausibility because there is evidence that the Stoic god undertakes no calculation
at all when planning a new cycle. It comes in the lines immediately following the
passage quoted at the beginning of the previous section:
the gods who are not subject to destruction, from their knowledge of this single period,
know from it everything that is going to be in the next periods.
27
Given that in Stoic theory providence rests on foreknowledge,
28
and given also
that god
29
got his foreknowledge of the present cycle from his knowledge of the
previous one Gust as he gets his foreknowledge of the next cycle from his
knowledge of the present one
30
), our passage implies that his providential
27
N Ill, 26-112, 1: lle ILTJ 't''!i 't'txlhn,
m:pt65<tJ, YWWOKEW be 1ttXV't'(X ,a, IJ.EAAOV't'(X eoeo6n:t
ev The translation above (Long and Sedley's in LS 52C; my emphasis)
presupposes that the comma that Morani's Teubner edition inserts after 't'IXU't'U goes before 't'IXU't'U. The
meaning changes slightly if one follows Morani's punctuation as the thesis seems to become more
general: 'the gods who are not subject to this destruction [to a destruction by conflagration], from their
knowledge of a single period [of any single period that they know], know from it everything that is
going to be in the next periods'.
28
Since (a) divine providence presupposes predetermination and (b) predetermination, in turn,
presupposes foreknowledge. Providence implies predetermination because, to ensure that the world as
a whole (in extension and duration) turns out to be as good as possible, god has to predetermine right
from the start of the cycle everything that will happen and exist in it. And predetermination implies
foreknowledge because god could not be said to predetermine X to happen unless he thereby acquires
foreknowledge that X will happen. Divine foreknowledge is not just a sufficient condition for
predetermination, but also a necessary one (god predetetmines X to happen if and only if god foreknows
that X will happen). These issues are extensively discussed in Sorabji, Necessity, Cause and Blame,
chaps 6 and 7 and, more recently, in R. Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil (Oxford, 1998),
chap. 7.
29
The reference in Nemesius to 'gods' in the plural does not necessarily mean that there are various
numerically distinct deities at play. It may merely reflect the multiplicity of guises of the one Stoic god.
On this question, see LS I, 331. But the plural may mean the presence of various deities, in which case
the thesis that none of them is destroyed would depart from Clu-ysippus' position. For according to him,
as Mansfeld rightly observes ('Theology', 468), 'with the exception of Zeus, the gods, e.g. the sun and
the moon, are subject to generation and destruction'. See Chrysippus ap. Plutarch, Stoic. rep. l052a.
Thus, if the plural in the present passage is taken to refer to the plurality of deities, the thesis that none
of them is destroyed could imply that the whole theory is earlier than Chrysippus- a possibility that is
consistent with two facts: (i) the origin of the key-notion of is also earlier than
Chrysippus, and (ii) the theory reported by Nemesius is the earliest Stoic version of the doctrine of
everlasting recurrence.
30
See LS I, 3ll: 'god knows from acquaintance with any one world all that will happen in
subsequent worlds'.
28 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
determination and planning of the present cycle was itself determined by his
knowledge of earlier cycles rather than by a calculation. Knowing in detail the
complete chain of events that took place in these earlier cycles, what the Stoic god
actually does is simply to ensure that this chain obtains again, by setting up its
initial sufficient conditions.
We may appreciate in some detail how this process works if we bear in mind
that the complete sequence of events of any one cycle is predetermined ab initio.
This ab initio predetermination is carried out through what the Stoics call the
'seminal formula' of each thing - a notion that David
Hahm has aptly described in terms of 'the formula in the seed' of each thing,
'according to which the emergent offspring takes its shape' and that determines
'what is shall be and how it shall behave during its life' .
31
The information
contained in these formulae is set up at the very beginning of each cycle. Thus, the
initial mass of pure fire left by the conflagration, is 'as it were a sperm which
possesses the principles of all things' (Ka8anepe( n onepf.La 1:wv dmav-cwv
ex;ov and it embraces 'all the seminal formulae according to
which individual things come to be by fate' ( onepj.Lan
Ka8. eKao-ca Kae. eij.Lapj.LEVTJV y(ve1:at).
32
In order for the
complete sequence of events of the present cycle to be identical to that of the
previous cycle, their seminal formulae must contain exactly the same information.
And to ensure that this be the case, god's knowledge of the previous cycle- which
involves the knowledge of the content of its seminal formulae - is needed, unless
he were to undertake a calculation, which would go against his rationality.
2.3 Transcyclical Identity and Determinism
We are now in a good position to draw the deterministic implications of everlasting
recurrence. To take an example, let c be the set of causal conditions that brought
about Napoleon's defeat at the battle of Waterloo in the present world-cycle, and
let r be the event consisting in the causation of Napoleon's defeat by c. Now
suppose that in the next cycle c obtains but Napoleon wins the battle. The world
of the next cycle would be discernible from the world of the present one. They
would differ with respect to r, which does not obtain in the next cycle. But this is
impossible, as we have seen. Therefore, r must obtain in both cycles, which means
that if c obtains in the next cycle (as it must), Napoleon's defeat has to obtain as
well. The necessity affecting the obtention of r in the next cycle has its ultimate
source in god's necessary nature, which includes his rationality. A similar
31
D.E. Hahm, The Origins of Stoic Cosmology (Columbus, Ohio, 1977), 75-6.
32
See, respectively, praep. ev. 15.14.1 (SVF 1.98) and E 1.37, 22-3 (SVF 2.1027). See also E
1.153, 7-22 (SVF 1.497): wanep yap ·n "ta J.UlpT] 1ttXV'tlX qruE"tlX\ EK 07tEPJ.ItX'tWV EV
KIXBtJKOUO\ oihw KIXt 'tOU oA.ou ta J.LEpT], wv KIXt ta ((\IIX KIXt ta cputa OV'tlX
tuyx&vet, ev KIXBt]Kouat cpuetlXt ('Just as all the parts of a single entity grow from
seeds at the proper times, so too the parts of the universe, among which both animals and plants happen
to be included, grow at the proper times').
Causation is Necessitating 29
argument may be mounted to the effect that r had to obtain in the present cycle.
From the fact that it obtained in the present cycle, we may infer that it must have
obtained in earlier cycles; but if it did obtain then, it must have obtained now.
Mutatis mutandis, the argument applies to any past cycle given the
beginninglessness of the sequence of world-cycles in orthodox Stoicism.
33
Notice that in this theory the explanation of an event differs from the explanation
of its necessity. To explain Napoleon's defeat, cis sufficient. Everlasting recurrence
does not have a direct role to play in this account. In particular, the proximate
reason why Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo is not that Napoleon was defeated
at Waterloo in earlier cycles. Everlasting recurrence plays a direct explanatory role
only when it comes to establish the necessity of the event: the reason why Napoleon
had to be defeated given c is that this particular instance of causation obtained in
earlier cycles and no transcyclical variation is allowed. Notice too that the theory
implies a principle of regularity ('same causes, same effects') in which the
regularities at stake are not hypothetical but factual. The idea is not that if the same
causes were repeated, they would bring about the same effects (meaning that it does
not matter whether the causes will ever be repeated), but rather that, when the same
causes are repeated in the next cycle (meaning that they will be repeated), they will
bring about, by necessity, the same effects. The origin of the necessity is
transcyclical indiscernibility, which precludes the possibility of world-cycles that
are different from those that have and will actually come about.
I hope to have shown in this chapter that regularity-based determinism is
constitutive of the orthodox Stoic doctrine of everlasting recurrence. The kind of
regularity involved in everlasting-recurrence determinism, however, is peculiar.
Consider once more the Napoleon example. The causal relation between c and his
defeat at Waterloo does not obtain with regularity within any one cycle (Napoleon
is defeated at Waterloo only once in each cycle). But it obtains with regularity from
cycle to cycle (he is defeated at Waterloo once in every cycle). Transcyclical
regularities such as this one differ substantially from the regularities that are
empirically accessible to us, which are 'intracyclical' in kind, for example, the
daily recurrence of sunrise. The difference is substantive and should not be
underestimated. But it should not distract us from the fact that the early Stoics did
appeal to regularities to argue for the necessity of causation.
The examination undertaken so far in this book of the argument for Stoic
determinism is now complete. Its two basic theses find support on separate but
complementary early Stoic arguments. Given the argument from bivalence,
everything has a cause; and given the orthodox version of the doctrine of
everlasting recurrence, every cause must of necessity have the effects it actually
has. With this remark I conclude the part of this book devoted to determinism, and
turn to the problem of compatibilism.
33
In addition to the crucial evidence from the Nemesius passage discussed in section 2.1, where it
is at least suggested that there is always a prior cycle ('each thing which occurred in the previous period
will come to pass indiscernibly': EK!XOtOV ev t'fi 1tpOtEp«j: m:pt6c'itp ytvOf.LEVOV
linoteA.eicr8txt), see also Gels. 4.28 (SVF 2.626).
PART II
COMPATIBILISM
Chapter 3
The Threat of External Determination
In this chapter, I start the exposition of what I called the 'four' Stoic theories. All
four were designed to meet specific challenges raised by different kinds of
incompatibilist opponents. In order fully to appreciate why the Stoics developed
these theories and not others, it is essential to look carefully at the philosophical
context of each.
The theory explored in the present chapter is compatibilist and the discussion
that gave rise to it concerns specifically the issue of external determination. One
condition that compatibilists and incompatibilists alike deem necessary for
holding us responsible for the occurrence of a state or event is that it be not
determined solely by factors that are external to us. By the time of the Stoics, this
concern with external determination was not new. It is prominent in Aristotle, as is
indicated by the analysis he offers of voluntariness in EN. Both legal and moral
responsibility require voluntariness and a state or event x is a voluntary action of
an agent a only if the efficient cause of x is inside a.
1
Thus, being blown to an
unknown destination by a storm is not a voluntary action of the sailor. It is
something that merely happens to him as a result of external forces. In
consequence, it is not something for which he can be held responsible. Generally,
the cause should not be purely external because, if it were, it is not us, but our
environment, that should eventually (and sometimes absurdly) be praised or
blamed for the state or event.
2
The philosophical question addressed in the present chapter is whether this
'internality requirement', as I shall call it, can be met in a world governed by
determinism. One major objection against compatibilism turns on this issue. The
objection (henceforth the 'externalist objection') is that, if every state and event is
determined by prior causes, then everything we do is in fact fully determined by
external factors alone. In consequence, the internality requirement cannot be met
and causal determinism would remove any possible ground for the justified
ascription of responsibility. But is the externalist objection cogent? A central
compatibilist argument developed by Chrysippus was designed to rebut it. On his
1
On the idea that voluntariness is required both for legal and for moral responsibility, see
respectively EN 1109b30-35 and book 3, chapter 5. On the idea that the cause's being spatially outside
the agent is sufficient for involuntariness see EN liiOal 1110b2 (ev 1:oi9 EK'to9), lllOblO
and 1135a27-8 (wo1tep ei 'tl9 A.o:Pwv •iJv xeipo: o:u1:oil •umot e1:epov, oux eKwv).
On this particular issue, see D. Furley, 'Self-movers', in A.O. Rorty (ed.) Essays on Aristotle's Ethics
(Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1980), 59 and 62-5 and D. Charles, Aristotle's Philosophy of Action
(London, 1984),99-107.
2
See EN lll0b9-17.
33
34 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
view 'everything is determined by prior causes' does not have to imply that we are
always at the mercy of purely external forces. The internality requirement, which
is a necessary condition for responsibility (either legal or moral, as Aristotle
claims), can in some relevant cases be perfectly met in a world governed by
determinism.
The version of the externalist objection that we find in the Hellenistic period is
specifically directed against the Stoic theory of the psychology of action. The
charge is that if the psychology of action works as the Stoics suppose it does, then
every activity that we undergo, including what we call our 'actions', is ultimately
determined by external factors alone. Section 3.2 is devoted to studying this
version of the objection. As for Chrysippus' reply to the objection, an analysis of
the argument is offered in section 3.3. Given that the externalist objection hinges
on the account the Stoics provide of the psychology of action, I begin in section
3.1 with an analysis of this account and of the early Stoic notion of action.
3.1 The Stoic Theory of the Psychology of Action
In Stoic theory the 'psychology of action', or sequence of mental states and events
that typically leads to an action, takes place in the region of the agent's soul known
as the ruling part (r'jyqwvn:6v), which in the case of humans is said to consist in
his thought or mind (th&voux).
3
According to the Stoics, if an action has taken
place, there are at least three phenomena that must have occurred in the mind prior
to the action. 4
(1) To begin, the agent must have received an impression (<panaaia). Stoic
impressions are epistemic states that possess the following characteristics: (i) their
causal origin is usually an external state or event, generically labelled the
'impressor' (<pav,;a;o,;6v);
5
(ii) in humans, impressions have a propositional
content in virtue of which they are true or false;
6
(iii) in practical contexts, their
propositional content is of the form I ought to cf>, or it is appropriate (Ka0i1Kov)
3
For a thorough analysis of the Stoic soul, see J. Annas, Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind (Berkeley-
Los Angeles-Oxford, 1992), 37-70.
4
A detailed analysis of the Stoic psychology of action is provided by B. Inwood in Ethics and
Human Action in Early Stoicism (Oxford, 1985), 42-101. See also Annas, Hellenistic Philosophy of
Mind, 89-102 and T. Brennan, 'The old Stoic theory of emotions', in J. Sihvola and T. Engberg-
Pedersen (eds), The Emotions in Hellenistic Philosophy (Dordrecht, 1998), at 26-9.
5
See DG 402, 6-7 (SVF 2.54; LS 39B): 'the cause of an impression is an impressor' (cpav,;aatov
II£ 1:0 ltO\OUV ,;f]v cpavtaaiav). Thus, anything capable of causing an impression is an impressor,
for example, something's being white (a state), Dian's being present (also a state) or Dian's walking
(an event). For examples, see DL 7.117 (SVF 1.625; LS 40F); M 7.402-10 (LS 40H); Acad. 2.83-5 (LS
40J). Objects too cause impressions, but in Virtue of their qualities and dispositions, thanks to the
possession of which they satisfy predicates (and thus constitute states or events). Not every impression,
however, has an external impressor as there are impressions which are not formed through an activity
of the external sense organs. See DL 7.51 (SVF 2.61; LS 39A). See also M 7.241.
6
Propositions which constitute the intensional content of impressions, are the
primary bearers of truth-values. See, for example, M 8. 73-4 (SVF 2.187).
The Threat of External Determination 35
for me to cl>, where cl> is an action.? Practical impressions are called 'impulsive'
(<pcwtcxaiat opj.I.T)'t"tKat). To take an example, ifl see a child trapped in a burning
house and form the impression that I ought to save the child, the impression will
satisfy the three conditions: the child's being trapped in the burning house is the state
that caused me to have the impression that I ought to save him, and the impression
has a propositional content, namely the proposition that I ought to save the child.
(2) In addition to an impulsive impression, action necessarily requires that the
agent assents to the impression.
8
The Greek Stoic term for assent is
auyKa"t&8eat'3. Assent, according to the theory, is directed at the propositional
content of the impression, and consists in a mental act whereby someone accepts
as true the propositional content of an impression. The Stoics maintain that assent
and impression are two separate events that occur in the mind, the latter of which
may take place without the former. For example, someone might have the
impression that the sun is a foot across without accepting as true, or assenting to,
the proposition that the sun is actually a foot across.
(3) The third basic element in the Stoic action theory is practical impulse, or
npaKnK-rl 6pj.Lfj. Practical impulses are a 'motion of the soul towards
something' (<pop a ljru:x;fj'3 en{ n) and, in the case of humans, a 'motion of the
mind towards something in acting' (<popav (havo(a'3 en{ "tt "tWV ev
np&.-.ew).
9
Whereas the object of the assent is the proposition that
cl>-ing is appropriate, the object of the impulse is not the proposition, but rather
the action itself (cl>), which is expressed in a predicate (Ka"tT)yopT)j.La)
embedded in the proposition.
10
But the psychic motion in which the impulse
consists is one that must be preceded by, or involve, an act of assent. Once I
receive the evaluative impression that I ought to cl>, and assent to the proposition,
the act of assent is followed by an impulse for cl>-ing. An important characteristic
of Stoic practical impulses is that when you exercise one, you are very close
indeed to the action itself. For an impulse is not for the Stoics a vague desire to
act in a certain way, but rather something like the positive intention to act in that
way. An impulse will actually result in action unless you change your mind in
the meantime or find some unexpected external obstacle that bars the execution
of the act. According to one source that is of crucial importance for the
understanding of the Stoic theory of the psychology of action, the Stoics held in
the context of this theory that every human impulse is numerically identical to
an act of assent to an evaluative impression (n&aa'3 M: "tlh 6pj.La'3
1
See E 2.86, 17-18 (SVF 3.169; LS 53Q). For discussion of this particular point, see A.A. Long,
'The early Stoic concept of moral choice', in F. Bossier et a!. (eds), Images of Man in Ancient and
Medieval Thought: Studia Gerardo Verbeke (Leuven, 1976), 90-91; LS 2, 318; Inwood, Ethics and
Human Action in Early Stoicism, 224 and Annas, Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind, 91.
8
See Stoic. rep. 1057A (SVF 3.177; LS 53S). Cf. Cicero, Acad. 2.24-5.
9
See E 2.86, 19-87, 6 (SVF 3.169; LS 53Q) and E 2.88, 2-6 (SVF 3.171; LS 33I).
10
See E 2.97, 23-98, I (SVF 3.91; LS 331) discussed in LS 2 201. The notion that the term '<IJ-ing'
has a predicative function in the proposition clJ-ing is appropriate may be appreciated if the proposition
is rephrased as I ought to F. See Long, 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice', 90-91 and Inwood,
Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 64.
36 The Stoics on Detemtbtism and Compatibilism
eivat).u My assenting to the impression that <I>-ing is
appropriate and my exercising an impulse for <I>-ing are not two separate events,
but one and the same event described in two different ways. This idea has been
amply discussed by some scholars.
12
One basic intuition that underlies it seems to
have been that someone who assents to an impression whose content is the
proposition that <I>-ing is appropriate is thereby adopting a pro-attitude towards the
action of <I>-ing; and this pro-attitude is precisely what the impulse for <I>-ing is.
13
This intuition, in tum, is probably based on the still more basic intuition that
someone who accepts as true a proposition such as iP-ing is appropriate cannot but
adopt a pro-attitude towards <I>-ing.
14
This latter thesis reappears in contemporary
philosophy as a tenet of some action theories and, notably, in Davidson's.
15
There are other sources, however, where one finds a weaker formulation of the
relation. One case in point is Stoic. rep. 1057A (SVF 3.177; LS 53S), where it is
said that for Chrysippus and Antipater there can be no impulse without an act of
assent.
16
No identity claim is explicitly made. In recent scholarship, and in line
with this non-identity view of interpretation, Inwood has claimed that Stoic
impulses are 'parallel' to acts of assent in the sense that they are controlled and
determined by, but not strictly speaking identical to, the latterY The assent to a
proposition such as iP-ing is appropriate causes an impulse. And the impulse,
Inwood believes, is something like the utterance of the imperative You, cfJ that the
agent addresses to himself. Accepting as true a proposition such as iP-ing is
appropriate causes the agent to order himself to perform the action that is
mentioned in the proposition.
18
We may leave aside the intricacies of Inwood's
interpretation, since they do not affect the notion I wish to emphasize in
connection with the relation between assent and impulse. And this is, first, that
impulses constitute pro-attitudes towards courses of action - what one has an
impulse for is typically an action as expressed in a predicate embedded in the
propositional content of an impression - and, second, that these pro-attitudes are
II E 2.88, 1 (SVF 3.171; LS 33I).
12
See D. Tsekourakis, Studies in the Terminology of Early Stoic Ethics (Wiesbaden, 1974),
ll0-11; Long, 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice', 90-91; LS 2, 200; Annas, Hellenistic
Philosophy of Mind, 92-7; M.C. Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire (Princeton, NJ, 1994), 373-86 and
R. Joyce, 'Early Stoicism and aki·asia', Phronesis 40 (1995), 315-35 at 319-22.
13
For the talk of pro-attitudes (as a Davidsonian term of art) in connection with the Stoic
psychology of action, see Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 9.
14
See Long, 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice', 91: 'To assent to a proposition is to accept
it as true, but the proposition in question refers to action in the future. It can only be accepted as true
by an agent who seeks to dispose himself in the manner prescribed' (my emphasis).
15
See his principle (P2) in 'How is weakness of the will possible?', 23; cf. the opening moves of
his 'Actions, reasons, and causes', both in Essays on Actions and Events (New York, 1980).
16 See also Cicero, Acad. 2.24-5.
17
See Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 42-66 and especially 61-2. For criticism, see
Annas, Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind, 92-7 (esp. 96 n. 20). See also G. Boys-Stones, 'The epeleustik2
dunamis in Aristo's psychology of action', Phronesis 41 (1996), 75-94 at 92 n. 24.
18
Crucial to Inwood's interpretation is the evidence from Plutarch (Stoic. rep. 1037F; SVF 3.175;
LS 53R), according to whom Chrysippus maintained that impulse is 'reason prescribing action'
opf!i) KIX'tCX y' IXU'tOV 'tOU av6p!.>1tOU A.6yo9 i:o,;l 7tpOO'tO:K'tlK09 O:U'ti!> 'tOU 1tOtEiv).
The Threat of External Determination 37
intrinsically connected - by causation if not by identity - to the acceptance of a
certain kind of proposition.I9
To sum up, the sequence leading to an action according to the Stoic theory
consists in the following chain: you first come across an impressor I which causes
you to form a certain impression, the impression must be given assent and, when
it is given assent, the act of assent constitutes (or causes) an impulse for acting in
a certain way. The practical impulse, in tum, if nothing external hinders (and there
is no change of mind), leads to the action itself.
Although a good deal of information may be gathered from our sources about
the Stoic theory of the psychology of action, we do not know much about the Stoic
concept of action itself. The following remarks, some of them conjectural, may
help to adumbrate some of its elements.
Every action requires the occurrence of a practical impulse; however, not every
practical impulse, while active, yields an action. As we have seen, some
unexpected external obstacle may bar the physical execution of the act towards
which the impulse is directed. Thus the motion of the mind in which the impulse
consists is not yet the action. And it follows from this that the action is not the
impulse: even though every action presupposes an impulse, it is not identical to it.
But the action should not be identified either with the eventual motion of the limbs
or the external organs (tongue, lips, eyes and so on) whereby the agent puts the
impulse into practice. For an action can take place without any such motion. To
take an example, if I assent to the proposition that it is appropiate to remain still,
and I do remain still, my remaining still is an action. It is an action because it is
the result of an impulse that follows (or consists in) the assent given to a certain
practical impression. As in the present example, however, the action does not, or
does not have to, involve any motion of the limbs or the external organs. This is
because the action presented in the impression is not defined by the motion of the
limbs or the external organs. On the contrary it is defined, precisely, in terms of the
absence of their motion. A general definition of action, therefore, has to do justice
to these two restrictions: it cannot be identical either to an impulse or to a motion
of the limbs or the external organs.
To define action, one may appeal to what the Stoics call the 'tension' ('t6voc;:)
of the mind. To illustrate what this tension is, Galen offers the analogy of the
muscles of an arm under strain: they are active and yet at rest as a whole.
20
The
activity underlying this tension is analysed by the Stoics in terms of a tensile
motion (·rovtKTJ KtV'IlOt'il) of the mind's breath (1tVEUIJ.O:), which consists in its
19
This notion is preserved intact in Inwood's interpretation because on his view: (i) I would not
have addressed to myself the order to «<I - which on Inwood's view is what the impulse consists in -
had I not assented in the first place to the proposition which presents «1»-ing as appropriate or otherwise
valuable (for example, the proposition that it befits me to «<I, to use Inwood's terminology); and (ii) to
assent to that proposition is precisely what makes me address that order to myself. See Ethics and
Human Action in Early Stoicism, 91-101.
20
See De museu/arum motu 4.403, 11-16. For two other similar examples, see 4.402, 1-11 and
402, 12-403, 10 (SVF 2.450; LS 47K). For the Stoic notion of tension and tensile motion, see also
Alexander of Aphrodisias, mixt. 224, 14-26 (SVF 2.442; LS 471) and N 18, 2-10 (LS 47J).
38 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
physically stretching in opposite directions so as to reach, as in the example of the
arm under strain, a certain equilibrium. These notions are implied in Cleanthes'
views on the nature of action. According to Seneca, he defined the action of
walking, not as a certain motion of the feet, but as the event consisting in the
mind's breath stretching from the mind to the feet (spiritum esse a principali usque
in pedes permissum).
21
The opposite directions taken by the stretching are
revealed in the back and forth motion of the feet of the walking person. Although
Seneca does not plunge into the details of Cleanthes' action theory, it may have
been the latter's view that an action is a tensional state of the mind, brought about
by an impulse, that may or may not go along with a motion of the limbs or the
external organs, depending on the nature of the impulse.
22
For example, when the
translation of an impulse into practice requires a motion of the limbs (as in the case
of walking), then, if nothing external hinders, the impulse causes a certain tension
and tensile motion of the mind, which is the action proper. In this case, the action
proper goes along with the motion of the limbs that is characteristic of walking.
This motion is not the action itself, but something inseparable from the action.
Otherwise, when the translation of the impulse into practice does not require a
bodily motion, or requires the absence of bodily motions (as in the case of
remaining still), the impulse causes a different tension and tensile motion of the
soul, and thus a different action, which does not go along with any motion of the
limbs.
In either case, the impulse can be frustrated by external factors. My impulse for
walking, for example, is frustrated by the presence of a wall that surrounds me, and
my impulse for remaining still is frustrated by the wind of a hurricane that throws
me to the ground. The frustration is analogous in both cases in that I fail to satisfy
the predicate at which my impulse is directed: in the former case I assented to the
proposition that walking is appropriate but fail to satisfy the predicate to walk; in
the latter case, I assented to the proposition that remaining still is appropriate, but
fail to satisfy the predicate to remain still. I explore further some aspects of the
Stoic theory of the psychology of action in sections 4.2 and 4.3. But from the
account just given in the present section we may gather sufficient elements for
distinguishing between a Stoic action and an event or state that merely happens to
us. Our actions and the events (or states) that merely happen to us are formally
alike in one respect. In both cases we satisfy a certain predicate that expresses a
state or event (and, thus, a certain state or event takes place 'at' us). The crucial
21
See ep. 113.23: Cleanthes and his pupil Chrysippus could not agree in defining the act of
walking. Cleanthes held that it was breath stretching from the mind to the feet, while Chrysippus
maintained that it was the mind itself ('inter Cleanthen et discipulum eius Chrysippum non convenit,
quid sit ambulatio. Cleanthes ail spiritum esse a principali usque in pedes permissum, Chrysippus
ipsum principale').
22
Chrysippus departed from Cleanthes by asserting an identity claim between walking and the
mind's pneuma- walking is 'ipsum principale'- with no reference to the motion of the feet. The
polemic, which I find obscure, may very well evince an emphasis on the part of Chrysippus on the idea
that walking does not consist at all in the motion of the feet that is characteristic of walking. For a
different interpretation, see Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 50-51.
The Threat of External Determination 39
difference is that in the former case, but not in the latter, the total set of causes that
determine that we satisfy a predicate ci> involves an act of assent to the proposition
it is appropriate (for me) to f!J. In the latter case, by contrast, the set of causes may
include external factors only. In particular, it does not include the assent of the
agent. In fact, the distinctive contention of external determinism is that, ultimately,
this set always includes external factors only. Thus, if the externalist objection is
correct and the Stoic theory of the psychology of action entails external
determinism, the Stoic theory cannot accommodate the internality requirement:
the things that it classifies as 'actions' are in fact events that take place at us solely
by virtue of external factors.
3.2 'Epicurus' and the Threat of External Determination
The specific reason that motivated the externalist objection against the Stoics is
that their theory of the psychology of action cannot (supposedly) accommodate
the internality requirement. This is so, it is alleged by the objector, because any
action, as the Stoics themselves emphasize, is the result of a causal chain that
normally starts from an external state or event. Hence, what the Stoics call
'actions' are things that are ultimately determined by external factors alone, even
if the chain involves at some point an act of assent.
The final inference in the argument, however, is fallacious, as is neatly brought
out by Chrysippus. Leaning on a distinction between types of causes, he shows
that the occurrence of an action A may be causally related to the prior occurrence
of an external state or event E without it being the case that the occurrence of A is
fully determined by the occurrence of E. For this reason, the externalist objection,
as addressed against the Stoics, fails.
The objection is documented in Cicero (F 40). We cannot know for sure who
was its author. One possibility, first envisaged by Pamela Ruby, is that it was
Epicurus.
23
A different possibility, entertained by Pohlenz, is that it was
Arcesilaus, an Academic sceptic contemporary of Zeno.
24
For reasons which I
indicate in the next section, I side with Ruby. The objection runs as follows:
They [those who formulated the objection] argued as follows: '[a] If all things come
about by fate, all things come about by an antecedent cause. And [b] if impulses do, so
too do the things which follow on impulse; [c] therefore so too do assentings. But [d] if
the cause of impulse is not located in us, impulse itself too does not depend on us; [e]
and if this is so, neither do those things which are brought about by impulse are [i.e. have
their antecedent cause]2
5
located in us. So [f] neither assentings nor actions depend on
23
In P. Ruby, 'An Epicurean argument in Cicero', Phronesis 15 (1975), 83-5. In this she has been
followed by N. Gulley in 'Lucretius on free will', Symbo/ae Os/oenses 65 (1990), 37-52 at 49-50.
24
See A.M. loppolo, 'Le cause antecedenti in Cic. De Fa to 40', in J. Barnes and M. Mignucci (eds),
Matter and Metaphysics (Naples, 1989), 422 n. 8. For a full discussion of the issue, see Sharples,
Cicero, On Fate, 188-9.
25
I discuss this gloss in the next footnote.
40 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
us; and from this it follows that [g] neither praise nor blame nor honours nor
punishments are just,'26
In what follows, a possible reconstruction of the argument is given. The starred
items are premisses that are implicit in the text and that I have made explicit to
ease understanding.
(1) If all things that occur come about by fate, all things have an antecedent
cause.
(2)* Antecedent causes fully determine their effects: for any two events A and
B, if A is antecedently caused by B, B is sufficient all by itself to bring about
A.
(3)* If everything that occurs has an antecedent cause, every impulse must have
an antecedent cause.27
(4) Antecedent causation is transitive: if X antecedently causes Y and Y
antecedently causes Z, then Z is antecedently caused by X.
(5)* The antecedent cause of impulse is, ultimately, not located in us (non sita
in nobis).
(6)* If something X has its (ultimate) antecedent cause in something that is not
located in us ('non est sita in nobis'), X itself does not depend on us (is not 'in
nostra potestate').
2
B
(7) Therefore, because the (ultimate) antecedent cause of impulses is not
located in us, impulses do not depend on us (are not 'in nostra potestate').
26
'iique ita disserebant: "Si omnia fato fiunt, omnia fiunt causa antecedente; et si adpetitus, ilia
etiam quae adpetitum sequuntur; ergo etiam adsensiones. at si causa adpetitus non est sita in nobis, ne
ipse quidem adpetitus est in nostra potestate; quod si ita est, ne ilia quidem quae adpetitu efficiuntur
sunt sita in nobis. non sunt igitur neque adsensiones neque actiones in nostra potestate. ex quo efficitur
ut nee laudationes iustae sunt nee vituperationes nee honores nee supplicia."' In [e), the Latin merely
says 'and if this is so, neither do those things which are brought about by impulse are located in us'.
But the idea cannot be that such things would be indeed outside us (how could assent, for example,
which the text regards as brought about by impulse, be outside us?). Some translators have tried to
solve the problem by surmising that the meaning of 'sita in nobis' in [d) is not the same as in [e]:
'located in us' in [d) and 'in our power' in [e) (LS I 387); 'located in us' in [d) and 'depend on us' in
[e) (Sharples, Cicero, On Fate, 85). Bobzien, by contrast, translates 'sita in nobis' in both [d) and [e)
as having the same meaning ('lie with us') but claims, on the other hand, that 'sita in nobis' and 'in
nostra potestate' are synonymous expressions (Determinism and Freedom, 245 n. 25). In this case,
however, the point of the objection seems to be lost, namely that since the causes of assent and action
are external to us, assent and action do not depend on us. That this is the general meaning of the
objection is pointed out by Long in 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action',
182-3, followed by Frede in 'The original notion of cause', 139-44.
2
7
This uncontroversial claim is elliptically assumed in step [b] in the text.
28
This is the general principle on which step [d] in the text seems to be based. The argument
underlying (6)* would be: since what is outside us does not depend on us, then whatever is antecedently
caused by something external to us does not depend on us either.
The Threat of External Determination 41
(8) Therefore, the antecedent cause of impulses being the antecedent cause of
the things that are consequent upon impulses, the antecedent cause of the things
that are consequent upon impulse is not located in us (in nobis) and, for this
reason, these things do not depend on us (are not 'in nostra potestate').
29
(9)* Acts of assent and the actions that result from them are among the things
that are consequent upon impulses.
30
(10) Therefore, neither our acts of assent nor our actions depend on us and, this
being so, we cannot justifiably be praised or blamed for them.
31
We may bring out the kernel of the argument without having to agonize on all its
problematic details. Its main premisses are (2)*, (4), (5)* and (6)*. The
combination of (4) and (5)* entails the thesis that the antecedent cause of what is
consequent upon impulse is 'not located in us' (non sita in nobis); that is, it is not
inside, but outside, us. (6)*, in tum, asserts the general thesis that we cannot be
held responsible for something whose antecedent cause is not located in us. And
this thesis is backed up by (2)*, which construes antecedent causes as causes that
fully determine their effect. Thus, a simplified version of the objection would run
as follows: given that what is consequent upon impulse (namely assent and action)
is antecedently caused by something external to us, and given that antecedent
causation is fully determining, it follows that what is consequent upon impulse is
fully determined by something external to us. Therefore, given the internality
requirement for responsibility, we cannot be held responsible (either legally or
morally) either for our actions or for anything consequent upon impulse, for
example, assent.
On this reconstruction, the argument is valid. The problem is that it is unsound.
Premiss (2)*, in particular, is contentious. In fact, it constitutes the target of
Chrysippus' counter-argument. As we shall now see, he will argue that although
every event is fully causally determined by the complete set of factors involved in
its production, the causal relation it bears to each of these factors taken separately
is not (or not always) fully determining: the occurrence of an event A may be
causally related to the prior occurrence of an event B without it being the case that
the occurrence of A is fully determined (that is, sufficiently brought about) by the
occurrence of B alone. This distinction enables Chrysippus to claim that the
existence of a causal relation between our impulses (and acts of assent) and our
external environment does not by itself imply that the former are fully determined
by the latter. In addition to external states and events, the occurrence of acts of
assent and impulses involves internal causes; they are fully determined, or
29 Cf. steps [e] and [f]. This follows from (4), (5)* and (6)*.
Jo This is apparently assumed in the inference from [b] to [c] in the text. In Stoic orthodox doctrine,
however, assent does not follow impulse. The only other passage that apparently construes impulse as
preceding assent is Seneca, ep. 113.18 (discussed in Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early
Stoicism, 81 n. 193). For some conjectures as to why in F 40 impulse is said to precede assent, see LS
2, 384 and Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 247.
>
1
Cf. step [g] in the text. The first part of (10) follows from (8) and (9)*.
42 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
sufficiently brought about, by the combination of these two elements, not by the
external factors alone. This enables Chrysipplis to maintain universal causal
determinism:
(A) It is true of any object X and any activity <II that, if X <11-es (or <II takes place
at X), then X's <11-ing is fully determined by its cause, that is, the whole set of
causal factors involved in its production.
At the same time, Chrysippus is able to deny universal external determination by
leaving room for events that take place at us while meeting the internality
requirement:
(B) It is false that for any object X and any activity <II, if X <11-es (or <II takes
place at X), then X's <11-ing is fully determined by something external to X, and
this is false even if X's <11-ing is causally related to something external to X.
The next section is devoted to studying in full how this line of argument is
deployed by Chrysippus.
3.3 Chrysippus' Internal Causes
The report given by Cicero of Chrysippus' rebuttal of the objection (F 41-4)
comprises two different elements: (i) a philosophical argument by Chrysippus
to the effect that impulses and acts of assent are not determined by external
factors alone, the gist of which is a distinction between internal and external
factors; and (ii) an account by Cicero of how this distinction relates to a more
technical distinction which he attributes to Chrysippus between 'perfect and
primary' causes, on the one hand, and 'proximate and auxiliary' ones, on the
other- an account that is supposed to draw on Chrysippus' general theory of
causation. In what follows, I shall focus mainly on (i). For although Cicero's
exegetical account is worth analysing on its own for understanding the details
of the general Stoic taxonomy of causes, (i) and (ii) may be studied
independently from each other.
32
Chrysippus' argument is reported through a quotation at F 43:
'As therefore,' he says, '[a] he who pushes a cylinder gives it the beginning of its motion,
but does not give it the power of rolling; so an impressor when it stlikes will, it is true,
impress and as it were stamp its appearance on the mind, but assenting will depend on
us, and, in the same way as was said in the case of the cylinder, it is pushed from outside
but for the rest moves by its own force and nature. [b] If something were to occur without
an antecedent cause, it would not be true that everything occurred by fate; [ c] if however
it seems likely that everything which happens is preceded by a cause, what reason can
32
See Duhot, La Conception Stoi'cienne de Ia Causa/ire, 182; Sharples, Cicero, On Fate, 198; and
Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 261.
The Threat of External Determination 43
be adduced for not admitting that everything occurs by fate?- [d] provided only that it
is understood what is the distinction and difference among causes.'
33
As [b] and [c] suggest, the aim of the argument is to establish, against the
externalist objection, that the thesis that everything comes about by fate,
understood here as a thesis that follows from the claim that everything has an
antecedent cause or is 'preceded by a cause' (as in F 21), is compatible with the
idea that the causation of acts of assent does involve external factors but is not
fully determined by them alone. Thus, the Stoic theory of the psychology of action
does leave room for the internality requirement. In other words, in order for assent
(and action) to meet the internality requirement, it is not necessary to give up the
thesis that everything has an antecedent cause - a thesis that would have to be
given up if having an antecedent cause implied being determined by external
factors alone, as is alleged by the objector. As a matter of fact, if the objector were
right, the only way of doing justice to the internality requirement would be to
concede that assent - the cause of action - lacks itself an antecedent cause: assent
is not fully determined by external factors alone because it lacks an antecedent
cause.
It is an open question whether the objector is thereby adopting the position that
at least some things must lack a cause altogether if responsibility is to be saved. It
is possible that this may indeed be the position espoused by the objector.
34
Anyhow, this would favour Ruby's suggestion that the objector is Epicurus. For
earlier in F, at 23, it is suggested that for Epicurus something that lacks an
antecedent cause is totally causeless, while it is suggested in another source,
Lucretius' DRN (2.251-60), that Epicurus, in the context of a libertarian argument
possibly directed against Stoic compatibilism, used the notion of an uncaused
atomic swerve as the only way to explain that our actions are not fully determined
by external factors alone.
How did Chrysippus show that assent is antecedently caused without being
determined by external factors alone? According to [d], his strategy consisted in
appealing to a distinction between causes; and according to [a] and [b], the
distinction is specifically between internal and external causes. It is first illustrated
through the example of a cylinder rolling down a slope and then applied to acts of
assent. In the former case, we find two causal factors, the external push by which
the cylinder is set in motion, on the one hand, and its cylindrical shape by which
it rolls down once it is set in motion, on the other. The term used to refer to this
'' 'Ut igitur,' inquit, 'qui protrusit cylindrum dedit ei principium motionis, volubilitatem autem non
dedit, sic visum obiectum imprimet illud quidem et quasi signa bit in animo suam speciem, sed adsensio
nostra erit in potestate, eaque, quemadmodum in cylindro dictum est, extrinsecus pulsa quod reliquum
est suapte vi et natura movebitur, quod si aliqua res efficeretur sine causa antecedente, falsum esset
omnia fato fieri; sin omnibus quaecumque fiunt verisimile est causam antecedere, quid adferri poterit
cur non omnia fato fieri fatendum sit? modo intellegatur quae sit causarum distinctio ac dissimilitudo.'
34
Unless the objector is thinking that having a cause does not necessarily imply having an
antecedent and external cause (a position apparently envisaged by Carneades as a logical possibility at
F 23-5; cf. Sharples in Cicero, On Fate, 10 and 176).
44 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
latter factor is 'volubilitas', which denotes a capacity or power for rolling
('rollability') that is triggered off by the external push. This power is independent
from the external push insofar as the cylinder is not given this power by the
external push. In other words, it is not the push that causes the cylinder to have the
power to roll. In consequence, the event is not fully determined by the external
factor alone. It is the combination of the two factors, then, rather than the external
factor on its own, that determines the event. Thus, an explanation of the event that
only alluded to the external factor would be incomplete.
Chrysippus claims that the same applies by analogy to acts of assent. The analogue
of the push is a visum. This I interpret as a 'thing seen', that is, an external state or
event- an external impressor- that causes an agent to form a practical impression.
35
The analogue of the cylinder's power to roll is the 'force <of the mind> and its own
nature' (suapte viet natura). In recent scholarship, this has been interpreted in at least
two different ways: as the peculiar quality (iOCct 7tOt01:TJ'l) of the agent, by which
the agent differs from any other individual person, or as a set of qualities that defines
a certain type of character and, hence, that is common to a group of persons.
36
As in
the case of the cylinder, the external factor does not determine all by itself the effect
- in this case, that the agent gives (or withholds) assent to the impression. On the
contrary: just as the external push does not cause the cylinder to have the power to
roll, so too neither the impressor nor the corresponding impression cause the agent's
mind to have the specific force and nature it actually possesses. In this respect, any
act of assent is antecedently caused, namely by the complete set of causal factors that
fully determines its occurrence. But it is not determined by the external factor alone,
for although this factor is external, the force and nature of the agent's mind is intrinsic
to the agent and it is not itself caused by the external factor.
The cylinder example and the analogy with the psychology of action are also
found in book 7 (chapter 2, section 11) of Gellius' noctes Atticae. His report
closely coincides with the Cicero passage.
'It is,' he says, 'just as if you throw a cylindrical stone across a region of ground which
is sloping and steep; you were
37
the cause and beginning of headlong fall for it, but soon
35
An alternative reading consists in taking 'visum' to mean 'impression' (see F.H. Sandbach,
'Ennoia and prolepsis', in A.A. Long, Problems in Stoicism (London, 1971), 13 and Oxford Latin
Dictionary, s. v.). I prefer the other reading for two reasons: (a) if the visum were the impression, the
distinction made in F 43 between visum and species becomes obscure; and (b) impressions themselves
do not impress the soul's pneuma (as Cicero would be obliged to be saying if visum were the
impression). Rather, they are themselves the result of an impressor's impressing the soul's pneuma.
See, for example, the definition of cognitive impression in DL 7.46 (SVF 2.53; LS 40C2). However
good these reasons may be for adopting 'impressor' in this particular passage, it is true that elsewhere
(Acad. 1.40) Cicero explicitly states that he translates !pCXV't:cxaicx as visum. For discussion, see
Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 263-4. I do not know why, on her view, in F 42 'commota viso',
'visum proximan causam habeat' and 'viso commoveri' are three expressions that 'point to the
impression itself' rather than to the impressor.
36
For the latter interpretation, see LS 1, 341. The former interpretation is suggested as a possibility
in LS 2, 385. A third possibility is envisaged by Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom, 268-9 (a tensile
state of the mind's pneuma).
37
Reading 'fueris' instead of 'feceris'.
The Threat of External Determination 45
it rolls headlong, not because you are now bringing that about, but because that is how
its fashion and the capacity for rolling in its shape are. Just so the order and rule and
necessity of fate sets types and beginnings of causes in motion, but the impulses of our
minds and deliberations, and our actions themselves, are govemed by each person's own
will and by the nature of our minds.'
38
As in F 43, neither the act of assent (or impulse) nor the action that results from
the assent is fully determined by external factors alone. It is brought about by the
combination of an external stimulus and the nature of the agent's mind, the latter
not being itself determined by the former.
As I mentioned earlier, we also find in F an account by Cicero of how
Chrysippus' distinction between internal and external factors squares with his
distinction between causes that are 'perfect and primary' and causes that are
'proximate and auxiliary' (F 41-2). What the nature of these causes is, Cicero
does not say. He claims, however, that, in the assent example, the external factor
- the impressor - corresponds to the proximate and auxiliary cause of the assent.
He thereby intimates that the force and nature of the agent's mind corresponds
to the perfect and primary cause. At least this is how Cicero's account has been
traditionally interpreted in modern scholarship.
39
On this interpretation, the idea
is certainly not that for Chrysippus the perfect and primary cause of a motion is
always internal to the object that performs the motion, but just that the perfect
and primary cause of assent (or of the cylinder's rolling down) happens to be
internal. Whatever may have been the nature of the causes to which Cicero refers
as 'perfect and primary', the term itself suggests that such causes have a greater
explanatory power than those that are 'proximate and auxiliary', which are
presented by Cicero as mere necessary preconditions (twice in 42 and once in
44). One implication of this would be that- contrary to what seems to be implied
in F 43 and NA 7 .2.11 - the internal cause of assent is not on a par with the
external impressor and the corresponding impression, but has an explanatory
priority over them: it is the internal cause that does the causation proper of the
act of assent, whereas the impressor and the corresponding impression are
relegated either to a mere necessary precondition or at best to a triggering
factor.
40
38
'Sicut,' inquit, 'lapidem cylindrum si per spatia terrae prona atque derupta iacias, causa quidem
ei et initium praecipintantiae fueris, mox tamen ille praeceps volvitur, non quia tu id iam facis, sed
quoniam ita sese modus eius et formae volubilitas habet: sic ordo et ratio et necessitas fati genera ipsa
et principia causarum movet, impetus vero consiliorum mentiumque nostrarum actionesque ipsas
voluntas cuiusque propia et animorum ingenia moderantur.' Marache's text has 'feceris' instead of
'fueris'.
39
For an exhaustive list (featuring 26 names) of scholars who have adopted this interpretation, see
Bobzien, 'Chrysippus' theory of causes', 205 n. 23. In contrast with this view, Bobzien contends that
in the cylinder argument the internal factor is not a perfect and primary cause. I think that this is a
possibility (see below), although not for the reasons she mentions, namely that Chrysippus' intention
is to establish that assent is not necessary. I believe that here and elsewhere he thinks that assent is
necessary, his point being just that it is not subject to external necessity.
40
See Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 80.
46 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
This claim about the priority of the internal cause is philosophically attractive
even though it is an open question whether it is Chrysippean and, if it is, whether
it was used by Chrysippus in this particular argument against the externalist
objection. Now, the question whether this priority claim is compatible with what
we do know of Chrysippus from Cicero F 43 depends on how we construe his
overall strategy in that passage. Remember that his distinction between internal
and external factors is drawn in the context of an argument to the effect that our
reactions to impressions caused by external impressors are not fully determined by
these impressors. According to F 43 and NA 7.2.11, the strategy Chrysippus
employed for reaching this conclusion was to argue, first, that assent is brought
about by the combination of the impressor's acting on the mind through an
impression and the nature and force of the mind and, second, that the nature and
force of our mind is not itself determined by the impressor. According to this
strategy, the internal cause has no explanatory priority over the external impressor
and the corresponding impression. But, on a different interpretation of the
evidence,
41
Chrysippus proceeded otherwise. His strategy consisted in
maintaining that, since different persons react differently to the same impressions,
the difference has to be accounted for in terms of a difference in the make-up of
the person's mind. According to this latter strategy, the internal cause of assent
emerges as having not only some role to play (the external factors cannot explain
all by themselves why different people react to them in different ways), but also a
greater explanatory role than the one possessed by the external impressor and the
corresponding impression. For it is true that the appropriate explanans of why,
upon receiving a particular impression, an agent A granted his assent whereas an
agent B withheld it, is that the mind of A, unlike that of B, is of such a nature as to
cause assent to this type of impression.
Either strategy is effective as a reply to the externalist objection. But there is
one proviso. The internal cause of assent, which Chrysippus identifies with the
nature and force of the mind, must not be itself determined by any external factor.
The autonomy of the internal cause at the time of the assent is plausible at first
sight. It is certainly not because I see a child trapped in a burning house, and form
the impression that I ought to save him, that I am the kind of person that would
assent to the impression. By analogy, the same holds true of the cylinder. It is not
because I push it from the top of a slope that it has the power to roll. One may
wonder, however, whether there is not a deeper sense in which the Stoic theory of
the psychology of action is vulnerable to the externalist objection. The external
cause of assent does not determine the assent all by itself, as we have seen. But
could it not be objected that the nature and force of the mind - the other factor at
play - is itself determined by earlier external factors? In the trapped child
example, for instance, could it not be argued that my being the kind of person to
assent to the impression was something externally determined by my education?
As for the cylinder too, is not its capacity to roll something that is ultimately
externally determined, namely by the artisan who built it and imposed on the
41
See Frede, 'The original notion of cause', 139.
The Threat of External Determination 47
cylinder its cylindrical shape, thanks to which it now has the capacity to roll? This
line of objection is acute and gives a new impetus to the externalist objection
voiced in F 40. It has been suggested by some scholars that the criticism was
actually raised in the sections of paragraph 45 of Cicero's treatise that are now
lost.
42
A recent, but not entirely satisfactory, attempt has been recently made to
defend Chrysippus against it.
43
In what follows, I offer a different approach to the
problem.
To begin with the case of the cylinder, is its cylindrical shape really something
externally determined? Think of an artificial wooden cylinder. The opponent could
argue that the cylindrical shape that the cylinder now has was imposed on it from
outside by the artisan who built it. But to this Chrysippus may reply that what the
artisan acted upon at the time of creation was the lump of wood, not the cylinder;
in Stoic terms, he caused that the predicate to have a cylindrical shape be satisfied
by the lump of wood: he did not cause it to be satisfied by the cylinder itself. It is
not as if there had been a pre-existing cylinder on which the artisan then imposed
a cylindrical shape, as would be required in order for the cylinder to receive its
shape from outside. The cylinder itself only began to exist at the very instant at
which the lump of wood received the shape. Thus, of all the instants of time that
belonged (unapxet) in succession since the beginning of the present cosmic
cycle, there is not any one of them at which the cylinder itself received its
cylindrical shape from outside.
44
Its currently having its characteristic shape,
therefore, is not, and was not ever, externally determined.
An analogous conclusion may be drawn in connection with the internal nature
and force of the mind in the case of assent. Suppose we interpret the internal nature
and force of the mind in F 43 as the peculiar quality of the agent (his iaia
notOtT)«::). If so, this quality - which in Stoic theory is corporeal - is never
external to the agent. For a peculiar quality, being what fixes the individual identity
of the agent over time, is temporally coextensive with the agent. This aspect of
Stoic peculiar qualities is highlighted in a passage from Simplicius' commentary
to Aristotle's de anima:
with reference to <individual form> the Stoics speak of something peculiarly qualified,
which is both gained, and lost again, all together, and remains the same throughout the
compound entity's life even though its constituent parts come to be and are destroyed at
different times.4s
42
See P.L. Donini, Ethos: Aristotele e il Determinismo (Alessandria, 1989), and Sharples,
Cicero, On Fate, 193-4.
43
See Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 290-301, esp. 298-9. Bobzien recognizes that 'this is
a powerful criticism' and that it is one that Chrysippus cannot successfully meet.
44
I owe to Marcelo Boeri this clarification. See 'El determinismo estoico y los argumentos
compatibilistas de Crisipo', Cuademos del Sur- Filosofia 29 (2000), 11-47, 34 n. 47.
45
Simplicius, ill Ar. de an. 217, 36-218, 2 (SVF 2.395; LS 281): KCX6' 8 <sc. -ro lhOj.LW6ev
1tn:p& EK UyetCX1 1t010V, 8 KCX'i emyivetCX\ KCX'i (XU
a1toy(vet(X1 KCX'i to CXUtO EV 1t(Xvt\ t<l> toil ouv6itou cStCXj..IEV£1, KCXtt01 -rwv f.LOpiwv
&.Uwv &A.A.ote ytvOf.LEVWV te KCXt See also E 1.177, 21-179, 17 (LS 28D).
48 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
As in the case of the cylinder, it is not as if the agent pre-existed and at some point
received from outside that peculiar quality. Again, of all the instants of time that
belonged in succession since the beginning of the present cosmic cycle, there is
not any one of them at which the agent himself takes on from outside the peculiar
quality. To be sure, it has been predetermined all along by god's providence that I
would begin to exist at a certain point of time and that I myself would have the
peculiar quality that I have. But, for the reasons just mentioned, this cannot imply
that my mind is externally determined by god. What is externally determined, if
anything, is the matter that has been predetermined all along to take on that
specific peculiar quality.
46
In this respect the internal nature and force of the mind
is not externally determined, at least not fully so determined.
The conclusion is not affected if we adopt the rival interpretation, according to
which the internal nature and force of the mind is the set of qualities that is
common to the type of moral character possessed by the agent. The Stoics
plausibly argue that the moral character one may happen to possess is not
determined by external factors alone. On their view, our moral evolution is
determined by the development of our concern for self-preservation. This primary
concern is innate and it is accompanied by an equally innate power to
discriminate things that are appropiate to the preservation of our constitution
from things that are not. In our lifetime it gradually evolves into fully moral
concerns, such as our attitude towards the well-being of our fellow humans. The
Stoics have a detailed account of how this development occurs,
47
and also
powerful arguments in favour of the innateness of the primary concern from
which this development takes place.
48
They surely acknowledge that the
development itself may be influenced by external factors. This much is
acknowledged by Chrysippus himself, who may even be interpreted in connection
with F 7-9 to have claimed that these factors are salient items in the whole set of
causes that determine the development and its impact on individual decisions.
49
But given that its starting point is not externally determined, the list of factors
involved in the formation of moral character should include at least one crucial
element that does not have an external origin.
46
Strictly speaking, however, not even matter is externally determined by god because the Stoic
god, who pervades the whole world by mixture, acts upon matter from within. See Alexander of
Aphrodisias, mixt. 225, 1-2 (SVF 2.310; LS 45H) and DG 306, 5-6 (SVF 2.1027; LS 46A).
47
The fullest account is to be found in Hierocles, a Stoic of the first century AD, in E 4.671, 7-673,
11 (LS 57G). For an extensive discussion of moral development in early Stoicism, see Inwood, Ethics
and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 182-215 and more recently M.M. McCabe, 'Extend or identify:
two Stoic accounts of altruism', in R. Salles (ed.), Metaphysics, Soul and Ethics in Ancient Thought
(Oxford, 2005).
48
See especially their arguments against the Epicureans, who held that animals in general are
impelled to pursue pleasure and avoid pain from the moment of birth. See DL 7.85-6 (SVF 3.178; LS
57 A). Cf. Seneca, ep. 121.7-8. The important role given to innatism in ethics goes back at least to
Chrysippus (Stoic. rep. 1041E; SVF 3.69; LS 60B). The fullest discussion of Stoic innatism is D. Scott,
Recollection and Experience (Cambridge, 1995), 201-16. See also A. Bonhtiffer, Epicter und die Sroa
(Stuttgart, 1968), 199-207.
49
As has been brought out by Sedley in 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causality', 321-5.
The Threat of External Determination 49
I have argued in this chapter that the extemalist objection - 'if the world is
governed by determinism, everything we do is in fact fully determined by external
factors alone'- does not pose a real threat to Stoic compatibilism. Our actions are
necessitated. But they are not determined by external factors alone. The causal
chain by which they are produced is structurally different from that of the events
and the states that take place at us but are fully determined by factors that are
external to us.
3.4 How much is the Theory intended to prove?
One could still ask whether, if action ultimately involves the activity of so many
external factors, and if innate or connatural factors are themselves things that one
could hardly be responsible for (either legally or morally), the Chrysippean reply
is not inappropriate as a compatibilist argument seeking to prove that
responsibility is compatible with determinism. I wish to thank Bob Sharples for
pressing this question on me. The question, I believe, misses the point of
Chrysippus' reply to the externalist objection. The reply is not intended to establish
that, given that our actions ultimately involve innate and connatural factors in their
causes, we are thereby responsible for them. Its purpose is to establish, rather, that
an incompatibilist is not entitled to maintain - as 'Epicurus' did - that causal
determinism inevitably yields full external determination. If we look at
Chrysippus' reply from this specific dialectical perspective, it becomes clear that
the appeal to innate and connatural factors is not intended to pinpoint sufficient
conditions for responsibility. To look into the sufficient conditions for
responsibility, we need to consider another compatibilist theory, examined in the
next chapter.
Chapter 4
Reflection and Responsibility
One might grant to the Stoics that causal determinism does not entail full external
determination, but insist that, although moral responsibility requires this freedom
from external determination, this freedom is not enough. It may be felt that the
theory designed by Chrysippus to meet the internality requirement does not
provide enough ground for a complete theory of moral responsibility. In particular,
the incompatibilist may complain that if an action and its underlying psychology
are necessitated at all (let alone by mere external factors), the agent could not have
done otherwise in a certain sense of the capacity, relevant for responsibility. To be
more precise, the version of the objection that will be discussed in this chapter
states that if it was necessitated that one <I>-ed at t, one lacked at t the dual capacity
of either <I>-ing at tor not <I>-ing at t,
1
and unless one did have this capacity one
cannot be held responsible for the action actually performed. The problem to be
discussed, then, is whether this specific dual capacity is indeed relevant for
responsibility, as alleged by the incompatibilist. According to the Stoics it is not,
and the aim of the present chapter is twofold: (a) to study a Stoic theory where an
argument is given against its relevance for moral responsibility- a theory reported
by Alexander of Aphrodisias in DF 13 and Nemesius of Emesa inN 35; and (b) to
bring out a strong similarity between this argument and a prominent compatibilist
argument developed in recent times by Harry Frankfurt. This conceptual proximity
is of both historical and philosophical interest. It should lead us to reconsider the
place that has been given to the Stoics not only in the history of compatibilism, but
also in the current philosophical debate on the nature of responsibility. I undertake
the study of the theory in sections 4.1 to 4.4. The parallel with Frankfurt is drawn
in section 4.5.
Alexander does not name the author of the theory, but Nemesius mentions
Chrysippus, which suggests that he is the author. In spite of Nemesius' indication,
however, some scholars have doubted whether we may trace back the origin of the
theory to early Stoicism. In Chapter 5, I explain in detail why this is not the view
I favour. I believe that Chrysippus is the author of the theory and, until we come
to Chapter 5, I shall assume that he is.
1
This formulation is cumbersome but required in order to distinguish this specific capacity to do
otherwise from a general dual capacity, which is fully compatible with Stoic determinism. I return to
this issue in section 5.3 below.
51
52 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
4.1 Overview of the Evidence
I begin by quoting the relevant parts of Nemesius' report inN 35:
Those who hold that both that which depends on us and that which is in accordance with
fate are preserved (for something in accordance with fate is given to each thing: just as
cooling <is given> to water, bearing this sort of fruit to each of the plants, moving
downwards to the stone, moving upwards to fire, so too giving assent and exercising
impulse <is given> to animals; when nothing of the things external and according to fate
resists this impulse, then walking fully depends on us and we will definitely walk) those
who say these things (they are Chrysippus and Philopator and many other famous
<Stoics>) do not prove anything else but that everything happens in accordance with fate
... But if exercising an impulse, too, follows from necessity, it is clear that those things
that happen by impulse, too, will happen in accordance with fate, if they also happen by
us and in accordance with our nature, i.e. <in accordance with> impulse and 'krisis'
2
Hence, that which happens through us by fate depends on us.
3
The theory is based on the Stoic scale of nature.
4
Its two tenets are: (1) human
nature comprises a number of elements that are related to human action, which
explain why it is responsible; and (2) this explanatory link holds even though
human action and its psychology are fully predetermined and causally
necessitated. Thesis (1), in turn, may be unpacked as follows: (la) 'our nature' (i]
TJJ.LE't'epa. is composed of a set of elements that are specific to human
nature - they serve to demarcate the class of humans from the lower classes of the
scale of nature and, notably, from the class of non-human animals; (lb) these
elements are sufficienffor explaiQ.ing responsibility, that is, someone who acts in
accordance with these elements is fully responsible for having performed the
action - the action thus performed fully depends on US ('t'EAEOV e<p' TJf.LtV
eiva.t). For this reason, 'that which happens through us [that is, through 'our'
nature] by fate depends on us' ('r:o t'h · TJJ.LWV uno eiJ.La.pJ.LeVT)\l
ytvOf.LEVOV e<p' TJf.LtV eon).
2
For the meaning of this term, see section 4.2 below.
3
N 105, 6-14; 106, 1-4; and 106, 10-11: Oi lie on KO:'i 'tO E<p. i)j.LiV KO:t 'tO K0:6.
eij.LO:pj.LEVTJV cr<j>(e'tO:\ (eKaO''t<i' yap 'tWV yt VOIJ.EVWV lieli6cr6o:t 't\ K0:6' Eij.LO:pj.LEVTJV,
1:C\l iilio:n 'to ljluxew Ko:\ eKacr't<i' 1:&v <putwv 1:0 tot6vlie Ko:pnov <pepew Ko:\ 'te\l A.i6<i!
'to KO:'tw<pepes KO:t 'te\l nup'i. 1:0 oihw KO:t te\l (<\><il 1:0 cruyKo:'to:'ti6ecr6o:t KO:t
opj.L&V, O'tO:V ae 'tO:U'tn 'tfi OPIJ.TI j.LTJiiEv cXV't\1tEO'n 'tWV KO:t K0:6' eij.LO:pj.LEVTJV,
'tO't£ 'tO 7tEpt1tO:'teiv tEAEOV E<Jl' i)j.LiV etvo:t KO:t 1tEpt1tO:'t,O'Oj.LEV) - oi to:iho:
(ei.cr'i. lie 1:&v :E'twtKwv 1:e Ko:'i. Ko:'i &A.A.ot noA.A.o'i. Ko:'i
AO:IJ.7tpoi) oUiii:v e1:epov cilnolietKvuoucrt ilnliv'to: Ko:6' eij.LO:p!J.EVTJV yivecr6o:t ... ei Iii:
E1tO:KoA.ou6ei KO:t 'tO opj.L&V, lifjA.ov K0:6' eij.LO:pj.LEVTJV KO:t 'ta
yev'llcre'to:t, ei. Ko:'i. u<p' iJ!J.&v yiveto:t Ko:'i KO:'tcX 'tTJV iJIJ.etepo:v <pucrw Ko:t op!J.Tjv Ko:'i
Kpicrt v ... &po: 'to lit' i)j.LWV uno ytv6j.Levov e<p' iJ!J.tV ecrtt.
4
For extensive discussion of the Stoic scale of nature, see D.E. Hahm, 'A neglected Stoic argument
for human responsibility', Illinois Classical Studies 17 (1992), 23-48; 'Self-motion in Stoic
philosophy', in M.L. Gill and J.G. Lennox (eds), Self-Motion: From Aristotle to Newton (Princeton, NJ,
1994); and Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 18-27.
Reflection and Responsibility 53
In Alexander's report,
5
the key notion of what occurs 'through' (5ui) us is also
used in connection with the notion of what depends on (bt{) us. In the opening
lines of his report, at 181,14, we find:
They say that what happens through us depends on us.
6
And a remark in the margin of one of the MSS gives the fuller version of the thesis
in a formula whose wording closely matches that of Nemesius:
They say that what happens by fate and through us depends on us.
7
As in Nemesius, the theory is based on the Stoic scale of nature. In Alexander's
words:
the natures of the things that are and come to be are various and different (for those of
animate and inanimate things are not the same, nor even, again, are those of all animate
things the same; for the differences in species of the things that are show the differences
in their natures).
8
In Alexander's report, however, human nature is not explicitly mentioned. But the
notion of nature in this chapter of DF is fine-grained enough to accommodate the
human species as a class on its own. In the present passage, for example, the term
'nature' is used to refer not only to classes of entities such as animate and
inanimate beings, but also to sub-classes of 'animate' .
9
The link between human nature and what depends on us is not explicit either.
But it is also implied. Consider 181, 18-21:
5
In what follows, I focus on what Alexander's report has in common with Nemesius' in connection
with the topic of responsibility and human nature. There are differences between the two reports, listed
by R.W. Sharples in 'Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Fato: some parallels', Classic Quarterly 28 (1978),
243-66 at 254--5. As is observed by Sharples (see also Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 367 n. 17),
none of them indicates a difference in doctrine.
6
A.eyouotv i:cp' iJfJ.i:V dvo:t 1:0 ytYofJ.EVOV [Ko:l] <'h 'iJfJ.GlV. The Ko:l is deleted by most
editors. For discussion, see Bobzien, Detenninism and Freedon, 378 n. 48.
7
A.eyouotv i:cp' iJfJ.i:v dvo:t "to u1to "tE ytvofJ.Evov Ko:l lh' TJfJ.WV.
• 181, 15-18: 1:Glv ov1:wv "tE Ko:l ytvofJ.evwv o:i enpo:( "tE Ko:l <'h&cpopm (oil yap
o:i O:U'tO:l 'tWV EfJ.ljrlixwv 'tE KO:l 'tWV aljruxwv, !XU' ou<'le 'tWV EfJ.ljrUXWV tX1tcXV'tWV o:i O:U't!XL
1t&A. tv· o:i yap KO:"t' 1:Glv oV"twv llto:cpopo:l 1:Glv cpuot:wv o:u1:Glv
<'lt:t Kvuouot v).
9
But is the notion of nature in this chapter sufficiently coarse-grained to imply that humans
constitute an infima species? Maybe not. Cf. DF 34 205, 24--30, where it is said that differences in
moral character (something more specific than human nature) are 'in accordance with nature' (Ko:"ta
cpuot v), which suggests that these differences do correspond to differences in nature after all. Against
this evidence, however, note that in Stoicism differences in moral character do not correspond to
differences in the scale of nature, which are those that are envisaged in DF 13. In consequence, the
differences mentioned in DF 34 cannot be natural in the strong sense, envisaged in DF 13, that they
con·espond to divisions in the scale of nature. This is reflected in the tetminology used in each chapter:
the notion of 'proper nature', cmcial in 13 (181, 18-21), is not used in 34 (the differences 34 envisages
between humans are not set out as differences in 'proper' natures).
54 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
the things that are brought about by each thing come about in accordance with its proper
nature - those by a stone in accordance with that of a stone, those by fire in accordance
with that of fire and those by a living creature in accordance with that of a living creature.
10
The passage indicates how the notion of proper nature is related to that of an event
that is brought about by an entity: an event E is brought about by an entity T if the
occurrence of E is in accordance with the proper nature ofT; in other words, if the
occurrence of E is explanatorily related to the exercise by T of the elements that
are specific to its proper nature. This is relevant for our purposes. For in the whole
of DF 13 the use of the preposition 'by' (uno) is closely connected to that of the
preposition 'through' (&ux); in fact, the phrase 'through an entity by fate' appears
to be an expansion of 'by an entity' .
11
Thus the events that are said to occur 'by
us' correspond to those which occur 'through us by fate'. And since the events that
occur 'by' an entity are those whose occmTence is in accordance with the proper
nature of the entity, the events that occur 'through' us (and depend on us) are those
whose occurrence is in accordance with the proper nature of humans.
Finally, as in Nemesius' report, we are responsible for the events that occur 'through'
us despite the fact that these very events are necessitated. According to 181, 21-3:
Nothing of the things which are brought about by each thing in accordance with its
proper nature, they say, can be otherwise, but each of the things brought about by them
comes about compulsmily. 12
How then does this Chrysippean theory individuate the nature of humans?
4.2 Chrysippus' Account of Human Nature
Even in Nemesius' report, where human nature is explicitly referred to, the answer
is not immediately clear. To each type of entity corresponds a certain type of
constitution, and each entity's type of constitution is fixed by fate. The generic
class of 'animals' ((<{>a) is defined by the possession of impulse and assent ('to
ouyKa-ca-ci8eo8at Kat 6pj.J.&v). To determine what is specific to humans, the
doctrine does not appeal to the notion of assent, which it has already used to
determine what distinguishes animals in general from the lower entities.
13
Some
10
y\vetcn Iii: tcX ucp. EKttOtOU ytv6t-LeVa. KCX.tcX ti)v oiKe(a.v cpuotv, tcX !-LEV U'ltO A.Wou
Ka.ta ti)v A.\6ou, ta li' uno Ka.ta ti)v Ka.\ ta uno (<\lou Ka.ta ti)v [uno]
(<\lou.
11
As is suggested in a crucial example given in the chapter: the downward motion of the stone
when released from a height in the absence of external obstacles- which is said in lines 182, 3-4 to be
a motion that occurs by fate 'through' the stone- is identified earlier in the text (181, 2-23) with
something that is brought about 'by' the stone.
12
oUiii:v !-LEV tWV KCX.tcX tf]v oiKe(a.v cpuot v ucp. EKttO<OU ytvOt-LEVWV liUva.o6a.( cpa.m v
exew, a.U.' EKCXO<OV tWV yt VOfLEVWV U'lt. O:UtWV y(veo6a.t
13
On the ascription of assent to non-human animals in Stoicism, seeR. Sorabji, Animal Minds and
Human Morals (London, 1993), 41-4.
Reflection and Responsibility 55
further notion is required. As some scholars have observed, it may be found in
lines 106, 3-4, which intro.duce the concept of krisis. There, 'our' nature (i)
tifLE'tepa is referred to as consisting of impulse and krisis ( opf! fl Kat


The idea presumably is, as before, that an entity's displaying that
unique combination of mental activities is sufficient for its belonging to the class
of humans. So, to achieve a better understanding of the doctrine, we need to know
what krisis means in this context. This should throw light on what the doctrine
intends by the unique combination of impulse and krisis. And this will help us to
put forward in section 4.4 the reason given by the theory for the compatibility
between determinism and responsibility.
In Stoicism, the term krisis may refer to either of two concepts. One of them is
that of judgement in the sense of verbalized assertion: to 'krinein' that p consists
in (or at any rate involves) asserting to oneself that p is the case- a krisis in this
sense combines the mental act of assenting to the proposition with the speech act
of uttering affirmatively (to oneself) the corresponding sentence.
15
The other is
that of critical acceptance of an impression, a notion to which I shall return
shortly.
16
In either case, krisis goes along with the use of reason (A.6yo'3) and,
thus, constitutes something specifically human.
These two senses of krisis are not equivalent to each other, either on general
philosophical grounds or in Stoic theory. In particular, the former does not entail the
latter. Imagine that I form the impression that p, and that I krinei that p in the former
sense. By so doing, I accept as true the proposition p. But to be a krisis in the second
sense, the acceptance of the impression also has to be based on a previous reflection
about whether p is really the case or not, something the frrst sense does not require at
all. In fact, we may easily imagine people who uncritically accept as true and
verbalize the propositional content of all (or most of) their impressions. This
possibility is actually envisaged by the Stoics as something that does occur in the
context of passions. They believe that passionate persons are people who emit kriseis
(in the former sense), without having previously reflected on whether the propositions
they assert and verbalize ought to be accepted as true. I shall return to this particular
issue in Chapter 6 in connection with Epictetus' theory of responsibility.
As I argue below, the second sense of krisis- which involves critical acceptance
- is very probably the one involved in the doctrine reported. But let us first
consider the notion itself in more detail.
14
The Ka( can also be taken epexegetically as a gloss of opf.! ij, in which case the expression 6pf.!ij
Kal would state a sort of identity claim. This reading still leaves us with the question of what
is meant by which I address in what follows and in the next section.
15
This sense of is suggested by the combination of two pieces of text: (i) Seneca, ep.
113.18, where assent is explicitly defined as involving verbalized assertion; and (ii) Clement of
Alexandria (strom. 2.12.55; SVF2.992) who, in reporting the Stoics, defines as a type of assent
(mxaa ... i:crn v).
16
See, especially, early(?) Stoics ap. Origen, princ. 3.1.3 (SVF 2.988): 'tO Kpi:va\. It is clear that
in this passage involves at least a critical selection of impressions: when humans KptVE\ their
impressions, they reject some of them and accept others. See also in LSJ s. v. 11.1 and 2;
1haKp(vew in early Stoics ap. Clement of Alexandria in a passage I quote and discuss in the next
section; and Epictetus, D 1.20.7.
56 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
4.3 The Role of Reflection in the Psychology of Action
I begin by considering how the distinction between the two senses of krisis -
verbalized assertion and critical acceptance - works in the psychology of action.
In Stoic theory, the fully rational agent will never assent to an evaluative
impression uncritically: a krisis in the first sense always presupposes a krisis in the
second senseY Consider the case of a practical or 'impulsive' impression, whose
content is a proposition such as I ought to cP (now) or it is (now) appropriate
(Ka8ijKov) for me to cP. In this instance, the critical acceptance will take the form
of a reflective process aimed at deciding whether, in the present circumstances, the
agent should accept as true the proposition that 41-ing is appropriate. In other
words, the fully rational agent will reflect about whether the action of 41-ing is as
it appears in the impression, namely appropriate. To reach a decision, the agent
will try to determine whether, all things considered, 41-ing is appropriate in those
particular circumstances.
18
If, but only if, the agent finds that no other action is
more appropriate at that time than 41, an act of assent will occur and, hence, an
impulse for 41-ing will be exercised. A good example of this sort of reflection has
been given by Anthony Long: 'Like it or not, I had the appearance [impression],
let us say, that it would be good to go to the beach. Because there are many other
things that I ought to be doing, I may pause to consider whether in fact it would
be good to go to the beach.'
19
This reflection provides the agent with comparative
reasons for assenting to (or rejecting) an impression.
Before Chrysippus, the verb krinein had already been used by Aristotle
(although with a legal connotation) to refer to a comparative and all-things-
considered evaluation of alternatives. An example of this comes in an Aristotle
passage from Met. B (995b2--4) dealing with method.
17
Long in 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice', 84-5 and Inwood in Ethics and Human
Action in Early Stoicism, 239 have rightly remarked that in Stoic epistemology fully rational agents will
not critically examine cataleptic impressions before assenting to them: (i) in purely theoretical
contexts, once the subject forms a cataleptic impression that something is the case, he will assent to the
impression straightaway and by necessity; and (ii) in practical contexts, once the agent forms the
cataleptic or clear impression that something is good for him to do, he will assent to the impression also
straightaway and by necessity. SeeM 7.257 and D 3.3.4. Notice, however, that this does not preclude
that some examination be required to determine whether a given impression is cataleptic or clear in the
first place. For it is possible that someone forms a cataleptic impression but finds it unconvincing
(ibna't'o9) given the particular external circumstances in which the impression is formed (cf. M
7.253-4 and 256). And it is also possible that one forms a non-cataleptic impression that strikes one as
cataleptic (cf. D 1.27.1-6 and 3.8.1-5).
18
This occurs, at any rate, in the case of 't'ft Ko:6'11Kono: m:pla't'O:'t'lKa and •iX OUK &el
Ko:6'11Kel described in DL 7.108-109 (SVF 3.495-6; LS 59 E). See also Stobaeus' remarks on the Stoic
taxonomy of value in E 2.84, I 8-85, 11 (SVF 3.128; LS 58E). There are actions which are appropriate
without qualification, namely virtuous actions. So the impression which represents them as appropriate,
if it is cataleptic, will be assented to straightaway, without previous reflection. But, otherwise, if the
impression is cataleptic but represents a mere Ko:6fjKov nepta't'o:nK6v, he will stop to consider
whether he should perform the action or not, insofar as it will depend on the particular circumstances
that obtain at that time whether or not an action of this sort ought to be performed.
19
A.A. Long, 'Representation and the self in Stoicism', inS. Everson (ed.), Companions to Ancient
Thought 2: Psychology (Cambridge, 1991), II I.
Reflection and Responsibility 57
Further, he who has heard all the contending arguments, as if they were the parties to a
case, must be in a better position for judging.
2
o
The passage I should like to examine in detail is later and comes from chapter 11
of DF (178, 17-27). It introduces a late Peripatetic concept of deliberation
t1). The text is relevant for our present purposes because it shows in detail
how the notion of krinein works in the context of the psychology of action. As in
the Aristotle passage, krinein carries the sense of a comparative and all-things-
considered evaluation of alternatives. But the evaluation Alexander describes is
specifically of actions, and of actions that are presented in impressions. There is
no doubt that the picture on offer is greatly influenced by Stoic theory.
21
And I
suggest that this is indicative that the Stoics exploited the Aristotelian notion of
krinein to formulate their own notion of krisis.
[i] It is agreed by everyone that man has this advantage from nature over the other living
things, that he does not follow impressions in the same way as them, but has reason from
her as a judge of the impressions that impinge on him concerning certain things as
deserving to be chosen. [ii] Using this, [iia] if, when they are examined, the things that
appeared are indeed as they initially appeared, he assents to the appearance and so goes
in pursuit of them; but [iib] if they appear different or/and something else <appears>
more deserving to be chosen, he chooses that, leaving behind what initially appeared to
him as deserving of choice. [iii] At any rate <there are> many things <which>, having
seemed different to us in their first impressions <from what they appeared to us
subsequently>, no longer remained as in our previous notion when reason put them to
the test; [iv] and so, though they would have been done as far as concerned the
impression of them, on account of our deliberating about them they were not done.
22
Two different types of cases are distinguished: when, on reflection, the agent
assents to a first evaluative impression and when, on reflection, he does not. In
[iib], the latter case is described. This happens if, on reflection, either of the two
following things occurs (or both, according to one of the MSS): (1) the course of
action that appears in the impression no longer appears as it initially did (ei of:
aA.A.oio: <po:(ve't"O:t); (2) some alternative course of action turns out to be more
20
en {le peA.nov avayK11 EXEtv npo9 r;o Kpivt¥1 "COV wcrnep avn5tK!.>V KO:t "CWV
A.6yc.>v aK1lKOO"CO: naV"tc.>V.
21
On the Stoic influence in this account of deliberation, see R.W. Sharples, Alexander of
Aphrodisias. On Fate (London, 1983), 140.
22
178, 17-27: {IT} npo9 amiv"tc.>V "to "CWV &Uc.>v (<\>c.>v "COV &v8pc.>nov
"toiho napa Tij9 <pU0£!.>9 exew nA.iov "CO EKelVOt9 "CO:t9 <pO:V"CO:OlO:t9 fnecr8o:t,
aA.A.' EXElV no:p. o:im'j9 Kpni}v "CWV npocrm n"COUOWV <pO:Vt!XOtWV nepi "ttv!.>V C.:,g
o:ipetwv tOV A.6yov, <\1 ei tCt <po:vto:cr8evta, ola ti}v apxi}v
e<paVE, KO:t eon, cruyKo:tati8etai tE t'fi KO:t 0Utc.>9 aut&, ei at
aA.A.o'io: <po:ivetat f) <KO:t according to one MS> &A.A.o n 0:0 o:ipE"tW"tEpov, eKe'ivo o:ipe'ito:t
KO:to:A.einc.>v to ti}v apxf]v C.:,g o:ipe"COV O:U"C<\J <po:vev. noUCt. yoilv tO:'i9 npWtO:t9
<pO:V"CO:OtO:t9 aUo'io: OUKEt' en\ "tij9 npoA.J11!rec.>9 O:U"CCt
toil A.6you. 5to npo:x8evto: &v ocrov en\ t'fi O:U"CWV 5ta
to pouA.eucro:cr8o:t m:p\ O:U"CWV OUK enp&xe,.
58 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
choiceworthy (aipe-rw-repov). If either (1) or (2) occurs (or both do), the agent
who assents and acts in accordance with his use of the capacity to accept
impressions critically will leave behind what appears as valuable in the first
impression.
Alternatively, according to [iia], there are cases where a first evaluative
impression about what is to be done is not left behind. This happens, if, on
reflection, both of the two following things occur: (1 ') the course of action that
appears in the impression still appears as it initially did (oia e<pave);
and (2') there is no alternative· course of action that turns out to be more
choiceworthy than the one presented in the first impression. If so, the agent will
assent to the first impression (ouyKa-ra-r18e-ca( -re -r'fi and perform
the action itself provided that nothing external hinders.
Having distinguished the two cases above, the text also suggests what the
difference is between agents who use their faculty to accept impressions critically
and those who do not. It does not essentially reside in what they actually assent to.
For the reflective agent will sometimes assent to his first evaluative impressions
(when (1') and (2') are fulfilled) and, thus, to the same impressions as those that
are assented to by the unreflective agent. The difference, which is very significant
indeed, is that the former, but not the latter, will never give assent to a first
impression before having reflected on the all-things-considered appropriateness of
the action it presents. A similar point is made by Clement of Alexandria, a
Christian bishop of the second century AD, in a report of the Stoics on human
individuation:
But, since the rational capacity is specific to the human soul, it should not exercise
impulse in the same way as irrational animals do, but instead judge the presentations and
not be calTied away with them.
23
The passage suggests that humans possess a specific faculty that enables them to
assess impressions before assenting to them, instead of assenting to them
automatically (which is how I interpret the notion of being carried away -
ouvano<pepeo8cu - by impressions). It is also implied that not every human
being actually uses that faculty: we all have it and we should all use it insofar as
the faculty itself is distinctive of human nature. I explore in detail the normative
force of nature in Stoic theory in Chapter 6.
In contrast with the Alexander passage, no details are given here concerning
how the use of this faculty operates. As in the Alexander passage, however, it is
manifest that the idea is not that fully rational agents (who do use the faculty
systematically) do not assent to their first impressions, but rather that they do not
assent to them automatically. To put it differently, the difference between fully
rational agents, on the one hand, and animals and unreflective agents on the other,
23
strom. 2.20.111 (SVF2.714): it 1\e il\(o: ouao:
OUX Opj..liXV tXAAiX KO:t V
KO:t j..ITJ OUV0:1to<p€pea8o:t
Reflection and Responsibility 59
lies in how they assent to impressions: they do not assent to them in the same way
(oux waau't"wo;;). Whatever impression the former assents to, the assent is always
preceded by an assessment of the impression.
To recapitulate, someone who has acted on the basis of a critical acceptance of
an impression must have gone through the following process: {a) an impulsive
impression was received presenting a certain course of action as appropriate; (b) I
reflect on the all-things-considered appropriateness of the action, asking myself
'given the present circumstances, is the action choiceworthy? Should I assent to
the impression?'; (c) I reached the conclusion that the action is choiceworthy and,
thereby, assented to the impression and exercised an impulse for the action - this
corresponds to the krisis or critical acceptance of the impression; (d) the impulse
yields the action. Because of step (b), call the impulse in (d) a 'fully rational
impulse'.
Both Clement and Alexander are silent on the criteria used by the fully rational
agent in step (b) to decide whether the impression should be assented to. When I ask
myself whether the action presented in the impression is worth performing all things
considered, which criteria should I use to reach a decision? One that is especially
important in Chrysippus, and to which I shall return in the next section, is whether
the action in question is in accordance with providence: given that the world is
providentially ordered for the best, a course of action <I> is more desirable or
appropriate than a course of action \jT at a time t provided that at t <1>-ing is more in
accordance with god's providential plan than \jf-ing.
24
This appeal to cosmic order
rather than to legal matters strongly suggests that the reflection envisaged by this
theory is intended to guarantee moral, rather than legal, responsibility. Thus, even in
the absence of a law or a judge that forbids or encourages the course of action that
was assented to, the fully rational agent will be responsible, and morally so, for the
assent and the corresponding action (it will 'depend on him' in this moral sense).
Back to Nemesius. If we consider the two possible senses of the term krisis in
his report - verbalized assertion and critical acceptance of impressions - we can
interpret in at least three different ways the equation between 'our nature' (ti
ftf.l.E't"Epa that is, what is specific to us qua humans,
25
on the one hand,
24
See Chrysippus ap. Epictetus, D 2.6.9 (SVF3.191; LS 58J): 'As long as the future is uncertain to
me I always hold to those things which are better adapted to obtaining the things in accordance with
nature; for god himself has made me disposed to select these. But if I actually knew that I was fated
now to be ill, I would even have an impulse to be ill. For my foot too, if it had intelligence, would have
an impulse to get muddy' (f.I.E)(pt9 &v atlT]AIX f.I.Ol n -c& c\;e\ -c&v euqmeu-cepwv E)(Of.i.at
7tpo9 -co -cun:&vetv t&v Ka-c& cpuuw· au-co9 y&p fl.' o Beo9 e7tOtYJuev toutwv •hcA.eKnK6v.
ei M ye nlletv O't\ vouel:v flO\ KaBdfJ.ap-cat vilv, Ka\ Wpf.i.WV &v E7t. au-co. Ka\ y&p 0
7tOU9, ei cppeva9 dxev, Wpf.i.a E7t\ -co 7tTJAOiluBat. Long and Sedley trans.). For discussion, see
R.W. Sharples, 'Could Alexander (follower of Aristotle) have done better? A response to Professor
Frede and others', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1987), 197-216 at 203-204; A.A. Long,
'Stoic eudaimonism', The Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1988), 77-99; and T.
Brennan, 'Reservation in Stoic ethics', Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 82 (2000), 149-77.
25
The reasons I have for thinking that 'nature' in both DF 13 and N 35 refers to human nature in
general and not, for instance, to the individual nature of a person, are given in section 4.1 and,
especially, in the discussion I offer of DF 181, 15-18.
60 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
and the combination of 6p!J.fj and on the other. One of them, which
construes krisis to mean just verbalized assertion of a proposition, is this:
(N
1
) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J.fj and constitutes (or is
part of) 'our nature' means that every human impulse, unlike non-human animal
impulses, goes along with (or is constituted by) the assertion and verbalization
of the propositional content of an impression that summons the agent to act in
a certain way.
This interpretation is not without problems. To be sure, the thesis that every human
impulse goes along (or is constituted by) assertion and verbalization is Stoic.
26
But there are good reasons for believing that this feature of human impulse is not
the only one implicit in our passage. The Chrysippean doctrine reported in DF 13
and N 35 is partly designed to explain why there are things that 'depend on' us in
the ethical sense of responsibility. From a Stoic point of view, however, the notion
that human impulse essentially involves (or is constituted by) assertion and
verbalization is clearly not something that could by itself explain that the
corresponding action is responsible (or 'depends on us'' e<p. TJ!J.tV). Actually, the
Stoics think that there are- and there will always be- persons who become unable
to withhold assent to their first practical evaluative impressions. And to explain
why these persons are nevertheless responsible for their actions the Stoics do not
appeal to the notion that their impulses involve (or are constituted by) assertion
and verbalization. As I argue in Chapter 6, their explanation lies rather in the
notion that these persons are (very often) fully responsible for having become
unable to withhold assent to their first impressions. Thus (N
1
) is inadequate given
that the combination of 6p!J.fj and is intended by the doctrine reported by
Nemesius as an explanation of responsibility.
The other two interpretations lean on the idea that the term does not
mean assertion and verbalization only: it also involves the notion of critical
acceptance of impressions as described by Alexander in the passage from DF
quoted earlier in this section.
(N
2
) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J.fj and constitutes (or is part
of) 'our nature' means that every human impulse, unlike non-human animal
impulses, is fully rational.
(N
3
) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J.fj and constitutes (or is part
of) 'our nature' means that the impulses which are most paradigmatic of human
nature - insofar as human nature involves the capacity to accept impressions
critically - are those that are fully rational, that is, those which are actually
based on a prior reflection concerning the all-things-considered desirability of
the action.
26
On this question, see the evidence used by Inwood in Ethics and Human Action in Early
Stoicism, 42-66 (esp. 6l) to suppmt his interpretation of Stoic impulses as utterances of imperatives.
Reflection and Responsibility 61
(N2) should be dismissed on the grounds that for the Stoics not every human
impulse is indeed fully rational in the above sense. This seems to leave us with
(N3). (N3) does not assert that all the impulses exercised by humans are fully
rational. It just states that, in order for an impulse to be fully in accordance with
human nature, it has to be fully rational. This finds a parallel in the Clement
passage quoted earlier, which leaves room for there being people who do not
always, or who never, use the capacity, derived from their rational faculty (A.oytKTJ
to assess impressions. Thus, (N
3
) avoids the main difficulty faced by
(N
2
). Moreover, the use of that capacity is at least relevant for responsibility, as is
recognized even by the incompatibilist.
27
This, in tum, is an advantage that (N
3
)
possesses over (N
1
).
4.4 The Argument for Compatibilism
As we saw earlier, the Chrysippean doctrine reported by Nemesius and Alexander
relates what depends on us to what is specific to human nature. The details of the
relation are conspicuous in Nemesius' report: 'When nothing of the things external
and according to fate resists this impulse [that is, a fully rational impulse], then
walking fully depends on us and we will definitely walk' (o1:av oe 1:a1hTI 't'TI
OPf.LTI f.LTJOEV avnneon 't'WV Kat Ka8' eif.Lapf.LEVTJV, 't'O't'e 't'O
nept na1:eiv 1:eA.eov e<p' iJf.LtV ei vat Ka\ nept na't't1oof.Lev). I begin
with two questions: how strong is the thesis that such an impulse is sufficient for
one's being morally responsible for the corresponding action? And how does this
thesis relate to the question of necessitation and the compatibility with
responsibility?
Regarding the latter question, the clause 'and we will definitely walk' (Kat
nept 1ta't'tlOOf.LEV) requires some comment. I construe the clause to
convey a modal thesis: the agent (we) will necessarily walk.
28
Its purpose is to
stress the deterministic aspect of the theory of responsibility on offer. The
necessity of the action derives from the combination of the impulse and the
absence of external obstacles: given these two factors, the action becomes
necessary and inevitable. It is important to stress that the impulse itself is
necessitated (cf. 105, 23: e1taKoA.ou8ei Kat 1:0 6pf.L&v) and fated.
The same applies to the absence of external obstacles, which is said to be fated.
27
See, for example, Alexander, DF 183,28-9 and 184, 11-12. See also Sorabji,Animal Minds and
Human Morals, 40: 'I agree that there is a very large difference between those who are capable of
reflecting on their appearances and those who are not. And I think the capacity so to reflect is indeed
relevant to moral responsibility.' Sorabji's concern with the Stoic position is that this reflection is not
sufficient for responsibility: 'No amount of reflection, in my view, would make them liable to praise
and blame, if their actions had been inevitable all along.'
28
The modal interpretation of the is supported by the context. See, for example, 105, 19
(1t&crcx avayKTl). 105, 21 (avayKTl). 105, 23 and 106, 2 Cf. 'utique' in Seneca's
analysis of anger in ir. 2.4.1-2; and Ammonius' use of in his discussion of the Reaper
Argument (in A1: int. 131,20-132, 7). Sorabji translates in this context as 'come what may'
(see 'The three deterministic arguments opposed by Ammonius', 4-5).
62 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Thus, even though the necessity of the action is derivative - it is necessary given
certain conditions
29
- it derives from a combination of two factors, each of which
is necessitated and fated on its own. All this suggests that according to the
Chrysippean doctrine reported a strict and all-encompassing necessitation is at
work.
30
Notice that an action's depending on me does not require that I could have
acted otherwise (either in those very circumstances or at some other time). In the
text, the clause 'when nothing resists this impulse' ( ihav oe t'IXUt'TI t'TI op!J. fj
ll T)OEV avn neon) refers to the absence of obstacles to the actual action that
corresponds to the impulse, and not to the absence of obstacles to an alternative
counterfactual course of action. As the text stands, the absence of obstacles to an
alternative course of action is irrelevant for determining whether the action
depended on me. Thus, notwithstanding the all-encompassing scope of necessity,
the impulse's being based on a krisis is deemed by the doctrine to be sufficient on
its own for the action's depending on the agent in a moral sense. In line with a
recent interpretation of the theory, I take this sufficiency claim as evidence that the
theory is responding to an incompatibilist who maintains that responsibility
requires the specific dual capacity for acting, that is, the capacity of acting
otherwise at the time of the actual action.
31
We may think of one particular reason why in the present context Chrysippus
would hold that a fully rational impulse is sufficient for responsibility. If I acted
from an impulse based on a prior reflection, then, thanks to this reflection, not
only did I form the conviction that the action was worth performing, but also
the conviction was based on argumentative reasons. Given those reasons, I
regard myself as justified in having acted as I did. In reply to an incompatibilist,
for example, I could perfectly say: 'Yes, I know that it was necessary for me to
assent to the impression and to act as I did; yet, I am certain, and have reasons
to be certain, that the assent and the action were the right thing to do.' I return
to this issue when I come to compare Chrysippus' compatibilism with
Frankfurt's.
The kind of reflection involved in Chrysippean fully rational impulses is also
prominent in the late Stoicism of Epictetus. To denote it, Epictetus uses the term
'understanding' or, more fully, 'understanding our use of
impressions' t'TI XP1loet t'WV q>IXVt'IXOt&v).
32
Epictetan
reflection also proceeds on the basis of a similar criterion, namely whether a given
29 A similar point is made in Alexander's report at 181, 23-30, where he stresses that the
necessitated behaviour of an entity is due to the combination of external and internal factors.
30
The clause K!Xt m:pt7t!X'tllOOIJ.EV does not suggest that necessitation explains
responsibility, but just that responsibility is compatible with it. To suggest the former, the
1tt:ptna"t'llao!J.EV would have to occur in the O't!XV clause rather than in the 'tO'tE clause, that is, the
sentence would have to read (which it does not): 'whenever nothing external and fated hinders this
impulse and [whenever it is true that] we shall walk definitively, then walking completely depends on
us'.
31
See S. Bobzien, sections 6 and 7 of 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will
problem', Phronesis 43 (1998), 133-75.
32
See, notably, D 1.6.12-22, 1.28.19-20, 2.8.5-6, and 2.10.3. Cf. MA 3.1 and 4.42. I return to this
question in the final chapter (section 6.2).
Reflection and Responsibility 63
course of action is in accordance with god's providential plan.
33
In Epictetus,
however, the topic of reflection is connected mainly with the forward-looking
theme of freedom of emotion and tranquillity of mind (anaeew: and
This is a state to be aimed at and whose attainment requires that none of our
desires and impulses be frustrated, which requires knowledge of whether the
courses of action we desire, or have impulses for, are indeed in accordance with
god's providential plan.
34
Although in Epictetus the topic of reflection is primarily connected to this
forward-looking theme, its relation to the backward-looking problem of the
ascription of moral responsibility is also clear in at least some of his extant
Discourses.
35
On his view, as we shall see in Chapter 6, there is a problem
surrounding whether someone who acts without prior reflection should be held
responsible for the action. If unreflective agents are not argumentatively convinced
that what they do is right, what is it that justifies blaming or praising them for what
they do? This very question presupposes that the ascription of responsibility poses
no difficulty in the case of agents who do act from a prior reflection. One
important difference between Chrysippus and Epictetus is that the latter does not
make it explicit that his views are compatibilist (that is, that we are responsible
despite determinism). But there is no good reason to suppose that Epictetus was
not a determinist and that both determinism and compatibilism are not
presuppositions of his ethics.
3
6
4.5 Chrysippus and Harry Frankfurt
Chrysippus' argument contains some of the basic intuitions put forward by Harry
Frankfurt- a prominent modem compatibilist philosopher- against libertarianism.
33 SeeD 1.6.15, 1.17.14-15,3.24.110 and 4.7.7.
34
On freedom of emotion and tranquillity of mind in Epictetus, seeD 1.4.3 and 27-9, 3.22.61 and
4.1.84. For the idea that the attainment of this state necessarily requires 'understanding'
see 1.6.14-17 and 2.8.4-6. See also 1.1.7, 2.1.4, 2.22.29 and 4.6.34 cited by
Long in 'Representation and the self in Stoicism', 111. For a fuller treatment of this question by Long
himself, see his Epictetus (Oxford, 2002), chaps 4 and 6.
Js See notably D 1.18 and 1.28, which I comment on in section 6.2.
3
6
A general statement of determinism is attested for Musonius Rufus (AD c.30-c.100), Epictetus'
teacher. See Musonius Rufus ap. Stobaeus (E 4.44, 60): 'such was, is, and will be the nature of world,
and it is not possible for the things that happen to happen otherwise than they do now' ('t"OtO:U't"T] iJ
't"OU KOOf.i.OU KO:l KO:l eon KO:l EO't"O:t KO:l mix ot6v 't"E y{yvea8on 't"tX
ytyv6f.i.EVO: i') vilv exet). On the questions of determinism and compatibilism in Epictetus, see
R. Dobbin, 'Prohairesis in Epictetus', Ancient Philosophy 11 (1991), 111-35 at 121 and 133 and
Epicteflls: Discourses I (Oxford, 1998), 113; Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 335-8; and Long,
Epictetus, 220-22 and 230. Against Dobbin ('Prohairesis in Epictetus', 121) Long explains why
Epictetus' thesis that not even god can constrain prohairesis cannot be intended to 'introduce a clear
break in the causal nexus dependent on Zeus and also called fate by the Stoics'. For discussion of this
specific issue see T. Brennan, 'Fate and free will in Stoicism', O:xford Studies in Anciellt Philosophy 21
(Winter 2001), 259-86 at 275--S and M. Graver, 'Not even Zeus', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
25 (Winter 2003), 345-60 at 350-52.
64 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
A central element in Frankfurt's theory is the contention that responsibility does
not require the specific capacity to act otherwise often posited by the
incompatibilists as a necessary condition for moral responsibility, and as being
incompatible with determinism. Frankfurt's argument leans on the design of a
thought experiment: someone A deliberately chooses to <P, and acts accordingly;
but there is someone B who can interfere with A's actions, such that, if A had
shown any sign of an inclination not to <P, B would have seen to it that A <P-ed
anyway. So A could not have acted otherwise at the time he <P-ed. But Frankfurt's
conclusion is that A is nevertheless responsible for having acted as he did. The
agent is responsible, he contends, because the agent's choice (or decision) was
based on a previous practical reflection: the agent rationally concluded that, all
things considered, <P-ing is the most desirable course of action and what he should
do. Thus, the fact that A actually lacked the capacity to act otherwise is irrelevant
to the evaluation of his responsibility. And if so, one of the basic intuitions of the
incompatibilists turns out to be unfounded: at least in contexts such as this one, the
capacity is not required.
Even though Frankfurt's theory does not deal explicitly with the question of
predetermination, he and Chrysippus explain responsibility along the same lines:
in order for an action to be responsible, it suffices that the choice or desire on
which the agent acted be backed up by a previous and all-things-considered
practical reflection; in consequence the specific dual capacity for acting is not
required.
Let us look at Frankfurt's theory of responsibility in detail. The following is an
adapted version of the thought-experiment he originally proposed.
37
Maria is a neurosurgeon who, in performing an operation on Jake, conceals a device in
his brain that allows her to monitor and control Jake's activities. Jake, meanwhile, is
unaware of this. The device installed by Maria is so sophisticated that it allows her to
monitor and control in detail Jake's voting behaviour. In particular, if Jake were to show
any sign of an inclination to vote for party X, the device would enable Maria to determine
that Jake actually vote for Y. Jake, though, is someone who would never take a political
decision precipitately. So, at the time of the elections, he engages in a practical reflection
about whom he should vote for and concludes that, all things considered, he should vote
for Y. In consequence, he chooses and acts accordingly.
This thought-experiment appeals to two facts which, I hope, are uncontroversial:
(1) Maria did not intervene, at any time, in the actual psychological process that
led Jake to vote for Y; (2) it was impossible for Jake to have performed a different
37
See Frankfurt, 'Alternate possibilities' and, especially, 'Freedom of will and the concept of a
person', in G. Watson (ed.), Free Will (Oxford, 1984); and 'Identification and wholeheartedness', in F.
Schoeman (ed.), Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions (Cambridge, 1987), where the idea of a
prior all-things-considered reflection becomes the focus of the argument. Cf. J. Locke, Essay
Conceming Human Understanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch (Oxford, 1975 (1690)), book ii, chap. xxi,
sections 8-11; Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 254-5; J.M. Fischer, 'Responsibility and control',
Joumal of Philosophy 79 (1982), 24-40; and D. Dennett, Elbow Room (Cambridge, Mass. and London,
1984 ), chap. 6.
Reflection and Responsibility 65
action - he lacked, at the time the choice was made, the capacity to act otherwise.
The conclusion drawn by Frankfurt-inspired philosophers is that, despite (2), and
partly because of (1), Jake is fully responsible for having voted for Y.
It is important to spell out how, exactly, the argument proceeds. I have already
mentioned one of its grounds: there is no intervention from Maria's part on Jake's
psychology. This guarantees the satisfaction of a necessary condition for
responsibility. Had Maria intervened so as causally to determine Jake's actual
choice, the choice would have been forced upon him from outside.
38
In that case,
he arguably would not have been responsible for voting for Y.
But the element consisting in Maria's non-intervention also has a more specific,
and critical, function in the argument. It shows that, when we do have the capacity
to act otherwise, and are responsible, our possession of it is irrelevant to the
explanation of why we are responsible. This step represents the kernel of
Frankfurtian arguments. It is composed of three stages.
(A) The notion that Maria did not intervene at any time on Jake's psychology
indicates that, if Jake had not had Maria's device installed in his brain, he would
have chosen to vote for Y anyway and acted accordingly. The purpose of Maria's
device in the present case is just to ensure that, if Jake had ever shown the slightest
sign of an inclination for voting otherwise, he would not vote otherwise. But, as a
matter of fact, Jake did not show any such sign.
39
Thus, all else being equal, he
would not have shown any such sign either had he not had Maria's device installed
in his brain. Thus, Jake's possession in that hypothetical case of the capacity to act
otherwise does not really matter for the explanation, in that case, of his
responsibility for voting for Y. To quote Frankfurt's own words:
Suppose that a person has done what he wanted to do, that he did it because he wanted
to do it, and that the will by which he was moved when he did it was his will because it
was the will he wanted .... Even supposing that he could have done otherwise, he would
not have done otherwise; and even supposing that he could have had a different will, he
would not have wanted his will to differ from what it was .... Under these conditions,
it is quite irrelevant to the evaluation of his moral responsibility to inquire whether the
alternatives that he opted against were actually available to him.
40
(B) The second stage rests on the following inference: since Jake's possession
in the hypothetical case of the capacity to choose and act otherwise is irrelevant
for the explanation of his responsibility in that case, his lack of that capacity in the
present case should not undermine the claim that he is responsible in this case as
well. One way of unpacking this inference would be this: Jake is responsible in the
38
One can imagine a thought-experiment, different from Frankfurt's, where Jake's reasons for
voting for Y are imposed by Maria and, hence, from outside: she causes him to think (without him
noticing) that voting for Y is the best option all things considered. In this case, Jake would not be
responsible. But this is clearly not the type of case that Frankfurt has in mind when he claims that the
agent emerges as responsible despite lacking the capacity to act otherwise.
39
Notice that Jake's reflection, if it was impartial, was carried out without his having- during the
reflection - either an inclination to vote for Y or an inclination to vote for X.
•o From his 'Freedom of will', 94.
66 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
hypothetical case; but if one were to provide an account of why he is responsible
in that case, his capacity to act otherwise would not occur in the account; if so,
however, why should the absence of that capacity in the present case preclude his
responsibility?
(C) The third stage complements the other two by specifying the factors that do
explain Jake's responsibility in both the present and the hypothetical case. One of
them has already been alluded to. It is the absence of external intervention: Jake's
choice is not coerced by external factors either in the present or in the hypothetical
case. A further important factor, according to Frankfurt's theory, is Jake's previous
reasoning about how, all things considered, he ought to choose and behave - the
rational process whereby he concluded that he should vote for Y. In other words,
one crucial reason why Jake is responsible in both cases - including the one in
which Maria's device made it totally impossible for Jake to act otherwise- is that
his choice and action derive from, and are explained by, his practical reflection.
We may now tum to the affinity between Frankfurt's compatibilism and the
compatibilism proposed by Chrysippus in DF 13 and N 35.
Frankfurt and Chrysippus explain moral responsibility by appealing to factors
that are substantially the same. In Frankfurt's theory, the responsibility for the
action derives from the agent's decision to perform it, but also from that decision's
being based on a previous all-things-considered practical reflection.
41
Similarly,
the responsibility for the action in Chrysippus derives from the agent's exercise of
an impulse for it (or his assenting to the impression where the action is presented
as valuable), but also, and crucially, from the impulse's being fully rational, which
involves a reflection concerning the all-things-considered desirability or
appropriateness of the action. It is noteworthy that in some of his later works
Frankfurt's account lays a certain emphasis on second-order desires.
42
To be
responsible for <1>-ing, it is sufficient to desire having the desire to <1>, provided that
the former, second-order, desire is based on a previous practical reflection
concerning the desirability of the latter: the agent is responsible because he came
to have the desire to desire to <I> as a result of a reflection about whether the desire
to <I> is worth having. Therefore, the question addressed in the reflection is mainly
'should I desire to <I>?' Its focus is a desire- whether or not one should have it. In
the Chrysippean account, by contrast, the focus of the reflection is on action. As
we have seen, the question it addresses is 'Is it appropriate for me to <I> (given the
present circumstances)?'
This difference between the two authors, however, is only superficial. Under
logical analysis, the two kinds of reflection emerge as mutually equivalent. In
Stoic doctrine, the appropriateness of an action is tantamount to its desirability. An
activity <I> is appropriate (Kcx8flKov) relative to a living being L if and only if <1>-
ing is in accordance with the nature of L. Given the normative force of nature in
41
Although the importance of there being such a reflection is not emphasized in the originall969
paper 'Alternate possibilities', it does becomes a key element of the theory developed in 'Freedom of
will'. See below.
42
Second-order desires become central to Frankfurt's theory of responsibility in 'Freedom of will'
and 'Identification and wholeheartedness'.
Reflection and Responsibility 67
Stoic doctrine, <I> is appropriate relative to L just in case it is desirable for L to <I>.
43
So, the question raised by the Stoic agent 'Is it appropriate for me to <I>?' becomes
'Is it desirable for me to <I>?', which entails and is entailed by the question 'Should
I desire to <I>?' entertained by the Frankfurtian agent.
A further point of similarity holds between the role given to fate in the
Chrysippean argument and the role of Maria's device in the thought-experiment
we have been discussing.
One clear implication of the doctrine is that it has been impossible all along
that we do not act as we actually do. This impossibility follows directly from the
thesis that-everything that occurs is fated. So, just as Maria is there to ensure that
Jake complies with a certain pattern of behaviour, likewise Stoic fate ensures
that we comply with what is due to happen, which includes our actions. The
Stoic simile of the dog tied to the cart reported by Hippolytus,
44
is a further
piece of text that we can read along these lines: the dog is bound to follow the
cart, whether he wills or not. In both Jake's case and the case of the Stoic dog,
there is something like an invincible power that would prevent them from not
performing the actions they actually make, if they were to try not to perform
them.
To complement these remarks, I should like to explore two disanalogies
between the theories. I shall begin by describing what they consist in and, then,
submit that they are less substantive than they appear to be.
In orthodox Stoicism, fate - the invincible power alluded to above - is
something that operates from within us. Fate is not some kind of external obstacle
that would thwart our eventual inclination for acting otherwise.
45
The idea is
rather that the very structure of the agent's inner constitution- which is not itself
determined by external factors alone (see section 3.3)- prevents him from actually
choosing or acting otherwise. The notion of external coercion is by no means at
issue.
46
In contrast with this view, the invincible power in Frankfurt-type thought-
experiments is arguably external to the agent. In the example discussed earlier, it
is Maria who would have prevented Jake from choosing and acting otherwise, had
he shown the slightest inclination to do so. The intervention on Jake's psychology
would have had an external origin.
43
This is an important element of the Stoic theory of values. On this issue, see DL 7.107 and E
2.85, 13-86, 4 (SVF 3.494; LS 59B).
44
See DG 571, 11-16. Cf. Cleanthes ap. Epictetus, Ench. 53.1 and ap. Seneca, ep. 107.10. For
discussion see Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 351-7.
45
In Chrysippean Stoicism, it is not the case that, when fate actually prevents us from assenting or
acting otherwise, fate is acting upon us from outside. Chrysippus' position would be, rather, that it is
our inner constitution- which is given to us by fate (seeN 105, 9-10) -that prevents us from assenting
or acting otherwise than we actually do. In Epictetus, for example, who is presumably not departing
from Chrysippus on this issue, it is the nature of intellect- T] and the nature
of the rational soul (D 1.28.1-5) which prevents the sage from not assenting to clear impressions.
46
We find in Nemesius' report the suggestion that there could be cases where our impulses are
thwarted by external obstacles whose presence is fated (N 105, 10-11). But even in such cases the
thwarted impulse itselfwould be fated (cf. 106, 1-3).
68 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
The second disanalogy has to do with the idea of activity. In a Frankfurt-type
thought-experiment such as the one I have proposed, the invincible power that
prevents the agent from acting otherwise is factually inactive, and only
counterfactually active. If, but only if, Jake had shown the slightest inclination for
voting for X, Maria would have intervened. But Jake did not show any such
inclination. This has no parallel in Chrysippean theory; on the contrary. According
to the doctrine, fate is active in the factual case as well. We are told that the things
that occur 'through' (oux) us- which are those that depend on us- are brought
about by (u1t6) fate. It could hardly be doubted that the preposition u1t6 carries in
this instance the connotation of actual agency.
How significant are these two disanalogies? Do they reveal a substantive
disagreement regarding the nature of responsibility? I venture to say that they
don't. In fact, they may be construed to reveal just alternate strategies to avoid the
threat of external coercion. But they do not carry any significant difference as to
how the nature of responsibility itself is understood. In the Frankfurt-type thought-
experiment we discussed, the invincible power that prevents Jake from choosing
and acting otherwise is external. The threat of external coercion is avoided through
the notion that that power is factually inactive. In the Stoic doctrine, by contrast,
the power is factually active. In this instance, the threat is avoided through the
notion that the power is internal. In either case, there is no external coercion. And
this, when coupled with the cmcial fact that the agent acts on the basis of an all-
things-considered practical reflection, is held by both theories to be the
explanation of the agent's responsibility for the action.
To end, one final remark is in order. The Chrysippean theory examined in this
chapter does not state a necessary condition for responsibility. It does not say that
only those agents who act on the basis of a fully rational impulse are responsible.
The theory states merely a sufficient condition. If the action is preceded by this
type of reflection, then, despite predetermination, the agent is responsible. Thus
people who act without having previously gone through a reflection of this sort
may still come out as responsible. Chapter 6 is devoted to studying how the Stoics
justify the ascription of responsibility to these people.
Chapter 5
The Three Compatibilist Theories
of Chrysippus
We have assumed that the Stoic compatibilist theory from DF 13 and N 35 is
Chrysippean. The present chapter argues that there is no conclusive reason for
thinking otherwise, and compares this theory to two other Chrysippean
compatibilist theories. One of them, we have already examined in some detail.
It is the theory from F 43 and NA 7.2.11, which was designed to refute the
incompatibilist 'externalist objection': if the world were governed by
determinism, everything we do would, in fact, be fully determined by external
factors alone. The other theory, which modern scholars have also attributed to
Chrysippus, has not been mentioned so far in this book. It states that, in spite
of determinism, an individual action may be contingent in a sense that the agent
may either perform it or not at a specific time. Implicit in this theory is the
contention that, in some cases at least, determinism is compatible with the
freedom to do otherwise which incompatibilists standardly regard as a
condition sine qua non for responsibility but also as incompatible with
determinism. In the course of this chapter I shall refer to these theories as T 3,
T ~ . and T2, respectively.
The first three sections are devoted to tackling the issue of the attribution of T
3

Although in DF 13 Alexander does not refer by name to the author ofT
3
(any more
than he names his opponents anywhere in DF), in N 35 Nemesius mentions
Chrysippus along with other Stoics. This is evidence that Chrysippus himself is the
author of the argument and that the other Stoics in question were simply following
him. Despite Nemesius' indication, however, some recent scholars have
questioned this attribution. I take issue with this interpretation by questioning the
arguments adduced for supporting it. We shall see that T3 complements T1 as part
of a single strategy against Aristotelian incompatibilism.
5.1 The Dispute over the Authorship ofT 3
In recent times, the issue of the attribution of T
3
has motivated a considerable
amount of scholarly controversy. Its Stoic provenance has not been challenged.
The question is whether it is early, and Chrysippean, or late. Although Nemesius
is quite explicit in attributing T
3
to 'Chrysippus, Philopator, and many other
famous <Stoics>':
69
70 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
those who say these things (they are Chrysippus and Philopator and many other famous
<Stoics>)
1
it is not agreed by all - and it is sometimes even expressly denied - that
Chrysippus is its originator. We may distinguish three main lines of interpretation:
(A) T3 is a theory designed by Chrysippus himself. The reference by Nemesius
to Philopator et al. is evidence that Chrysippus' compatibilist views persisted
almost unchanged throughout the development of Stoicism at least until
Philopator (first half of the second century AD). Admittedly, T
3
differs in
important respects from compatibilist theories that we know to be Chrysippean;
T
1
and T
2
are precisely two cases in point. But these differences may very well
reveal complementary doctrines.
(B) T
3
, as formulated in DF 13 and N 35, was probably not designed by
Chrysippus himself. Nonetheless, it does not contain any philosophical element
that is not virtually present in the early Stoicism of Chrysippus. So even though
the originator of T
3
is perhaps not Chrysippus himself, its actual originator (it
may be Philopator) did not introduce any substantial innovation in Stoic
compatibilism.
Of these two lines of interpretation, the former is the more widespread. Those
who have adopted it include von Arnim,
2
Long,
3
Amand,
4
Reesor
5
and Botros.6
1
N 105, 12-13: oi ·m:ih·a (eio\ tle tG>v :EtumcG>v te Ka\
<l>lA.omitwp Ka\ &A.A.ol 1toA.A.o\ Ka'i A.aj.11tpoi). One of the MSS has eio\ tle tG>v atwl KG>v oi
tailto: omitting te KO:t <l>lA.omitwp Ka\ &A.A.ot 1toA.A.o\ Ka'i. A.o:j.11tpoC
2
I interpret his inclusion of the relevant passages from DF 13 and N 35 in the 'Chrysippi
Fragmenta' of the SVF (2.979 and 2.991, respectively) as evidence that he thinks they reflect views that
are either entirely Chrysippean or derived from Chrysippus.
3
See 'Stoic determinism and Alexander of Aphrodisias De Fato (i-xiv)', Archiv fiir Geschichte tier
Philosophie 52 (1970), 247-68 at 268 n. 4 and 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human
action', in Problems in Stoicism (London, 1971), 180 n. 27 (= p. 196). In LS 1, 392-4, Long and Sedley
also use DF 13 and N 35 to shed light on early Stoic compatibilism.
4
See Fatalisme et Liberte (Amsterdam, 1973), 560-64 devoted toN 35. Amand claims that the
source for chapter 35 of N (and in fact for the whole of chapters 29 to 41) is a Peripatetic commentary
on Aristotle's Nicomaclzean Ethics hostile to Stoicism, and that the attack levelled by Nemesius himself
against the Stoics may be reflecting this source. Arnaud attributes the Stoic views themselves that are
attacked (that is, T3} to '!'ecole de Chrysippe'.
5
See 'Necessity and fate in Stoic philosophy', in J.M. Rist (ed.), The Stoics (Berkeley-Los
Angeles-London, 1978). Reesor does not address expressly the question of the attribution, but DF 13
is given a prominent place in her discussion (seep. 187), which is primarily about Chrysippus and early
Stoicism.
6
See 'Freedom, causality, fatalism and early Stoic philosophy', Phronesis 30 (1995), 274-304 at
esp. 283. Botros does not tackle the issue of attribution either. But the fact that she mainly discusses
early Stoicism, and uses DF 13 to shed light on Chrysippean compatibilism, would suggest that she
regards T3 as Chrysippean.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 71
But we also find some scholars who have defended (B). Three examples are
Sharples,? Frede
8
and Inwood.
9
In opposition to (A) and (B), there is a third line of interpretation. It was
defended by Theiler,
10
but has been recently given a new impetus by Bobzien.u
(C) T
3
should definitely not be attributed to Chrysippus. It is a theory that
reflects a late Stoic compatibilist doctrine that - if taken as a whole -
substantially differs from anything Chrysippus may have proposed. T
3
was
designed by late Stoics, and notably Philopator, to cope with objections raised
by Middle Platonists late in the first century or early in the second century AD,
who forced the discussion of causal determinism and responsibility to a
different level, alien to the disputes between early Stoics and their rivals.
In what follows, some reasons will be provided for thinking that this extreme
position is unfounded. Although we cannot know for certain, given the state of the
evidence, that Chrysippus was indeed the author of T
3
, there are dialectical and
philosophical reasons for believing that the correct interpretation is (A) and, in any
case, for rejecting the extreme view proposed by (C).
Before I begin, I should like to address two preliminary reasons that have been
used to question a Chrysippean origin: the presence of Philopator's name inN 35
and the absence of Chrysippus' name from DF 13.
7
See 'Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Fato', 253-6. On his view, there are no elements in T3 that
definitely cannot be associated with Chrysippean Stoicism. On p. 256, Sharples claims that the
formulation of the principle of same causes-same effects in DF 13 and N 35 'may be that of Philopator'
(his emphasis), but claims that 'it is not however necessary to suppose that his position differed
materially in this respect from that of Chrysippus'. See also his 'Schriften', in P.J. Wiesner (ed.), Der
Aristotelisnms bei den Chriechen 3: Alexander von Aphrodisias (Berlin, 2001), 552. I return to this
issue in section 5.2. In Cicero, On Fate, 191, he attributes T3 to Chrysippus.
8
See 'The dramatization of determinism: Alexander of Aphrodisias' defato', Phronesis 27 ( 1982),
276-98 at 276-7. Frede suggests that Alexander (and Nemesius?) is reporting the views of a Stoic
contemporary who maintained a stronger determinism than Chrysippus' and did not always understand
the 'refinements' of earlier Stoic compatibilism. But she observes, in accordance with the overall
argument she develops in the article, that 'there is, of course, the problem of our sources' historical
accuracy and fairness'. She strongly suggests that the non-Chrysippean elements that are apparently
present in DF 13 may be due to a distortion by Alexander for polemical purposes. On this question, see
R. Salles, 'Categorical possibility and incompatibilism in Alexander of Aphrodisias' theory of
responsibility', Mithexis 11 (1998), 65-83.
9
See Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 88-91. Inwood is perhaps the strongest advocate
of the view that T3 is originally early Stoic, but that it is intentionally distorted by Alexander and Nemesius
for polemical purposes, which explains - on Inwood's view - the presence of (supposedly) non-
Chrysippean elements in DF 13. Inwood returns to this claim, with the same emphasis, on p. 252 n. 8.
10
According to W. Theiler, 'Tacitus und die antike Schicksalslehre', in 0. Gigon et al. (eds),
Phylloboliafiir P. von der Miihl (Basle, 1946), T3 departs from Chrysippean compatibilism insofar as
the former but not the latter presents humans as instruments of fate. However, against Theiler, see
Chrysippus ap. Epictetus in D 2.6.9. For discussion see Long, 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic
theory of human action', 180 n. 27.
11
See 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem' and Determinism and
Freedom, chap. 8. More specific references will be given as we proceed. The reasons adduced by
Bobzien differ from those given by Theiler.
72 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
The reference inN 35 to Philopator and his treatise Peri heimarmenes has been
taken as one reason (among several others, which I also discuss further) for
denying Chrysippus' authorship.
12
The argument runs as follows: (i) Philopator is
a rather obscure Stoic of the early second century AD (his intellectual prime being
located somewhere between 80 and 140) in contrast with Chrysippus who was
much more famous than Philopator even in the second century. Therefore (ii)
Nemesius would not have mentioned Philopator's name along with that of
Chrysippus if Nemesius were reporting directly from the works of Chrysippus. If
so, then (iii) the source used by Nemesius was Philopator's treatise, which he even
explicitly mentions at the end of his report at 106, 9-10. In consequence, (iv) this
is relevant for thinking (among other reasons) that Philopator, rather than
Chrysippus, is the originator ofT
3
• Given this conclusion, an explanation is needed
of why Chrysippus is mentioned at all by Nemesius as one of the advocates of T3•
The explanation offered is that (v) Philopator presents himself as a follower of
Chrysippus, but he does so not because he draws on Chrysippean ideas, but just to
enhance the status of his own doctrine even though his compatibilism substantially
differs from Chrysippus'.
This highly conjectural argument is convincing up to, and including, step (iii).
But the crucial inference from (iii) to (iv) is invalid insofar as (v) is unfounded.
Nemesius' inclusion of Chrysippus in the list of the advocates ofT
3
may well have
been motivated by the presence in Philopator's treatise of a quotation from
Chrysippus and an explicit reference to his authorship, in which case Philopator
might have been reporting Chrysippean views that he himself, along with other
prominent Stoics, fully endorsed without reservation.
13
This could explain
satisfactorily why Nemesius refers to T3 as a theory defended by 'Chrysippus and
Philopator and many other famous <Stoics>'. In consequence, the presence of
Philopator's name in this list is not all by itself a reason for thinking that T3 is not
Chrysippean.
The absence of Chrysippus' name from DF 13 (and indeed from the whole
treatise) has also been taken as positive evidence against the Chrysippean
authorship ofT
3

14
Two separate reasons are given for taking it in this way. First,
there are works of Alexander where he does mention Chrysippus by name when
he expressly discusses his views. An example of this is the treatise de mixtione.
15
Thus, if the views discussed in DF 13 had been Chrysippean, Alexander would
have mentioned him by name. Second, there was a practice in antiquity of not
citing the name of living persons in criticism - a practice that Alexander used to
1
2
See Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, 368-9.
n I entirely agree with Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom, 368: 'when we have different
philosophers named but a written work of only one of them, it is more likely that the given information
stems from that book - especially when it is later'. My concern is just that the book from which the
information stems may be reporting one of the other philosophers especially when he is an especially
prominent one.
I< See ibid., 369.
15
See, for example, mixt. 213, 7; 216, 8 and 14. Other examples are given by Sharples in
Alexander. .. On Fate, 19 n. 120.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Cluysippus 73
observe.
16
Therefore, the views Alexander reports in chapter 13, and criticizes in
chapter 14, must belong to a contemporary Stoic school or author rather than to
Chrysippus himself.
Against this line of argument, however, it should be noticed that in DF
Alexander does not even mention the Stoics by name. In consequence, his failure
to mention Chrysippus is no evidence against his authorship. And there is a good
reason why Alexander does not mention the Stoics. It has to do with the political
context in which DF was written. As Thillet observes in the introduction to his
edition,n the dedicatees of the treatise- Septimus Severns and Caracalla (164, 3)
- were admirers of Marcus Aurelius and sympathetic to Stoic philosophy in
general. Alexander's dedication is probably a sign that he wanted to please the
emperors in return for having been recently appointed to the chair of Aristotelian
philosophy at the school of Athens. To openly lambaste the Stoics in DF would
have been against his own intentions and interests in those particular
circumstances. This may explain why Alexander does not mention by name either
the Stoics as a school or any individual Stoic philosopher, and does not imply that
Alexander did not regard Chrysippus as the originator ofT
3

To conclude, the presence of Philopator's name inN 35 and the absence of
Chrysippus' name from DF 13 are not evidence that the theory is late.
5.2 The Differences between T1 and TJ
T3 differs substantially from what we know with some certainty from other sources
about Chrysippus' compatibilism and, in particular, about the theory reported in F
43 and NA 7.2.11 which I have called 'T/. This could weaken considerably the
case in favour of the attribution of T
3
to Chrysippus. Given the differences between
T
3
and TI> runs the objection, he cannot be the author of both, but given that he is
indeed the author o f T ~ > then he cannot be the author ofT
3
• Against this objection,
I shall argue that the differences between the two theories do not reveal
disagreements between them. Therefore, they do not represent any good reason for
denying that Chrysippus is the originator ofT
3

(1) First, we find in T
3
the statement of a principle of regularity- 'same causes,
same effects' - which is absent from T
1
. But although T
1
does not contain an
explicit statement of the principle, the notion itself of regularity-based
determinism is certainly present in early Stoicism. As we have seen in Chapter 2,
it is constitutive of the early orthodox doctrine of everlasting recurrence.
18
Let us
compare T
3
and the doctrine of everlasting recurrence in some detail to see that,
and how, they both imply the principle of regularity.
16
On this specific issue, see also Frede, 'The dramatization of determinism', 277.
17
P. Thillet (ed.), Alexandre d' Aphrodise. Traite du Destin (Paris, 1984), lxxviii and lxxxii-xc.
18
In addition, see J.B. Gould, 'The Stoic conception of fate', Journal of the Histo1y of Ideas 35
(1974), 17-32 at 18-19, and Sharples, 'Alexander of Aphrodisias, De Fato', 256: on their view, the
principle is virtually contained in early statements of the determinist position, and notably in the early
doctrine of fate.
74 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
A crucial contention made by T
3
is that for any actual causal relation r in which
a set of causal conditions c brings about an effect e, (a) r is necessary, and its
necessity derives from the impossibility of a situation where c obtains, but e does
not; which implies that (b) e will obtain in every possible situation in which c does.
These two elements are conspicuous in Alexander's report of T
3

1
9 In the course
of an argument to the effect that 'nothing of the things which are brought about by
each thing in accordance with its proper nature ... can be otherwise', (a) and (b)
are illustrated though an example. First, 'it is not possible for the stone, if it is
released from some height, not to be canied downwards, if nothing hinders'. This
corresponds to (a), for it appeals to the impossibility of a situation where the
conditions for the stone's downwards motion obtain, but the motion itself does not.
Second, given the stone's weight 'whenever the external causes which contribute
to the natural movement of the stone are also present, of necessity the stone is
moved in the way in which it is its nature to be moved'. This, on the other hand,
corresponds to the possibility-based conception of regularity used in (b). The
relevant part of the Greek text (DF 181, 18-30) is worth quoting in full:
<E1tet yap> ... 5e oa U<p. eK&OoOU yw61J.eva K!Xoa 1"TJV oi.Ke(uv
<puot v, oa IJ.EV u1to .A.i'Bou KU1"a oTJV .A.teou, o& 5 • u1to Kaoa of)v
KUt o& U1t0 (4>ou KUo& 1"TJV (4>ou, ou5ev IJ.EV 1"WV KUo& 1"TJV oiKei'av <puow
u<p' eK&OoOU YWOIJ.EVWV Mvuo6a( <pUOtV exetv, a.A..A.' EKUOWV 1"WV
YWOIJ.EVU>V U1t. UU1"WV yi'veo6at KU1"TJVUYKUOIJ.EVU><;!, KU1". av&yKTJV ou 1"TJV
fK aU. eK 1"00 IJ.TJ 1"0 5f) 1te<pUKO<;! (OV1"U>V 1"WV
1tepteooC:nwv 1"010U1"WV af>UVU1"0V auo<t> IJ.TJ 1"01"e
1tU><;! KUt IJ.TJ K1VTJ6flvut. IJ.*e yap 1"0V .A.i'Bov, ei lX1tO U'irOU<;! a<pe6ei'TJ
n IJ.TJ <pepeo8ut K&ow '<t> <yap>
papU1"TJ1"U IJ.EV exew !XU1"0V ev auo<t>, o!XUUJV 5' eivat <1"TJV> '*
Kt K!X1"a <puotv <ahfav>, 01"UV KUt oa atna oa 1"TJV
KU1"a <pUOtV KtVTJOlV o<t> Ai6Cf> OUV1"eAOUV1"!X 1tUp'fi, 1"0V .A.ieov
1tE<pUKeV
<For since> ... the things that are brought about by each thing come about in accordance
with its proper nature - those by a stone in accordance with that of a stone, those by fire in
accordance with that of fire and those by a living creature in accordance with that of a living
creature - nothing of the things which are brought about by each thing in accordance with
its proper nature, they say, can be othetwise, but each of the things brought about by them
comes about compulsorily, in accordance not with the necessity that results from force but
<with that> resulting from its being impossible for that which has a nature of that sort to be
moved at that time in some other way and not in this, when the circumstances are such as
could not possibly not have been present to it. For it is not possible for the stone, if it is
19
For Alexander, see below in the main text. For Nemesius, seeN 105, 18-21 'When the same
surrounding causes are present, as they claim, it is fully necessary that the same things come about, i.e.
given that these things have been so allotted from eternity it is not possible that at some time <they
come about> in this way, whereas at another time they come about in a different way' ('twv cxti'twv
cxi't(t:.lv neptt:O't1lKO'tt:.lV, q>cxcrw cxthoi, n&crcx livayK11 'ttt cxu't& yivecr6cxt, Kcxl ouK ol6v
n: 1tO'te JJ.&V OU'tt:.l, 1tO'te I>& yevecr6cxt l>ta 'tO a7tOKEKA11PW06cxt
'tcxihcx).
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 75
released from some height, not to be canied downwards, if nothing hinders. Because it has
weight in itself; and this is the natural cause of such a motion, whenever the external causes
which conu·ibute to the natural movement of the stone are also present, of necessity the
stone is moved in the way in which it is its nature to be moved.
Now, we also find a version of T/s (i) and (ii) in everlasting recurrence. If a set of
causal conditions c brought about an effect e in the present cycle, then (i') the
causation of e by c is necessary in virtue of the impossibility of a cycle in which c
obtains but e does not, which implies that (ii') e will have to ensue in every possible
future world-cycle in which c obtains. It is important to recall that the principle of
'same causes, same effects' in question here is not hypothetical (cf. section 2.3). The
idea is not that if the same causes were repeated, they would bring about the same
effects (meaning that it does not matter whether the causes will ever be repeated);
the idea is rather that when the same causes are repeated in the next cycle (meaning
that they will be repeated), they will bring about the same effects. To make this
explicit, we may complement (i') and (ii') with something like (iii'): 'and, as a
matter of fact, c will obtain in every future world-cycle'. Now, is this a difference
between the principle of regularity in the doctrine of everlasting recurrence and in
T
3
? The question requires a cautious answer. For if we go back to T
3
we observe that,
as far as the texts are concerned, the theory may well be referring to transcyclical
reguladties and, hence, to non-hypothetical ones.
2
° For this reason, it would be
wrong simply to assume that the pdnciple of reguladty is not the same in both
theories and, therefore, that the principle in T
3
has not an early origin.
(2) Next, T
3
offers a definition of the notion of what depends on us ("ro i:q>'
tiiJ.tV), which spells out in general terms what it is for an activity to depend on us:
'They say that what happens <by fate and> through us depends on us' (l..eyouot v
i:q>' ti!J.tV eivat -ro <uno n: ytv61J.evov <Kat> ot'
ri1J.WV).
21
This has no parallel in Tt. where we find instead the term 'depends on
us' (in nostra potestate) being applied to particular activities without an explicit
general definition of what it is for an activity to depend on us. Again, this
difference is no conclusive evidence that the origin of T
3
is not Chrysippus.
First, the use of the phrase 'through us' (used in the definition given by T
3
of
what depends on us) in the field of ethics is not late but early: it is found in
Aristotle to refer, as in T
3
, to activities for which we are morally responsible.
22
2ll For a transcyclical reading, see Long, 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human
action', 188-9. On Long's reading, 'given the same external situation and an absolutely identical
human character then at time t in cycle p action x is the same as the action performed in cycle pl at
time t 1'. Thus, 'the theory does not say anything which is relevant to action now. It denies the
possibility of acting differently at the identical point in the next cycle.' See also Bobzien, Determinism
and Freedom, 373-4: 'If we take the phrase "the same" literally (exempting only the factors of time
and space), we can say that within Stoic physics it is very unlikely that the same situation concerning
a cause and its circumstances will ever occur twice - except perhaps in the next world-cycle.'
21
See DF 181, 14. For discussion, see section 4.1.
22
See EN llllb23-4, 26; 1112a30--b4, b27. What occurs through us is identified by Aristotle as
that which we (ought to) deliberate about, and for which we are, therefore, morally responsible. This
is acknowledged by Bobzien in 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem',
168 and n. 63.
76 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Second, the technical use of the phrase in T
3
- indicated by the fact that T
3
, in
contrast with Aristotle, defines the notion of what occurs 'through us' in terms of
more basic notions (see section 4.1)- may be due to an anti-determinist critic (and
perhaps to Alexander and Nemesius) rather than to the Stoic source they are
reporting, namely Philopator.
23
But it would not follow from this that T
3
is alien
to Chrysippus: it is perfectly possible that T
3
is nothing but a formalization by
Philopator, couched in his own technical terminology, of ideas originally put
forward by Chrysippus, just as in modern science later scientists often formalize
earlier theories without adding any substantive claims of their own to these
theories.
(3) The third major difference between T
3
and T
1
lies in the specification of the
internal cause of what depends on us. In the nature of the internal cause in
humans is introduced through an analogy. The analogue of the cylinder's power to
roll in Cicero's report at F 43 is the 'force' of the mind and its 'own nature' (suapte
vi et natura). As we saw in section 3.3, this has been interpreted in at least two
different ways: as the peculiar quality (iMa of the agent, which is
exclusive to each individual agent, or as a set of qualities that is common to a
certain type of character. In T3, by contrast, the internal cause is the use of a
capacity that is common to all humans. In other words, T 3 specifies the internal
cause by appealing to human nature ('t'flv ti!J.en!pav qn)otv),
24
whereas T
1
does
not. This difference, however, does not imply that the two theories contradict each
other. As I shall argue, it merely derives from the fact that T
1
and T
3
are addressing
different objections.
T 1 is set out to address the 'externalist objection'. It seeks to show why
determinism does not imply that everything we do is ultimately determined by
external factors alone. This is shown through the much stronger thesis that most of
the behaviour of objects in general is not so determined. The generality of this
thesis explains why T
1
establishes an analogy between the behaviour of cylinders
and the acts of assent of humans. But even though this analogy is the main axis of
the argument, the goal of T
1
explains why the theory also concentrates upon
differences between persons and between inanimate objects. In the case of
persons, for example, if different persons react differently to the same impressions,
the make-up of one's mind is relevant for the explanation of our reactions and, if
so, these cannot be determined by external factors alone.
T 3, however, addresses a different question and a different opponent. The target
of the theory is no longer the externalist objection, but the libertarian claim that
responsibility requires the dual capacity to do otherwise at the time of action. The
strategy T3 employs against this claim consists in showing that reason, in the form
23
As has been suggested by Sharples and Long. See respectively 'Alexander of Aphrodisias, De
Fato', 254 n. 124, Alexander of Aphrodisias. On Fate, 143 and 'Stoic determinism and Alexander of
Apbrodisias De Fato (i-xiv)', 268. According to Sharples, the use of the phrase 'through us' is a
reflection of anti-determinist criticism. Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy, 378
n. 47), and also, apparently, Sharples himself ('Schriften', 552) take issue with this view. This, however,
is not evidence that T3 is late. See my third reason.
24
SeeN 106, 3-4. For this idea in DF 13, see section 4.1.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 77
of prior examination of impressions, is sufficient for responsibility and does not
presuppose any form of dual capacity to do otherwise. But given that reason as a
capacity is not exclusive to certain kinds of persons, it is natural forT 3 to focus not
on differences within the human species, but on human nature in general. This
explains why T
3
specifies the internal cause of human action in terms of a capacity
that defines human nature in general, instead of appealing to a difference between
types of person.
Thus, T
1
and T
3
do differ in their specification of the internal cause of what
depends on us. But this difference derives from the fact that they intend to rebut
different objections and, for this reason, they do not contradict each other. In
consequence, there is no reason to suppose that, because of this difference, a single
author - Chrysippus - cannot be the originator of both.
25
(4) Finally, a fourth major difference is this: T
1
argues that the causal production
of activities that depend on us involves only one external factor, namely a
'triggering' cause; T
3
, in contrast, mentions two external factors - a triggering
cause and the absence of external obstacles. Does this difference imply that T
1
and
T
3
depart from each other regarding the causation of what depends on us? I shall
argue that it does not, and that the reason it does not is that T
1
and T
3
are dealing
with two different types of activities that depend on us.
The example given by T
1
- assent - implies that the types of activities it
concentrates upon are mental: they are activities which occur in the agent's mind
(animus). To be sure, assent does require that an impression occurs. And its
impressor is often external. But someone's acts of assent cannot be hindered by
external obstacles in that person's environment. When I am about to assent to an
impression, the Stoics believe, there is nothing external to me at that time that can
by itself prevent me from doing so.
26
Our acts of assent, when they occur, are
sufficiently caused by the combination of the occurrence of an impression and our
inner nature. Nothing else is required. However, in contrast with T1o T3
concentrates on the example of walking, which is not a mental activity.
27
Stoic
walking surely requires underlying mental phenomena, such as an act of assent
and a corresponding tensile motion of the mind's breadth (see section 3.2). But
walking involves, in addition, the motion of the limbs. And this kind of motion
can be hindered by external obstacles. Consider a different example of an activity
that involves the motion of the limbs. Lucille, who is now sitting on a chair, forms
the impression that it is appropriate for her to stand up. She assents to the
25
Also in relation to the internal cause, a further reason for contending that Chrysippus could not
be the author of both theories is that T3 claims that activities that depend on us involve a previous
practical reflection concerning the all-things-considered of an action - something that has no parallel
in T1. But this difference is not a reason for denying a Chrysippean origin for T3• For T3 posits this
reflection as a mere sufficient condition for responsibility. The theory does not say that actions that do
not involve such a reflection are not responsible. Therefore, it leaves room for situations where one acts
unreflectively but is nevertheless responsible for the action, as I explain in the next chapter.
26
This thesis is prominent in Epictetus. See notably D 1.6.40, 1.17.20-27, 4.1.68-9. On this issue,
see Dobbin, 'Prohairesis in Epictetus', 132-3 and Long, Epictetus, chap. 8. There is no reason to
suppose that Epictetus is here departing from the early Stoics. SeeM 8.396-8.
27
SeeN 105, 10-12. For discussion, see sections 4.1 and 4.2.
78 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
impression, exercises the corresponding impulse for standing up, and thereby
causes her mind's breadth to undergo a certain tensile motion. Whether Lucille
will actually stand up or not depends on whether her external environment at that
time allows her to perform the motions of the limbs required for standing up. If
she happens to be tied to the chair, she shall not stand up. And if that happens, she
cannot be held responsible for not standing up. So it is because the example given
by T
3
is of an action that involves the motion of the limbs, that the activities the
theory regards as responsible are described as requiring the absence of external
obstacles.
I have shown in this section that none of the major differences between T
3
and
T
1
is evidence that T
3
is not Chrysippean.
28
Although they are all substantial, T3
as a whole is fully consistent with what we know of Chrysippus' compatibilism.
5.3 T3 and Aristotle
I now turn to a different kind of reason for thinking that T3 may be early. A
central argument for a late attribution is that T
3
is not responding to an early
position but to an Aristotle scholar of the Middle Platonist period, who was
active in the late first century or early second century AD.
29
Being a response to
a Middle Platonist position, Chrysippus himself cannot be the author of T
3

Now, the thesis that the target ofT
3
is this late Aristotle scholar is argued on the
basis of two central theses: (i) the target attacked by T3 has to be an
incompatibilist position according to which responsibility requires the specific
dual capacity to do otherwise (that is, the dual capacity to do otherwise at the
time of the action); but (ii) such an incompatibilist position only arose with this
Aristotle scholar, not earlier. As I explained in the previous chapter, I agree with
(i). But I now want to show that (ii) is wrong. The claim that responsibility
requires the specific dual capacity to do otherwise is already present in
Aristotle, who seems to have been perfectly aware of the problem of
28
There are at least two other major differences that I have not discussed. One of them relates to
the scope of fate. In T3, fate encompasses all causes, including the internal one (see section 3.1 for
discussion), whereas there are elements in F 42-4 that may suggest fate encompasses only the
network of antecedent external causes. I did not discuss this apparent difference, as Bobzien herself
shows in great detail (and convincingly) that F 42-4 is consistent with the hypothesis that fate
encompasses all causes. See Detenninism and Freedom, 301-14. The second difference I did not
discuss is the absence from T3 of the cylinder analogy. There are, however, three passages outside DF
13 which strongly imply that the set of examples used by T3 to illustrate the concept of something that
occurs 'through' an object originally included the analogy. See chapters 11 at 179, 12-18; 19 at 189,
20--23; and 36 at 208, 20--25. For discussion of this issue, see Sharples, 'Alexander of Aphrodisias, De
Fato', 255.
29
See Detenninism and Freedom, 359 and sections 6 and 7 of 'The inadvertent conception and late
birth of the free-will problem'. According to Bobzien, the Middle Platonist conception attacked by T3
is mainly the one referred to in chapter 34 of N, which defines what depends on us in terms of what is
'in equal parts'; cf. 'that which admits in equal parts of our being capable of doing both it and its
opposite' (eon &E: tvoexollevov o a1h6 ,;e ouv&j..Le6a KIXt ,;o IXv-nKetj..LEVov IXIhiil).
Cf. 114, 21-2, with examples at 114, 24-115, 3.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 79
responsibility and determinism.
30
The early Stoics may not have read
Aristotle's school treatises. But the presence of that claim in Aristotle shows
that the issue was already debated in the early Lyceum. And we cannot discard
the possibility that the early Stoics knew of this debate, and that, in reacting to
this debate, they defended the view that Aristotle himself happened to oppose.
I return to this question at the end of this chapter. Let us see first why we
already find in Aristotle both the concept of a specific dual capacity to do
otherwise and the idea that this capacity is required for responsibility.
Aristotle's theory of responsibility is developed in chapters 2, 3 and 5 of the third
book of EN and chapters 6, 8 and 9 of book two of EE. His discussion centres on
the concept of voluntariness ('to eKouowv)- a notion that is intimately related to
that of responsibility. In fact the two notions are presented as materially equivalent
to each other in the opening lines of EN 3.1: we are responsible for an action <I> that
we performed (that is, susceptible to being praised or blamed for having performed
it) if and only if we <1>-ed voluntarily. Aristotle's concept of voluntariness is full of
subtle distinctions and, hence, extremely complex. One of its central elements,
though, is simple: we acted voluntarily (or responsibly) only if it depended on us to
perform the action or not.
31
And in Aristotle's view, an action's depending on us
requires that the agent should have the dual capacity either to perform or to refrain
from performing it. Let us consider the evidence in some detail.
Although Aristotle does not offer a formal definition of what it is for something
to depend on us, he maintains that:
For where it depends on us to act it also depends on us not to act, and vice-versa.
32
And also that:
Of possible things, then, there are some such that we deliberate about them . . . <and>
these are the things the doing or not doing of which depends on us.
33
A possible interpretation of these claims is that the things that depend on us are
individual actions at particular times, and that an individual action depends on me
only if I can not perform it at that time.
34
The capacity of acting otherwise
30
Even though he may not have addressed the problem as systematically as the Stoics and later
incompatibilists did. On this question, see Sharples, Alexander of Aphrodisias. On Fate, 4-7 (cf. R.W.
Sharples, 'Aristotelian and Stoic conceptions of necessity in the De Fato of Alexander of Aphrodisias',
Phronesis 20 (1975), 247-74 at 264-7) and Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 245-7 (cf. xiii).
31
See EN 1135a23-8 and EE 1225b7-10 and 1226b30-32.
32
EN 1113b7-8: ev yap eq>' iJf.Liv -co np&Hew, Ktx\ -co np&Hew, Ktx\ ev
-co f.L Ktxt -co vai.
33
EE 1226a20-28: fan -c&v c'luva-c&v Ktxt dvtxl Kat -crx f.LEv -cotaiha wa-ce
evllixeaBtxl nep\ au-c&v 0 0 • 'ttxil-ca II' EO'ttv oaa Eq>. iJf.LiV eon
il np&!;txl.
34
Aristotle's own term for 'capacity' in connection with action is -coil noleiv ('capacity
for doing'). This capacity is not restricted to humans because it does not presuppose rationality. What
is specifically human (because it presupposes rationality) is the capacity for doing othenvise. See
especially Met. 0.5 at 1047b35-1048a10.
80 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
required for responsibility is relative to a moment of time and to a specific
situation that includes the agent's internal state at that time. But these passages are
ambiguous. For they may also be read as implying that the dual capacity required
for responsibility is not relative to individual actions at particular times, but to the
range of actions that are available to the agent in his lifetime. The difference may
be illustrated through an example. If I am in prison now I do not have the specific
dual capacity of either staying or not staying in my cell: I simply cannot go out
now. Yet I may have now the general capacity of either staying or not staying in
my cell: provided that I am not sentenced to life imprisonment, going out of my
cell is something that I will actually do at some time in the future and, thus, an
action that falls within the range of actions that are available to me in my lifetime.
For this reason I now possess the general, but lack the specific, dual capacity to do
otherwise. The interpretation of Aristotle according to which the passages above
do not refer specifically to the specific capacity to do otherwise was first proposed
in modern scholarship by Richard Loening and has been defended by Bobzien
herself.
35
However, I believe that there is evidence elsewhere for thinking that for
Aristotle responsibility does require the specific capacity to act otherwise.
Evidence in favour of this view has been given by Richard Sorabji.
36
I should
like to focus on a further passage, whose implications for this issue have not been
fully explored. The passage occurs in chapter 9 of de interpretatione.
A central element in Aristotle's discussion of future truth in int. 9 is his denial of
determinism understood as the thesis that 'everything is and comes to be by
necessity' (nav·m: d VU\ KUt yiyveo6at 18b30-31). In particular,
Aristotle holds that future states and events are not yet predetermined and, hence,
inevitable. Now, it is important to notice that the kind of determinism he wishes to
deny about the future is specific, that is, the future states and events whose necessity
Aristotle denies are not temporally undetermined but determined. To use his own
example, it is neither necessary nor impossible that there should be a sea battle
tomorrow. Now, one of the reasons Aristotle gives against specific necessitation
occurs in lines 19a7-11 and 18-19:
For we see that what will be has an origin both in deliberation and in action, and that, in
general, in things that are not always actual there is the possibility of being and not
being; here both possibilities are open, both being and not being and, consequently, both
corning to be and not corning to be. Many things are obviously like this ... Clearly,
therefore, not everything is or happens of necessity.
37
35
See, respectively, chapter 18 ofR. Loening, Die Zurechnungslehre des Aristoteles (Jena, 1903) and
Bobzien, 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem', 140. Bobzien claims that
Aristotle is systematically ambiguous as to whether he is referring to the general or the specific capacity.
36 See Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 223-41.
37
opG>fLEV yap O'n ea·n v apx;i} tG>v EOOIJ.EVWV KO:t a no toil pouAEUEa6o:t KO:l ana
tOU -n, KO:l O'n ea-nv EV ILTJ Ike\ evepyoiiat to lluvo:tov dvo:t KO:l 11'11.
Ev cXIJ.(jlW £vll€x;eto:t KO:t TO dvo:t KO:l to ILTJ dvo:t, wan: KO:l. to yevea6o:t KO:t to ILTJ
yevea6o:t· KO:t noA.A.& TJIJ.lV llf]Aa EO't'\V ex;ovto: ... (jlO:VEpov &po: O'n oux &no:no:
oih. ea-nv oiln yiyveto:t.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 81
The argument holds that something's having the dual capacity of either being or not
being, or of either coming to be or not coming to be (a capacity that is involved in
deliberation according to Aristotle),
38
is compatible with its being necessary. And
the necessity in question is specific, as we have seen. Now we know that if the dual
capacity at stake were general, it would be compatible with specific determination,
as is shown by the jail example that I offered earlier.
39
And there is no reason to
suppose that Aristotle was unaware that they would be compatible. Therefore, the
dual capacity that he intends to link in this chapter of int. with deliberation must be
specific. This is important for our present purposes because it shows that it is the
specific capacity to do otherwise that Aristotle requires for responsibility. As a matter
of fact, the dual capacity presupposed by deliberation - which int. 9 shows to be
specific- is precisely the one at stake in his characterization of what depends on us.
40
There is one proviso to Aristotle's incompatibilism. But it does not constitute
by any means a substantive concession to the compatibilist. The proviso is that
when my character becomes deeply ingrained I may no longer have the dual
capacity of acting otherwise than I do, not even the general one: there are actions
which are no longer in the range of actions available to me from now on.
41
But
although character may necessitate a certain pattern of behaviour, the resulting
actions may be nonetheless responsible, especially if I was earlier in life in a
position to refrain from performing each of the individual actions that determined
my character. My current responsibility depends on my earlier possession of the
specific dual capacity for alternative actions.
42
Aristotle's views on responsibility, according to which it requires the specific
capacity to do otherwise, tum him into an incompatibilist diametrically opposed to
T
3
and, thus, into a suitable candidate for being the target of the theory. This rebuts
the claim that Chrysippus could not have been the author of the theory because the
position it rejects only arose later in antiquity.
38 See 18b32-3. I discussed this claim in section 1.2.
39
Consider another example. Waking up before dawn and waking up after noon are both in the
range of actions that are available to me in my life span; but this is compatible with holding that my
waking up before dawn on Monday was necessitated (I had to catch an early plane) and that so was my
waking up at noon on Saturday (I went to bed at 9 o'clock in the morning after a long party).
40
As is implied by EN 3.3 and its context. Notice that for Aristotle an action may depend on me
(and be voluntary) even though it is not based on prior deliberation. Aristotelian responsibility
presupposes the (specific) capacity to act otherwise although this capacity does not necessarily
presuppose actual deliberation: it only presupposes rationality. See, for example, Met 0.5.
4t SeeEN3.51114a12-21.
42
Notice, however, that the gist of Aristotle's argument at 1114a12-21 may be something like:
'even if one were to concede to the determinist that character may reach a point from which it becomes
a necessitating cause, this would not affect responsibility in the least'. If so, Aristotle would not be
actually endorsing the deterministic premise that character may necessitate; he would be merely
conceding it for dialectical purposes. For discussion, see the second of David Furley's 1\.vo Studies in
the Greek Atomists (Princeton, NJ, 1967) and the polemic between R. Curren, J. Roberts and S. Everson
(in, respectively, 'The contribution of Nicomachean Ethics iii.S to Aristotle's Theory of Responsibility',
Histol)' of Philosophy Quarterly 6 (1989), 26-77; 'Aristotle on responsibility for action and character',
Ancient Philosophy 9 (1989), 23-47; and 'Aristotle's compatibilism in the Nicomachean Ethics',
Ancient Philosophy 10 (1990), 81-104).
82 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
5.4 The Relation between T 2 and T 3
T
2
is a Chrysippean theory according to which specific determinism is compatible
with the specific capacity or possibility to act otherwise. Assuming that T
3
is also
Chrysippean, the present section undertakes an examination of how these theories
relate to each other.
The two main sources for T2 are Boethius, in Ar. int. 2.234, 27-235, 4 and DL
7.75 (LS 38D). I quote the latter:
Further, some things are possible, some impossible, and some necessary, some non-
necessary. Possible is that which is capable of-being tlue and which is not prevented by
external factors from being t!Ue, such as Diocles is alive. Impossible is that which is not
capable of being hue <or is capable of being true but is prevented by external factors
from being true>, such as The earth flies. Necessary is that which is true and is not
capable of being false, or is capable of being false but is prevented by external factors
from being false, such as Virtue is beneficial. Non-necessary is that which both is true
and is capable of being false, and is not prevented by external factors from being false,
such as Dion is walking.43
The notion of 'something' (presumably, a proposition: that is 'capable'
of being true or false - a notion that Chrysippus inherited from Philo the
Dialectician (late fourth century BC)
44
- is notoriously obscure. But some scholars
have suggested that, in the case of actions, it may refer to the intrinsic physical
fitness of an agent for performing a certain action.
45
Thus, I tf) is capable of being
43
"En 'te 'tcX j.I.EV eO'tl lluva'tcX, 'tcX II' aiiUva'ta' Kat 'tcX j.l.ev avayKata, 'tcX II' OUK
avayKata. lluva't"OV jJ.fV 't"O emlleKnKOV 't"OU dvat, 'tWV jJ.TJ evavnOUjJ.fVWV
'tO dvat, otov (ft aiiUva't"ov lie o IJ.tl eo'ttv emlleKnKOV 't"OU
dvat <ii emlleKnKOV jJ.fV eon 't"cX II' aiJ't"lj> evavnoil'tal 'tO dvat>,
olov ,; yij in'ta'tat. avayKatov II€ eonv onep ov OUK eonv emlleKnKOV 't"OU
dvat, ii emlleKnKOV j.l.eV eon, 't"cX II' aiJ'tlj> i:vavnoil't"at 'tO
dvat, olov ,; ape'tf] wcpt:Aet. OUK avayKaiov lie eonv 0 Kat eO'ttv Kat
ot6v 'te dvat, 't"WV !J.'Tlllev evavnoujJ.evwv, otov 'tO neptna't"et 8(wv. The sentence
in brackets is needed to preserve the interdefinability of the four notions as in Stoic. rep. 10550-F (see
M. Frede, Die Stoische Logik (Gottingen, 1974), 107-17). For discussion see LS 2, 234 and Bobzien,
Determinism and Freedom, 112 n. 40 and 119-22.
44
Philo's own modal system is reported in Boethius, in Ar. in/. 2.234, 10-22: Philo enim dicit
possibile esse quod natura propia enuntiationis suscipiat veritatem ... eodem autem modo idem ipse
Philo necessarium esse definit quod cum verum sit, quantum in se est, numquam possit susceptivum
esse mendacii. Non necessarium autem idem ipse determinat quod quantum in se est possit siscipere
falsitatem. Inpossibile vero, quod secumdum propriam naturam numquam possit suscipere veritatem
(in Bobzien's translation: 'Philo says that <a proposition> is possible which is capable of truth
according to the proposition's own nature ... In the same way Philo defines that which is necessary as
that which, being true, as far as itself is concerned, can never be capable of falsehood. That which is
non-necessary he detennines as that which, as far as itself is concerned, is capable of falsity; and that
which is impossible as that which according to its own nature, can never be capable of truth'). See also
Alexander, in A1: a. p1: 184, 6-10; Philoponus, in A1: a. pr. 169, 19-21; and Simplicius, in Ar. cat.
195.31-196.6.
45
See, for example, Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 78-9 and LS 1, 235.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 83
true if I am fit, or strong, enough to $; and it is capable of being false if I have the
physical strength to refrain from $-ing. As for the other condition - being or not
being prevented by external factors (1:a from being true or false- it refers
to the presence or absence of factors external to us that either prevent us from
acting in a certain way or force an event or state to take place at us. In contrast with
the former condition, the latter is an innovation of Chrysippus.
46
The non-necessity of a proposition in this modal system is compatible with
there being necessitating causes for the event in question. Consider a situation
where my action is to stand still. I now have the intrinsic fitness required for
walking and nothing external prevents me from doing so. Therefore, the
proposition I stand still now is non-necessary in the sense envisaged by this modal
system. Yet, my standing still is causally necessitated, namely by the whole
rational process by which I came to the conclusion that I should remain still and
that caused me to act accordingly. In other words, the proposition I stand still now
is non-necessary in Chrysippus' modal system, even though my action is, at the
same time, necessary in a causal sense. In fact, as has been hypothesized in recent
scholarship, there seems to be two kinds, or at least senses, of necessity in
Chrysippean Stoicism.
47
One sense is that required by the modal system just
described, whose aim, as I shall argue in some detail later on in this section, is
twofold: (i) to establish that some states and events that are counterfactual at all
times are nevertheless possible; (ii) to preserve the interdefinability of the four
central modal notions. It follows from (i) and (ii) that a factual action whose
opposite is counterfactual at all times but possible is, thereby, non-necessary.
48
46
The two conditions are quite independent from each other: I may have the physical strength
required for breaking a jewel and be prevented from doing so by external factors (for example, if the
jewel is kept in a bank-vault). Although the use of the second condition to define the four concepts is
an innovation of Chrysippus, it was already alluded to by Philo as something that is relevant for the
definition of the possible. See Alexander of Aphrodisias, in Ar. a. pr. 184, 6-10. As a criticism of
Diodorus, Philo claimed that something which is capable of being true is possible 'even if it is
prevented from coming about by some necessary external factor' (Kiiv u1t6
ava:yKa:iou ii yevecrBa:t KeK<..>AUflEVov). Thus understood, the mere capacity of being true is
obviously a very weak requirement for something to be possible. Chrysippus' own definition of the
possible, whereby he expressly takes issue with Philo on this question, is a midway position between
the extremely strong position of Diodorus and the extremely weak one adopted by Philo.·
47
See Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom, 136--43). She detects two kinds of necessity in
Chrysippus: one is 'cosmological' and is associated with the causal necessity of fate; the other is
'logical' in that it refers to one of the four interdefinable modalities. Bobzien has shown that this
distinction is reflected in Chrysippus' terminology. He reserved the term 'necessary' (aVcXVKT]) to refer
to causal necessity and restricted the term 'that which is necessary' ('ro ava:vKa:iov) to refer to logical
necessity. For further discussion of this particular point, see M.B. Papazian, 'Review of Susanne
Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy', Ancient Philosophy 21(2) (2001), 227-31 at
227-8 and Brennan, 'Fate and free will in Stoicism', 271-5.
48
Some scholars have argued that Chrysippus' four notions are not meant to be interdefinable. See
notably M. Mignucci, 'Sur Ia logique modale des StoYciens', in J. Brunschwig (ed.), Les Stoi'ciens et
leur logique (Paris, 1978) (cf. K. Algra, Concepts of Space in Greek Thought (Leiden, 1995), 289 n.
75). I agree with Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom, 120) that the close correlations between DL 7.75
and Stoic. rep. 10550-F are strong evidence against Mignucci's position.
84 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
The other sense of necessity is that required by Stoic causation, according to which
an effect is necessitated by its cause - an idea that Chrysippus never contradicted
and that goes back, as we know, to Zeno: 'it is impossible that the cause be present
yet that of which it is the cause not obtain' (aouva:1:ov 3' d va:t 1:0 11-ev a:i: nov
1tttpeiva:t, oo 3e eonv a:i:nov IJ.TJ tl1tapxetv).
49
Thus, a factual event
necessitated by its cause may nevertheless be non-necessary from the point of
view of Chrysippus' modal system. There is no contradiction as long as we bear in
mind that these are two different kinds or senses of necessity that were not meant
by Chrysippus to be equivalent to each other.so
On the other hand, the core of T
3
is a sufficiency thesis according to which a
fully rational impulse suffices for responsibility. To be responsible for my action,
it is enough that I act on the basis of a fully rational impulse for this action. It is
not required in addition that I had the specific capacity to do otherwise. The
action's being based on a fully rational impulse is deemed by the doctrine to be
sufficient on its own for holding the agent responsible for the action. This is why
T
3
and Aristotle are diametrically opposed.
This sufficiency thesis apparently indicates a significant difference between T
3
and T
2
• For one influential interpretation ofT 2 has been that it is not only a modal
system, but also a theory of responsibility, according to which responsibility
requires the specific capacity to do otherwise. This interpretation finds a
particularly straightforward formulation in LS:
If I want to claim credit for not smashing the jewel, I must in particular show that it was
possible for me to smash it in the sense that I had the opportunity to do so. I must show
(a) that it is breakable, and by someone with my strength (intrinsic fitness), and (b) that
[external] circumstances did not prevent me - it was not a thousand miles away, or
locked up in a bank-vault. 5
1
Someone who adopts this interpretation of T
2
may try to explain away the
difference between T
2
and T
3
by arguing that the sufficiency thesis in T
3
is
implicitly qualified, that is, tacitly restricted to cases where I did have the specific
opportunity to act otherwise. What would really be intended by T
3
is this: my
acting on the basis of a fully rational impulse is sufficient for my responsibility for
the action in those, but only those, cases where I had the physical strength to act
49 Zeno ap. Stobaeus, E 1.138, 16-17 (SVF 1.89; LS 55A).
50
The concepts of causal necessitation and of 'logical' necessitation, however, are not exclusive.
They do overlap. In fact, there is a special class of causally necessitated states or events that are
'necessary' in Chrysippus' modal system, namely, those that are subject to full external necessitation,
as described in Chapter 3. Think of an event that takes place at me in virtue exclusively of causes that
are external to me (for example, my being kidnapped on Monday). Now consider the proposition that
asserts the ocurrence of this event (I am kidnapped on Monday). In Chrysippus' modal system, this is
a true proposition and one that is 'prevented by external factors' from being false (the external factors
being the ruffians who kidnapped me). In consequence, and for this reason, the proposition is
'necessary' in that system.
51
See LS 1, 235 (cf. 393). See also Reesor, 'Necessity and fate in Stoic philosophy', 201; Sorabji,
Necessif)\ Cause, and Blame, 78-9; Long cited by Botros in 'Freedom, causality, fatalism and early
Stoic philosophy', 282; and Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom, chap. 3.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 85
otherwise in that situation and there were not external obstacles preventing me
from doing so. With this qualification T
3
does not depart from T2 after all.
I believe, however, that this deflationary interpretation of T
3
is inadequate for
two reasons. On the one hand, there is an argument from silence that tells against
it. There is no evidence either in Nemesius' report or in Alexander's that T
3
is
intended by Chrysippus to be qualified. Although arguments from silence tend to
be weak, it has a special strength in this particular instance. The existence ofT
2
is
the only historical reason one can have for supposing that T
3
is implicitly qualified.
Therefore, one assumption that would have to be made by someone who argues
that T
3
is so qualified is that it must be consistent with T2• But this is a petitio
principii. In order to show that T3 is consistent with T2, it is not enough to assume
that it must be. The second reason is that the very statement in N 105, 10-11 of the
sufficiency thesis does not fit well with the deflationary interpretation. It would be
at least odd that T
3
asserted that a fully rational impulse guarantees by itself that
the corresponding action entirely depends on its agent (oi.A.eov eq) TJIJ.tV), if
what it really meant is that it is only qualifiedly sufficient for responsibility. In
consequence, I conclude that T
3
is not implicitly qualified: it does not mention
either the fitness to act otherwise or the absence of external obstacles to the
alternative course of action, because it does not regard them as relevant for
responsibility.
IfT
3
's sufficiency thesis is not qualified, as I think it is not, but T
2
were a theory
of responsibility, we would have to conclude that Chrysippus changed his mind
regarding the nature of responsibility and, in consequence, that the two theories
reflect different stages of a development in his philosophical system. To avoid this
conclusion, and to end this chapter, I shall argue that T
2
may not be a theory of
responsibility at all.
The modal system that T
2
introduces is meant as a revision of the modal system
of Diodorus Cronus, leader of the Dialectical School (died c.284 Be). The full
system is only reported by Boethius (in Ar. int. 2.234, 22-6):
52
Diodorus determines that <a proposition> is possible which either is or will be <true>,
is impossible which, being false, will not be tme, is necessary which, being true, will not
be false, and is non necessary which either is now false or will be false. 5
3
Diodorus' system does not either state or imply that everything factual (or every
true proposition) is necessary. On the contrary, it explicitly maintains that there
may be things that are factual and yet contingent, namely those that will cease to
be factual at some point.
54
The system, however, does not leave room for
possibilities that are forever counterfactual. For it implies the idea, dubbed by
sz Cf. Cicero, F 17; Plutarch, Stoic. rep. 1055E; Epictetus, D 2.19.1; Alexander, in Ar. apr. 183,
34-184, 6; Philoponus, in A1: a. pr. 169, 17-19; and Boethius, in Ar. illt. 2.412, 16-17.
53
Diodorus possibile esse determinat, quod aut est aut erit, impossibile, quod cum falsum sit non
erit verum; necessarium, quod cum verum sit non erit falsum, non necessarium, quod aut iam est aut
erit falsum.
54
This is well brought out by Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom, 106-107. See also LS 1, 234.
86 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Lovejoy the 'Principle of Plenitude' ,
55
according to which all genuine possibilities
must at some time be realized. So given that a proposition is possible if and only
if it either is true or will be true, I do not ff) is impossible unless I «<> either now or
at some later time. As Alexander reports (in Ar. a. pr. 184, 2-4):
According to him [that is, Diodorus], I am in Corynth comes out as possible if I were in
Corynth or, at any rate, ifl were going to be. Ifl were never to be <in Corynth>, it would
not be possible either <that I be there>.
56
Chrysippus perceived this implication as a shortcoming of Diodorus' system. As a
result of this he redefined the possible, together with the other three correlative
concepts in such a way as to preserve determinism but leave room for such
possibilities. Why did Chrysippus perceive that implication as a shortcoming of
Diodorus' system? In other words, why did he think it important to preserve
possibilities that are forever counterfactual? One reason may have been the
following. The inexistence of possibilities that are forever counterfactual rules out
the existence of specific alternate possibilities for actual states or events. In
particular, it rules out the specific dual possibility to act otherwise for factual
actions: if I«<> at t, my not «<>-ing at tis forever counterfactual (even if I«<> at some
other time)- but if this means, as Diodorus thinks, that it is impossible that I do
not «<> at t, then, certainly, I lack the capacity, or possibility, of either «<>-ing or not
«<>-ing at t. But Chrysippus, as I explain below, considered it important, for
metaphysical reasons, that there be specific altemate possibilities for our actions,
and also that these possibilities be consistent with causal determination. It is for
this reason that he modified Diodorus' modal system and, in consequence, that he
sought to refute the argument by which Diodorus wanted to establish his own
notion of possibility, namely the 'Master Argument' ,57
It is controversial, however, that Chrysippus also intended T2 as a theory of
responsibility (either legal or modal). The modal notions it defines, and the notion
of specific dual capacity to do otherwise it entails, are not presented by the theory
itself as related to the concepts of responsibility and of what depends on us,
contrary to what is generally assumed.
58
In the one place where we find a
discussion of Stoic views that connects what depends on us with the possibility of
acting otherwise,
59
it is not clear whether the connection is made by the Stoics
55
See A. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being (Cambridge, Mass., 1936), 52 .
56
't'O yap EIJ.E ev yevio6a\ auva't'OV K(X't'. (X1JTOV, Ei EiT]V EV i\ Ei
1tUV't'WS IJ.EAAOliJ.\ eoeo6at· ei ae ILTJ YEVOliJ.T]V, oM!: auvatov
5
7
The amount of secondary literature on the Master Argument (6 KUpteuwv A.6yos) is vast. For
a comprehensive account of the modern discussion, see Gaskin, The Sea Battle and the Master
Argument, 217-81. On the specific issue of Chrysippus' refutation of the Argument, see Gaskin, op.
cit., 297-305 and S. Bobzien, Die· Stoische Modal/ogik (Wiirzberg, 1986), 105-13.
58
In addition to Long and Sedley (LS 1, 235 and 393), see Dobbin, Epictetlls, 66; Bobzien,
Determinism and Freedom, 97 and 119; and Brennan, 'Fate and free will in Stoicism', 265.
59
See DF 33 at 205, 10-11: 'what depends on us is such as to be what it is possible to happen by
us and not' ('t'O 't'otoihov e(jl' 0 <'iuVIX't'OV U(jl' yevio6at 't'e KIXt IJ.l'j). Bobzien
(Determinism and Freedom, 106; cf. 144-5) claims that Cicero implies in F 12-14 that Chrysippus'
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 87
who are reported or is rather a reflection of Peripatetic views that slipped into the
discussion.
60
Furthermore, one source reports a Stoic argument that expressly
denies that the connection holds.
61
So it may be doubted whether Chrysippus, or
indeed any Stoic, ever thought that responsibility requires the specific capacity to
act otherwise (or the specific contingency of our actual actions). In consequence,
we may reasonably suppose that T2 is not a theory aimed at imposing a necessary
condition for responsibility.
Bearing this in mind, the function ofT2 in Chrysippean compatibilism may have
to complement T3 for rejecting the conclusion of an incompatibilist argument. The
argument is as follows:
(1) if our actions are subject to specific necessity, we lack the specific capacity
to act otherwise;
(2) to be responsible for an action, we must have had at the time of the action
the specific capacity to act otherwise.
Therefore,
(3) responsibility is incompatible with specific determinism.
The strategy used by Chrysippus was to reject the conclusion by casting doubt on
each of the premisses, one by one. He did not take issue with the validity of the
argument, but with its soundness. And he used T
2
and T
3
precisely for this purpose.
To tackle the first premiss of the argument, Chrysippus had to design a modal
system that could leave room both for the specific capacity to act otherwise and
for the specific necessitation of our actions. Diodorus' modal system was
compatible with determinism, but was unable to leave room for the specific
capacity to act otherwise. It rules out possibilities that are forever counterfactual,
and these, as we have seen, are presupposed by the specific capacity to act
otherwise. Diodorus' system, therefore, posed a threat to any determinist wishing
to deny the first premiss of the argument above. This is why Chrysippus proposed
a new modal system, T
2
, that could replace Diodorus' in that it could accommodate
modal system was intended to leave room for the ecp' ftj.ltV. I do not see that this is implied anywhere
in the passage.
60
As is shown by Sharples andZierl (see, respectively,AlexanderofAphrodisias. On Fate, 168 and
Alexander von Aphrodisias. Uber das Schicksa/ (Berlin, 1995), 220). Bobzien takes this passage as
evidence that the Stoics linked what depends on us with the Chrysippean possibility of acting
otherwise. See Determinism and Freedom, 392.
61
See DF 26 at 196, 25-197, 3. Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom) contends that the view
attacked by the Stoics in chapter 26 of DF differs from the view asserted in chapter 33. The onus of
proof being on her side, she argues that the difference stems from a supposedly substantive difference
between (a) the notion of something that it is possible (ouvo:,;ov dvo:t) for someone to do, used in
chapter 33, and (b) the notion of something that the person is capable of doing (I>Uvo:crBo:t), used in
chapter 26. However, she does not prove (nor do I see how it could be proved) that this difference is
Stoic.
88 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
both the specific capacity to act otherwise and the specific necessitation of factual
actions.
As for the philosophical question of how effective is Chrysippus' response to
the first premiss, we may notice that as long as the incompatibilist opponent
behind the argument above does not beg the question by defining counterfactual
possibility in terms of that whose factual opposite lacks necessitating causes, T
2
is
perfectly compatible with the idea that everything factual is causally necessary. It
is important to stress that Aristotle himself never comes close to asserting that by
definition one can only have the specific capacity (or possibility) to act otherwise
in the absence of necessitating causes for what we actually do. According to the
central account of capacity that we find in Met. 8.5, he merely says
that the capacity for doing ·mu nou:tv) involves a certain internal state
of desire (namely a desire or in combination with a certain state of the
external environment, which includes the absence of 'external obstacles' (,;a eew
KwA.uov.,;o:) to the action. The connection in Aristotle between the specific
capacity to act otherwise and indeterminism is meant as a substantive claim - a
claim that he makes in a central passage of int. 9 (see section 5.3) and that T2, I
suggest, shows to be wrong.
The aim of T
3
, by contrast, is to question the second premiss of the argument,
which states that responsibility requires the specific capacity to act otherwise.
According to T
3
, this assumption is questionable, as we have seen in the previous
chapter. If we follow this interpretation of the two theories, there is not any
contradiction between them. ForT 2 is very likely to be a theory that is not positing
that capacity as a necessary condition for responsibility. Thus, T
2
and T
3
seem
rather to complement each other as two different weapons against the soundness
of a single argument.
As for the argument itself, it has its roots in Aristotle. To be sure, it is not
attested as a whole anywhere in his works. Each of its premisses, however,
expresses views in which he positively believes and that are central to his logic and
his ethics.
62
The argument above is a reconstruction and a synthesis of how he
would have reacted if pressed on the issue of compatibilism. In this respect, the
argument is Aristotelian both in spirit and in doctrine. If Chrysippus was reacting
to this argument, which is possible, T2 and T3 emerge as theories whose target is
Aristotle's incompatibilism. We cannot know in detail how the two theses of the
argument reached Chrysippus. In particular, was he arguing against an early
peripatetic who, in contrast with Aristotle himself, put the two theses together in
the form of an argument? If he was, was he aware that the argument is
Aristotelian? That is, did Chrysippus actually perceive himself as an adversary of
Aristotle on this particular subject? Or was Chrysippus simply addressing two
theses that were 'in the air' and that would have incompatibilist consequences if
put together? Important though these issues are for the history of early Stoic
philosophy, they should not divert us from the simple fact that the combination of
62
Premiss (1) is implied in int. 9 at 19a7-ll and 18-19. And premiss (2), as I have argued in
section 5.3, is implicit in both EN 3.5 lll3b7-8 and EE 2.10 1226a20--28.
The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 89
T2 and T3 is a philosophically sensible response to an argument that is Aristotelian
both in spirit and in doctrine, and that a good grasp of the details of Aristotle's
position helps understand why Chrysippus developed these two theories to defend
compatibilism.
The reconstruction just offered is conjectural. Given the state of the evidence,
however, rival interpretations are equally so. And they are also less plausible. If we
assume that the aim of T
2
is to state a necessary condition for responsibility, and
want to avoid the conclusion that Chrysippus changed his mind regarding the
nature of responsibility, we have to suppose either that (i) the sufficiency thesis in
T
3
is implicitly qualified and restricted to cases where the agent has the possibility
to act otherwise, or that (ii) T
3
is later than Chrysippus. Neither option is
satisfactory for reasons that I have already mentioned. As for the very idea that the
aim of T
2
is to state a necessary condition for responsibility, it is disputable on
textual grounds.
To end, let me explain why I called the three theories 'T
1
', 'T
2
', and 'T
3
'. The
sub-indexes are meant to state a logical order among them. T2 and T3 are two
complementary theories that were put together in order to question a single
incompatibilist argument. But T2 is, in a certain sense, logically prior to T3 because
the issue addressed by T
2
is, also in a certain sense, more basic than that addressed
by T
3
: the former deals with the metaphysical problem of whether determinism
allows us to act otherwise and in what sense; the latter deals rather with the ethical
and psychological problem of whether our ascription of moral responsibility to a
person is justified given that person's reasons for acting in a certain way. As f o r T ~ .
it is logically prior to T
2
, albeit in a different sense: the issue addressed by T
1
is
more critical than that addressed by T2• In contrast with T2, whose aim is to tackle
the problem of whether determinism allows one to act otherwise, T 1 deals with the
problem of whether determinism allows one to contribute at all to the causal
production of one's actions.
I now tum to a theory of responsibility designed to complement T
3
, but which
only arose with Epictetus.
Chapter 6
Epictetus on Responsibility
for Unreflective Action
One important thesis we have encountered in our examination of Stoic
compatibilism is that an action is morally responsible if the agent acted from a fully
rational impulse. This is an impulse based on a previous all-things-considered
reflection on the desirability of the action. If I do perform this reflection, I formed
the conviction that the action was worth performing; more importantly, the
conviction is based on argumentative reasons. Given those reasons, I regard myself
as justified in having acted as I did. It is because of this, the theory claims, that my
acting from a fully rational impulse is sufficient for responsibility. The theory in
question, 'T
3
', is reported by Alexander of Aphrodisias and Nemesius of Emesa and
I have argued in the previous chapter that it is Chrysippean.
This final chapter is devoted to complementing the account of responsibility
offered by T3• An important element of this theory is that acting from a fully
rational impulse is just a sufficient condition for moral responsibility. The theory
does not hold that, in order to be responsible, the agent must have acted from a
fully rational impulse. Thus, T
3
leaves ample room for justified ascription of moral
responsibility to agents who did not act from this sort of impulse or, if you like, to
agents who acted unreflectively. The present chapter takes up the task of
investigating how to justify the ascription of moral responsibility to such agents.
Although Epictetus agrees with T3 on the thesis that the kind of reflection it
envisages for fully rational impulses is sufficient for responsibility (see section
4.3), his distinctive contribution to Stoic theories of responsibility resides in
complementing T
3
with this missing account.
In his discussion of the problem of moral responsibility in unreflective action
Epictetus does not espouse the idea that if I behave badly, but unreflectively, I am
thereby exempt from responsibility and hence blameless. The core of the argument
he offers is the thesis that I am responsible for the action because I am responsible
for my umeflectiveness or 'precipitancy' (nponen:ta). The argument proceeds
on the basis of a normative account of human nature. In Stoicism, the notion that
nature in general, and human nature in particular, has a normative force goes back
to the earliest orthodox Stoics.
1
But it is in Epictetus that the connection fully
1
See notably Zeno, Cleanthes and Chrysippus ap. Stobaeus in E 2.75, 11-76, 8 (LS 68B) and 2.77,
16-27 (SVF 3.16; LS 68A). For discussion, see G. Striker, 'Antipater and the art of living', in M.
Schofield and G. Striker (eds), The Norms of Nature (Cambridge, 1986); LSI, 398-401 and 406-10;
and C. Gill, Greek Thought (Oxford, 1995), chap. 5.
91
92 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
emerges between the normativity of human nature and moral responsibility. I will
refer to Epictetus' argument as the 'Normative Argument' for responsibility.
The structure of the Normative Argument is as follows. (1) The activity that
consists in critically examining our impressions before eventually accepting them
is an activity that is in accordance with human nature. Now, (2) activities that are
in accordance with human nature are activities that one ought to perform; and (3a)
if one fails to carry out an activity that one ought to perform, one is genuinely
blameworthy. More particularly, (3b) if I fail to examine my impressions critically
before acting, I am blameworthy. Hence, (4) if I behave badly because I acted
unreflectively, I am blameworthy for the action; for in that case my
unreflectiveness cannot count as an exculpating factor for my bad behaviour.
This chapter is divided into three sections. Section 6.1 presents Epictetus'
analysis of the most salient features of the psychology of unreflective action. The
focus of the discussion is on the difference between this psychology and the
psychology of reflective action as described in T
3
• In section 6.2, I tum to
Epictetus' Normative Argument for the ascription of responsibility to unreflective
agents. The discussion is based on a detailed exegesis of some Epictetan passages
on human nature. This section is complemented in section 6.3 by an analysis of
Epictetus' proposed therapy for treating unreflectiveness.
6.1 The Psychology of Unreflective Action
In Epictetus, unreflectiveness or 'precipitancy' (npomheux) is a pattern of mental
behaviour consisting in the repeated failure to reflect critically on impressions
before reacting to them.
2
One of the places in his works where this phenomenon
is brought into focus is D 1.28. Entitled by Arrian 'That we should not be angry
with others; and what things are great, and what small, amongst men', this
discourse has a double purpose: (i) to bring out the basic features of the
psychology of action of those people whom he calls 'maniacs' (!J.cn VOIJ.I:VOl. ), one
paradigm of which is Medea;
3
and (ii) to show that, given the psychology of these
people, we should not be angry with them. One reason for starting with D 1.28 is
that for Epictetus the 'maniac' is distinguished by an extreme precipitancy.
Crucially, the psychology of such agents does not ever involve the critical
examination of impressions that often, or at least sometimes, characterize most of
us. The Epictetan maniac follows whatever impressions he forms:
2
See D l.28.30 (quoted below in this section), 2.l.9-10, 3.22.104, 4.l.2, 4.4.46, 4.8.1-2 and
4.13.5.
3
SeeD 2.17.19-22. The analysis in l.28 is meant to apply to the psychology of action of other
tragic and epic heroes as well. They are all regarded as 'maniacs'. The phenomenon studied through
the analysis of these characters is not what we, modern readers, would characterize as madness, or at
least as one of its varieties, namely delusion and hallucination, even though the Stoics in general, and
Epictetus in particular, have interesting things to say about it. SeeM 7.244-5, 247, 249; and D 3.2.1-5.
But the focus of D 1.28 is clearly not this phenomenon.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 93
What are they called those who follow all the things that appear to them?- Maniacs.
4
Earlier in the text, in paragraph 30, Epictetus remarks that precipitancy is not
exclusive to maniacs. There are circumstances in which most of us display some
precipitancy, especially when we are obliged to decide on an important matter. The
importance of the matter is so overwhelming that it constrains us to react without
proper reflection. In such circumstances, our psychology resembles that of the
maniac.
But where the first and only cause is concerned of either acting rightly or going wrong,
of happiness or adversity, or success or failure, there only do we act rashly and
precipitately. Nowhere anything like a balance, nowhere anything like a standard, but
something appears and I immediately perform it.
5
The difference between the maniac, who constitutes an extreme case, and most of
us would be that the former is always precipitate.
6
To evince the specific features
of the psychology of precipitate action in general, I provide a comparative analysis
of this psychology and the psychology of reflective action as described in T
3

As we saw earlier (section 4.3), the psychology of reflective action is structured
as follows:
(1) The agent R receives an impulsive impression presenting a certain course
of action as appropriate. The content of the impression is a proposition of the
form: it is appropriate (Ka0ijKov)for me to lP.
(2) R does not assent straight away to the impression, but rather pauses to
reflect on the all-things-considered appropriateness of «1>-ing in the present
circumstances. If R reaches the conclusion that «1>-ing in the present
circumstances is indeed appropriate all things considered, an act of assent to the
impression occurs and the impulse for «1>-ing is exercised.
(3) If no unforeseen external obstacle prevents R from «1>-ing, the impulse
yields the action and the agent actually «1>-es. The action is necessitated by the
combination of the impulse and the absence of external obstacles.
The psychology of precipitate action, by contrast, is structured as f<;>llows:
(1 ') As with R, the agent P forms the impulsive impression that «1>-ing is
appropriate.
4
D 1.28.33: l'lE: A.Eyov-rrn oi mxv-r\ •4'> rpawoi-LEV!j> - Matv611evot.
5
o1tou &e -ro 1tpril-rov Ka\ 116vov a[n6v ea-rt -roil Ka-rop6oilv il IXI-lap-rrivet v, -roil
eupoei:v i') &uapoe\:v, -roil rXTUXELV i') eUTUXeLV, ev6a&e 1-LOVOV eiK!XLOt K!Xt
oMIX!-LOil 01-lOlOV 't"l (uyr;>. oMtxi-LOil 0!-LOlOV n KIXVOVl, rXAArX n erprXVTJ K!Xl 1tOlW
-ro rpaviv.
6
This is in accordance with early orthodox Stoic doctrine. See Herculaneum Papyrus 1020, col. 4
col.l (SVF 2.131; LS 410) and E 2.111, 18-112, 8 (SVF 3.548; LS 410): precipitancy (1tp01tTr..>cr(a),
or being precipitate (-ro 1tpo1tt1t-retv), is a mark of the non-sage, that is, of everyone except the sage.
94 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
(2') P assents straight away to the impression and exercises an impulse for <P-ing.?
(3') If nothing hinders, the impulse yields the action; in Epictetus' terms, the
action occurs 'immediately'
The step (3') deserves two comments. First, the clause 'if nothing hinders' is not
explicit in the text. But it is safe to assume that it is presupposed. For in dealing with
the psychology of action, Epictetus often stresses how external obstacles may thwart
our impulses for action -an issue connected to the topic of impulse with reservation
(!.J.e6'

Second, the 'immediately' is potentially
ambiguous. It may have either a temporal force (in the absence of external obstacles
the action ensues immediately after assent is given to the impression) or a logical
force (in the absence of external factors, the impulse yields the action without the
mediation of anything else: the impulse and the absence of external factors are
sufficient on their own for the action to take place). The former reading presupposes
that the content of the impression involves a temporal operator referring to the present
(for example, it is appropriate to <I> now), which would be implicit in the text.
9
As
there is no reason to suppose that Epictetus' analysis of precipitancy is restricted to
situations where the impression involves this operator, the latter reading is more
adequate as an interpretation of the present passage. If we follow the modal reading,
both precipitate and reflective action are governed by a necessitas consequentiae. In
either case, the action is necessitated given (i) the impulse for the action and (ii) the
absence of external obstacles. The main difference between precipitate action and
reflective action is that the agent of the former assents to impulsive impressions
without the prior reflection undertaken by the agent of the latter.
To go further into Epictetus' analysis of precipitancy, we need to look into the
mechanism that underlies the precipitate assent to an impression. I shall argue in
section 6.3, this mechanism is dispositional. An act of precipitate assent results
from the combination of two factors, one of which is a disposition: (i) a first
impression of something as good or as being the case and (ii) the disposition
to accept as true impressions of this sort.
10
In the presence of such an impression,
7
In Epictetus' theory of action, impulse is directed at merely appropriate causes of action
(Ka8!lKOV'ta), which are indifferent, as opposed to good courses of action, which are the object of
desire proper This reveals a shift in the meaning of the term 'impulse' (Opf11l): in Epictetus,
it is no longer used in the early Stoic sense to denote the highest genus of which all states of desire
(including desire proper) are species, but in a narrower sense to denote just a species coordinate with
desire proper. The early Stoic analogue to Epictetan 'impulse' is 'selection' (i:KA.oy!l). For the early
Stoic classification, see, for example, D 2.6.9-10; E 2.79, 2.82, 2.86-8; and DL 7.108-109. For
Epictetus' heterodox classification, typical passages includeD 1.4.1-2, 1.18.1-2, 3.2.1-4, 3.3.1-2. For
discussion, see Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 116-19; Brennan, 'The old Stoic
theory of the emotions' and 'Reservation in Stoic ethics', 150 and 172-3.
8
I return to this topic in section 6.3.
9
Clearly, it would not work for impressions whose content involves a temporal operator referring
to the future (for example, it is appropriate to pay back my debtor tomorrow), for in that case the action
would take place well after the assent.
10
This dispositional account is explicit in D 2.18, which deals with anger. I quote and discuss the
relevant passages in section 6.3 below.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 95
the disposition is triggered off, which leaves no room for prior reflection. The
difference between precipitate and reflective agents is that the disposition is
stronger in the former than in the latter: in the presence of first impressions of
things as good or otherwise valuable, precipitate agents normally cannot by
themselves either prevent the activation of the disposition or stop its activity once
it has been triggered off.
To conclude this section, I wish to tackle a further question. Epictetus
sometimes describes precipitate agents as persons who do act on the basis of a
previous practical reasoning. If so, what does their precipitancy consist in? To
establish that the difference in Epictetus between precipitancy and full practical
rationality lies in a practical reasoning that is present in the latter, but absent in the
former, we need to bring out the difference between the practical reasoning that is
present in fully rational action - a practical reasoning defined by an all-things-
considered reflection on the desirability of the action- and the practical reasoning
that we find in Epictetan precipitancy.
One precipitate person whom Epictetus presents as acting on the basis of a prior
reasoning is Medea.
11
He deals with Medea twice in the Discourses and, in both
places, his analysis is worth considering.
In paragraphs 19 to 22 of D 2.17, in an argument to the effect that one should
not be angry at her, Epictetus describes in some detail the sequence that led Medea
to the murder of her children. His description is a free paraphrase of Medea's great
speech in Euripides:
It was because she was unable to endure this that Medea came to murder her· own
children. This is the action of noble spirit in this regard at least, that she had a proper
impression of what it means to be disappointed in one's desire. 'Thus', she says, 'shall
I take vengeance on one who has injured and wronged me. Yet what shall I gain from
putting him into such a miserable plight? How is this to be achieved? I kill the children.
But that will be punishing myself too. Yet what do I care?'
12
Medea is presented as having gone through an instrumental reasoning that
connects her action to her prior decision to take vengeance on Jason. Given her
decision - expressed in the statement 'I shall avenge myself' - she inquires
deductively into how this decision may be carried out: 'how can that [avenging
myself] come about?' As a result of this enquiry she reaches the conclusion: 'I kill
the children', which specifies the best means to avenge herself. Epictetus presents
the action of killing her children as something whose appropriateness as a means
to a higher goal Medea assents to. Thus her impulse for killing her children - not
11
For a recent extensive discussion of Medea's great monologue in Euripides in connection with
philosophical issues in moral psychology, see C. Gill, Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy and
Philosophy (Oxford, 1996), 216-33.
12
Toii-co K«t ti M!llleta. oux 'llA.6ev ere\ 'CO artOK'CEtV«t -c& 'I;EKV«.
K«-rli ye "I;OU'I;O. eixe y&p ijv llei qHxv,a.oia.v, ol6v eo1;t -co & 6iA.et "I;tv\
rcpox(A)p&tV. 'eha. 'COY alllK!loa:v-cli K«\ Ka:\ -ci
-coii oov YEVT]'I;II:l; arcOK'I;etV(A) ,a; 'I;EKVa:. aA.A.& Ka:\
Ka:\ -ci
96 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
mentioned in the text, but required by the action - is based on a prior reflection
about how best to achieve a certain goal.
So in what sense is Medea precipitate? The answer is that the prior reflection
that supports her impulse for killing her children is not one that would count, by
Epictetan standards, as an all-things-considered reflection about the desirability of
this action. For one question that is relevant for its evaluation, but which Medea
does not really address, is whether she should avenge herself in the first place.
There is evidence for this both in the present passage and in the other place of the
Discourses where Epictetus discusses the case of Medea. To begin with the latter
(1.28.7), the text starts with a quotation from Euripides' Medea 1078-79:
Yes, I understand what evils I intend,
but anger is stronger than my reasoning.l3
And this quotation is followed by a brief commentary by Epictetus:
For it is just this, the gratification of her anger and the taking vengeance on her husband,
that she regards as more advantageous than the saving of her children.
14
Medea is presented as someone who makes a comparative judgement in which
taking vengeance on Jason and satisfying her temper appear as the preferred
option, the other option being saving her children. Blinded by her anger, however,
she does not inquire, at the time of the action, into whether avenging herself is
really the right thing to do. The same is true of D 2.17.19-22, which I quoted a few
paragraphs ago. To be sure, she sees there, however momentarily, a reason for not
taking vengeance on Jason,
15
namely that, by killing her children, she will punish
not only Jason, but also herself (Q:A.A.& Kat Ef!<XU't'TJV 't'tf!Wpt)oof!at). But what
Medea wavers about is not whether she should take vengeance on Jason, but
whether she should take vengeance on him in the way she is planning to, namely
by killing her children. The object of her wavering is just whether the action of
killing her children is the best means to achieve vengeance, not whether vengeance
itself is the right thing to do.
13
Kn:t 1J.n:v8&vw IJ.EV otn: l>piiv IJ.EAAc.> Kn:Kci, I 1>£ Kpe(ooc.>v t&v EflWV
Poul..eUIJ.cXtc.>v (Van Looy).
14
on IXU'tO toiho, t(il 8u1J.(il xap(on:o8n:t K!Xt 'tOV &vl>pn:,
OUIJ.<popwtepov i]yel:tn:t toil o&on:t t& teKvn:.
15
Gill (Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy and Philosophy, 230) makes a similar point in
connection with Chrysippus' analysis of Medea, reported by Galen at PHP 4.2.27: she assented to the
impression that 'it is better to take vengeance on Jason than save the lifes of her children' with the
awareness that the proposition is false or unreasonable. For discussion see also section 4 of M.D. Boeri,
'The presence of Socrates and Aristotle in the Stoic account of akrasia', in R. Salles (ed.), Metaphysics,
Soul and Ethics in Ancient Thought (Oxford, 2005). Also, it is possible that Medea's wavering be
intended by Epictetus to correspond to what Chrysippus calls an oscillation in his analysis of
emotion. For Chrysippus every emotion is preceded by an oscillation of the mind between two courses
of action. See Plutarch, virt. mor. 446F-447 A (SVF 3.459; LS 65G).
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 97
To recapitulate I have argued that Epictetan precipitancy is embodied in two
different kinds of agents: (1) agents who accept automatically whatever first
impressions they receive if these present a course of action as one they should
pursue, without any kind of reflection concerning whether they should really
pursue it; and (2) agents who do accept this kind of impression on the basis of a
prior reasoning rather than automatically, but who, as is the case with Medea, fail
to take into account factors that are greatly relevant for the evaluation of the
desirability of an action. In either case, the difference between precipitancy and
fully rational action is sharp because of the defective nature of the reasoning (if
any) that is involved in the latter.
6.2 Epictetus' Normative Argument
There is one important proviso in Epictetus' ethics to the ascription of
responsibility to persons in general, and to precipitate agents in particular. Given
that the Normative Argument is an argument for ascribing responsibility to
precipitate agents, the proviso is worth mentioning at the outset.
An important theme in Epictetus' ethics is that of revising the grounds of our moral
reactions to other people. Since the ascription of moral responsibility is a moral
reaction to other people, it is worth asking whether, and to what extent, Epictetus
regards the practice of ascribing moral responsibility as really justified. What is it
exactly, if anything, that needs revision in this practice according to Epictetus? As I
shall argue, it is not the practice itself, but rather the emotions that are often involved
in it. The idea is not that we should refrain from holding people responsible for what
they do- praise, blame and the like being 'Epictetus' stock-in-trade'
16
-but that this
practice should not be motivated by an emotional reaction on our part.
17
Consider for instance the following two passages, which deal with precipitate
agents. In paragraph 9 of D 1.28, Epictetus asks in connection with Medea:
Why, then, are you angry with her, because, poor woman, she has fallen into error on the
most important points, and, instead of being a human being, has become a viper? Why
do you not, if anything, pity her instead, and, as we pity the blind and the lame, so
likewise pity those who are blinded and lamed in their ruling faculties?
18
In paragraph 9 of D 1.18 (entitled 'That we should not be angry with those who
fall in error'), Epictetus takes a further step by suggesting that not even pity is
strictly appropriate as a reaction to precipitate agents:
16
I borrow this expression from Dobbin, Epictetus, 67.
17
In Epictetus' stoicism, the reason for this is that emotion is contrary to the ideals of
freedom from passion and tranquillity of mind (ami8eux and which are central to his
ethics as the proper focus of a good life. See notably D 1.4.3 and 27-9.
18
't'( OUV CXU't'tl, on 1tE1tAaVT]'t'CXt <i)> nep\ 't'o:;)V f.Ley(o't'<.>V KCXt
an\ av8pwnou yeyovev; oux\ I)', einep apex, f.LIXAAOV
eA.eOUf.LEV, KUptW't'CX't'CX KIXt
98 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
Man, if you must be affected contrary to nature at the ills of another, you should pity him
rather than hate him.1
9
Clearly, the aim of these passages is specifically to establish that our reaction to
maniacs should not be governed by anger, hate or pity, which are emotions.
20
This
is sharply different from claiming that they are not responsible at all for their
deeds. As we shall see shortly, Epictetus' position in the Normative Argument is
rather that their precipitancy- manifested in Medea in her failure to appreciate that
what she did is wrong - does not exculpate them. In consequence, if maniacs are
genuinely responsible, we are justified in ascribing responsibility to them. The
only proviso is that this ascription should not be grounded on emotion.
Epictetus' Normative Argument proceeds by showing that unreflectiveness is
'unnatural' relative to humans, as it is constitutive of human nature to examine
impressions critically. The connection between 'unnaturalness' and blameworthiness,
in tum, derives from the further thesis that human nature is normative: we ought to
behave in accordance with what is specific to human nature; in consequence, our
failure to do so is actually blameworthy (and hence not an exculpating factor).
The argument begins by identifying reflection as something that is constitutive
of human nature. As is the case in Chrysippus' T
3
, this thesis is developed in an
account of the scala naturae, where the characteristics of human nature are
identified with those characteristics that mark off humans from the lower animals.
The distinction is that, although we 'use impressions' <p«XV't'aot&v) as
non-human animals do, we also reflect on, or 'understand', our use of impressions
•fi xp1loet 't'WV <plXV't'IXOt&v).
21
The gist of this distinction
has been well described by others.
22
In the recent literature, a particularly detailed
analysis of it may be found in David Hahrn's article 'A neglected Stoic argument
for human responsibility' .
23
The lower animals (unlike, for example, plants) base
19
&v6pw7te, ei ae aet 7ttXp&. <puaw E7tt atrx't'{6ea8rxt, eA.Eet
tXlJ't'OV f.LcXAAOV f} ll {aet.
20
On pity conceived by the Stoics as an emotion, see notably Cicero, Tusc. 3.20, 4.16, 4.56 and DL
7.111 (in Epictetus see also D 3.22.13, 3.24.43 and 4.1.4-5). For discussion, see Dobbin, Epictetus, 224
and, especially, R. Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind (Oxford, 2000), 389-90, who explains that it
is for this reason that Epictetus' treatment of pity was suppressed in at least one of the Christian
paraphrases of the Ench. The Christian paraphrases have been newly edited in G. Boter, The
Encheiridion of Epictetus and its Three Christian Adaptations (Leiden, 1999).
21
See, notably, D 1.6.18-22 (which I quote further in this section), 1.28.19-22, 2.8.5-6 and 2.10.3.
Cf.MA 3.1.
22
See Bonhoffer, Epictet 1111d die Stoa, 74-6; Long, 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory
of human action', 189-92 and 'Soul and body in Stoicism', Phronesis 27 (1982), 34-57 at 49-53; P.
Hadot, La Citadelle lnterieure (Paris, 1992), 169-79 (where an attempt is made to trace back the origin
of Epictetus' notion of to Chrysippus); and Hahm, 'A neglected Stoic argument
for human responsibility'.
23
See, especially, pp. 39-46. The central thesis developed by Hahm in his article is that Epictetus'
notion of 'understanding' is used by Origen in his argument on responsibility and
predestination in oral. 7.1-2 (SVF 2.989). Hahm's thesis, though, is not so much that Origen's
argument is paralleled in detail in Epictetus' works, but rather that the crucial notion of that argument
-the notion of -has an Epictetan origin.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 99
their reactions to the world on the impressions they form. But humans, unlike the
lower animals, may critically examine and select their impressions through the use
of reason, which in principle enables them to determine whether or not a given
course of action is in accordance with Zeus' providential plan.
The next step in the Normative Argument is to infer that, since reflection is
constitutive of human nature, it is something that we ought to achieve. The
inference leans on the claim that what is natural ( KO:'ttt qn3ot v) for an entity E to
do does not necessarily coincide with what E normally does, which can be
unnatural ( 1t a p o: qn3 at v) relative to E' s nature. In the case of humans, this claim
is coupled with the further thesis that what is natural to do is what ought to be
done. By contraposition, what is unnatural for us to do is not necessarily what we
rarely do, but rather what we ought to avoid. Thus, the thesis that reflection is
constitutive and distinctive of human nature is not intended to mean that we all
actually behave in a reflective way (which is false), but rather that we all ought to
behave reflectively and ought to avoid precipitancy. Human nature is granted a
normative character. Consider for instance D 1.11 'On family affection' (llep\
qnA.oo1:opyCo:c;;), paragraphs 4-8. They report a conversation between Epictetus
and a man whose daughter was seriously ill. The man ran away from his daughter
because he could not stand seeing her in that state:
-What, did it seem to you that you were acting rightly in doing these things?- It seemed
to me that I was acting naturally, said he. - Certainly, he said, but do but convince me of
why you were acting naturally, and I will convince you that everything natural is right.
-All fathers, or most of them at any rate, are affected by this. - Not even I would deny
that are you are so affected, he said, but the issue under dispute is whether these things
are right. For, by your argument, it would have to be said that tumours develop for the
good of the body, because they do develop and even that en·ing is natural, because all, or
at least most of us, make errors.24
The man justifies his attitude before Epictetus by arguing that he acted 'naturally'
( qmot KW\1 ): most fathers in his position would also have suffered and behaved in
the way he did. It is precisely the inference from 'Cl>-ing is something that most
people do' to 'Cl>-ing is natural (KO:'ttt qn3m v)' that Epictetus challenges. On his
view, 'Cl>-ing is natural' does imply 'Cl>-ing is right (op8&c;;)' and, thus, that ci> is
a course of action that one ought to pursue. But 'Cl>-ing is something that most
people do' does not imply, and may in fact be irrelevant to deciding whether, 'Cl>-
ing is natural'. As I mentioned earlier, the contrast intended by Epictetus between
natural (KO:'t"tt qn3ot v) and unnatural, corresponds not so much to the difference
24
-Ti ouv; <pa.ivet oa.u·ni> 'tttiha. 1tE1tOt11KEVttt;- E<f>ll·-
0
AHa j.ITJV
'toih6 j.IE 1lEtOOV, E<p,, ou, lhon Kttl F.yw oe neiow, on 1lcXV 'tO Ktt'tcX <pUOtV
yt VOj.IEVOV yive'tttt. - Toiho, E<J>ll, i1 oi ye 1tAEtO'tOt nliOXOilEV.
- Ouo
0
F.yw OOt UV'ttA.eyw, e<p,, O'tt ou yive'ta.t, 'tO c'l' Ujl<pto(}ll'tOUj.IEVOV ftjltV EKetVO
EO'ttV, ei enel 'tOU'tOU y
0
EVEKtt Kttl 'tcX q>Ujltt'ta. llel: A.eyetv E1t. aya.et;> yiveoea.t
'tOU on yiVE'tttt, Kttl 'tO Ujlttp't!ivetv dva.t Ktt'tcX <pUOtv, on
oxeMv i1 oi ye 1lAElO'tOt Ujlttpt!iVOj.IEV.
100 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism
between what we generally do and what we generally don't do, as to the
difference between what we ought, and what we ought not, to do. And it follows
from this that, since precipitancy is unnatural, it is something that we ought to
avoid.
The connection between unnaturalness and blameworthiness is not explicitly
made in the passage just quoted. But it is clear that for Epictetus the former implies
the latter, as is suggested in paragraphs 18-21 of D 1.6, which I quote below. The
human being is naturally constituted as an interpreter of god's works.
This enables us to live in harmony with nature. And this interpretation requires the
reflection (no:po:KoA.ou8'l')Otc:l). Therefore, concludes Epictetus, it is actually
shameful (o:icrxpov) for us merely to use impressions, as the lower animals do.
Notice that the mere use of impressions in humans is explicitly identified as
something that falls short of human nature and, as in the previous passage, human
nature is given a normative character.
God constitutes each of the animals for some use, one to be eaten, another to serve in
farrning, another for the production of cheese, and yet another for some other similar
use; and relative to these uses, what is the need of understanding impressions and of
being capable of judging them? But god has introduced humans into the world as
spectators of himself and of his works; and not only as spectators, but also interpreters
of them. For this reason, it is shameful that humans should begin and end where the
lower animals do. Rather, they ought rather to begin there, but to end where nature itself
has fixed our end. But it has fixed our end in contemplation, understanding and a way of
life in harmony with nature.
25
Elsewhere, in D 3.26.9, Epictetus makes it clear that he uses the term 'shameful'
to denote the class of things that are morally blameworthy.
Have you never heard that the shameful is blameworthy, and the blameworthy is that
which deserves blame?
26
Epictetus' Normative Argument is now complete. Precipitancy is at variance with
human nature; but given the normative character of human nature, what is at
variance with it ought to be avoided and is, therefore, morally blameworthy; hence,
precipitancy is morally blameworthy. In consequence, it cannot count as an
exculpating factor.
25
eKdvwv EKitU'tOV Klt'tltUKt:U&(et 1:0 jlEV WU't. eu6(eu6at, 1:0 a. wute i>nT]peteiv
eh yewpyt!XV, to a· wute tupov <pepetv, to a· &AA.o en' &A.A.n napanAT]UtCjl,
& xpda 't"OU n!Xp!XKOAOU6eiV q>IXVtau(ats Ka\ ataKplVE\V
auvau6at; tov a' &v6pwnov 6eati')v eiuliyayev ai>tou te Ka\ tWV epywv tWV ai>tou,
Ka\ oil j.16vov 6eat1lv, cUI..& Ka\ ai>twv. at& toiito aiuxpov eon t<j> ckv6pc.lnct>
&pxeu6!Xt Ka\ KataA.1lyetv onou Ka\ t& &A.oya, ckA.A.& ll&A.A.ov £v6ev jlEV &pxeo6at,
KataA.liyetv fle eq>' o eq>' ijjlWV Ka\ ij a' en\ 6e<.>pt1XV
K!X\ n!Xp!XKoA.ou6T]O\V K!X\ OUjlq><.>vov tfi q>uoet.
26
oi>Mnote Ott 1:0 aioxpov tjJEK'tOV eonv, 1:0 ai: tjJEK'tOV eon toO
tjleyeo6at;
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 101
If we return to the case of Medea, she is genuinely blameworthy. Although she
murdered her own children because, as a result of her lack of reflection, she failed
to perceive that the action was wrong, this does not exculpate her. For, according
to the Normative Argument, she is blameworthy for being precipitate and, thus, for
the failure that led her to murder her children.
6.3 Ought and Can: Responsibility and Epictetan Therapy
In this section, I discuss a crucial step in the Normative Argument. Unreflective
agents are blameworthy, the argument runs, because their precipitancy -
understood as a pattern of mental behaviour consisting in the repeated failure to
reflect critically on impressions before reacting to them - is something that ought
to be avoided. But precipitancy cannot be something that one ought to avoid unless
it is also something that one can avoid. On general philosophical grounds, the truth
of (1) presupposes the truth of (2):
(1) cl»-ing is something that I ought to avoid.
(2) I can avoid to ct».21
Agents who cannot avoid precipitancy would be blameless because it would not
be something that they ought to avoid in the first place. In consequence, the
validity of the Normative Argument requires that precipitancy be something that
precipitate agents can avoid. As we shall now see, Epictetus offers a substantive
account of how it can be avoided in the sense that he tells us in some detail how
one may become, or at least make progress towards being, a reflective person. This
presupposes that for Epictetus precipitate persons possess the general capacity to
act otherwise- the present capacity to act in the future otherwise than they act now
- and that the possession by them of this capacity is indispensable for us to be
justified in holding them responsible for their current precipitate behaviour.
28
As
will be seen, in his account of what needs to be done to become reflective
Epictetus stresses that the procedure does not depend on factors that are beyond
our control.
29
27
For recent discussion, see notably J. Margolis, 'One last time: "Ought" implies "Can"',
Personalist 48 (1967), 33-41 and W. Sinnott-Armstrong, "'Ought" conversationally implies "Can"',
Philosophical Review 93 (1984), 249-61. See also Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame, 255. Ifi cannot
<II, then it is false that I ought to <II in the first place, unless I am responsible for my incapacity (otherwise
I could escape having to do something simply by making myself unable to do it). This is precisely what
is at issue in Epictetus' analysis of the incapacity for reflecting on impressions. See below.
28
This capacity is not the specific one envisaged by T2 (see section 5.4). There is no evidence that
the specific capacity plays any role in Epictetan ethics.
29
In Epictetus, an activity <II that I plan to carry out is within my control ( if there is
nothing that could hinder my actually <11-ing. SeeD 1.25.2-4, 4.1.62-8, 4.7.16 and 4.12.8. I return to
this issue below. The latest discussion of this matter in Epicetus is Bobzien, Determinism and Freedom,
331-8.
102 The Stoics on Determinism and Com.patibilism
Epictetus' therapy for treating precipitancy is chiefly a matter of weakening the
disposition to react precipitately to first impressions, as the occurrence itself of first
impressions is to a great extent something that is beyond our control. The therapy
has its theoretical basis on an orthodox Stoic conception of dispositions
they are states whose strength can be relaxed ((Xvteo8a:t) or intensified
(1':7n't'dveo8a:t) with time.
30
One passage dealing with intensification is D 2.18.7:
For dispositions and capacities must necessarily be affected by the corresponding
actions, and become implanted if they were not present previously, or be intensified and
strengthened if they were.
3
1
Epictetus' point is not that every disposition is acquired, but rather that (i) some
are and some are not (the disposition to react precipitately to first impressions
presumably is), and that (ii) every disposition, whether or not it is acquired, is
initially weak but subject to intensification. A disposition is intensified through its
repeated activity: if the activity (epyov) of a disposition D is triggered off by
impressions of type P, and D is triggered off by p
1
at t" by p
2
at t2, and by p
3
at t3,
the strength of Dis greater at h than at t1• The extreme case of the maniacs is not
considered in the present passage. But they would be people in whom the
disposition to react precipitately to first impressions has become so strong that,
when they form first impressions that present something as good or as being the
case, they cannot prevent its activity. But the idea that every disposition is initially
weak - an idea that is stated in the present passage - suggests that extreme
precipitation is an acquired condition. To see how maniacs can become reflective,
we need to examine Epictetus' views on relaxation. To do so, we may look at the
beginning of the discourse (D 2.18.4):
In general, then, if you want to do something, make it a disposition; and if you want not
to do something, abstain from doing it, and acquire the disposition for doing something
else instead.
32
Although the term 'relaxation' is not used here, it is manifest that the passage
describes the process opposite to intensification. To spell out its nature, consider
again the example above. Disposition D becomes stronger each time it is triggered
off. By t
3
it has acquired a degree of strength that it did not have before. In order
for it to be weakened, Epictetus suggests, the agent has to acquire a disposition D*,
opposite to D, and exerciseD* instead oj(ix.V't't) D- the idea being, presumably,
that D will not keep its acquired strength if it remains inactive. Thus, the repeated
3
° For the early orthodox Stoics on this question, see Simplicius, in Ar. cat. 237, 25-238, 20 (SVF
2.393; LS 47S). The verb 'being intensified' (c1ttn:(veo6o:t) used in this passage is also the one used
by Epictetus at D 2.18.7, which I quote below.
31
ckc'hlvtt'&OV y&p ckm) '&WV 1\:(X'J;!XAAtlA<.ilV epywv llfJ Ktt'i Ktt'i
l.f.EV Cf.tq>ueo6ttt llfJ 1tp61:epov 1i' &m,;e(veo6ttt Ktt'i i.oxupo1toteio6ttt.
32
Ktt66A.ou oov Ei n 1totEiV CK'&lKOV 1tOlEl ttlho· ei n llfJ 1tOlEiV
l.f.fJ 1tOtEt ttu,;o, ckU' e6wov &Uo n 1tptX1:1:Etv l.f.cXAAOV ckv,;' ttlhoil.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 103
exercise of D* will not only strengthen D*, but also weaken D.
33
If D has acquired
a maximum degree of strength, as is the case of the maniac, then, presumably, the
amount of inactivity required for it to become controllable by the agent will be
considerable. But there is no suggestion anywhere in D 2.18 that a point may be
reached in the evolution of a disposition that it becomes so strong that it is no
longer possible for it to be therapeutically treated. The closest Epictetus comes to
saying that it may become impossible to change a disposition is at D 2.18.11-12,
quoted below. But the thesis he puts forward there is not so much that it may
become impossible to treat it, as that it might become very difficult to do so. The
disposition to assent precipitately (in the context of emotions) is compared to a
weal that may become a wound. But it is not said that if it ever becomes a wound,
it will no longer be possible to treat it.
Something like this happens also with the affections of the mind. Certain imprints and
weals are left behind on the mind, and unless a man erases them perfectly, the next time
he is scourged upon the old scars, he has weals no longer but wounds.
34
Epictetus provides detailed information about how to exercise a disposition D*
instead of a disposition D that one wishes to weaken. To cause the inactivity of D,
one may exercise D* either to stop the activity of D once it has been triggered off
or simply to prevent that D be triggered off. In either case, what needs to be done
by the patient is a certain kind of mental exercise whose success is largely
independent from factors that are beyond his control. For according to Epictetus,
mental activities - acts of assent, impulses and the beliefs that result from assent
-are the paradigm of activities that are within one's control For
there is nothing - not even god - that could prevent me from exercising an impulse
for action or from assenting to the impression that I should perform the action.
35
33 At 2.18.13, Epictetus claims that a sustained process of relaxation may end up with the
destruction of a disposition. It is not clear, however, whether the disposition to react precipitately to
first impressions can be totally destroyed. Even if it could, it would be destroyed only in the sage.
34
·mwiit6v n KO:l E1tl tG>v 1to:BG>v yivE't'O:l. i)CVT) n VeX KO:t
anOA<E>l1tOV't'0:1 EV O:U't'tJ, ei 11-rl 1taA1V K!XtcX tG>v o:utG>v
OUKE't'l IX11' EAKT) 1t01ei. Remember that in Stoic orthodox theory it
is in the nature of dispositions to be subject to relaxation. See again Simplicius in Ar. cat. 237, 25-238,
20 (SVF 2.393; LS 47S).
35
See especially D 1.6.40. But the activities that are within my control are not restricted to my
mental activities. For there will be cases where nothing can prevent me from actually performing an
action if the action is in accordance with an impulse 'with reservation' (!lee' For
reservation in late Stoicism, see Epictetus Ench. 2 and fr. 27 Schenkl; Marcus Aurelius, MA 4.1, 5.20
and 6.50; and Seneca, ben. 4.34 and 4.39. An impulse is exercised with reservation when it is
accompanied by a belief whose content includes a qualification such as 'unless it goes with god's
providential plan'. My impulse for walking is an impulse with reservation if it is coupled with the belief
that 'it is appropriate or fitting (Ko:BilKov) that I should walk now unless my walking now is at variance
with god's providential plan'. In consequence, impulses with reservation cannot be frustrated if one
knows at any given time whether or not the action is in accordance with god's providential plan. If I
know that my walking at t is in accordance with god's plan, my impulse for walking cannot be
frustrated at t, for nothing can interfere with the plan of the Stoic god. And if I know that my walking
104 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
One therapeutic exercise designed for the former type of situation is described
in paragraphs 8-9 of 2.18. They focus specifically on avarice, a condition
generated by the repeated occurrence of individual 'appetites for money'
(em6u!J.t1Xt apyupiou). How, exactly, an appetite of this kind actually comes
about, Epictetus does not say. But the process presumably involves a precipitate
act of assent to the impression that I ought to <I>, where <I>-ing is a course of action
that I regard as conducive to financial benefit. The passage deals with situations
where the appetite is being exercised, which supposes that the disposition has
already been triggered off and is active.
This is, of course, how philosophers say that sicknesses grow in the mind. When you
once have an appetite for money, for example, if reason is applied to bring you to the
perception of the evil, the appetite is brought to an end, and the governing faculty of the
mind regains its original authority. 3
6
I assume that Epictetus is using the word 'perception' in an orthodox
Stoic sense to denote an impression that has been given assent.37 On this reading,
what needs to be done by the agent to bring the appetite to an end (nenam:ai) is
twofold. First, one has to produce by the use of reason the impression that the
action of <I>-ing is bad (KaK6v) and, second, one has to assent to that impression
and, thus, persuade oneself that one is aiming at something bad. This act of assent
will generate an impulse for not <I>-ing that will replace the appetite for <I>-ing.
Note that these steps are quite independent from each other. One may fail to assent
to an impression that would stop the initial appetite if it were assented to.
38
This
is what seems to have happened with Epictetus' Medea. If we look back at the
example from D 2.17, she used reason to realize that if she takes vengeance on
Jason by killing her children she will also harm herself (aU& Kat EIJ.IXU't"TJV
't"t!J.<..>p'llao!J.at, see section 6.1). So she probably did entertain the impression,
produced by this reasoning, that she should not kill her children after all. If she had
assented to this impression, her impulse for killing them would have been replaced
by the opposite impulse. Medea, however, and as we know, did not assent to this
impression.
As for the other therapeutic exercise - preventing the disposition from being
triggered off- consider paragraphs 12-14 and 23-24 of2.18. The exercise focuses
on anger, which, as any other emotion, is a good example of how, in Stoic theory,
at t is at variance with his plan, my impulse cannot be frustrated either because I simply will not
exercise the impulse at t. For a recent discussion, see Brennan, 'Reservation in Stoic ethics' (who would
probably disagree with the interpretation just given, see p. 67). See also Inwood, Ethics and Human
Action in Early Stoicism, 121-2; LS, 2; 417; Nussbaum, The Therapy of Desire, 399; and Sorabji,
Emotion and Peace of Mind, 53-4 and 219-20.
36
0ii<W9 ikiJ.iA.et KIXt t& lkppwott11J.cx<cx imocpueo6cxt A.iyouot v oi cptA.6oocpot. ii'tcxv
y&p em6UiJ.tlOU9 ikpyupiou, &v IJ.Ev 1tpoocxx6ft t:i9 cxio6T]01 V toil
KIXKOU, 1tE1tiXU'tiXL tE !'J em6UiJ.tiX KIXt to !'JYEIJ.OV1KOV !'JIJ.WV t:\9 to !k1tOKIXtEOtT].
37
See the evidence collected by von Arnim under SVF 2.71-81.
38
My analysis of this passage coincides in many respects with that offered by Graver in 'Not even
Zeus', 353-4.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 105
the disposition to assent precipitately to first impressions is activated.
39
The
therapy proposed by Epictetus consists in opposing to the first impression that
yields the activity of the disposition a number of thoughts that render the first
impression less attractive. This thought corresponds to an act of assent to a
different impression. In contrast with what is supposed to occur in the situations
that the first type of exercise envisages, the initial first impression is not assented
to at all. The act of assent in this case corresponds to the activity of the disposition
D* that one exercises instead of D.
40
The thought envisaged by Epictetus is that 'I used to be angry every day, after
that every other day, then every third, and then every four days' and also,
presumably, that 'anger is bad'.
If, therefore, you do not wish to be angry, do not feed your disposition, set before it
nothing on which it can grow. As the first step, keep quiet and count the days on which
you have not been angry. 'I used to be angry every day, after that every other day, then
every third, and then every four days.' If you go as much as thirty days without a fit of
anger, sacrifice to God. For the disposition is first weakened and then utterly destroyed
. . . If you oppose such thoughts to the impression, you will overcome it, and not be
carried away by it.
41
The two exercises considered so far are mental; in this respect, their execution is
independent from factors that are beyond our control. But in a certain sense, which
I now consider, they are not totally independent from such factors. They implicitly
presuppose the availability of a specific kind of teacher - one who is able to
instruct the precipitate agent what the exercise consists in. The performance itself
of the exercises can be carried out by the precipitate agent on its own. But he
cannot get started, as it were, without the help of this sort of teacher. At this initial
stage, his guidance will be crucial.
This implicit presupposition is made explicit in a passage from D 2.19. At
29-34, Epictetus speaks of the 'right use of impressions' and alludes to some of
the conditions required for its achievement:
And so now I am your teacher, and you are being taught in my school. And my purpose
is this - to make of you a perfect work, secure against restraint, compulsion, and
hindrance, free, prosperous, happy, looking to God in everything both small and great;
39
On this issue, see LS 1, 420--21: 'A passion is a weak opinion, whereby "weakness" describes
the state of a "perverted" reason, assenting to impressions that trigger off impulses inconsistent with a
well-reasoned understanding of what their objects are worth.' See also Gill, Personality, 228-31 and
Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind, 29-33.
40
On the structure of this particular exercise, see Long, 'Representation and the self in Stoicism',
ll5.
41
D 2.18.12-14 and 23-4: ei oov IJ.TJ dvat IJ.TJ 1:pecpe aou 1:TJV
IJ.IlliEV «1h'fi 1:TJV 1tpW1:11V i)ouxaoov Ka\ 1:1h apt81J.Et ih
OUK "Ka8' iJIJ.epav eiw8etv 6pyi(eo8at, viiv 1tap. iJIJ.epav, e{'ta 1tap& auo,
eha 1tap& &v at: Ka\ 1:ptcXKOV1:« E1ti8uoov •ci> 8e£i>. i) y&p
1:i)v 7tpW1:1lV, eha Ka'i 1t«V1:EAW9 !Xvatpet't!Xt ... 1:aiita VtK'Iloet9 ti]v
cpavtaaiav, oux' 1i1t' •
106 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
and you are here with the purpose of learning and practising all this. Why, then, do you
not complete the work, if it is true that you on your part have the tight kind of purpose
and I on my part, in addition to the purpose, have the right kind of preparation? What is
it that is lacking? When I see a craftsman who has material lying ready at hand, I look
for the finished product. Here also, then, is the craftsman, and here is the material.
Cannot the matter be taught? It can. Is it, then, not under our control? Nay, it is the only
thing in the whole world that is under our control. Wealth is not under our control, not
health, nor fame, nor, in a word, anything else except the right use of extemal
impressions. This alone is by nature secure against restraint and hindrance. Why, then,
do you not finish the work? Tell me the reason. For it lies either in me, or in you, or in
the nature of the thing. The thing itself is possible and is the only thing that is under our
control. Consequently, then, the fault lies either in me, or in you, or, what is nearer the
truth, in us both. 42
Epictetus describes the case of a person P who has not succeeded in becoming
reflective. In his diagnosis of the failure, he mentions the necessary condition that
I pointed out a few lines ago. P must have had the opportunity of having a good
teacher- one whom Epictetus describes as possessing the plan (emPoA.11) to teach
how to use impressions correctly, and as having the right preparation
(7tapaaKeuli) to do so. However we interpret the term 'plan' ,
43
it is a desiderative
state that involves an act of assent: in the case of the teacher, an assent to the
impression that I ought to teach this person how to become reflective; in the case
of P, who also needs to have the plan (empoA.li) to learn, an assent to the
impression that I ought to learn from this person how to become reflective. In the
present passage, the condition has been met. This reveals that for Epictetus this
condition is necessary, but not sufficient, for achieving reflectiveness. The cause
of the failure is not pointed out and the text ends in aporia.
What is important for our present purposes is that for Epictetus the condition is
necessary for achieving reflectiveness. This is relevant for the Normative
42
Ktx\ vilv ey<.> IJ.CV UIJ.Eh lle 1t!Xp. EIJ.O'i. Kay<.>
IJ.CV exc.> 1:!XU1:T]V <1:TJV> i:mpoA.liv,
1:0V Beov
i:v 1ttxn'i. tctx'i. tctx'i. lle ttxilttx 1J.tx61Jo61J.evo1 tctx\
1tapeote. '\'L ouv OUK cXVUE'\'E '\'0 epyov, ei Ktx'i. exet. i:mpoA.T]v oitxv llei dy<.>
tti i:mpoA.fi Ktx'i. 1ttxp!XOKEUTJV oitxv llei; t'i. '\'0 Aet1tOV v; 0'\'(XV tile.> 1:fK'\'OV!X,
0'\'!jl UATJ 1tlipeanv '\'0 epyov. Ktx'i. ev61ille '\'OLVUV 6 '\'EKtc.>V
eat(v, T] UATJ eot(v· tl TJIJ.lV Ael1tE1; OUK eon lltlltxKtOV tO 1tp&y1J.tx; llllltxtct6v. OUK eonv
OUV e<p' TJIJ.lV; IJ.OVOV IJ.CV OUV tWV &J..J..c.>v 1taVtc.>v. OUtE eon V eq>' TJIJ.lV oii6'
oiite oilte &A.J..o 1tATJV op6T] toilto cXKWAUtov
q>UOE\ IJ.OVOV, toilto llt& t( ouv OUK avuete; el1t!Xte IJ.Ol tT]v txit(txv. i'l
y&p 1ttxp' &IJ.e i']1ttxp' UIJ.I'h i']1ttxp& tT]v q>uow toil txilto to 1tp&y1J.tx
i:vllex61J.evov tctx'i. 1J.6vov eq> · iJIJ.iv. A.omov ouv i']1ttxp' EIJ.E i:on v i']1ttxp' 'lj, o1tep
.XA. 1J6eotepov, 1ttxp ·
43
See E 2.86, 17-87,22 (SVF 3.169 and 3.173; LS 53Q) with extensive conunentary by Inwood in
Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, 224-42. According to Stobaeus' report, a 'plan'
(i:mpoA.li) is a species of practical impulse OPIJ.ll) and, probably, a form of
which is defined as directed 'towards something in the future' (e1t( n IJ.EA.A.ov), which fits well with
Epictetus' use of the term 'plan' in the present passage.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 107
Argument. As we have seen, the argument presupposes that only those precipitate
agents who can become reflective are blameworthy for their precipitancy. But if
the condition above is necessary, does not it follow that only very few precipitate
agents are blameworthy for their precipitancy? In particular, does not it follow that
precipitate agents cannot be blamed for their precipitancy if they don't have the
opportunity to benefit from a teacher trained in Epictetus' school and who knows
the specific kind of exercises he envisages for treating precipitancy - an
opportunity that is arguably something beyond their control? This would introduce
a severe restriction to the scope of the Normative Argument.
I believe that Epictetus' own answer to these questions would be in the negative.
To appreciate the difficulty and also one possible way in which he could handle its
intricacies, it will be helpful to consider an imaginary dialogue between himself
and an opponent:
'-As you rightly point out, Epictetus, someone who doesn't have the opportunity of having
a good teacher is blameless for being precipitate. But aren't you thereby committing
yourself to the view that the vast majority of people are blameless for their precipitancy?
For how many people have the opportunity of having either yourself or one of your
successful trainees as a teacher? Does not that entail that all of those who, like me, don't
have that opportunity are blameless? So are you not restricting the scope of your
Normative Argument to the extremely narrow set of those who have that rare opportunity?'
To this objection Epictetus could reply as follows:
'- The core of your objection seems to rest on the assumption that in order to start
making progress towards reflectiveness one must attend either my courses at Nicopolis
or the courses of someone who has attended my courses. But I believe you are wrong in
making that assumption, as we are not the only persons who can teach you the basics of
what is required for starting to make progress towards reflectiveness. As a matter of fact,
I regard my teaching as one that is largely inspired from the practical teaching of
Socrates, to whom, if you remember, I allude very often in my discourses,
44
and to
whom, as you know, Stoic ethics owes so much.
45
My concern with emulating Socrates
goes back to my youth, when I first started teaching in Rome.
46
So at least to start
making progress it suffices that you follow the courses of a Socratic teacher - which is
someone much easier to find than a Stoic philosopher trained at Nicopolis.'
A second possible objection against Epictetus is the following:
'-Very well, Epictetus, I concede that the kind of teaching you impart is much more
accessible than I initially thought; and so, I shall recognize that the lack of opportunity
44
The figure of Socrates is refened to 68 times in the works that go under Epictetus' name, and
that of Diogenes (the Cynic) 26 times, compared, for example, to 23 references to Chrysippus (next to
Chrysippus comes Cleanthes with 13). See Schenkl's index s.v. in his Teubner editio maior of
Epictetus.
45
SeeD 4.1.159-69. On how central Socrates is to Epictetan ethics, see A.A. Long, Hellenistic
Philosophy (London, 1986), 200. See also A. Jagu, Epictete et Platon (Paris, 1946), 29-33 and 47-72.
4
6 SeeD 2.12, esp. par. 25.
108 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
to attend your courses is something that doesn't exculpate one's precipitancy. But I still
think that you will end up restricting the scope of your Normative Argument to an
extremely narrow set of persons. For you have to grant that precipitate persons might not
(and in most cases will not) be aware of the very desirability of becoming reflective. But,
surely, if they aren't even aware of that desirability, they won't try to find a proper
teacher who teaches them how to become reflective. And this being so, aren't these
people blameless for being precipitate? For how are we going to blame someone for his
precipitancy if he doesn't even have the awareness of the desirability of avoiding
precipitancy? Shouldn't we say that this person is not subject to justified blame?'
To this second objection, Epictetus could reply as follows:
'-Again, I believe that your entire argument proceeds from an assumption on which you
shouldn't be relying. For what makes you think that precipitate persons lack the awareness
of the desirability of becoming reflective? In my discourse 'To those who take up the
teachings of the philosophers only to talk about them' (D 2.19), I described those who
engage in the business of learning how to become reflective as persons who follow a plan
(e1ttPoA.!l) to do so (2.19.29). And by this plan I mean something that corresponds at the
very least to a desire for becoming reflective. But I strongly believe that this basic desire
or attitude is far from being a distinctive feature of the progressive. It is something we all
possess, however unreflective we are. It reveals one of our basic aspirations as humans.
Consider the case of Medea, the paradigm of the unreflective person. Even Medea has
something like that desire. As I have shown in my discourse on 'How should we apply our
preconceptions to particular instances?' (D 2.17), she slightly wavered about whether or
not she should assent to the impression that she ought to take vengeance on Jason (see
section 6.1 ). And what does this waveling indicate if not the fact that she did not want to
assent to the wrong impression? And doesn't this want reflect a desire for being able to
determine which impressions should be assented to and which shouldn't? Notice,
furthermore, that this waveling is not something that marks off Medea from other
unreflective persons. In Chrysippus' opinion, for instance, as you know, every emotion
involves an oscillation (tpom1) of the mind between two courses of action or
states of affairs. In addition, you should bear in mind the case of those who err
(tXf.L!Xp'tavet).
4
7 For they do so unwillingly, as Socrates used to say. And what this means
- as I have shown in my discourse on 'What is the distinctive feature of error?' (D
2.26.1-3) - is that every person seeks to avoid (qmye\v) assenting to misleading first
impressions and, more particularly, to misleading first impressions about what is to be
done, that is, those which present as good a course of action that is in fact bad. But, again,
what is this fundamental desire if not a desire for being able always to assent to the right
impressions? So to return to your objection, I do not share your view that precipitate
persons are not aware of the desirability of becoming reflective. I do not share that view
because- as I have argued- precipitancy is something that we all desire somehow or other.
In consequence, contrary to your claim, no precipitate person can use as an exculpating
factor for his unreflectiveness that he was not aware of the desirability of being reflective.'
These two lines of argument reveal how the scope of Epictetus' Normative
Argument is not as narrow as it initially appears. On the one hand, the number of
4
7 On the Stoic difference between emotion and error (IXIJ.Iipnuw.), see Gill, Personality,
229-30.
Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 109
unreflective persons who are blameworthy for their precipitancy is indeed very
large: they must surely have had the opportunity to have a good teacher; but the
kind of teaching Epictetus has in mind is one that is not only largely available to
most of us, but also one that precipitate agents will naturally try to pursue. On the
other hand, however, there might be, and there might always be, some unreflective
persons who are not blameworthy for their precipitancy. For, even though the
teaching Epictetus seems to be thinking of is one that is largely available to most
of us and one that precipitate agents will naturally try to pursue, there may be
precipitate persons who are prevented by external obstacles from having access
even to this basic teaching. To my knowledge, Epictetus does not undertake a
detailed study of these cases: he does not expand on the nature of the obstacles that
would be needed to exculpate these persons. But two obvious, though rather
extreme, examples would be that of someone who has been locked up in jail for
most of his life and that of someone who has been totally neglected by his parents
since childhood. In recent years, some moral philosophers have been greatly
concerned with studying cases such as these and to determine the extent to which
we are entitled to hold this kind of person responsible for their deeds.
48
Thus, the Normative Argument is no longer threatened. The argument claims
that precipitancy is not an exculpating factor because one is blameworthy for one's
precipitancy. The reason given by the argument is that precipitancy is something
that ought to be avoided. The difficulty studied in the present section was that it
would not make sense to claim that one ought not to be precipitate, unless one can
avoid precipitancy: if one can't, the Normative Argument collapses. But the
argument does not collapse because on Epictetus' view precipitancy can be
avoided in a substantive sense. He not only provides a detailed account of the
therapeutic exercises that one needs to perform in order to start making progress
towards reflectiveness, but also points out the great extent to which the practice of
these exercises does not depend on factors that are beyond our control.
Our examination of Epictetus' contribution to Stoic theories of moral
responsibility is now complete. Chrysippus' T
3
is aimed at explaining how
someone who acts but lacks the specific dual capacity to do otherwise may still be
responsible for the action: the agent is responsible if the action is done from a fully
rational impulse, which presupposes reflection. The reason why the agent is
responsible resides in the reflection. But what could justify the ascription of
responsibility to agents who do not act from fully rational impulses? Is not the lack
of reflection an exculpating factor? Chrysippus does not tackle these issues, but
Epictetus does and, thereby, complements T
3
• His answer is that the ascription of
48
See notably G. Watson's illuminating study 'Responsibility and the limits of evil: variations on
a Strawsonian theme' of the case of Robert Harris, a serial killer sentenced to death at the end of the
1970s; see also R. Burgh, 'Guilt, punishment, and desert' (both appear in F. Schoeman (ed.),
Responsibility, Character and the Emotions (Cambridge, 1987)). These discussions have motivated a
further concern for reflecting on the relation, and eventually drawing a line, between responsibility and
desert. See F. Feldman, 'Desert: reconsideration of some received wisdom', Mind 104 (1995), 63-77
and S. Smilansky, 'Responsibility and desert: defending the connection', Mind 105 (1996), 157-63 and
'The connection between responsibility and desert: the crucial distinction', Mind lOS (1996), 485-6.
110 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism
responsibility is justified to the extent that their lack of reflection is blameworthy
and, thereby, does not exculpate them.
A recurring topic throughout this book has been how the Stoics stand on the
question of whether responsibility requires freedom, understood as the capacity for
alternative courses of action. I have argued that for the early Stoics this capacity is
not required, at least if it is the specific capacity that one has in mind. On their view,
when I <I>-ed at t, I may not have had the capacity of either <I>-ing at t or not <I>-ing
at t (not even in the narrow compatibilist sense envisaged by T2), and yet be
responsible. Epictetus' argument hinges on our having a general capacity for either
being or not being precipitate. This is the first time in Stoic thought that some form
of dual capacity is strongly presupposed in accounting for responsibility. But there
is no sign anywhere in Epictetus that responsibility requires the specific capacity to
do otherwise and, in this respect, he is consistent with Chrysippus' attack on the
incompatibilist assumption that such a capacity is required.
I have not said anything about the Stoic determinist notion of freedom, which
is important in early Stoicism and central to Epictetan ethics. Stoic freedom
(eA.eu8ep{a) is a matter of having the capacity to do what one wants, or desires,
to do.
49
It is compatible with specific determinism as I may want to do at a certain
time something that I am predetermined to do at that time. In fact, there is the idea
in Stoicism that freedom requires specific determinism in the sense that I will only
have the capacity to do what I want if I restrict the scope of things that I want to
do to the set of things that I am predetermined to do. This idea is neatly expressed
by Epictetus, but it goes back to Cleanthes, two verses of whom are cited in the
following passage from D 4.1.131:
The road that leads to freedom, and the only release from enslavement is to be able to
say wholeheartedly: Lead me, Zeus, and you, Fate, wherever you have ordained for me.
50
So defined, freedom is the privilege of the Stoic sage. Knowing that the universe
is providentially ordered for the best, and knowing also, for any given situation,
which course of action is best from this cosmic perspective, the sage will align his
desires with god's providential plan so that they will never be frustrated.
Responsibility, by contrast, is not exclusive to the Stoic sage. And the reason why
we all, or most of us, are responsible according to Stoics is what I have tried to
bring out in the present book.
49
For references and discussion see S. Bobzien, 'Stoic conceptions of freedom and their relation
to ethics', in R. Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle and After (London, 1997) and Detenninism and Freedom,
338-45. Especially important for early Stoicism is the idea, probably Chrysippean, that t\Aw8ep(a is
'a power to act independently' (DL 7.121), that is, to act from one's own
desires and inclinations. For Epictetus see below.
50
D 4.1.131: aihT] ETC. t\Aeu8ep(av &yet, aih·T] arco:Uaylj 'CO
<'luvT]8ijva( rco-c · eircetv i>
&you <'le w Zeu, KO:t au y.
orcot rco8'
Cf. Ench. 53; D 2.23.42, 3.22.95, 4.4.34. See also Seneca, ep. 107.11.
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Index of Names
Abell1
Academy 4, 39
Alexander of Aphrodisias
and the attribution of the Stoic theory
T3 to Chrysippus 71 nn. 8 and 9, 73,
76
on determinism as entailing the
superfluousness of deliberation 10,
17
and libertarianism xiii
on the nature of Stoic determinism xvi
on the Stoic notion of what occurs
'through' us 53-4
on the Stoic psychology of action 57,
59-60
on the Stoic theory T3 xx, 51, 61, 85,
91
Amand 70, 70 n. 4
Anti pater
on the idea that preferred indifferents
are objetively preferrable to
dispreferred indifferents 24 n. 21
and the idea that there is no impulse
without assent 36
Arcesilaus
on indiscernibility 21
as the possible author of the
'externalist objection' 39
Aristotle
on action occurring 'through' us 75-6
on all-things-considered evaluation of
alternatives 56-7
on 'capacity' 88
on bivalence 6 n. 10
on 'crude' fatalism xv, 3, 16-17
on deliberation 9, 10 n. 18, 15, 81
against the destluctibility of the world
23 n. 18
on external determism xvii; on fatalism
and indleness 9-10, 15-16
on the 'general' determinism of the
Megarians xiv
on prior truth as entailing prior
necessitation 7
123
as the target of the Stoic theory T3 xxi,
79,81,88
on responsibility 33-4, 75, 75 n. 22,
79, 81
on the specific capacity to act
otherwise 79-80, 80 n. 35, 81, 88
against specific determinism 80-81
on voluntary action 33-4, 79, 81
on what 'depends on' US (1:0 eq>'i]).J.tV)
79
Atrian
as a source for Epictetus 92
Athens 4
Bobzien 44 n. 35, 45 n. 39, 71, 71 n. 11,
72 n. 13, 75 nn. 20 and 22, 78 nn.
28 and 29, 80, 80 n. 35, 83 n. 47
Boeri 47 n. 44
Boethus
opposed the doctrine of conflagration
20n. 5
Botros 70, 70 n. 6
Cain 11
Caracalla 73
Carneades
on Chrysippus versus Epicurus on
uncaused events 5 n. 8
on the idea that a lack of antecedent
and external cause does not
necessarily entail a lack of cause
altogether 43 n. 34
Chrysippus
on all-things-considered evaluation of
alternatives 56, 59, 62, 66, 68, 91
on bivalence and causation xviii, 3, 5,
6, 6 n. 10, 8-9, 18
on causation and necessitation xix, 7,
18, 84, 84 n. 50
on 'concomitant' events 25 n. 22
on cosmogony 21
on 'co-fatedness' 12-14, 14 n. 27, 15
versus Cleanthes on the nature of
action 38 nn. 21 and 22
124 Index of Names
and the cylinder analogy 42-7, 76-7
on determism and idleness 11, 15-16
on the destructibility of gods at the
conflagration 27 n. 29
and Diodorus Cronus 85-7
on emotion as involving an oscillation
of the mind 96 n. 15, 108
and Epictetus' views on responsibility
xxi-xxii, 91, 107 n. 44
and everlasting recurrence xix, 73-5
against the 'externalist objection' 33,
39,41-9
on fatalism xvi, 16-17
and Harry Krankfurt xxi, 63-4, 66-8,
69-71
on impulse and assent 36, 44
on the individuation of human nature
54,98
and innatism 48, 48 n. 48, 49
on modal logic xvii, 83, 83 n. 46, 87
on the 'nature and force' of the mind
46-7
on two senses or kinds of necessity
xvi-xvii, 83, 83 n. 47
and the specific (vs. general) capacity
to act otherwise xx, xxii, 62, 86-7,
87 n. 60, 88, 109-10
and the Stoic theory T1 xx, 33-4, 69,
73,76-7,89
and the Stoic theory Tz xx, 69, 82, 85-9
and the Stoic theory TJ xx, 51, 69-71,
70 n. 4, 71 n. 10, 73, 75-7, 77 n. 25,
78,81-2,85,87-9,91,98,109
and the 'fourth' Stoic theory of
responsibility xxi
on uncaused events 5 n. 8
on peculiar qualities 22 n. 10, 23 n. 14
and Plato 25 n. 23
and the principle of regularity 'same
causes, same effects' 73-5
on responsibility 33-4, 49, 51, 59, 62,
64,66-8, 75,85, 88-9,109-10
on 'simple' events and states 15
on the specific (vs. general) dual
possibility of alternative events and
states 12
on transcyclical identity 25, 25 n. 24,
26
Cicero
on Chrysippus' theory of causation 42,
45, 76
as a source for the Chrysippean
argument that everything has a
cause 8
on the significance of Chrysippus
modal logic 86 n. 59
distorted Chrysippus' position 18
as a source for the 'externalist
objection' xx, 39
as a sow·ce for the 'idle argument' 10,
17
on Stoic indiscernibility 22
Cleanthes
on the nature of action 38, 38 nn. 21
and 22
on cosmogony 21
on everelasting recun·ence xix
and the place of freedom in Stoic
philosophy 110
as a reference in Epictetus 107 n. 44
Clement of Alexandria
on all-things-considered evaluation of
alternatives 59, 61
Davidson 36, 36 nn. 13 and 15
Dialectic School
and the Reaper Argument 17 n. 33
Diodorus Cronus
and the capacity to act otherwise 86-7
and the 'Principle of Plenitude' 85-6
attacked by Philo the Dialectician
concerning the notion of possibility
83 n. 46
on modal logic 85
Diogenes of Babylon
on peculiar qualities 22 n. 10
Diogenes of Sinope
as a model in the ethics of Epictetus
107 n. 44
Diogenianus
as a source for Chrysippus' theory of
'cofatedness' 13-14
Epictetus
on assent as free from external
necessitation 77 n. 26
complements Chrysippus' theories of
responsibility xxi-xxii, 89, 91, 109-
110
on determinism and compatibilism 63,
63 n. 36, 110
on dispositions 102-3
on freedom (Heu6epio:), 110
on freedom of emotion and tranquility
of mind (1bt&6eto: and
63, 63 n. 34, 97
on the genetic object of impulse 94 n.
7
Index of Names 125
on the individuation of human nature
98-9
on Medea's psychology of action 95-8,
104
on ought and can 101
the flrst Stoic to claim that some fmm
of the dual capacity to act otherwise
is needed for responsibility xxi,
101, 110
on the therapy needed to treat
precipitancy 102-9
on all-things-considered evaluation of
alternatives 62-3, 91, 95, 99
on the nature of precipitancy
(1tpo1te1:eux) 93-7
on responsibility for unreflectve action
xxi-xxii, 63, 91
on its being justified to hold people
morally responsible for their deeds
97-8
Epicureans
opposed Chrysippus on co-fatedness
13
and the idea that determinism involves
external determination xx
and libertarianism xiii
as the target of the Stoic theory T 1 xx
versus the Stoics on innate impulse for
self-preservation 48 n. 48
Epicurus
and the idea that any form of causal
determinism involves external
determination xx, 49
versus Chrysippus on uncaused events
5 n. 8
as the author of the objection in
Cicero's de jato 40 39, 43
as the target of the Stoic theory T1 xx
Frankfurt xxi, 51, 63-8
Frede, D. 9 n. 10, 71, 71 n. 8
God
unable to prevent the conflagration
from subsiding 20
is not destroyed at the conflagration 27
n.29
unable to introduce changes from one
cosmic cycle to the other 26-8, 26
n. 26
and foreknowledge, 27, 27 nn. 28 and
29,28
does not determine our minds from
outside 48, 103
as a necessary reference in fully
rational evaluations of alternatives
99
as a providential being 27, 27 n. 28,
100
and predetermination 27 n. 27, 28
Hegesarchus
used in an example in Chrysippus'
theory of 'co-fated' events 13-14,
14 n. 27
Hierocles
on appropriation 48 n.
47
Hippolytus
on the simile of the dog tied to the cart
67
Huby 39,43
Inwood 36, 36 n. 18, 71, 71 n. 9
Jake 64-8
Jason 96
Loening 80
Long 56, 63 nn. 34 and 36, 70, 70 n. 3, 75
n. 20, 76 n. 23
Long and Sedley 84
Lovejoy 86
Lucille 77-8
Mansfeld 20, 23 n. 18, 25, 27 n. 29
Marcus Aurelius
and Alexander of Aphrodisias 73
Maria 64-8
Medea
as being genuinely blameworthy
according to Epictetus 101
as a paradigm of unreflective behaviour
in Epictetus 92, 108
as acting on the basis of a prior
reasoning 104
Megarians
as proponents of 'general' determinism
xiv
Melancomas
used in an example by Dio
Chrysostom14 n. 28
Middle Platonists
as the possible target of the Stoic
theory TJ 71, 78, 78 n. 29
Mignucci 83 n. 48
Mnesarchus
on peculiar qualities: 22 n. 10
126 Index of Names
Musonius Rufus
and determinism 63 n. 36
Napoleon 28-9
Nozick xviii
Nemesius of Emesa
distorted Stoic theory for polemical
purposes 70 n. 4, 71 n. 9
on the Stoic notion of 'critical
acceptance' 59-61
as a source for the doctrine of
conflagration 19, 23
as a source for the Stoic theory T 1 xx,
51,53-4,60-61,69,72,85,91
Peripatetics
and libertarianism xiii
as a source for chapter 35 of
Nemesius' de natura hominis 10 n.
4
Philo the Dialectician
versus Chrysippus 83 n. 46
on modal logic 82, 82 n. 44
Philopator
as attacking Middle-Platonist position
on responsibility 71
as the possible author of the Stoic
theory T1 69-71, 71 n. 7, 72-3, 76
Phoenix bird 22 n. 13
Plato
on concomitants to teleology 25 n. 23
Pohlenz 39
Posidonius
on peculiar qualities 22 n. 10
Reesor 70, 70 n. 5
Rome 107
Sedley 70 n. 3
Seneca
as a source for the debate between
Chrysippus and Cleanthes on the
nature of action 38
Septimius Severus 73
Sharples xvi, 49 n. 50, 71, 71 n. 7, 76 n.
23
Socrates
as a model in the ethics of Epictetus
107, 107 n. 44
and the idea used by Epictetus that one
does not err willingly 108
Sorabji 80
Theiler 71, 71 nn. 10-11
vonAmim 70
Waterloo (Battle) 28-9
Zeno (of Citium)
versus Arcesilaus 39
and the idea that causation is
necessitating xvii, xviii, 84
on cosmogony 21
versus Epicutus xx
on god's being unable to introduce
changes from one cosmic cyle to the
other 23 n. 18
on the idea that prefetTed indifferents
are objetively preferrable to
dispreferred indifferents 24 n. 21
Index Locorum
Alexander of Aphrodisias
In Aristotelis de Anima commentaria
217, 32-218, 1: 22 n. 10
In Aristotelis analyticorum priorum
librum I commentarium
180, 33-6: 22 n. 10, 23 n. 14
183, 34-184, 6: 85 n. 52
184,2-4: 86
184, 6-10: 82 n. 44, 83 n. 46
De Fato
178, 17-27: 57
179, 12-14: 10 n. 19
179, 12-18: 78 n. 28
179, 17-20: 10 n. 19
181, 7-182, 20 (chap. 13): 53 n. 9, 59
n. 29, 66, 69, 70 nn. 2 & 3, 73-4, 76
n. 24
181, 14: 53, 75
181, 15-18: 53, 59 n. 25
181, 18-21: 53 n. 9, 53-4
181, 18-30: 74
181, 21-23: 54
182, 2-4: 54 n. 11
182, 2-23: 54 n. 11
182-20-185, 7 (chap. 14): 73
183, 28-29: 61 n. 27
184, 11-12: 61 n. 27
189, 20-23: 78 n. 28
192, 1-3: 15
192, 3-11: xvi
196, 13-197, 3 (chap. 26): 87 n. 61
196, 25-197, 3: 87 n. 61
204, 28-205, 22 (chap. 33): 87 n. 61
205, 10-11: 86 n. 59
205, 22-207, 4 (chap. 34): 53 n. 9
205, 24-30: 53 n. 9
208, 20-25: 78 n. 28
De mixtione
224, 14-26: 37 n. 20
225, 1-2: 48 n. 46
De Philosophia (fr. 19c Ross)
23 n. 18
127
Alexander Lycopolis
Contra Manicheorum opiniones disputatio
19, 2-4: 20 n. 4
Ammonius
In Aristotelis de interpretatione
commentarium
131, 20-132, 7: 17 n. 33, 61 n. 28
Anon.
In Aristotelis de interpretatione
commentarius. Codex parisinus
graecus 2064
17 n. 33
Aristotle
De Anima
3. 10 433b13-29: 5 n. 7
De interpretatione
9: X ~ 3, 7,9, 17,80-1
9 18bll-13: 17 n. 33
9 18b17-25: 17 n. 32
9 18b26-33: 9, 17
9 18b30-31: 80
9 19a7-11: 80
9 19a18-19: 80
De motu animalium
700b20-701a5: 5 n. 7
Eudemian Ethics
2.6:79
2.8:79
2.9:79
2. 10 1225b7-10: 79 n. 31
2. 10 1226a20-28: 79, 88 n. 62
2. 10: 1226b30-32: 79 n. 31
Metaphysics
B 995b2-4: 56-7
11 5 1015a26: xvii n. 11
e 3: xiv
e 3 1046b29-1047a29: xiv
e 3 1047a15-16: xiv n. 4
05:88
128 Index Locorum
8 5: 81 n. 40
8 5 1047b35-1048a10: 79 n. 34
A:4
A 7 1072a21-34: 5 n. 7
Nicomachean Ethics
3. 1: 79
3. 1 1109b30-35: 33 n. 1
3. 11110a1: 33 n. 1
3. 11110b2: 33 n. 1
3. 11110b 10: 33 n. 1
3. 11110b9-17: 33 n. 2
3.2:79
3. 2 1111b23-24: 75 n. 22
3. 2 llllb26: 75 n. 22
3. 2 1111b26-9: 9 n. 15
3. 3: 79, 81 n. 40
3. 3 1112a15-17: 9 n. 15
3. 31112a30-31: 10n.18
3. 3 1112a30-b4: 75 n. 22
3. 3 1112a34-35: 10 n. 18
3. 3 1112b2-4: 10 n. 18
3. 3 1113a2-9: 9 n. 15
3. 3: 1113b7-8: 79, 88 n. 62
3. 3 1112b24: 75 n. 22
3. 5: 33 n. 1, 79
3. 5 1114a12-21: 81 nn. 41 & 42
5. 8 1135a27-28: 33 n. 1
5. 8: 1135a23-8: 79 n. 31
6. 2 1139a31-bl3: 9 n. 15
7. 7 1150b19-22: 10 n. 18
7. 10 1152a18-19: 10 n. 18
Posterior Analytics
B 94b37-95a3: xvii n. 11
Aulus Gellius
Noctes Atticae
7. 1. 7-13: 25 n. 22
7. 1. 9: 26 n. 26
7. 2. 11: 44-46, 69, 73
Boethius
In librwn Aristotelis de interpretatione
2. 234,10-22:82. n.44
2. 234, 22-26: 85
2. 234, 27-235, 4: xvii, 82
2. 412, 16-17
Cicero
Academica
1. 40: 34 n. 35
2. 24-25: 35 n. 8, 36 n. 16
2. 83-85: 34 n. 5
2. 85: 22
2. 95: 6 n. 9
Defato
7-9: 48
12-14: 86 n. 59
17: 85 n. 52
20: 5, 7, 18
21: 17 n. 33, 43
23-25: 5 n. 8, 43 n. 34
26: 5 n. 8, 6 n. 9, 8, 18
28-29: 10-11
30: 12 nn. 22 & 24
40: 39-40, 47
41-44: 42
41-42: 45
42: 44 n. 35, 45
42-44: 78 n. 28
43: 42-3, 44 n. 35, 45-7, 69, 73, 76
44:45
45:47
Tusculanae disputationes
3. 20: 98 n. 20
4. 16: 98 n. 20
4. 56: 98 n. 20
Clement of Alexandria
Stromata
2. 12. 55: 55
2. 20. 111: 58
Dexippus
In Aristotelis categorias commentarium
30, 20-26: 22 n. 10
DG
306, 5-6: 48 n. 46
402, 6-7: 34 n. 5
571, 11-16: 67 n. 44
Dio Chrysostom
Discourses
29. 11-12: 14 n. 28
Diogenes Laertius
Vitae Philosophorum
7. 46: 44 n. 35
7. 58: 22 n. 10
7.65:6n.9
7. 75: xvii, xviii, 82, 83 n. 48
7. 101-103: 24 nn. 20 & 21
7. 104-105: 24 n. 20, 25 n. 22
Index Locorum
7. 107: 67 n. 43
7. 108-109: 56 n. 18, 94 n. 7
7. 111:98 n. 20
7. 117: 34 n. 5
7. 121: 110 n. 49
7. 134: 20 n. 5
7. 140: 20 n. 3
7. 142: 21
7. 150: 20 n. 3
Epictetus
Dissertationes
1. 1. 7: 63 n. 34
1. 4. 1-2: 94 n. 7
1. 4. 3: 63 n. 34, 97 n. 17
1. 4. 27-29: 63 n. 34, 97 n. 17
1. 6. 12-22: 62 n. 32
1. 6. 14-17: 63 n. 34
1. 6. 15: 63 n. 33
1. 6. 18-22: 98 n. 20, 100
1. 6. 40: 77 n. 26, 103 n. 35
1. 11. 4-8: 99
1. 17. 14-15: 63 n. 33
1. 17. 20-27: 77 n. 26
1. 18: 63 n. 35
1. 18. 1-2: 94 n. 7
1. 18. 9: 97-8
1. 20. 7: 55 n. 16
1. 25. 2-4: 101 n. 29
1. 27. 1-6: 56 n. 17
1. 28: 63 n. 35, 92, 92 n. 3
1. 28. 1-5: 67 n. 45
1. 28. 19-20: 62 n. 32
1. 28. 19-22: 98 n. 21
1. 28. 30: 92 n. 2, 93
1. 28. 33: 93
2. 1. 4: 63 n. 34
2. 1. 9-10: 92 n. 2
2. 6. 9: 25 n. 22, 59 n. 24, 71 n. 10
2. 6. 9-10: 94 n. 7
2. 8. 4-6: 63 n. 34
2. 8. 5-6: 62 n. 32, 98 n. 21
2. 10. 3: 62 n. 32, 98 n. 21
2. 12. 25: 107 n. 46
2. 17: 104, 108
2. 17. 19-22: 92 n. 3, 95-6
2. 18: 92, 94 n. 10
2. 18. 4: 102-3
2. 18. 7: 102, 102 n. 30
2. 18. 8-9: 104
2.18.9:97
2. 18. 11-12: 103
2. 18. 12-14: 104-5
2. 18. 13: 103 n. 33
2.18.23-24:104-5
2. 19: 108
2. 19. 1: 85 n. 52
2. 19. 29: 108
2. 19. 29-34: 105-6
2. 22. 29: 63 n. 34
2. 23. 42: 110 n. 50
2. 26. 1-3: 108
3. 2. 1-5: 92 n. 3, 94 n. 7
3. 3. 1-2: 94 n. 7
3. 3. 4: 56 n. 17
3. 8. 1-5: 56 n. 17
3. 22. 13: 98 n. 20
3. 22. 61: 63 n. 34
3. 22. 95: 110 n. 50
3. 22. 104: 92 n. 2
3. 24. 43: 98 n. 20
3. 24. 110: 63 n. 33
3. 26.9: 100
4. 1 .2: 92 n. 2
4. 1 4-5: 98 n. 20
4. 1. 62-8: 101 n. 29
4. 1. 68: 77 n. 26
4. 1. 84: 63 n. 34
4. 1. 131: 110
4. 4. 34: 110 n. 50
4. 4. 46: 92 n. 2
4. 6. 34: 63 n. 34
4. 7. 7: 63 n. 33
4. 7. 16: 101 n. 29
4. 8. 1-2: 92 n. 2
4. 12. 8: 101 n. 29
4. 13. 5: 92 n. 2
Encheiridion
2: 103 n. 35
53.1:67n.44, 110n.50
Fragments (Schenkl)
27: 103 n. 35
Euripides
Medea
1078-1079: 96
Eusebius
Praeparatio evangelica
6. 8. 25: 10 n. 20
6. 8. 26-9: 12 n. 22
6. 8. 28: 13
6. 8. 29: 15
15. 14 1: 28
129
130
FDS
1253: 17 n. 33
Galen
De musculorum motu
4. 402, 1-11: 37 n. 20
4. 402-403, 10: 37 n. 20
4. 403, 11-16: 37 n. 20
De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis
4.2.27: 96 n. 15
Herculaneum Papyrus 1020
4.1: 93 n. 6
Lucretius
De rerum natura
2. 251-260: 43
LS
28D: 22 n. 10, 47 n. 45
281: 22 n. 10, 47
28J: 22 n. 10
331: 35 nn. 9 & 11
33J: 35 n. 10
33M: 22 n. 10
34A: 6 n. 9
37H: 6 n. 9
38D: xvii, xviii, 82, 83 n. 48
39A: 34 n. 5
39B: 34 n. 5
40C: 44 n. 35
40F: 34 n. 5
40H: 34 n. 5
40J: 34 n. 5
41D: 93 n. 6
41G: 93 n. 6
44A: 20 n. 3
45H: 48 n. 46
46A: 21 n. 7, 28, 48 n. 46
46C: 21
461: 20 n. 4
47F: 21 n. 7
471: 37 n. 20
47J: 37 n. 20
47K: 37 n. 20
47S: 102 n. 30, 103 n. 34
52C: 19-20, 27 n. 27
52F: 22 n. 10, 23 n. 14
53Q: 35 nn. 7 & 9, 106 n. 43
53R: 36 n. 18
Index Locorum
53S: 35 n. 8, 36
540: 25 n. 22
54Q: 25 n. 22
55A: xvii, xvii n. 10, xviii, 84
57 A: 48 n. 48
57G: 48 n. 47
58A: 24 nn. 20 & 21
58B: 24 n. 20, 25 n. 22
58C: 24 n. 20
58D: 24 n. 21
58E: 24 nn. 20 & 21, 56 n. 18
58F: 24 n. 20
58H: 24 n. 20
58J: 25 n. 22, 59 n. 24
59B: 67 n. 43
59E: 56 n. 18
60B: 48 n. 48
62F: 10 n. 20, 12 n. 22
65G: 96 n. 15
68A: 91 n. 1
Marcus Aurelius
Ad se ipsum
3. 1: 62 n. 32, 98 n. 21
4. 1: 103 n. 35
4. 42: 62 n. 32
5. 20: 103 n. 35
6. 50: 103 n. 35
Nemesius of Emesa
De Natura Hominis
18, 2-10: 37 n. 20
105, 6-14: 52 n. 3
105, 6-106, 13 (chap. 35): 59 n. 29, 66,
69, 70 nn. 2, 3 & 4, 73
105, 9-10: 67 n. 45
105, 10-11: 67 n. 46
105, 10-12: 77 n. 27
105, 18-21:74 n. 19
105, 21: 61 n. 28
105, 21-23: 61
105, 23: 61 n. 28
106, 1-3: 67 n. 46
106, 1-4: 52 n. 3
106, 2: 61 n. 28
106, 3-4: 76 n. 24
106, 10-11: 52 n. 3
111, 14-25: 19-20
111, 26-112, 1: 27
112, 1-3: 23
114, 21-22: 78 n. 29
114,24-115,3:78 n. 29
Origen
Contra Celsum
2. 20: 10 n. 20, 12 n. 22
4. 28: 29 n. 33
De oratione
7. 1-2: 98 n. 23
De Principiis
3. 1. 3: 55 n. 16
Philo of Alexandria
De Aeternitate Mundi
78:20 n. 5
Philoponus
In Aristotelis analytica priora
commentaria
169, 17-19: 85 n. 52
169, 19-21: 82 n, 44
Plato
Laws
901A-903A: 20 n. 5
Timaeus
74C-75D: 25 n. 23
Plutarch
De virtute morali
446F-447A: 96 n. 15
Stoicorum Repugnantiis
1037F: 36 n. 18
1041E: 48 n. 48
1044D: 25 n. 22
1048A: 24 n. 20
1 052A: 27 n. 29
1055D-F: 82 n. 44, 83 n. 48
1055E: 85 n. 52
1056C: XV
1057 A: 35 n. 8, 36
Seneca
de benejiciis
4. 34: 103 n. 35
4. 39: 103 n. 35
de ira
2. 4. 1-2: 61 n. 28
epistulae morales
107. 10: 67 n. 44
107. 11: 110 n. 50
113. 18: 41 n. 30, 55 n. 15
Index Locorum
113. 23: 38 n. 21
121. 7-8: 48 n. 48
Sextus Empiricus
Adversus mathematicos
7. 241: 34 n. 5
7. 244-245: 92 n. 3
7. 247: 92 n. 3
7. 248: 22 n. 11
7. 249: 02 n. 3
7. 252: 22 nn. 8 & 12
7. 253-254: 56 n. 17
7. 256: 56 n. 17
7. 257: 56 n. 17
7. 402-410: 34 n. 5
7. 409-410: 22
8. 10: 6 n. 9, 8 n. 13
8. 73-74: 34 n. 6
8. 396-398: 77 n. 25
9. 75-76: 20 n. 5
9. 332: 20 n. 3
11.64-7: 24n. 20
Simplicius
131
In Aristotelis categorias commentarium
195, 31-196, 6: 82 n. 44
212, 12-213, 7: 4 n. 5
237, 25-238, 20: 102 n. 30, 103 n. 34
406, 34-407, 5: 6 n. 9
In Aristotelis de anima commentaria
217, 36-218, 2: 22 n. 10, 47
Stephanus
In lib rum Aristotelis de Interpretatione
commentarium
34, 36-35-5: 17 n. 33
Stobaeus
Eclogae
1. 37, 22-3: 28
1. 132, 26-133, 5: 20 n. 3
1. 133, 6-10: 20 n. 3
1. 138, 16-17: xvii, xvii n. 10, xviii, 84
1. 153, 7-22: 28 n. 32
1. 177, 21-179, 17: 22 n. 10, 47 n. 45
2. 75, 11-76, 8: 91 n. 1
2. 77, 16-27: 91 n. 1
2. 79:94 n. 7
2. 79, 18-80, 13: 24 n. 20
2. 82:94 n. 7
2. 83, 10-84, 2: 24 n. 21
2. 84, 18-85, 11: 24 nn. 20 & 21, 56 n.
18
132
2. 85, 13-86, 4: 67 n. 45
2. 86, 17-18: 35 n. 7
2. 86, 17-87, 22: 106 n. 43
2. 86, 19-87, 6: 35 n. 9
2, 86-88: 94 n. 7
2. 88, 1: 35 n. 11
2. 88, 2-6: 35 n. 9
2. 97, 23-98, 1: 35 n. 10
4. 44, 60: 63 n. 36
4. 671, 7-673, 11: 48 n. 47
SVF
1. 87: 20 n. 3
1. 89: xvii, xvii n. 10, xviii, 84
1. 98: 28
1. 102: 21
1. 361: 24 n. 20
1. 625: 34 n. 5
2. 53: 44 n. 35
2. 54: 34 n. 5
2. 61: 34 n. 5
2. 71-81: 104 n. 27
2. 131: 93 n. 6
2. 187: 34 n. 6
2. 193: 6 n. 9
2. 195: 6 n. 9
2.196: 6 n. 9
2. 198: 6 n. 9
2. 300: 20 n. 5
2. 310: 48 n. 46
2. 311: 20 n. 5
2. 393: 102 n. 30, 103 n. 34
2. 395: 22 n. 10, 47
2. 439: 21 n. 7
2. 442: 37 n. 20
2. 450: 37 n. 20
Index Locorum
2. 524: 20 n. 3
2. 624: 22 n. 10, 23 n. 14
2. 625: 19-20
2. 626: 29 n. 33
2. 957: 10 n. 20, 12 n. 22
2. 979: 70 n. 2
2. 988: 55 n. 16
2. 989: 98 n. 23
2. 991: 70 n. 2
2. 992: 55 n. 15
2. 998: 10 n. 20, 12 n. 22
2. 1027: 21 n. 7, 28, 48 n. 46
2. 1163: 25 n. 22
2. 1170: 25 n. 22
2. 1497: 28 n. 32
3. 16: 91 n. 1
3. 69: 48 n. 48
3. 91: 35 n. 10
3. 119: 24 n. 20, 25 n. 22
3. 124: 24 n. 21
3. 128: 24 nn. 20 & 21. 56 n. 18
3. 137: 24 n. 20
3. 169: 35 nn. 7 & 9, 106 n. 43
3. 171: 35 nn. 9 & 11
3. 173: 106 n. 43
3.175: 36n. 18
3. 177: 35 n. 8, 36
3. 178: 48 n. 48
3. 191: 25 n. 22, 59 n. 24
3. 459: 96 n. 15
3. 494: 67 n. 43
3. 495: 56 n. 18
3. 496: 56 n. 18
3. 548: 93 n. 6
3 Boethus 7: 20 n. 5
3 Diogenes 22: 22 n. 10

Contents

Acknowledgements Notes on Abbreviations, Translations and References Introduction

ix xi xiii

PART I DETERMINISM 1 The Basis of Stoic Determinism (a): Everything has a Cause 1.1 Bivalence, Future Truth and Causation 1.2 Fatalism and Idleness 1.3 Incoherent Fatalism, Non-causal Fatalism and Chrysippean Fatalism The 2.1 2.2 2.3 Basis of Stoic Determinism (b): Causation is Necessitating The Orthodox Version of the Doctrine of Everlasting Recurrence The Argument for Transcyclical lndiscernibility Transcyclical Identity and Determinism 3 3 9
16 19 19 23 28

2

PART II COMPATIDILISM

3

The Threat of External Determination 3.1 The Stoic Theory of the Psychology of Action 3.2 'Epicurus' and the Threat of External Determination 3.3 Chrysippus' Internal Causes 3.4 How much is the Theory intended to prove? Reflection and Responsibility 4.1 Overview of the Evidence 4.2 Chrysippus' Account of Human Nature 4.3 The Role of Reflection in the Psychology of Action 4.4 The Argument for Compatibilism 4.5 Chrysippus and Harry Frankfurt The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 5.1 The Dispute over the Authorship of T3
vii

33 34
39 42

49
51

4

52
54 56 61 63

5

69 69

viii

Contents

5.2 The Differences between T 1 and T3 5.3 T 3 and Aristotle 5.4 The Relation between T 2 and T 3
6

73 78 82

Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 6.1 The Psychology of Unreflective Action 6.2 Epictetus' Normative Argument 6.3 Ought and Can: Responsibility and Epictetan Therapy

91 92 97 101
111 123 127

Select Bibliography Index of Names Index Locorum

401301 and 407705. I am grateful to them all for their guidance and encouragement. I also wish to record my gratitude to Marcelo Boeri. and in fact the privilege. I owe a special debt to Margarita Valdes. The book is dedicated to them. My warmest thanks go to all my colleagues for their interest in my research and for giving me the opportunity. who turned me towards the study of Stoicism. David Sedley and Jim Lesher read parts of the book. My deepest thanks go to my wife Claudia Agostoni and to our daughters. They are of course blameless for all the errors and obscurities that may still remain. I became a member of the Institute of Philosophical Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. who taught me how to do research in philosophy.M. Some of the IX . There are several people who have helped me to carry out this project and whom I should like to thank. for many years of relentless discussion on the subject of determinism and responsibility in Stoic philosophy and on related topics of shared interest. The final version of this book was completed while I was a Fellow of Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC. Christopher Gill and Bob Sharples also discussed with me extensively the first version of the arguments I develop here. I have been working intermittently on the topic since it first caught my attention as an undergraduate student. to work with them at the Institute.the Office for Academic Affairs (DGAPA) of the UNAM and the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) . They have discussed with me over the years many of the ideas that I present in this book. and helped to improve my arguments by drawing my attention to ideas that required clarification. and CONACYT J30724H and 40891H. I very much appreciate their help. I wish to thank the Center's staff for their help and support throughout the academic year 2003-04. now at the Universidad de Los Andes in Chile. At the end of my postgraduate studies.to the following research projects that I have directed: PAPIIT 401799. for their love and friendship. and to Hector Zagal from the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City. McCabe. who guided my first steps in the field of ancient philosophy. Andrea and Sofia. While I was in Washington. to M. and to Richard Sorabji. *** The research for this book has benefited from the generous financial support that was granted by two Mexican Institutions .Acknowledgements Although the final version of this book was completed in June 2004.

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24 (Summer 2003). I would like to thank Oxford University Press and Walter de Gruyter Verlag for permission to reprint this material. 253-72. 1-23. Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 83 (2000). respectively.X Acknowledgements material in Chapters 2 and 4 has already appeared in earlier publications as 'Determinism and recurrence in early Stoic thought'. and 'Compatibilism Stoic and Modern'. .

(Plutarch) comm. (Calcidius) ir. (Epictetus) F (Cicero) FDS (Hiilser) int. (Seneca) LS (Long and Sedley) LSJ (Liddell-Scott-Johnson) M (Sextus Empiricus) MA (Marcus Aurelius) Met. (Plutarch) D (Epictetus) DF (Alexander of Aphrodisias) DG (Diels) DL (Diogenes Laertius) DM (Aristotle) DRN (Lucretius) E (Stobaeus) EE (Aristotle) EN (Aristotle) ep. (Aristotle) ben. (Origen) Col. not. (Aristotle) Cels. (Seneca) cael. mundi (Philo) an. Translations and References The following abbreviations have been used: a. (Alexander of Aphrodisias) N (Nemesius) NA (Aulus Gellius) Posterior Analytics Academica de aeternitate mundi de anima de beneficiis de caelo contra Celsum adversus Colotem de communibus notitiis contra Stoicos dissertationes ab Arriano (Discourses) de Jato ad imperatores Doxographi Graeci vitae philosophorum de motu animalium de rerum natura eclogae physicae et ethicae Eudemian Ethics Nicomachean Ethics epistulae morales ad Lucilium Encheiridion defato Die Fragmente zur Dialektik der Stoiker de interpretatione commentarium in Platonis Timaeus de ira The Hellenistic Philosophers Greek-English Lexicon Adversus Mathematicos ad se ipsum Metaphysics de mixtione de natura hominis noctes Atticae xi . (Cicero) aet.Notes on Abbreviations. (Aristotle) in Tim. (Seneca) Ench. (Aristotle) mixt. po. (Aristotle) Acad.

mor. C. London and Vermont: Everyman. 1991. (Plato) Stoic. (trans.191. 1983. v (Philosophiae Consolationis). Revised Oxford Translation. London: Duckworth. A. (Aristotle) PHP (Galen) phys. (Plutarch) de natura deorum de oratione de philosophia de placitis Hippocratis et Platonis Physics praeparatio evangelica de principiis Respublica De Stoicorum repugnantiis Stromateis Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta Timaeus Tusculanae disputationes de virtute morali I have used (and sometimes modified) the excellent translations given in the following works: Barnes.). The Handbook.A. (Eusebius) princ. Text. deor. Sharples. J. R. book 2. (Origen) phil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. The Greek and Latin that I have printed is from the editions that I cite in the Select Bibliography. Gill. translation and commentary. Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy. On Fate (De Fato) & Boethius. R. (ed. Long. Bobzien.. (Plutarch) strom. 1987. rep. chapter 6. The Complete Works of Aristotle. N1: Princeton University Press. which occurs in text 191 of the third volume of SVF and in text 581 of LS. S. R. LS 581)' refers to Epictetus' Discourses. ev.W. England: Aris & Phillips. The Consolation of Philosophy iv..xii Abbreviations nat. (Plato) Tusc. Princeton. section 9. D. and Sedley.) and Hard.6. 1995: Epictetus: The Discourses. (Aristotle) praep. Sharples. 2 vols. Warminster. Oxford: Oxford University Press. References to ancient works and authors are normally accompanied by the text in SVF and in LS where the passage occurs. Alexander of Aphrodisias: On Fate.. .9 (SVF 3. (ed.5-7. 1998. For example: 'D 2. (Cicero) orat. (Origen) rep.). 1984. (Clement of Alexandria) SVF (Hans von Arnim) Tim. Fragments.N.W. (Cicero) virt. Cicero. The Hellenistic Philosophers.

we cannot be responsible for anything. and an example of state (axeat~) would be Plato's being white. It is often thought that we are responsible for an action that we have performed only if we were free to do otherwise. First. we are genuinely responsible for at least many of our actions. the compatibilist position may seem questionable.EVov. KlVT]Ot~) would be Plato's walking. they depart from the position of the eliminative determinist. The Stoics. Second. towards the end of the second century AD. xiii . understood as the thesis that everything is necessary. if these were necessitated by prior causes? The issue has been a long-standing source of philosophical controversy. both morally and legally. advocated by the Epicureans in the early Hellenistic period and by Alexander of Aphrodisias on behalf of the Peripatetics. either morally or legally. and (ii) that responsibility presupposes this freedom. At first sight. the Stoics depart from two other positions. To hold people responsible is to regard them as deserving either praise or blame for something that they did. they also depart from the position of the libertarian or 'anti-determinist'. I argue in section 1. despite determinism. determinism. The ascription of responsibility. labelled in modern discussions 'hard-determinists'. as understood in this work. This line of reasoning is so appealing to many philosophers that a recent author has rightly 1 An example of event (in Stoic Greek: ytvOIJ. but preserves responsibility by rejecting determinism. However. hence. every state and event 1 -including our actions and their psychology. preserve both responsibility and determinism. where I undertake a reconstruction of the ancient Stoic response through an analysis of their determinist theory and their views on responsibility. the intuition runs. this freedom is cancelled if the action took place by necessity. is a backwardlooking practice connected to praise and blame. they contended that prior necessitation does not preclude on its own that we genuinely deserve praise or blame for the actions we perform.Introduction Is responsibility compatible with determinism? This question is the focus of the present book. by contrast. rules out responsibility. The libertarian agrees on the incompatibility alleged by the hard-determinist. but already active in antiquity: every state and event is necessitated. for this very reason.1 that for the Stoics any event is reducible to a state of some sort. Thus. The Stoics by contrast argue that. But they were also compatibilists. The Stoics themselves were determinists: on their view.is necessitated by prior causes. But is one justified in ascribing responsibility to other people for actions they performed. that is. The two assumptions on which the argument proceeds are (i) that determinism rules out the freedom to do otherwise. and.

The example is taken from his discussion of the Megarians in Met. correlatively. Now. Before giving an outline of the argument of the book. The example occurs at 1047al5-16: ae\ y&p to te ecrtTJKO~ EOtll~EtCXt KO:t to K0:6llflEVOV Ko:6e6eito:t· ou y&p ci:vo:crtl'jcreto:t &v K0:6E. But neither condition can be met if. crude fatalism and external determinism. thus. we should notice that general determinism runs against the possibility of change. every counterfactual state or event is forever impossible and every factual state or event is forever necessary. If a change is to occur with respect to Fa. according to general determinism. In order for a change to occur.xiv The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism remarked in connection with the second assumption that it 'has generally seemed so overwhelmingly plausible that some philosophers have even characterised it as an a priori truth' .2 Although in dealing with this particular problem the Stoics do not seem to have used the term 'freedom' (eA. not-Fa is factual at t. it is forever impossible and. This proposition expresses a state that does seem to be subject to a general necessity.3. as the general determinist holds. given that Fa is conterfactual at t.eu8ep(o:). but is every factual state and event subject to this kind of necessity? According to general determinism the answer should be in the affirmative. An example of a state that is subject to this kind of necessity . either a state or an event that is now counterfactual must become factual at some other time or a state or event that is now factual must become counterfactual at some other time. being factual at t. if Fa is counterfactual at t. 3 As Aristotle observes. Frankfurt. General determinism holds that every counterfactual state or event is forever impossible and. 4 See Met. I should like to make some clarificatory remarks on the nature of Stoic determinism. cannot become factual at t*. 3 Let Fa be a counterfactual state of affairs at time t. 4 2 H. 829-39 at 829. must always be actual. that every factual state or event is forever necessary. Fa must become factual at some timet* > t. not-Fa. their defence of compatibilism does have implications for this line of argument. 'Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility'. it is a mistake to suppose that compatibilism is thereby misguided. as a matter of fact. Despite my sympathy for Stoic compatibilism. Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969). .which I shall call 'general' necessity. 1046b29-1047a29. As a matter of fact. 'what is standing will always stand and what is sitting will always be sitting. I give the Stoics the onus of proof.T]t!!:t' aatiVO:tOV y&p EOt(!:t avo:crtf\vo:t 0 ye ILTJ Mvo:to:t ci:vo:crtf\vo:t. to whom he ascribes this extreme form of determinism and the corresponding denial of change. For there are different Stoic arguments that address each of the assumptions above mentioned. In the same vein. 9. if it is sitting it will not get up for what cannot get up will be incapable of getting up'. There are three forms of determinism that should be distinguished from Stoic determinism: general determinism. However attractive incompatibilism may seem. But if general determinism is correct. I shall grant to the incompatibilists that there is a prima facie tension in asserting that determinism leaves room for responsibility. This book is intended to bring out the philosophical strength of this position as defended by the Stoics. Before we consider why Stoic determinism is not general in this sense. which precludes that not-Fa be counterfactual at t*. snow is always cold.is that expressed by the factual proposition snow is cold. and it cannot be hot so long as it remains snow.

In Stoic determinism. according to crude fatalism. In these cases. will happen regardless of what states or events obtain in the present or the past. But this change is compatible with its being necessary both that it be cold now and that it be hot one hour later. To take an example. the obtention of states and events at a particular time is not dependent upon the obtention of earlier states or events . according to any logically consistent version of crude fatalism. In particular.LO:pf. But in sharp contrast with crude fatalism.LEVT]). The Stoics.a point that one may express by saying that the former would have obtained even if. I discuss this problem in section 1. It maintains that the future is already fixed: the course of states and events that will take place is already determined. crude fatalism became a form of determinism that was wrongly associated with the Stoics. or of the kind of behaviour it displays at that time. and unimpedible and inflexible' causal sequence (avtKT]'toV KO:t aKWAU1:ov Kat &'tpen·wv. Like Stoic determinism. To pursue the example. in one hour from now a change will have occurred. There is no explanatory relation between past. . per impossibile. Although it recognizes that some states and events are generally necessitated. then. However. Stoic. express this idea by saying that it is an 'invincible. If so.2. 1056C). who identify this course with fate (Eif. then I will recover whether or not I call in a doctor and follow his prescriptions. necessity only operates in the determination of the state in which an object is at each particular time. s The qualification 'per impossibile' is needed to stress that. if I am ill but am due to recover. rep. After Aristotle. Crude fatalism is another form of determinism that should be distinguished from Stoic determinism. As we shall see in due course. suppose that the water in the glass in front of me is now cold and that it will be hot in one hour from now. For example. the future is already fixed in a way that what is due to happen. if I do call in the doctor and recover from illness. crude fatalism departs from general determinism in that it is compatible with the possibility of change. the crude fatalist plainly accepts that the future may differ from the present and the present from the past. the present is not contingent. the latter hadn't. More generally.Introduction XV General determinism is untenable if our experience of the world is to be trusted. it denies that general necessity encompasses every state and event. It is true that their determinism is fatalistic. we seem to find a version of crude fatalism in chapter 9 of Aristotle's de interpretatione. For we just see that most objects do admit different states at different times and do not always display the same behaviour. 5 This sheds light on an important aspect of crude fatalism: factual states and events at a particular time do not obtain because of the states or events that obtained earlier. and nothing can prevent its coming about. Even though Maria was sitting yesterday morning. she stood up and walked out later in the day. or be the case. present and future. Stoic determinism does justice to this aspect of our experience. given that I would have recovered even if I had not called in a doctor. For crude fatalism is certainly not a view upheld by the Stoics. I did not recover because I called in the doctor. Stoic determinism contends that the future is determined by the present. most objects do admit different states and patterns of behaviour at different times.

Bobzien too distinguishes between two kinds of necessity.4 below. I shall go further and claim that in Stoic philosophy there are two senses of necessity.LEV!jl en:p6v n E1t(XK0AOU8eiv. In fact.LEVOV <E~> ati't"oil E~ avayKT]~ W~ IXi't"(ou.ua8at llUV(Xf.LEVOU. For nothing either is or comes to be in the universe without a cause. 393-4. because there is nothing of the things in it that is separated and disconnected from all the things that have preceded. nor. or whether he also asserted that what was fated to happen. is still open whether Chrysippus [c. Symbolae Os/oenses 61 (1981).Lll<e dviXt f.LEVOU 't"WV 1tpoyeyov6't"WV.L&VOV exew n 1tpo IXti't"oil. but in virtue of prior necessitating causes.xvi The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism just as the present is determined by the past. Rist. for example.W.eA. A word of caution is needed here. 1969). in my view. the obtention of states and events at particular times is necessary. Alexander of Aphrodisias. 123-8 and 131. But everything which has come to be is followed by something else which of necessity depends on it as a cause. on the other hand.280-c. 9 In Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy (Oxford. According to some recent scholars. was necessary from another. 7 See. even if non-necessary from one point of view. 'ljp't"T]f. and insofar as these causes obtained. and LS l. KIX\ 1t&V 't"O YlVOf. Stoic Philosophy (Cambridge. w~ llTJ 1taV't"W~ E1t(XKOA. So. in other words.LT]Ilev yap avat't"LW~ f. there is no place in Stoic determinism for anything in the future that is not connected to prior necessitating causes on which its occurrence is dependent. but not everything is necessary. so as not to follow some of them as if bound to it. . but it is also contingent upon the obtention of earlier states or events.Lll't"E OU't"W~ 't"tVO~ EV ati't"<jl ytVOf. J.& 1t(XV't"( 't"& <<\> yeVOf.LEVWV 't"tVO~ cX1tOA.206. An ancient critic. And the answer to the question whether the Stoics believed that everything that occurs is necessary or necessitated will vary depending on the kind of necessity that is at stake. Sharples.ou8eiv a\n<jl K(X\ auvijq>Sat w~ ai't"t!jl hep6v 't"t. I will recover come what may).eA. I return to her distinction in section 5. 3-11: f. reports this Stoic view in a text written between AD 198 and 211: nothing comes to be in it [namely in the cosmos] in such a way that there is not something else which follows it with no alternative and is attached to it as to a cause. the Stoics at some point dissociated fate from necessity in order to argue that everything is fated. w~ llll nvt E~ ati't"wv cXI<:OAOU8eiv W01tep auvlle6f.' 8 Sharples himself sided with the latter reading. f. third Head of the Stoa] simply held that some things were possible and their opposites non-necessary even though the latter were fated. Everything that is fated to happen will happen by necessity.L&VOV. f.L!jl llt& 't"O f. well summarized by Robert Sharples in an important article published in 1981: 'The question. 136-43. 1998).LT]IlEV dviXt <wv ev au<<\> altoA. 8 See R.uf.Lllt (XU 't"WV E1ttYtVOf. 7 This interpretation of Stoicism is contentious and the kernel of the debate was. 6 Although the crude fatalist would agree on the necessity of all states and events that will ever obtain (if I am due to recover from illness. 266-79 at 81-2.9 One sense of necessity is that involved in the relation 6 DF 192.Levov <wv 1tpoyeyov6<wv altav<wv. and everything which comes to be has something preceding it to which it is connected as a cause. IXA. cjl W~ IXi't"t!jl UUVllP't"TJ't"IXt.Lll't"& y(vea8at 't"WV Ev <<\> KOOf. can any of the things which come to be subsequently be disconnected from the things which come to be previously.Livov <e Ka\ Kexwpwf. which is the one I favour.A. 'Necessity in the Stoic doctrine of fate'.

po. ultimately fully determined by external causes alone. namely external determinism. are ultimately fully determined by causes external to us. For the moment. ae a' dvctt 'tO f. by the time of Aristotle. is necessary if something external to me is the cause of why I perform the action.Mvcnov o:tnov no:pe'ivo:t. in fact.Introduction xvii between cause and effect: in any particular causal relation. My lack of care. LS 55A): &. For many of the things that I do are not fully determined by external causes alone. 11 See a. 16-17 (SVF 1. our teachers.89. 11 And in modem times Robert 10 Zeno ap. However. I cannot be morally blamed for having missed my daughter's graduation ceremony if the reason why I missed it is that I was kidnapped by some ruffians. or fully external determination (pia). Stobaeus in E 1. Now.234. 'force'. There is one exception to this principle: I may be responsible for something that happens to me. all the states or events that we supposedly bring about.LEV . Chrysippus' modal system is discussed in Chapter 5. Some philosophers have argued that any form of causal determinism is. a form of external determinism. The distinctive claim of external determinism is that the prior causes of what we do and of what we are may all be traced back to things that are external to us: our present environment.L~ U7t1Xp)(etv. 1015a26. if it happens to me as a result of some earlier thing that I did and for which I am responsible. the external determinist would argue. To take one example. to some extent. either in a moral or in a legal sense of the term 'responsibility'. 4) and by Diogenes Laertius at 7. was already one of the connotations of the term 'necessity' (avayKT]) and its cognates. another sense of necessity is that envisaged by Chrysippus in his logical modal system as described by Boethius in his commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics (2. ou eonv O:tttOV f. as we have seen). the topic of external causation leads us to the third form of determinism that one ought to distinguish from Stoic determinism. according to which one of my actions. Like Stoic determinism. my lack of care in circumstances that I knew were dangerous. not everything that is fated to obtain is necessary. and in contrast to crude fatalism. For example. willingly or not. which is 'necessitated' by the cause. our family and even the biological make-up of our ancestors. this is precisely what external determinism denies is possible. the founder of the school: 'it is impossible that the cause be present yet that of which it is the cause not obtain' . everything we do and everything we are is. In fact.10 The Stoics did hold that everything fated is subject to this kind of necessity (insofar as whatever is fated has a prior cause. In consequence. However.138. 94b37-95a3 and Met.75 (LS 38D). 27-235. for example. According to external determinism. According to this sense of necessity. external determinism maintains that any event or state is contingent upon earlier events or states. or to the production of which we supposedly contribute. In the words of Zeno of Citium (334-262 BC). I am morally blameworthy for being at the mercy of the ruffians who kidnapped me if the cause of my kidnap was. external determinism does not seem to be compatible with responsibility. is itself ultimately fully determined by external factors alone. the cause cannot obtain without the effect.

the whole set of causal factors involved in the production of a state or an event. in which case the states or events that we bring about are not determined by prior causes at all. If everything has a cause. If the proposition is true. Thus. Neither claim. I deal with external determinism in detail in Chapter 3. Given some state or event A. In fact. 291. and if causes are necessitating. To quote again Zeno's claim about causation: 'it is impossible that the cause be present yet that of which it is the cause not obtain'. (a) and (b) merely require the empirical claim that the state or event in question obtains. likewise. 12 13 . If the proposition is false. 1981). it follows from (b) that A obtains by necessity given the obtention of B. then there is nothing that is necessary in virtue of having a cause. that is. it will be seen that the Stoics provide us with philosophically powerful reasons for thinking that this distinction is based on a real difference between kinds of events and between kinds of state. The Stoics denied this disjunction. The thesis that everything is determined by prior causes leaves ample room for a substantive distinction between things that we do. the states or events these propositions express must have a cause in the present. are necessitating.a cause that explains why the proposition is already false. either claim requires the other. Mass. Its first part is devoted to analysing the arguments produced by the Stoics in favour of their determinism. then. there must be a cause in the present for the state's or the event's not obtaining . The inference from these two theses to the conclusion that everything is causally necessary is valid and straightforward. and (b) without (a) is consistent with the view that not everything is causally necessary. however. it is the combination of (a) and (b) that constitutes the basis of Stoic determinism.12 This claim seems to rest on the assumption that either we have free will. but causes are not necessitating. as Chrysippus maintains. or these states and events are determined by prior external causes alone. to establish the causal necessity of an individual state or event. The intuition underlying the argument may be spelled out as follows. (a) without (b) is consistent with the view that nothing is causally necessary. I deal with these two claims in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. there must be a cause in the present for the state's or event's obtaining (which explains why the See his Philosophical Explanations (Cambridge. is sufficient on its own for establishing determinism. we seem diminished. which explains why the propositions are already true or false. only that which has a cause is causally necessary. or bring about.xviii The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Nozick has claimed: 'without free will. If propositions about future occurrents are already either true or false. As I shall argue. respectively. The first thesis was argued for by the Stoics by appealing to the logical principle of bivalence and its application to propositions about future occurrents. and given that B causes A. and things that merely happen to us.. merely the playthings of external forces' . The book is divided into two parts. then. B. but not everything has a cause. 13 In order to secure determinism. The argument goes back to Chrysippus. From a general philosophical point of view. (a) implies that A has a cause. The thesis that every individual state and event is causally necessary is based on the combination of two claims: (a) everything has a cause and (b) causes.

a tenet of the orthodox theory of everlasting recurrence. 'On the individuation of times and events in orthodox Stoicism'. . The outcome of Chapters 1 and 2 is that Stoic determinism is based on substantive logical and cosmological grounds: given Chrysippus' argument from bivalence and the orthodox doctrine of everlasting recurrence (the two elements are needed). and which is not logically implied by anything that they said. they suggest that differentiations in time are a primitive component of reality that is not contingent upon differentiations in bodies. The second claim . Soul. In Chapter 2. To understand why the Stoics produced these theories and not others .). same effects'. in consequence. This is a view to which the orthodox Stoics never subscribed.the thesis that despite determinism we are responsible for many of our actions. 14 SeeR. in R. This principle of 'same causes. 2005). same effects' is entailed by the doctrine of everlasting recurrence developed by the orthodox Stoics Zeno. The second part of the book is devoted to compatibilism. and Chrysippus himself.to appreciate why they adopted the lines of argument they actually adopted . A central assumption made by the objection is that for the Stoics particular times are individuated by reference to the qualities and the dispositions of the bodies that exist in time. and Ethics in Ancient Thought: Themes from the Work of Richard Sorabji (Oxford. second Head of the school).Introduction xix proposition is already true). if the bodies that exist at t 1 are identical in their qualities and dispositions to the bodies that exist at h. there are at least four different theories that dealt either directly or indirectly with this problem. 14 this alleged inconsistency does not really arise. As I explain elsewhere.rests on the idea that individual causal relations are necessary in virtue of being subsumed under strict regularities.may seem to be logically inconsistent with the views that the orthodox Stoics themselves hold on the nature of time. The critical analysis I offer of this argument will lead us to discuss the nature of Chrysippus' fatalism. I examine at some length the reasons he adduces in his theory of 'co-fated' states and events for distinguishing his fatalism from other forms of fatalism. t1 and t2 cannot be two different times. In Stoicism. every state and event must have a cause and must be necessitated by its cause. And since in the past the present was in the future. every state or event that obtains in the present must itself have a cause in the past. Salles. I explain in detail why the principle is indeed entailed by the orthodox version of the doctrine. and also the reason why everlasting recurrence implies the principle of 'same causes. including the 'crude' variety. Salles (ed. There is an important objection to the notion that everlasting recurrence has determinist implications: the idea of identically the same world occurring at different times . and three of them were explicitly compatibilist. Cleanthes (331-232 BC. Metaphysics.we need to focus on the dialectical context in which they were produced by paying close attention to the views they were intended to rebut or refute.(b) . On the contrary. Stoic time is independent from change.

attested in Alexander of Aphrodisias and Nemesius of Emesa. Such an incompatibilist may concede after all that in a determinist system not everything we do is determined by external factors alone. On the basis of a distinction between types of causes. it is these factors. and (ii) responsibility presupposes this freedom. But it may not satisfy an incompatibilist who argues along the lines mentioned at the beginning of this introduction. runs under the assumption that the ascription of responsibility. This 'internality requirement' is not questioned by Chrysippus. ways. that should get the credit or the blame for what we do. and this freedom is incompatible with any form of determinism. The objection itself is attested in Cicero (1 06-43 BC) and was probably designed by Epicurus (341-271 BC). His argument focuses rather on the further assumption made by the objection. hinges on the idea that the causation of our actions is structurally different from the causation of those events and states in which we are involved that are fully determined by factors that are indeed external to us.'. This 'externalist objection'. as a necessary condition. In Chapter 5. a contemporary of Zeno and the founder of the Epicurean school. The internality requirement can be met in a world governed by determinism. The objection is that if everything has an antecedent cause. as we shall see.XX The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism The First Theory 1s Three of the four theories were authored by Chrysippus. I focus on one of them. namely (i) determinism rules out the freedom to do otherwise. if anything. as I shall call it in Chapter 3. This Chrysippean theory is a powerful response to the externalist objection. I call this theory 16 'T. The ftrst one was designed to rebut an objection that takes us to the problem of external determinism. that my actions be events that are not determined solely by factors that are external to me. . responsibility for an action <I> performed at a specific time t 1s In Chapter 5. he contended that the thesis 'everything is determined by prior causes' does not have to imply that everything we do is in fact determined by external factors alone. In order to be responsible. thus. Chrysippus reacted in two different. but complementary. requires. as Stoic determinism demands. then everything we do is in fact fully determined by external factors alone. Nevertheless. In Chapter 4. namely that Stoic determinism implies external determinism. either moral or legal. he might stress that one cannot be held responsible for an action if it is predetermined at all. one has to be free to do otherwise. It is part of a second theory. The Second Theory 16 To this line of argument. I call this theory 'T3'. The target of this Chrysippean theory is a strong version of the incompatibilist claim that responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise. Chrysippus' argument. According to the incompatibilist.

Chrysippus also reacted against the first premiss of the incompatibilist argument: determinism rules out the freedom to do otherwise. it is not intended to prove this thesis. The Fourth Theory The fourth theory was developed by Epictetus. It should lead us to reconsider the place that has been given to the Stoics not only in the history of compatibilism. Although there is nothing in it that runs against compatibilism. It deals rather with the metaphysical question whether determinism is compatible with this dual capacity. This third theory and the second complement each other as the two parts of a single strategy adopted by Chrysippus against the incompatibilist argument. . and conclude that the main intuitions put forward by Frankfurt are already present in Chrysippus' theory.55-c. despite the specific determinism that governs every state and event. Against this view. This is of both historical and philosophical interest. which are compatibilist. Chrysippus maintained that. a prominent Stoic philosopher of the end of the first century AD (c. Epictetus does not formulate this theory in compatibilist terms. Each theory is aimed at a different premiss of the argument.is developed by Chrysippus in a third theory that should not be confused with the other two. a factual action might be contingent in a sense that the agent may either perform it or not at a specific time. It is not required that one should have. In the second theory I just described. In particular. it does not address the ethical question whether responsibility requires the dual capacity to do otherwise (this question is addressed by the second theory). A considerable part of Chapter 5 is devoted to showing that the argument itself has its origins in Aristotle and that Chrysippus himself is the author of the second theory. According to Chrysippus. In contrast with the three other theories. I call this theory 'T2'. however.apparently contradictory . in addition. This thesis . this is false because it suffices for moral responsibility that one acts from a desire or 'impulse' based on a prior reflection. It is not a theory of responsibility at all. The Third Theory 17 As I explain in Chapter 5. 17 In Chapter 5. I offer a detailed analysis of the two theories.Introduction xxi presupposes the dual specific capacity of either performing <I> at t or not performing <I> at t. but also in the current philosophical debate on the nature of responsibility. His goal is rather to address a question that Chrysippus did not tackle. but that is important for any comprehensive account of responsibility. This Chrysippean theory may be compared to a leading modem compatibilist theory. proposed by Harry Frankfurt.135). the dual capacity to do otherwise mentioned above.

This is the issue that concerns Epictetus' theory of responsibility. as I explain at the end of Chapter 6. .xxii The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Chrysippus sought to explain how the agent of an action who lacks the specific dual capacity to do otherwise may still be morally responsible for the action: the agent is responsible if the action is done from a fully rational desire. But he does not contradict Chrysippus. It offers a comprehensive treatment of the philosophical issues surrounding the problem of responsibility and determinism. So what could justify the ascription of responsibility to agents who do not act from fully rational impulses? Would not the lack of reflection be an exculpating factor? An account of responsibility that is specifically designed to cover these cases is needed. This book has been written with those in mind who are more interested in the philosophical issues addressed by Stoic determinism and compatibilism than in the historical and philological problems arising from the edition and interpretation of Stoic philosophical texts. which presupposes reflection. Epictetus is the first Stoic philosopher to claim that some form of the dual capacity to do otherwise is needed for responsibility. Also. Accordingly. a treatment of the latter problems is necessarily required to some extent. who only denies that the specific dual capacity is needed. And his distinctive contribution to Stoic theories of responsibility consists precisely in complementing Chrysippus' theories with this missing account. I have tried to subordinate my treatment of these problems to the presentation of the philosophical issues. however. The reason why the agent is responsible resides in the reflection. In order to bring out the philosophical issues. To provide readers with an opportunity to make up their own minds on these issues. and that the Stoic arguments may invite further reflection on the part of those whose intuitions side with incompatibilism. a translation of nearly all the crucial passages is given in the main text with the original Greek or Latin text in a footnote. I hope that the impression emerges from this book that Stoic compatibilism represents a real challenge to the rival position. Seen retrospectively. the four theories fit perfectly well together into a systematic whole.

PART I DETERMINISM .

not that the effect is literally the predicate itself. Stoic causation works as follows: 1 (i) causal relations obtain between bodies. Topics in Stoicism (Oxford.341.3-4 (LS 55C). 2 See E 1. the effect of A's activity is the predicate satisfied by B. La Conception Stoicienne de Ia Causa/ire (Paris. In the first section of this chapter. 14-16 (SVF 1. 484. as has been pointed out by one of the latest scholars to deal with this issue.has a cause is one of the two theses on which Stoic determinism is grounded.9. In outline. in Essays in Ancient Philosophy (Oxford. causes the other to satisfy a certain predicate (for example.). LS 55B). (eds). 3 R. Methexis 5 (1992). finally (iii) this satisfaction is often an event: Dion's desire to walk caused that the predicate to walk be satisfied by him. Section three is devoted to recapitulating the argument presented in this chapter and to drawing a map of different kinds of fatalism.1 Bivalence. Duhot. This argument introduces the fatalistic idea that the future is already fixed.Chapter 1 The Basis of Stoic Determinism (a): Everything has a Cause The claim that everything . 1. in which the difference between Chrysippean fatalism and the fatalist theory attacked by Aristotle in int. an analysis is offered of the argument developed by Chrysippus to support this thesis. 'The original notion of cause'. Boeri. 1999). M 9. and S.89.2 although this may mean. strom. 'Chrysippus' theory of causes'. So the analysis of the argument is complemented in the second section with a discussion of the nature of Chrysippus' specific brand of fatalism. LS 55A). and Clement. the knife is a cause to the flesh of its satisfying the predicate to be cut). Ierodiakonou (ed.211 (SVF 2. where his walking is an event. 3 . Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge. M. 3 that the effect is the predicate's being satisfied by B. 9 is studied in some detail. inK. one of which.D. See also M.states and events . 'Explanation and causation'. but rather. 'La transmisi6n del concepto estoico de causa sinectica'. 1 For a book-length treatment of Stoic causation. some elements of the Stoic theory of causation are worth considering. not an event. see J. Future Truth and Causation Before looking into why Chrysippus thought that everything has a cause. Hankinson.138. 1989). 8. the cause. 99-121.26. 1999). Bobzien. (ii) when a body A causally acts upon a body B. inK. 1987). Algra et al. where my being in pain is a state.J.J. but it may also be a mere state: the knife's acting upon my flesh caused that the predicate to be in pain be satisfied by me. Frede.

there are things that do not have to undergo any motion or change to cause other things to move or change. Space and Motion (London. 212. Matter. For there are states such that no event is analysable in terms of them ('Plato's being white' would be an example). 1980). In it. notably. Davidson. 12-213. In Aristotelis categorias commentarium (hereafter referred to as In Ar. the latter. 5 The disposition mentioned in (b) may be exercised by a different body differently qualified. seeR. 6 These combinations indicate that a body is not identical to its qualities or dispositions nor to its possessing these qualities or dispositions. 222 n. See Simplicius. Plato satisfies the predicate to be walking from the Academy to the outer walls ofAthens.4 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Regarding the notions of states and events. In order for A to cause a predicate P to be satisfied by B. the same qualified body may be disposed in a different way. In order for the knife to cause the flesh to satisfy the predicate to be cut. 89-93. This. the identity of this event is fixed by two elements: (a) the qualities in virtue of which the body that walks is Plato as opposed to. and also that Stoic Ttot& and 1tWS exono: are analysable in terms of more basic entities: the body that is qualified and disposed. s. The Stoics were thereby departing from Aristotle and his followers. are logically prior to events. 1995). 'The Stoic theory of categories'. Kim and E. and the qualities and dispositions it possesses. Sosa (eds). but also the Aristotelian final causes in 4 See D. Thus Plato's walking is Plato 1tws exov rather than his having a certain quality of 'walkingness'. for example. it must engage in a cutting activity and thus satisfy the predicate to cut. on the other. a different type of event occurs: the walking by Aristotle from the Academy to the outer walls of Athens. For a different interpretation. Aristotle. both reprinted in Essays on Action and Events (New York. the Stoics also maintained that any cause is active. as construed in modern event theory. 6 These events are different although each is analysable in terms of a certain state of a body. 4 are for the Stoics logically reducible to states. and A has this causal efficacy in virtue of this activity or change. This implies that objects are not identical to the states and events in which they are involved. 7 with discussion by S. and J. Sorabji. namely the possession by the body of certain qualities and dispositions. in which case too a new event type occurs. In Stoic theory. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 17 (1999). If so. States. the unmoved movers of Met. 5 The difference in Stoic theory between qualities and dispositions being that the latter were supposed to explain cases that cannot comfortably be accounted for in terms of the possession by an x of a corresponding quality ofF-ness. On Aristotle's view. Aristotle. discussed by Menn. at 217-27. Thus. for example.v. A itself has to undergo some activity or change. for example.). A. and (b) the disposition (e~t~) in virtue of which the body Plato is disposed in a certain way (1tw~ exov). 'The Stoic theory of categories'. 'The logical form of action sentences' and 'The individuation of events'. therefore. Similarly. . 215-47. Think of an event type such as the walking by Plato from the Academy to the outer walls of Athens. A Companion to Metaphysics (Oxford. Plato's walking back from the outer walls of Athens to the Academy. Menn. 10. however. Among these we find. cat. on the one hand. any body that acts as a cause must itself satisfy a predicate that expresses an activity. 1988). does not mean that there is a one-toone relation between the set of Stoic events and that of Stoic states. To go back to the notion of cause. See Menn. namely in such a way as to be walking from one place to the other.

for example. 3. cum evenerint. the proposition Plato is white. F 26: 'Since this is so.7 For the argument of the present chapter.10 433b13-29 (cf. But every proposition is true or false. habeant igitur causas necesse eat ea quae vera sunt. which deals with the ultimate cause of motion and introduces the idea that it must be something that moves without being moved and. fato evenerint". so there is no movement without a cause. (PB) would not apply to propositions about future occurrents.' Cf. The argument focuses on propositions that express events. quid est cur non ornnis pronuntiatio aut vera aut falsa sit nisi concesserimus fato fieri quaecumque fiant? "quia futura vera. omnis autem enuntiatio aut vera aut falsa est. (iv) every event has a cause. DM 700b20-70la5). but (ii) every proposition is either true or false (including those about future occurrents). 1985) and J. For what does not have any efficient causes that bring it about will be neither true nor false. Pis either true or false. it is not the case that every proposition (what the dialecticians call an axiOma) will be either true or false. id nee verum nee falsum erit. Its eventual soundness will depend on whether each of its two premisses is plausible. that it must move in the same way as the object of a desire moves the agent of an action.LO: dialectici appellant) aut vera aut falsa erit." he [Chrysippus] says. (iii) there cannot be causeless events. we only need to bear in mind that 'everything has a cause' simply means that whenever a predicate is satisfied by a body. in A. there must be a cause of its being satisfied by that body. therefore.Everything has a Cause 5 general. see C. In the Cicero passage. what reason is there why every proposition should not be either true or false if we do not grant that whatever comes about does so by fate? "Because. but it would also apply to propositions that express the states into which these events are analysable and. and thus when they have come about. thus. 8 'Si est motus sine causa. 101-108. ita. Aristotle on Nature and Living Things (Bristol-Pittsburgh. neither is argued for. Both are 1 See Met. they will have done so through fate". "non possunt esse ea quae causas cur futura sint non habent. According to Cicero at F 20: If there is movement without a cause. 'The place of the prime mover in Aristotle's teleology'.') The dialectical context that immediately precedes F 26 is the report at F 23-5 of Carneades' discussion of the dispute between Epicurus and Chrysippus on uncaused events and his criticism of the Epicurean thesis that to avoid external determinism it is necessary to postulate uncaused events. For the thesis that the object of desire is unmoved see also an. 'Metaphysics'.). therefore.). namely as the end or purpose of the motion. Barnes (ed. For discussion. causas enim efficientis quod non habebit. Kahn. Gotthelf (ed. non omnis enuntiato (quod a~{Wf. also to propositions that express states into which no event is analysable. so those things that are true necessarily have causes. Chrysippus employed an argument based on the principle of bivalence: (PB) For any proposition P. presumably. . In essence the argument proceeds as follows: (i) if there were causeless events.' ('quod cum ita sit. To show that everything does have a cause. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge. which is a modus tollendo to/lens. or 'motions'. motus ergo sine causa nullus est. 1995). in J.'' inquit. 8 The argument as a whole is formally valid in virtue of its logical form. "those future things cannot be true in the future that do not have causes for their future being. Barnes. A 7 1072a21-34.

5 (SVF 2. In contrast. 'Logic'. 1980). including that of Aristotle (cf. 10 In the example. we need to look into their meaning. therefore. for example. Met. for example.9 But again they are introduced without argument. LS 37H). (eds). P is already either true or false. Dion is walking is true when Dion is walking and false when he is not.6 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism attested elsewhere either for Chrysippus or simply for 'the Stoics' . Chrysippus is not holding the trivial thesis that every future-tense proposition will be either true or false at the future time indicated by its tense (and its temporal indicator. to take an example. On this reading. The Sea Battle a11d the Master Argume11t (Berlin/New York. before the time indicated by its tense and by its temporal indicator. Cause. Acad.10 (SVF 2. inK. the emphasis is on (P2) and not on either (P. Otherwise. Cambridge Histol)' of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge.) or (P. See also R. however.m. To examine their plausibility.. 10 The idea is. For in this case the propositions were intended to involve a future-tense verb and/or a temporal (indexical) operator.xia. 406. see DL 1.) If P is already false. In other words. truth/falsity can attach absolutely to them (they are true/false at all times). see F 26. in our discussion of their views we must treat the verb and the temporal indicator of such propositions as refen-ing to an absolutely specific day and event (and thus. will be either true or false on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p. Simplicius.195). if any): (P2) For any proposition P such that S occurs at t. 1051 b 13-15) and that of Chrysippus (DL 7 . Necessity..m.65). 34-407. 2. . To avoid a confusion that does not seem to have been made either by Aristotle or by Chrysippus. following the same example as above. Sorabji. it is thereby necessary either now or at t (or both) that S occurs at t. 1995).v a. 96-103. and. 9 For the first premiss. in Ar.95 (SVF 2. The second premiss may be read as implying that any future-tense proposition is now either true or false. ancient theories. rather. there is/will be a sea-battle tomorrow (eoea8a.m. where S is an event and tis a future time. that any proposition asserting the occurrence of a future state or event is already either true or false (that is.t va. 1999). These are temporally definite propositions and. 95-6.193.) If Pis already true. Algra eta!.198).65 (SVF 2.): (P. (P.196. 'go' is used tenselessly and the proposition is meant to be equivalent to I will go to the cinema on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p. as is somehow suggested by the text: 'every proposition is either true or false' (assuming that the 'is' is tensed and refers to the present). 1-6 and Barnes eta!. see R. For discussion of this and related problems. cited earlier.ulla. if any). regard truth/falsity as properties that attach at times to temporally indefinite propositions. that a proposition such as I go to the cinema on the last Friday of September 2022 at 5 p. a11d Blame (London. LS 34A). cat. Propositions about future occurrents as used in the ancient debate are. no implications are drawn for predytermination. as equivalent to there is [tenselessly] a sea-battle 011 day D). For the second premiss.iiptov). As far as the text goes. in connection with propositions about future occurents in particular. M 8. an exception to this. the proposition there will be a sea-battle tomorrow will not be made true by the occummce of the event that is 11ow being referred to by the expression 'tomorrow's sea-battle'. for example. Gaskin. it is thereby impossible either now or at t (or both) that S occurs at t.

12 As is pointed out by J. 1985). . necessarily is. Analysis 40 (1980). 1924). 25-33. 1964). Chrysippus is not adopting a philosophically incoherent position in F 20 if. Ross.3 and the next chapter. and J. 'Aristoteles und die Seeschlacht'. in particular. 'On determinism'. The Sea Battle and the Master Argument. 12 If so. 11 But in fact prior truth and prior necessitation are two logically independent claims. 155-66. he is not espousing the view that prior truth on its own entails prior necessitation (or that prior falsehood on its own entails prior impossibility). 1967). The Sea Battle and the Master Argument.). and Blame. What Chrysippus is not committed to is simply the idea that prior truth is sufficient for establishing prior necessitation. 5. 29-40. Hintikka in 'The once and future sea-fight'. as against the possible link their prior truth or falsity may bear to prior necessitation as in (Pn) and (Pi). 'Truth and necessity in De lnte1pretatione 9'. 270-81. For example. Lukasiewicz.). rejects prior truth on the belief that. 461-92. Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 65 (1983). 23-47. Necessite ou Contingence (Paris. Ajatus 37 (1977). 487-8. 'Are some propositions neither true nor false?'. and R. C. Polish Logic 1920-1939 (Oxford. on one influential interpretation of int. philosophical objections to the prior truth or falsity of propositions about future occurrents as expressed in (P2) are not directed so much against their prior truth or falsity per se. to the idea that the future is fixed down to the smallest details by causes that extend indefinitely back to prior world-cycles. 1. chap. 'Aristotle on the sea battle: a clarification'. Bosley. in Agency and Integrality (Basel. On the general issue of time and determinism in ancient philosophy. G. Cause. if it were conceded. Mind 62 (1953). see Gaskin. Quine. in S. Fine. Lowe. White. Chrysippus is certainly committed to the prior necessitation of any state or event and. 55-9. More about this in section 1. Vuillemin. time and determinism'. 9'. American Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1966). Thus. 'realist'. 12) may be found in J. A rival. it is important to stress this latter point. Aristotle. 65-7. the proposition England wins the World Cup in 2022 would lack a true value if the future event consisting in England's winning the World Cup final in 2022 (or its not winning it) were to lack a cause. Necessity. Anscombe. History of Philosophy Quarterly 1 (1984). See also Gaskin. 'What is. and M. 'Time and determinism in the Hellenistic philosophical schools'. Philosophy of Science 3 (1936). The most substantive claim in the present argument is no doubt its first premiss: 'if there were causeless events. Sorabji. for example. Wieland. versions of this 'anti-realist' interpretation (for this label. The propositions that would lack a truthvalue (in the present) if there were causeless events would be those that describe the events in question and assert their occurrence at some future time. chap 6. in J. the principle of bivalence would not apply to propositions about future occurrents'. 1984). Aristotle's Metaphysics (Oxford. D. 40-62 and 'Cosmic cycles. when it is'. Before we proceed any further. E.J. Hintikka's suggestion is explored by S. Smart (ed. 'Aristotle and the Sea-Battle'. 9. See. see M. W. McCall (ed. The Philosophical Review 73 (1964). Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 2 (1979). esp. McCall in section 5 of 'Temporal flux'. prior necessitation would also have to be conceded. Analysis 40 (1980). 15. lxxxi. 'An interpretation of On lilt. 127-31. the former of which does not have to imply the latter to be coherent. Problems of Space and Time (New York.Everything has a Cause 7 Generally. 'On a so-called paradox'. the first premiss of Chrysippus' argument from bivalence would be: 11 In modern times. interpretation defends the opposite view: Aristotle concedes prior truth or falsity but denies his opponent's inference from prior truth or falsity to prior necessitation or impossibility. V. for example. Baylis. Williams. C. while holding (P2).

The claim that the proposition is not false rests perhaps on the further claim that for any proposition asserting the occurrence of an event.8 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism (P 1) For any event S that occurs causelessly at some future time t. explains why (P 1) . on Fate (Warminster. And (P 1). I now have the desire to go to the cinema tomorrow and. 'quia futura vera non possunt esse ea quae causas cur futura sint non habent. Chrysippus infers causation from prior truth through (Tc). one possible reason would be: (Tc) For any eventS that occurs at some future timet. I give a different possible reason further in this section.the first premiss of Chrysippus' argument: 'if there were causeless events. its falsity requires the non-occurrence of the event. 13 14 . See M 8. a causal chain stretching from the present to the future timet) for S's occurring at t. a distal but sufficient cause of S. for the time being. propositions about future occurrents would lack a truth-value' . Even though no argument is provided in Cicero. there is a causal chain stretching from some present event Sp to the future event S such that Sp is. S should be 'present in its causes' as it were. as Sharples observes. that 'statements about future events can only be true now if there are already causes which will. the proposition cannot be false. the propositionS occurs at t calUlot be true now. 14 And one reason for (Tc) could be this. To recapitulate. For example. why propositions about future occurrents expressing causeless events cannot be true. we may conjecture that the following reasons were behind the thesis. unless there is a cause now (that is. there are no external obstacles to my desire that could prevent me from acting in accordance with this desire. the proposition I go to the cinema tomorrow cannot be true now unless there are distal causes for the event in the present. but nothing in the present could guarantee its truth other than the presence itself of the causes of the future event described in the proposition. in particular. This presupposes that for any proposition about future occurrents of the form S occurs at t. The 'now' is presupposed by the context. A version of (Tc) is ascribed to Chrysippus in F (26): 'because those future things cannot be true in the future that do not have causes <now> for their future being.1 0. so those things that are true necessarily have causes <now>' . directly or indirectly. Given this line of reasoning. combined with the The thesis is attested for the Stoics. The future-tense propositionS occurs at t cannot be true now if there is nothing in the present that guarantees its truth. the idea being. the proposition S occurs at t is neither already false nor already true. for example. bring these events about' (see his Cicero. 1991) 178). As for the claim that the proposition cannot be already true. England. A similar argument may be mounted to prove that no proposition about a future occurrent can be false if the non-occurrence of the future event it describes is also supposed to lack a cause. at the very least. in turn. the necessary condition stated in (Tc) for the present truth of the future-tense proposition S occurs at t cannot be satisfied: the proposition calUlot be true now. habeant igitur causas necesse eat ea quae vera sunt'.holds true and. 13 So given that the event does occur. if Slacks a cause. This inference.

Wiggins. and 'causal' fatalism. it is necessary that one of the opposites be true and the other false <already>' (dm:p 1tcXOT]~ KIX/t'CX(jlcXOEW~ KCXt fX1tO(jlcXOEW~ . every event (past. mutatis mutandis. 16 Following D. Aristotelian deliberation is a practical reasoning that starts from a desired goal and works back to the discovery of the means to achieve it. Aristotle's objection in int. Rorty (ed. 16 then. 1980).a 1:EAT]) are ambiguous as to whether choice is of the means for achieving a certain goal or of instances of that goal. present and future) has a cause. both in A. . which is the target of Aristotle's objections (and is the crude fatalism I described in the Introduction). As we shall see. every event in the past has a cause. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3 (1985).). 203-204 and 206 and D.Everything has a Cause 9 second premiss of the argument. Essays on Aristotle's Ethics (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London. .W. its future occurrence. 227-31. and engage in the pursuit of this goal by means of these actions. for any present event.A. Since in the past what is now present was in the future and what is now past was present. 9 focuses on the idea that it would be pointless to deliberate if fatalism were true... 1112a15-17. It is a position that was already the target of Aristotelian criticism in the difficult chapter 9 of the de interpretatione.a 1tpo~ . The Greek expressions used by Aristotle to refer to the object of choice (. which is Chrysippus' intended conclusion ('motus ergo sine causa nullus est'). 1. there was at that time a cause of its (then) future occurrence. 31-87).a n':A. See C.O. or the idea that propositions about future occurrents are already true or false and that the future is already fixed. why should I do a campaign? Is not a campaign superfluous? And if it is.o~ and .a 1tpo~ . he suggests that a distinction needs to be drawn between what we could call 'non-causal fatalism'. why should I not sit back and relax until the elections? Chrysippus attempted a defence of fatalism against this objection.. As a consequence of deliberation. thus. He provided strong reasons for thinking that fatalism does not render our actions and efforts superfluous. On this question.2 Fatalism and Idleness Fatalism. 'Aristotle on the role of intellect in virtue'. Sorabji. The aim of this section is to bring out the philosophical reasons adduced by Chrysippus in his defence. so every event in the present has a cause. 15 The argument is set out at 18b26--33: 'if for every affirmation and negation .. Let us consider first Aristotle's objection.. then. We may generalize the thesis to all times. is earlier than Stoic philosophy. we choose the actions that our deliberation has shown to be conducive to our goal. 1113a2-9 and 1139a31-b13. which Chrysippus regards as the only tenable kind of fatalism. And it is to Aristotle that we owe the objection that fatalism encourages idleness: if it is already true that I will win the elections (or already false that I will lose). avayKT] 't'WV fXV't'tKEt~EVWV dvcxt 't'TJV ~EV fXAT]8i] 't'TJV l'Je 1Jreul'lij). in consequence.. Frede ('The Sea-Battle reconsidered'. . seeR. 'Deliberation and practical reason'.'propositions about future occurrents are already either true or false' -yields that no future event is causeless. there was in the past a true proposition asserting. 15 See EN 1111b26--9. I take this sentence to be a formulation of the principle of bivalence.

Aristotle's de interpretatione (Oxford... this will happen. but also that the former is a condition sine qua non for the latter ('but if we do not.Levot. 34-5.l9 But well before Alexander. which are. it will not': . for example. It is likely that for Aristotle this assumption is correct: our deliberation and the trouble we take are indeed both sufficient and necessary for their actual consequences. would become superfluous. it is noteworthy that the view it expresses is taken by Aristotle to imply prior necessitation 'everything [in the future] is and happens of necessity' (7tciv·n~: eivat KIXl y(yvecr6at e~ UV«iYK11~).. but if we do not.LIX'tEUecr6at. even after deliberating to do what we would have done if we had not deliberated. which yields by contraposition q .LEV. 113-19) for the latest defence of a rival interpretation. The parenthetic remark in [b] states that we deliberate on the assumption that 'if we do this. 19 DF 11 at 179. 6. it will not'.25 (SVF 2. An important version of it is reported by Cicero in F 28-9: 20 Whitaker. 1112a30-31.. would be false in connection with weak deliberation as described in EN 7: the weak agent fails to act in accordance with his deliberated choice (see. Ce/s. some five hundred years later: But if we should do everything we do through some causes laid beforehand. From this perspective. 'tt 1t1Eov tilltV Ei~ 'to 7tp&netv eK 'toil ~ou1eucracr6at 7tep\ 'toil 1tpax611croj. .q).Oyo~).LEV llft ~ou1eucr&j.p .. In the Hellenistic period it was known as the 'Idle Argument' (apyo~ A.998. esp... 1t0\ll<JWj. according to which it is reasonable to deliberate only about how to achieve goals that depend on us.LEV 7t&v'ta ii. it will not).q. The sufficiency claim. 18 Now. 'toil'to Ka. necessary for their outcome. from deliberating about what will be done? For <on this view> it is necessary for us.LtiXV EXE\V e~oucr(av 'tOU 1tpii:~a\ 't"o&e 't\ KIXl llll . !7 oihe ~OUAEUecr6at &eo\ &v OU'tE 1tpiXyj. . W<J't' ou&ev till tV 1tAEOV EK 'tOU ~ou1eucracr6at IXlhoil 'tOU ~OUAEUcracr6at 1tEpl ytVE'tiX\. e&v a& llft 'to&\. so as to have no power to do this particular thing or not . deliberate]. 1150bl9-22 and 1152al8-19). our deliberations and efforts. however.l. this will happen': p . b2-4). . This supposed consequence of fatalism is also stressed by Alexander of Aphrodisias.20 (SVF 2. this will happen. o .a& ElTlj. 7tp&noj. so that no advantage comes to us from the deliberating beyond the fact of having deliberated itself. 'there would be no need to deliberate' if fatalism were correct. as a matter of fact. 2.. 12-14 and 17-20:-Ei. but if we do not. 18 The sufficiency claim is best understood in the context of Aristotle's theory of deliberation in EN 3 (cf.957) and Eusebius.LEV 'to&l. w~ i:&v j. the Aristotelian objection was already a philosophical topic of debate. 1996) (esp.. ev. 20 Two other sources for the argos logos are Origen. E(J't(X\ 'tO&(. praep. as far as action is concerned. llt•& 'tO ~ou1eucracr6at 1tp&netv av&yKTl.LEV 7tp&novn~ &t& nva~ ahia~ 1tpOKIX'tiX~E~A111lEVIX~ w~ ll11&Ej. if fatalism were correct. OUK ecr'ta\. In other words. However we interpret the sentence. a reasonable deliberation would be sufficient for action aimed at the goal pursued by the agent. according to [a].10 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism [a] there would be no need to deliberate or take trouble ([b] thinking that if we do this.Levou y(ve'tat. 17 The text deserves close attention. y&p &v E7tpli~aj. The assumption is not just that our deliberation and trouble elicits certain actions ('if we do this [that is. what advantage comes to us.p ). LS 62F).8.

sive tu medicum adhibueris sive non adhibueris. Cain's murdering Abel is as necessary as Abel's being murdered. F will not obtain because P does: there is not really any explanatory causal relation between P and F. there is no real causal relation between the two: F will not obtain because P does and. which is absurd. A convenient. non convalesces. whether you call in a doctor or not. then you will not recover. actual present states and events are contingent insofar as they may not obtain. It follows from the first reading that future states and events are underdetermined by their actual cause.Everything has a Cause 11 If it is fated for you to recover from this disease. when F obtains it will not have obtained because P did and in this sense the obtention of F does not depend on that of P. (2) it is a consequence of fatalism that. way of cashing out this weaker sense of underdetermination is by saying that F would obtain even if. which are necessary because they are inevitable. But the first reading. P did not. In our example. On the second reading. medicum ergo adhibere nihil attinet. meaning that (a) Pis contingent (that is. the obtention of F does not depend on the obtention of P even though both must obtain. For a weaker sense of the notion could be that even though the actual cause ofF is apparently P. P may not obtain) and that (b) if P did not obtain.' . if it is fated for you not to recover from this disease. whether you call in a doctor or not. F would obtain anyway. which is possible. so there is no point in calling in a doctor. convalesces. which is absurd. no such belief is attributed to the fatalist: future and present states and events are equally necessary. similarly. in a sense of 'underdetermination' weaker than the one mentioned above. if fatalism were correct. If so. For a present state or event Panda future state or event F such that apparently P is the cause ofF. However. but different. then you will recover. here too future states and events are underdetermined by their actual present cause. unlike the second. also attributes to the fatalist the belief that. no future state or event is contingent upon the obtention of those present states or events to which they are apparently causally related. ( 1) it is a consequence of fatalism that F would have to obtain even if P did not. si fatum tibi est ex hoc morbo non convalescere. But one or the other is fated. in contrast with future states and events. In its three versions the objection admits of two quite different readings. item. although P and F are necessary (both must obtain). if by 'underdetermination' we mean that the state or event in question would occur even if the actual cause of its occurrence did not obtain in the sense that it may have not obtained. we need to bring out an ambiguity in the objection itself. sive tu medicum adhibueris sive non adhibueris. et alterutrum fatum est. 21 'si fatum tibi est ex hoc morbo convalescere. to which I shall refer as (1) and (2). Abel will be murdered even if Cain does not kill him. therefore. per impossibile. 21 Before we come to Chrysippus' reply to this Aristotelian objection. by contrast. Under either reading the objection is that.

957). in J. This is stressed by Chrysippus himself. ifF obtains it will do so because P does. 23 See M. who holds that every future state and event is underdetermined in a strong sense by its actual 22 The sources for this theory are praep. Nussbaum (eds). Through this theory. 55. it is also fated that I will recover because I call in the doctor and follow his prescriptions. Detenninism and Freedom. 2. if I am fated to recover. 7. What threatens consistency is the disanology above between present and future regarding their modal behaviour. chap. On Fate. Brunschwig and M. as this has already been excellently done by others. as we shall see in section 5. Now. 'Fate and possibility in early Stoic philosophy'. Chrysippus addressed this problem by designing a theory of 'co-fated' events (confatalia). No internally consistent form of fatalism can admit such a disanalogy between present and future.E. chap. Sedley. if the concern that motivates the objection is merely that. the present is fixed if the future also is. Thus. D. To be sure. Sorabji.26-9 (SVF 2. who will be forced to explain how future events are inevitable and necessary and yet depend on their actual present cause to obtain. 24 Even though Cicero suggests in F 30 that this is not the kind of event that Chrysippus would regard as co-fated. a perfectly consistent version of fatalism may allow the dual possibility for any state or event (including present and future ones) that it either obtains or not at a particular time. as the first reading supposes? (b) is it really a consequence of fatalism that there is no real explanatory causal relation between present and future states. for this reason. Chrysippus departs not only from the incoherent fatalist. The onus of proof clearly lies on the shoulders of the fatalist. Sharples. 14. LS. future states and events would not obtain because present ones do.12 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism To tackle the objection. 23 Its core idea is that many future events are 'co-fated' with present ones in the following sense: a predetermined future event F is co-fated with a present event P if and only if what is predetermined to happen is not just F but also the complex event FP consisting in F obtaining because P does. 6. therefore. ev. One event that Chrysippus would regard as co-fated is my recovery from illness. Reesor. 285-97. ifF is co-fated with P. Chrysippean fatalism is immune to the argos logos if the point of the objection is that this disanalogy is something the Stoics (or any fatalist) is committed to. Thus. Here the complex event FP is that I recover from illness because I call in the doctor and follow the prescriptions. as is assumed by the second reading? The answer to the former question ought to be in the negative. Therefore. the objection is philosophically powerful. I discuss this issue further in this section in connection with 'simple' events.998. then by definition FP will obtain ifF does and. Stoic Philosophy. Rist. 22 This is not the place to undertake a detailed examination of this theory. The latest and most thorough treatment of this theory is chapter 5 of Bobzien. 24 It is co-fated with my calling in the doctor and following the prescriptions. 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causality'. Passions and Perception (Cambridge.20 (SVF 2. LS 62F). 1993). . conceding that there is an analogy between present and future regarding their modal behaviour. F 30 and Cels. Cicero. and Blame. chap.8.4. one needs to address two different issues: (a) does Stoic fatalism hold that present states and events may be contingent while denying this possibility for future states and events. Phoenix 19 (1965). Necessif)\ Cause. Given that in the past the present was in the future.

which implies that the meaning of the assertion is at issue. I shall describe Pin positive terms: Hegesarchus' having his guard up. 6. 26 Chrysippus' point. How does the argument work in detail? The asserted proposition is Hegesarchus the boxer will emerge from the fight completely unscathed ('Hyt1oa:pxov 't"OV 1tUK't"TJV e~eA.Everything has a Cause 13 present cause. ev. a late Epicurean of the second century AD reported by Eusebius. 't"Oil 'l"i]v cXTto<pO:OtV TtOtT]OO:IJ. Chrysippus did provide a reason for the existence of co-fated events (and states).wv exet. oii't"w Ko:\ t1t\ 't"Wv &A.EVOU lh& 't"i]V m:pt't"'t"O't"Epo:v 't"cXV6pW1tOU 1tp0~ '1"0 IJ. that future states and events are also underdetermined by their present cause albeit in a weaker sense.iJ 1tA1l'I"'I"E060:t <puA. Some future events conceptually presuppose a causal link between these events and present ones. 25 It is important to notice that the gist of the argument is indeed a conceptual point. therefore.A. To establish that there are future events that are cofated with present ones. then. The term 'meaning' is not in the text. it would be absurd if one expected that he would fight with his mms by his side because he was fated to emerge unscathed (for the one who made the assertion said this because of Hegesarchus' excellent guard against blows). But why should there be any co-fated events in Chrysippus' sense? Is not Chrysippus just assuming that there are? In fact. is that F is co-fated because the proposition 25 Praep.l~ cXTtAT]KtOV cX't"OTt!. ei A.8.l~ &v n~ Tj~(ou K0:6tevto: 't"lh XEtpo:~ 't"ov 'Hy1loo:pxov IJ. but also from the non-causal fatalist.Eyov't"6~ nvo~ 'Hy1loo:pxov 'I"OV mlKtT]V e~Eleuoeo6o:t toil aywvo~ TtcXV't"!.o:p't"o a1teA. an analysis of the concepts involved to describe these events is sufficient. The complex event FP would be the combination of F and the negative present event P consisting in his not fighting with his arms by his side. <pT]o(v. for this reason. just as if someone asserted that the boxer Hegesarchus will emerge from the fight completely unscathed.28: wom:p yap. 26 The concept of 'having one's guard up' is entailed by the concept. the event consisting in Hegesarchus' emerging from a fight completetely unscathed is co-fated with a certain (negative) event. namely the one consisting in Hegesarchus' not fighting with his arms by his side.axeo6o:t. he [Chrysippus] says.o:Ki]v 't"OU't"O eiTtov't"o~. .euoea6a:t 't"OU ayG>vo~ 1taV't"W~ &1tATJK't"OV). It relates to the implicatures of an assertion (1bt6<p1xat~) made by a speaker: one cannot assert 'Hegesarchus will emerge from the boxing fight completely unscathed' without meaning that he will do so because of his excellent guard against blows. For the sake of simplicity.6eiv. employed in the text of 'using an excellent guard against blows'. But we do find in the text the notion that there is a right way and wrong way to understand the assertion. in a discussion of Chrysippean confatalia: For. It expresses a future event F. and that the latter is not merely wrong but also absurd. who claims that there is no real explanatory causal relation between present and future and who thinks. This line of argument is suggested by Diogenianus. ETtE\ cXTtAT]K't"ov o:1hov Ko:6d1J. so too in all other cases. and to know which future states or events are co-fated with present ones.

cf. Thus although a boxer could in principle win a fight unscathed (Melancomas is reported by Dio Chrysostom to have a flawless record of victory without ever having either given or taken a blow on account of his ability to hold up his guard tirelessly until his exhausted adversary acknowledged defeat. Ch1ysippus regards it as absurd (cX't"OltW~) that Hegesarchus emerges from the boxing fight completely unscathed with his anns by his side. 2 " See M. it is sufficient to exploit the connection between the concepts that are used to describe the future events at stake. if we look carefully at the context. and having one's guard up. But it is also something that Chrysippus' opponent would typically identify as an unacceptable (albeit inevitable) consequence of fatalism. to emerge unscathed one may just run away from the adversary . Thus.Hegesarchus will emerge from the fight completely unscathed because he has his guard up . with all the rules that boxing involves. 27 According to the text. no one abiding by them could emerge unscathed from a boxing fight without using his guard. in the meaning of the proposition expressing F.something that one can do without using one's arms at all. on the one hand. This is needed. no boxer could emerge unscathed from a fight with his guard down. To appreciate the thrust of Chrysippus' argument we need to take into account the specific context in which it is developed. 80-85 and 141-2. is simply conceptual.would be contained.14 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism expressing FP . Poliakoff. this sort of conceptual analysis seems to be central to Chrysippus' theory of confatalia. To determine which future events are co-fated with present ones. Discourses 29. on the other. a conceptually necessary causal link between emerging unscathed from a fight. Now. 27 But why? Apparently. as if the former could only be caused by the latter? Both Chrysippus and his opponent seem to agree that the link must hold. and why it is absurd to say that F will occur wihout P. The explanatory relation between Hegesarchus' emerging unscathed and having his guard up is implied by the very concepts used by a Greek speaker in the assertion of F. the causal connection between the two events is conceptually necessary given the specific concept of a boxing fight employed in the exchange between Chrysippus and his opponent: given the rules that define boxing (in antiquity). 1987). Combat Sports in the Ancient World (New Haven and London. . An implication of this theory is that whether two events are cofated or not depends on the concepts that we use to describe them. a boxer had to confront his adversary either by giving blows or by holding up his guard against his adversary's blows or both. as it were. According to the rules of Greek boxing. The relation of co-fatedness holds only under certain descriptions of the events involved because different concepts may be used to describe the same events. 28 A fight where one did so would not be a boxing fight at all. the reason why the two parties agree that the link must hold becomes apparent. As far as the text quoted earlier from Diogenianus is concerned. it is impossible that one emerges unscathed from a boxing fight without using one's guard. for why should there be. According to the rules of boxing in antiquity. in general. might find the proposition Hegesarchus will emerge from the fight completely unscathed with his anns by his side perfectly plausible. So the reason why F is co-fated with P.11-12). Anyone who decides not to describe the fight between Hegesarchus and his adversary as a boxing fight.B.

this will happen': 1ji . but if we do not.. 31 1tOAAcX yap f.. some present state or event.29).Lii~ ~ouAeo6n:t Kat eK'tEVEo'tli'tT]V ye 1tEpt O:li'tcX 1tp06Uf. On this unexpected and puzzling example. 1-3. simplicia do not have their actual causes in any of my actions. only some states and events are co-fated with other states or events.EVWV KO:t 1:01h<p 1:4> 1:p01t<p auv5eOIJ. On his view. 29 Notice that simple events.. According to Aristotle. On this interpretation. For instance. too. Thus. 31 29 We should bear in mind that in Cicero's report the example is 'Socrates will die on such and such a day' ('morietur illo die Socrates') as if the specific day on which he will die were predetermined and not just the fact that he will die some day. which by contraposition is equivalent to «P . In section 3. eltetl\f} f. 217-21. To quote again Diogenianus' report in Eusebius: For many things cannot happen without the fact that we want <them> to occur and that we contribute <to their occurring> the most intense readiness and eagerness to act. 315-19 and Bobzien. for instance. 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causation'. On the basis of his theory of co-fated events. An example of a simple event (res sbnplex) is. To follow the example. namely that 'if we do this. IJIT]oiv.. my dying some day in the future is caused by. depend on the obtention of earlier events or states. it will not': . my not being an iminortal God. ev. In contrast. Chrysippus is also in a position to do justice to the assumption that Aristotle ascribes to us all when we deliberate. a possible definition of Chrysippean simplicia would be a future state or event F is simple relative to someone S if and only if F will take place at S but the cause ofF does not reside in any of the actions of S. and does require.1 I deal in detail with the Stoic concept of action and the way in which Stoic actions differ from events that merely take place 'at' me. my dying some day is a simple event because it will some day take place 'at' me (the predicate to die will some day be satisfied by me) independently of what I do. . Detenninism and Freedom. 6. perhaps.LE'tcX 'tOU'tou. if I am a chain smoker.e't'& 1:afmx ytVOIJ.LO:p'to (praep. 30 DF 192.. it will not'. when. They are not an exception to the Stoic view that 'the things that obtain first are causes of those that obtain after them and in this sense all things are bound together with each other' (1:wv 1tpw1:wv 1:oi~ IJ.Tt &uvn:o6oa yeveo6n:t xwph 'tOil KO:t Tjf. But then how does a simple event like this one differ from a co-fated event such as my winning a boxing fight? One answer we may give to this question is this: in contrast with co-fated events. I will eventually die. since. this will happen.EVOt'l ai 't'tWV yt VOIJ.'l a1tUV't'WV). namely.«P). he says. that I will die some day.. Whatever I do. 30 In the example just given. But this is precisely what Chrysippus insists on. cf. these things are fated to occur together with this fact. this belief entails a further belief. An event is simple always relative to someone. There are some that are not and they are referred to as 'simple' (simplicia). my actions may determine that I die sooner rather than later. the application of the notion of res simplex to a particular case must always make reference to a particular person. where and how I die are co-fated events.8. that we would not «P unless we 1ji ('if we do not.LtO:V 'tE KO:t 0'1tOU&f}v Ei()'(pepeo6n:t.lji .lji). as a necessary condition.cp.EVWV aAAllAOl. Sedley.i. Suppose that we 1ji and believe that our lji-ing will result in our «P-ing ('if we do this..Everything has a Cause 15 It is worth stressing something that was mentioned earlier in my account of Chrysippus' theory. n:1h& yevecr6n:t Kn:6etf.

The Aristotelian objection and the connected charge of superfluousness is only pertinent and effective against those versions of fatalism that suppose that future states and events are underdetermined by present states and events. The answer of non-causal fatalism to the question is 'no'. it is appropriate to draw systematically the various distinctions between the different kinds of fatalism considered so far and to locate Chrysippus' fatalism within this broader picture. the appropriate way of dividing fatalism is into causal and non-causal. But it is not effective against Stoic fatalism.16 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism In our example. It will come about because. Regarding those future states and events that are already due to occur. depending on the question that our division is expected to answer. by contrast. if the question is 'will they occur because. the right way of dividing fatalism would be into coherent and incoherent. if regarding the states and events that occur in the present the question is rather 'are they contingent while future ones are necessary?'. If the politician wins the election next week it will not be because she is now campaigning. then her victory will not have occurred because of her current campaign (non-causal fatalism). what is the point of the trouble we are taking for bringing it about? In contrast.she will win at next week's election. Chrysippus' fatalism is causal and thereby does not encourage idleness.3 Incoherent Fatalism. Although the two questions above are distinct.meaning that in the present whatever she does is contingent. our <P-ing does require as a necessary condition our tJr-ing: the former cannot happen 'without' (xwp(~) the latter. and insofar as. it is occurring. which addresses the problem originally posed by Aristotle by showing how one may be a fatalist while denying that all future states and events are underdetermined by our actions. if <P is co-fated with lJr. we will certainly not suppose that our tJr-ing was superfluous to bringing about our <P-ing. There are two different ways in which one may divide the concept of fatalism. 1. . and insofar as. the answer of causal fatalism to the question is in the affirmative: the future is already fixed but it nevertheless presupposes whatever is actually occurring in the present. And if we believe that. Non-causal Fatalism and Chrysippean Fatalism To end this chapter. is coherent because it is not committed to any disanalogy between future and present in their modal behaviour. the sets of divisions they yield are logically related to each other. If the politician will have to win at next week's election whether or not she actually carries out her current campaign (incoherent fatalism). Nor is it because of anything else that is happening in the present. In consequence. certain states and events are currently occurring?'.2 why this is incoherent. which is something necessary (nothing else could happen instead). Now. First. We have already seen in section 1. this kind of fatalism does encourage idleness: if what we do in the present is superfluous for bringing about what is due to occur in the future. Chrysippus' fatalism. The answer of incoherent fatalism to this question is in the affirmative: whether or not the politician carries out her actual campaign . any incoherent form of fatalism is noncausal.

2 for the Idle Argument.oiho) not be so. See!. In Chrysippus' fatalism. The three sources examined in section 1.. inK. or not be going to be so'. nor.>v A6yo~·. Determinism and Freedom. 5. from the thesis that propositions about future occurrents already possess a definite truth-value (18b26-33). 131. 'The three deterministic arguments opposed by Ammonius' (London and Ithaca. this could not (oinc oiov n: . in Ar. 7 and Anon. 36--35. Ammonius. In Aristotelis de imerpretatione commentarium (hereafter referred to as in Ar.. which holds that neither a proposition about future occurrents nor its negation is already true. the crucial inference is from the prior truth of a proposition to the existence of a cause for the corresponding state or event. For discussion. In Aristotelis de i11te1pretatione commentarius (FDS 1253). 18bl1-13: 'but if it was always true to say that it was so. the fatalist may still appeal to counterfactual states or events in the present to stress the causal irrelevance of the actual ones. A fatalist may consistently claim that future states and events are not contingent upon any present state or event in particular. which is his reply to the Idle Argument. 1998). As for Chrysippus' own theory of confatalia. she would win at next week's elections anyway. 1993). Ebert (eds). reaches the conclusion that the future is already fixed and necessary. it is not an inference from its prior truth to the event's being necessitated. The three main sources for the Reaper Argument are Stephanus. it stresses both that Stoic fatalism is coherent (both future and present are fated) and that it is causal (future and present are co-fated). 32 As we have already seen. in consequence she will not win because she is currently campaigning.6yo~) whose authorship apparently goes back to the Dialectic school (c. int. It infers the necessity of one of the disjuncts of a contradictory pair of propositions from the truth 'from eternity' (ex aetemitate) of the disjunct. .320--250 BC). 18b25). A similar argument is reported in F 21. 9. the notion that future states and events presuppose specific present states or events. see G. Doring and T. then either necessarily p or necessarily not-p. R.nj. then prior necessitation). The inference itself from truth from eternity to necessity is already suggested in int. and Bobzien. nor anywhere else in the chapter.>v A. however. in contrast with Chrysippus'. 34. 33 A clear antecedent of this inference is to be found in the 'Reaper Argument' (Bept(c:. In this case. while holding that present and future are strictly alike in their modal behaviour. If per impossibile the politician did not carry out her current campaign. 32 As opposed to the theory referred to at 18b17-25. it is a theory that. int. non-causal fatalism is not necessarily incoherent. and which concludes the necessity of each disjunct of a contradictory pair of propositions (about future occmTents) from the truth of the disjunctio: if either p or not-p.Aristotle. This latter theory seeks to resolve the necessitarian consequences of the main theory (if prior truth.e yeveoB«t V«Uil«Xt«v llfl't"e llf! yeveoBat. Sorabji. 'Zur Geschichte und Logik des Bep((c:. Nor a fortiori does it employ the Chrysippean idea that propositions about future occurrents are already true or false because the causes of future states and events are already present. 78-81 and 189-91. by contrast. a fortiori. I should like to conclude with some remarks on the main fatalist theory attacked by Aristotle in int. Cicero and Alexander of Aphrodisias .. 33 This version of fatalism is clearly non-causal as it does not employ here.are ambiguous as to whether the use of counterfactual events is supposed to attribute to the fatalist a non-causal position only or an incoherent one as well. Dialektiker und Stoiker (Stuttgart.Everything has a Cause 17 Second. but it does so at the cost of espousing nihilism or the view that nothing at all will happen in the future: 'a sea-battle would have neither to take place nor not to take place' (Mot y&p &v 1. or would be so.). 20--132.

18 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism to the event's being necessitated by the proposition's prior truth. But prior necessitation is not entailed. Cicero is misleading when later on in F (cf. But this conclusion is reached through a further step in their overall argument for determinism . 34 35 . nor intended by Chrysippus to be entailed. As is brought out by Sharples in Cicero.a step that leans on the further thesis that causation is necessitating. which does not occur either in the argument from F 20 or in Chrysippus' thesis at F 26. if every proposition is either true or false. 174. with which I deal in Chapter 2. does it for that reason follow that there are unchangeable and eternal causes which prevent anything from coming about in a different way from that in which it will in fact come about' (nee si ornne enuntiatum aut verum aut falsum est. On Fate. hence. by the thesis of the prior truth of propositions all by itself. the Stoics do believe that the future is already fixed in the sense that what is due to happen is fated and. An inference that Cicero himself does not endorse: 'Nor. 28) he presents the Stoics as inferring predetermination from prior truth. 35 They do make this inference. but only given the thesis introduced at F 20 that prior truth implies causation and the extra thesis that causation is necessitating. already necessitated. sequitur ilico esse causas imrnutabiles easque aeternas quae prohibeant quicquam secus cadere atque casurum sit). 34 To be sure.

is a preamble to the argument in section 2. they will suffer the same things and they will encounter the same things. 14-25. in length and breadth where each was originally when the world was first formed. and every city and village and 19 . exactly. Section 2.Chapter 2 The Basis of Stoic Determinism (b): Causation is Necessitating The present chapter deals with the thesis that causation is necessitating. but also that this new world will be indiscernible from (lbtap&A. These three orthodox theses are jointly attested in a report by Nemesius (N 111. This thesis follows from the combination of two ideas: (i) particular causal relations are subsumed under strict regularities and (ii) these regularities necessitate. The Stoics say that when the planets return to the same celestial sign. On this view. namely. SVF 2. e will be brought about in every possible situation where c obtains again. Thus. for any causal relation r where a set of causal conditions c brings about an effect e. I bring out the deterministic consequences of orthodox everlasting recurrence. this doctrine implies regularity-based determinism if we look closely at the arguments the orthodox Stoics provided in favour of the doctrine itself.3. but e does not. This question will occupy us in section 2. We may appreciate how. the doctrine of everlasting recurrence.2. at set peiiods of time they cause conflagration and destruction of existing things and once again the world returns anew to the same condition as before. 2. The passage is worth quoting in full.2.txK'tO~) the present one. r is necessary in virtue of the impossibility of a situation in which c obtains.1 The Orthodox Version of the Doctrine of Everlasting Recurrence In Stoic thought. For again there will be Socrates and Plato and each of mankind with the same friends and fellow citizens. each of the things that occurred in the previous period will come to pass indiscernibly. the same effects have to obtain.in the same circumstances. where I present the main features of the orthodox version of the doctrine of everlasting recurrence. LS 52C). In section 2. This 'regularitybased' account of causal necessitation is central to Stoic philosophy as it is a consequence of an essential part of Stoic physics. And when the stars are moving again in the same way. and put their hand to the same things. the earliest orthodox version of the doctrine asserts not just that the world will be destroyed by a conflagration and that a new world will rise once the conflagration subsides.1.A. the other constitutive premiss of Stoic determinism.625.

if the quantity of matter in the world were infinite.134 (SVF 2. Klllt 'tcX OIU'tcX j. the same things return infinitely and without end.133.A. 2-4 (LS 461): 'tOV Z1lv<a>vo~ 'toil Kt 'ttE<al~ . and so must be the quantity of matter of which it is composed.lijKo~ Klllt 1tAcX'tO~.lov a1toKa6Ca'taa6at.is also evidence that its overall quantity is finite. "'to 1t&v EK1tup<a>61loe'tcxt" ('The argument of Zeno of Citium. the Stoic idea that matter (1tpW'tT]V UAT]V) does not become 'either more or less'. The thesis of reconstitution presupposes that the conflagration does not last forever. as he supposed. Mansfeld. e&v EK1tUp<a>6'fi.150 (SVF 1. The periodic return of everything occurs not once but many times.eu'tll't<al~ 1:& cxu't& a1toKa6(a'taa6at (Long and Sedley translation modified). 99). 5 In consequence. 1999). 5 A conception of god that Plato had already put forward in the Laws (901A-903A). On the other hand. the conflagration will certainly consume all there is in the world.livou~ 1:ou~ 1tAcXVTJ'tlll~ Ei~ 'to a1ho OTJf.IE'tlliXEtpte1:o6at.) has to be finite.lel:ov Ka't& 'te j. 3 Therefore. that the "all" will be subject to conflagration').311). especially.87) and DL 7. 162 n. Studies in Hellenistic Religions (Leiden.ov l'li: ei~ &1tetpov Kal a'teA.IT]V Klllt aypov 6j. cpaai.87). in K.!Ot<a>~ cX1tOKCX6to'tCX06at· y(veo6at 1)£ 'tTJV cX1tOKCX'tcXO'tCXO\V 'tOU 1tCXV'tO~ oux a1tCX~. Alexander Lycopolis. A. 'tcX .to~ 1tilp EO'ttV Klllt 0 exet ou KOIUOet. The idea of god's idleness is implicitly attacked by Boethus (SVF 3 Boethus 7): "En 1tpo~ 'tOV'tOn. in M. For the Stoics. now the sun is a fire and will it not burn what it has?" From this he concluded.J. or rather. Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge.75-6 (SVF 2.Oyov. See also the argument for god's existence in M 9. the quantity of matter contained in the world cannot be infinite: given the very structure of the universe (1:0 1t&v).could prevent the conflagration from subsiding.140. But why should it not last forever? Although no reason is given in the present passage. So.. and for Cluysippus in E 1. the world (6 KOOIJ. LS 44A) and DL 7 . Zenonian physics. given its finiteness.!&A.332 (SVF 2. EV PTJ'tlllt~ xpov<a>v 1tept61'lot~ EK1t\lp<a>ot v Klllt cp6op&v 'tG>V OV't<a>V cX1tepyci(eo6at Klllt 1tciA. Kal 1:G>v ao'tip<a>v 61-1oi<a>~ 1tcXAtv cpepoj. (eds). 3 On the finiteness of the Stoic cosmos see notably M 9. all of which reflect early Stoic thinking and. Klllt 1t&oav 1t0At V Klllt KWj. he has to 1 Oi 1>£ :E1:<a>t Kof cpa ow a1toKa6to'taj. 4 See Zeno ap.ov KOIVO&l" Klllt 6 TjA. a:U& 1tOAAcXKt~. as the Stoics maintain. Algra et al.524. EKOIO'tOV <'tG>V> ev 'tTI 1tpon:p~ 1tept61'l~t> yevof.A. It is in the nature of fire to bum until it has used up all the combustible matter contained in what is burning." i~ oo ouv1lye'to. Vermaseren (ed. 2 The idea is that nothing . who states that the "all" will be subject to conflagration: "Everything which burns and has something to burn will burn it completely. 467-8. the very idea of there being a time where god does nothing is contrary to his nature as an essentially active entity.). 161-2 and 'Theology'. see DL 7. But.not even god . ev6a 'tTJV apxf!v eKOIO'tO~ ~v.300) which identifies god with the active principle of the universe ('to 1tOtoilv). 1979). 5 (SVF 1. 'Providence and the destruction of the universe'. the fire of the conflagration would bum forever.iy<a>v· "1t&V 'tO KllltOV exov <O'tt> Kavan oA. 2 See J. a~ "'to mxv EK1tUp<a>61loe'tcxt" A.132. 4 but will have to subside.20 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism piece of land retum in the same way. Kat 1:& a1i't& 1teioeo8at Kat 'tOt~ auTo\~ OUV'teU~eo6at.O<. ihe 'tO 1tpG>'tOV 6 KOOf-10~ OUVEO'tT].LEV<a>v a1tapaA. w~ <jle'to.. 6-10.attested for Zeno in E 1. 1 I begin with some clarificatory remarks on the three theses. Jaap Mansfeld has shown that one reason in particular may be gathered from other sources. 26-133. Contra Manichaeorum opiniones disputatio 19.t v £~ imapxfi~ eh 1:0 a1i'to 1:ov Kooj. j.liv<a>v. According to Mansfeld ('Providence and the destruction of the universe'.cXK't<a>~ cX1tO'teAeto6at· eaea6at yap 1tcXAtv :E<a>KpcX'tT] Kill( ilAcX't<alVIll Klllt EKOIO'tOV 'tG>V av6pW1t<a>V ouv 'tOt~ ail'toh Kal cpUot~ Klllt 1tOAt'tlllt~.

lov o1:av eK nupo~ 1'1 ouaia 1:pann l>t. l>t' ~~ KEXWPTJKE. W~ oi. 1:&:~ l>e npoaTJyopCa~ ll&'trxA. nup 'tEXVtKov Ol><jl PrxiHCov en\ yeveaet Koaj. voepov 6eov ano<pa{vov't«t. they say. 7 See: SVF 2. and what is sustained something different: the breathy substance is what sustains. but the rest transforms itself through three different processes: one which generates earth through the condensation of the thicker parts of water. nrxprxA. then the thicker parts of the moisture condense and are made into earth.TJ~.lEV OUVEXOV e'tepov 1tOlOUOl. and then from air to water. In what is probably the earliest attested use of the term in the Hellenistic period (Arcesilaus ap. they produce fire.l!X'tlKTJV oua{av 'tO auvexov.o· 'tTJV j.lt~lV EK 'tOihwv <pU'tci 'tE K!Xt 'ta &Hex YEVTJ.. Laks (eds).lneptetATJ<p6~ <'te> nciv1:rx~ 1:oil~ anepj.lEVOl 'tTJV OUVEK'tlKTJV /)UV!Xj. 'tt K«'t' eKeivo 6 eiKO'tW~ oe . Reading with Long and Sedley uyp6v instead ofuyp6'tT)'t!X.lEVT)V ytVE't!Xl. Thereafter by mixture plants and animals and the other natural kinds are produced out of these. ncina. and when they have been thinned still further.l!Xpj. a second one that generates air through the rarefaction of its thinnest parts. The latter passage. 'tO 1)£ AE1t'tOj. But the original idea is that god purposively guides the whole process through his active presence in every single stage of the world's development. the orthodox Stoics maintain. similar to the second. how strong is the identity in question? The identity is very strong indeed.l!X'tlKOU~ J.102.lEV y&. a&po~ ei~ uyp6v· eha 'tO 1t«XUj. in turn.ou 1:ou K6allou.l!X j. K«t llll1tO't · ('Further.lou. which in Stoic theory implies activity: K!Xt yap oi.6you~ KIX6' oil~ &n!XV't!X K«6' eij. 6 DL 142 (SVF 1. ej. that produces fire when the thinnest parts of water thin out still more. Traditions of Theology (Leiden-Boston-Koln. 'tTJV UAlKTJV 'tO auvexoj.rxi!Pcivov Krx'ta 1:&:~ 1:ij~ ilA. f} 1:0 napcinav oM&v. 'tO j.439 (LS 47F).lEV tvlhijKov l>t' oA. and fmally a third process. en\ 1tAEOV AE1t'tUV6ev nup anoyevv1lan. eha K«'ta j. identities pneuma with a cohesive. cause. This account is apparently couched in purely mechanistic terms. or sustaining. if all things undergo conflagration. At this stage. 'The origins of Stoic god'. make what sustains one thing. which takes on different names owing to the alterations of the matter through which it passes').lEVOV /)f: &A. LS 46C): yivea6at l>e 1:ov Koaj.ci~et~ ('The Stoics made god out to be intelligent. such as the Stoics. Diogenes Laertius explains: The world is created when the substance is turned from fire through air into moisture. The former identifies god with pneuma and asserts the latter's all-pervading presence: oi. animals and 'the other natural kinds' are gradually produced out of the elements by mixture.ea6n yij. in D.llV.A.6 The reconstitution proper begins when the fire of the conflagration is exhausted and changes to air. j. K«t 1tVEUj. what would god do during that time? Nothing at all? That surely is the natural inference'). Sedley. 6eo~ npci~et 1:ov xpovov. And his activity. From then on plants. will be cosmogonic: a new world will arise from it.p 1tVEUj. In reporting the views of Zeno (from his treatise On the Whole).1027 (LS 46A) and SVF 2. and encompasses all the seminal principles according to which everything comes about according to fire. On Stoic pantheism and its origins see D.lepe~ e~«p«tw6n. some of it remains water.A.lEVOV ('The chief proponents of the sustaining power.Causation is Necessitating 21 be active once the conflagration subsides.l&pe~ «li'tou aua'taV cX1tO'teA. a designing fire which methodically proceeds towards creation of the world.? As regards the thesis of transcyclical indiscernibility. and breadth pervading the whole world. !:'twtKol.lcXAtO't!X eiOT)YTJOcXj. !:'tWlKOt. 'tO OUVEXOj. Frede and A. of Cleanthes and of Chrysippus (from the third book of his Physics). but the finer pat1s are thoroughly rarefied. Sextus Empiricus. K«t 'tOU't. and the material substance what is sustained'). 2002).

A.58 (SVF 3 Diogenes 22. but the very same bird that existed earlier.EIJ. Stoic indiscemibility is metaphysical and conveys numerical identity. because it does not mean just that no observer can register the differences . According to ancient myth. 10 however dim.85. but the very same world numerically. oihw KO:t oi tijs 'A~<:o:liru. but rather one and the same object numerically. tbtcxpcxA. A and Bare not really 'two' discrete things. and is of such a kind as could not arise from what is not' (KatO:A111t'ttKT] Iii !:ott i) un!ipxovtos KO:t KO:t' auto to un!ipxov evo:nOIJ. 8 The orthodox Stoics. in their peculiar quality (iMcx 1tOL01:TJ~). Posidonius and Mnesarchus (early first century BC) ap.txKtOV nvo: eupe6Tjoeo6o:t. in Aristotelis categorias commentarium 30. 6no(o: OUK &v yevot to IJ.it also means that there are no differences there to be registered between them. As Cicero puts it: 'no hair or grain of sand is in all respects the same as (omnibus rebus talem qualis) another hair or grain of sand' . what rose from the ashes was not another bird numerically. cognitive impressions of similar things]'. 10 On the Stoic notions of iliio: notO'tT]S and iliiws not6v. as opposed to merely epistemological.) 180. 9 Acad.J2 Thus. again.). It is because they are indiscernible that they are in fact numerically the same. 21-179. two impressions are tX1t1XpiXAAtXK1:ot if the objects they represent are 'exactly alike' (tXKpW~ aA. In Aristotelis de anima commentaria (hereafter referred to as in Ar. 2.252: 'The Academics.22 The Stoics on Detem1inism and Compatibilism M 7.oL~ Oj. u and this precludes that these impressions be in principle epistemically indistinguishable from each other. Stobaeus in E 1. see. de an. Two other relevant texts on this issue that refer to the 'Stoics' in general are Simplicius. ano uno uno uno . but a relation between impressions of objects. according to the orthodox version of the theory.Tjq>txot KO:tcX n!ivto: uno:p!XA.A. As applied to everlasting recurrence.e. indiscemibility implies that the world of the present cycle is the same in all respects (and hence the same even in number) 13 as the world of any other cycle: 8 See especially M 7.248: 'A cognitive impression is one which arises from what is and is stamped and impressed according to the very thing that is. 217.395. In this use. It is metaphysical. notably.33-6 (SVF2. Alexander of Aphrodisias.A. Chrysippus ap.409-10). never accepted the metaphysical assumption that numerically different objects can be exactly alike.9 Numerically different objects always display some difference in their qualities and.Tj un!ipxovtos).Lio:s). But an analogy could help. Similarly. as used in connection with objects.1lA.624.LOtWV). unlike the Stoics. In Aristotelis analyticorum priorum librum I commentarium (hereafter referred to as inA1: a. LS 33M). this qualitative difference may be in principle physically registered in the impressions we receive from the objects.cx~(cx is not a relation between objects (or whole worlds). See M 7. 1 (SVF 2. it is not another world which rises from the ashes of the conflagration.177. LS 281) and Dexippus. the story tells us. 12 This. however. pr.252: 'this kind of impression has a peculiarity (tt iliiwlltx) which differentiates it from other impressions [i. the Phoenix burnt itself on a funeral pyre and rose from the ashes with renewed strength to live through another cycle. for example. Now. 13 The idea of a numerically identical world repeating itself may be hard to grasp. 20-26 (LS 28J). 32-218. DL 7. do not suppose it to be impossible tijs 01:0&s that an impression totally indiscernible <but false> should be found' (OUX wonep o\ UOUVO:tOV imetA. 11 If the impressions are 'cognitive' as defined in M 7. 17 (LS 280). and it conveys numerical identity because if A and Bare indiscernible. Diogenes of Babylon (a pupil ofChrysippus) ap.O:YilEV11 KO:t i:vo:neaq>po:ytollEV11. applies to cognitive impressions. LS 52F).

Pohlimz.JCetpteicr8a.l. (B) 'they will put their hand to the same things' (. a.-ov •!\> 1tp6cr8ev eivo:i n: Ka.t>.po:A. On the role of this initial claim for establishing god's attributes (with the exception of existence. 170 n. 160-63. which is presupposed rather than proved). In the Nemesius passage quoted at the beginning of this section we are given examples of each of these descriptions: (A) 'again there will be Socrates and Plato and each of mankind' (ecrecr8o:t 1t!XAtv :EwKp(hTj KO:t IU!itwvo: KO:t EKO:OtOV t&v av8pW1tWV).t). Alexander.aK"tW~ &JCpl Ka. from his incapacity for creating a new world other than one strictly identical to the present one. Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge. 'Providence and the destruction of the universe'. but.624. The Stoics (London.A. which is impossible. which Mansfeld ascribes to Zeno. for the recurrence of peculiar qualities. inK. 1994). 181.-&: a. and (C) 'every city and village and piece of land return in the same way' (1tiicro:v 1t6A. see notably Cicero. and in how they are related to each other. Brunschwig.H. fr. For this initial claim. . LS 52F): 'even the same peculiarly qualified individual as before comes to be again in that world' (Kat "t"OV i&iw~ Ttotov Tt!iA.-o:cr8o:t). neither the option of creating a better world nor that of creating a worse one is really available to him. (eds). 15 N 112. resembles one developed by Aristotle in de philosophia. 17 therefore. 14 As Nemesius indicates further down in his report: 'Everything will be just the same and indiscernible down to the smallest details' . 16 Suppose that the world created by god in the next cycle were discernible from the world of the present cycle.18. WOO:U"t(A)~ KO:t aTta.-wv <eaea8a. as somehow disposed (1tW~ exov.u.u.xia. the new world cannot be discernible from the present one. 18 14 As a matter of fact. But as has been suggested by some modem scholars it may have proceeded from considerations about the nature of god and. For in Stoic theology god is what he is by necessity insofar as his attributes are deductively inferred from a conceptually necessary initial claim such as 'god is something than which a greater cannot be thought of'. namely. deor. in particular.-ov a.-o:) and as somehow relatively disposed (1tp6~ n 1tW~ EJCOV"t"O:). 1975). 1949).2 The Argument for Transcyclical Indiscernibility Why should the present world and the world that will rise after the conflagration be indiscernible from each other? There is no surviving evidence that explicitly reports what the Stoic argument was. in particular. which implies an identity in disposition. 1999). which implies an identity in peculiarly qualified objects (i&iw~ 1tOta). Furley. 438-9.t KWfLTJV Ka. given god's nature.-&: fLE"t«. p1: 180. 79.t . it would have to be either worse or better than the present one. l-3: 1ttXV"ta.l9c Ross. 33-6 (SVF 2. Sandbach. in how each of them is intrinsically disposed.tv . to establish the etemity of the world (and. each individual person will be so disposed as to perform the same actions. nat.w Ka. F. 'Cosmology'.t tv eKeivljl t!\> KOOfL~j>).a. 2. Die Stoa (Gottingen. in Ar. which arguably implies an identity in relative disposition if cities and villages are regarded as something that is not over and above a group of individual things related to each other in a certain way.\ aypov Dj.-&v t\A.15 2. Algra et al. See Aristotle. and D. M. in Papers in Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge. see also Chrysippus ap.Causation is Necessitating 23 in the qualities of its objects. 17 A change for better or worse would have to involve a change for better or for worse in god's nature. see J.'i yivecr8a. 18 This line of argument. the transcyclical indiscernibility is meant to cover all objects however described: as qualified (1toux). the idea that a wholly good demiurgic god could not possibly destroy the present world). that is. 16 See Mansfeld. even though in Aristotle it is used for a totally different purpose.Loiw~ tX1t01Ctt8icr. 'Did Diogenes of Babylon invent the ontological argument?'.

and (2) the total amount of preferred indifference contained in the world is inversely proportional to the total amount of dispreferred indifference it contains (for example. 79.24 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism This line of argument. and (c) a response the orthodox Stoics could give to this counter-objection. and their claim that there are indifferent things. II (SVF 3. which implies an increase in dispreferred indifference.S3. 13 (LS S8C). .137. 'Cosmology'. the amount of preferred indifference must also be the same. a new case of measles in the same population means that a person who was healthy became ill. See. and Furley. preferred indifferents are objectively preferable to dispreferred indifferents and god is perfectly rational. an alternative strategy for proving that the amount of preferred indifference must remain constant from cycle to cycle. There is. DL 104-S (SVF 3. dispreferred and completely indifferent indifferents. It consists in arguing that a transcyclical change in this amount is. because.64-7 (SVF 1. l048A (SVF 3. 19 Given the Stoic distinction between goodness and indifference. because. All this is a consequence of the orthodox Stoic notion that preferred ness is the strict opposite of dispreferredness. 21 This is true in at least two complementary senses: (I) the degree of preferredness embodied in any one entity is inversely proportional to its degree of dispreferredness (the more disprefened something is the less preferred it is). this would mean that in the creation of the world of the previous cycle he was imperfectly rational.79. E 2.128. The Stoics. See DL 7. for the new world can contain an equal amount of goodness (as many good things as there are now and with the same degree of goodness) and yet differ in other respects. the same amount of goodness has to recur. (b) a counter-objection to this reply. 18-SS. and especially in respect to the Stoic indifferents it contains. Sandbach. imagining what would have been the Stoic position in it will help us understand some crucial ideas they actually developed in connection with regularity-based causal determinism.84.124. LS SSE). rep. 20 the Stoics themselves should not infer complete indiscemibility from mere indiscemibility in goodness. all else being equal. LS SSE) and 2. contrary to god's nature: he cannot create a new world with a lesser amount of preferred indifference. for these latter two amounts are strictly correlative to each other .12S. 'Theology'. Although this dialectical exchange is not attested in our sources. Granting that the world in the next cycle will be equally good. II (SVF 3. as in the case of goodness (see above). Zeno and Antipater in E 2. LS S8B). 10-S4. 2 (SVF 3. Stoic. Cf. but if the amount of dispreferred indifference is the same. In the remainder of this section. 467-8. LS S8F). I explore (a) a possible line of reply to this objection.S4. 439. 11 (SVF 3. for example. E 2. For the idea that ceteris paribus preferred indifferents are objectively preferable to disprefened indifferents. IS-SS. which are neither good nor bad. is open to a potential objection. notably.101-3 (LS S8A). 18-80. both in definition and in its individual instances. LS SSH). but also an inversely proportional decrease in preferred indifference). see. if he could create in any one cycle a world whose amount of preferred indifference is greater than that contained in the world of the previous cycle. an identity in goodness does not imply complete indiscemibility all by itself.361. A reply to the initial objection could run as follows: exactly the same amount of dispreferred indifference as is contained in the present world will have to recur transcyclically if. however. 20 See DL 7.119. LS SSD). 21 19 This philosophical point is often missed by modern scholars. Mansfeld. and neither can he create a new world with a greater amount of preferred indifference. however.any variation in either of them entails an inversely proportional variation in the other. E 2. M 11. LS SSE). as is granted by the opponent.101-3 (LS S8A).S4. which they further divide into preferred. 18-SS.128.

I believe there is a tension in Stoic theory between. it might have been Chrysippus' original position that not all dis preferred indifferents are concomitant to good ends. cf. they will also have to possess the same amount of dispreferred indifference with respect to the fragility of our skull: its degree of fragility in the present world and in the next will have to be identical. 10440 (SVF 2. To the objection that it could be higher. In consequence.119.9 (SVF 3. This would require an argument for transcyclical indiscernibility that would differ from the one I propose in the main text. the argument at the end of the previous footnote). LS 58B). As Mansfeld has observed. on the one hand. as is demanded by the indiscernibility of their goodness. if the amount of goodness is also the same. 23 The example occurs in the Gellius passage cited in the previous footnote.6. See Tim. the more fragile it becomes.otlBTJcrtv) good ends. which is the indispensable means to achieve our current degree of rationality. 74e-75d. It is borrowed by Chrysippus from Plato.191.as is the case with the Stoic god . and given the necessary benevolence of the Stoic god. LS 58J)) and. which we find in DL 7. the argument just developed can only establish that our skull's degree of fragility cannot be lower than it actually is. However. the idea intimated in some sources that dispreferred indifferents may be indispensable as a means for achieving goodness (for example.7-13 (SVF 2.1170. I do not see how the Stoics could justify the existence of dispreferred indifferents without ascribing to them the status of 'inevitable concomitants' to ends (either good or preferred). On the other hand. .would not cause us to have a skull whose degree of fragility is needlessly high.7-11. not evils) that Chrysippus introduces the notion of events that are concomitant to (Ketta ltetpo:KoA. Chrysippus ap. But precisely for this reason human skulls are fragile and susceptible to being damaged by small blows and knocks. Stoic. if the present world and the next do possess the same amount of human rationality. 24 Strictly speaking. but the thinner it is. infirmities and diseases (which are dispreferred indifferents. See Chrysippus ap.1.1163. on the other. the amount of goodness would not fix the total amount of dispreferred indifference. 25 Chrysippean concomitants are best understood as the result of a compromise: god knows in advance that the execution of his overall plan inevitably requires the use of means 22 See NA 7. Chrysippus would reply that a benevolent god . To illustrate this idea. In particular. Although the passage is mainly concerned with explaining the existence of evil. we may focus on a concrete example from Chrysippus. the idea that goodness does not require indifferents. 23 One good end pursued by the Stoic god in the present world is human rationality. LS 540). See especially 7. 25 See 'Providence and the destruction of the universe'.Causation is Necessitating 25 The crucial contention that the amount of goodness determines the amount of dispreferred indifference may find support in detailed argument. On this interpretation. 158-9. Plutarch. rep. The necessary means for achieving this end is our skull's being composed of thin and tiny portions of bone. as one part of it would be fixed by the amount of preferred indifference. which appears to suggest that some are concomitant to ends that are just preferred. in any world-cycle there will have to be the same amount of dispreferred indifference. it would have to establish first an indiscernibility in preferred indifference (instead of inferring it from an indiscernibility in dispreferred indifference. Epictetus in D 2. 22 If so.104-105 (SVF 3.1. LS 54Q). Stoic dispreferred indifferents are inevitable concomitants to the teleological ordering of the world. the extent to which a skull may encase a brain capable of rationality is directly proportional to its thinness. In other words.24 One important aspect of this idea is that god himself is not in a position to give us a stronger skull: its current degree of fragility is a necessary concomitant to its current thinness. it is in connection with illnesses.

A potential counter-objection to this Stoic line of reply is that the indiscernibility in the total amount of preferred or dispreferred indifference does not guarantee on its own an indiscernibility in the things that are totally indifferent. there would be no guarantee that the amount of dispreferred indifference remains constant from one cycle to the other. For any of them could have a more or less substantive knock-on effect on the overall amount of dispreferred indifference. which. which may result in his being run over by a car that had just missed him in the present cycle. were created in accordance with nature. To be sure. Thus my skull may be slightly larger in the next cycle and yet embody the same amount of dispreferred indifference. but through certain necessat)' [necessaria] "concomitances" (which he calls Ka-ca napaKoA. then. These. he says.oll6T]Ol v)'.26 thus. If so. How would the orthodox Stoics have reacted to this counter-objection? A historically plausible possibility is that they would have simply drawn the opponent's attention to the fact that. which would require that the barber spends a greater amount of energy. but it will be discernible regarding the size of my skull. would be that there is apparently nothing that could prevent god from introducing changes from cycle to cycle in the set of totally different things. hence. Different skulls that differ in their size or shape may have exactly the same degree of thinness and. many disadvantageous things accrued as inseparable from her actual products (alia quoque simul adgnata sunt incornmoda his ipsis quae faciebat cohaerentia). god can in principle introduce various changes in the set of totally indifferent things from one cycle to the other without prejudice to the teleological necessity of always reproducing the same amount of goodness and the same amount of concomitant dispreferred indifference.1. cf. provided that he undertakes a calculation aimed at establishing the adjustments needed for securing a constant amount of dispreferred indifference.26 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism that bring about negative phenomena. which would have to be compensated somehow. The counter-objection. Unless this calculation does take place. the larger size of my skull in the next cycle may cause the barber to take slightly longer to cut my hair. of fragility. the present world will be indiscernible from the next in the amount of dispreferred indifference it contains with respect to the fragility of my skull. with the result that he leaves the shop slightly later. and especially the idea that 'while [nature] was bringing about many great works and perfecting their fitness and utility. For example. when he was planning the course of events of 26 Regarding god's incapacity to do otherwise. is a totally indifferent thing.9. god would need to undertake a highly complex calculation to introduce changes of this sort. Lest the barber be run over by the car. Consider again Chrysippus' skull example. the use of modal terminology in Gellius' report at NA 7. To avoid the risk of such effects taking place. that he cuts my hair at a greater speed. Thus. which could otherwise be affected through the potential knock-on effects of such changes. god would need to ensure. . and so on. god would need to introduce a series of adjustments to counterbalance the changes he introduced. he determines their occurrence in return for being allowed to execute his plan. as is required by the teleological necessity that the amount of goodness remains constant. all else being equal. for example.

god has to predetermine right from the start of the cycle everything that will happen and exist in it. 27 Given that in Stoic theory providence rests on foreknowledge.g.ou6J1otxV't'IX~ Ill~ m:pt65<tJ. rep. chaps 6 and 7 and. l052a. The translation above (Long and Sedley's in LS 52C. the sun and the moon. Swinburne. the thesis that none of them is destroyed could imply that the whole theory is earlier than Chrysippus. 331. if the plural in the present passage is taken to refer to the plurality of deities.Causation is Necessitating 27 a new cycle. On this question. 468). For according to him. Cause and Blame. presupposes foreknowledge. see LS I. The meaning changes slightly if one follows Morani's punctuation as the thesis seems to become more general: 'the gods who are not subject to this destruction [to a destruction by conflagration]. in which case the thesis that none of them is destroyed would depart from Clu-ysippus' position. 27 N Ill. the suggestion has some degree of plausibility because there is evidence that the Stoic god undertakes no calculation at all when planning a new cycle. 28 and given also that god29 got his foreknowledge of the present cycle from his knowledge of the previous one Gust as he gets his foreknowledge of the next cycle from his knowledge of the present one30). from their knowledge of this single period. are subject to generation and destruction'. Providence and the Problem of Evil (Oxford. And predetermination implies foreknowledge because god could not be said to predetermine X to happen unless he thereby acquires foreknowledge that X will happen. but also a necessary one (god predetetmines X to happen if and only if god foreknows that X will happen). Now.a~ia is also earlier than Chrysippus. See Chrysippus ap. Why would he take the trouble involved in undertaking it if ex hypothesi the total amount of dispreferred indifference will not be affected? The trouble would be pointless and arbitrary (and hence contrary to god's rationality). But we have seen that this is something he cannot do.EAAOV't'(X eoeo6n:t 't'txi~ e~f\~ nept65ot~. e. the gods. the Stoic god did not undertake any calculation at all. 26-112.EVOU~ ev napn:KoA.A. my emphasis) presupposes that the comma that Morani's Teubner edition inserts after 't'IXU't'U goes before 't'IXU't'U. 29 The reference in Nemesius to 'gods' in the plural does not necessarily mean that there are various numerically distinct deities at play. But the plural may mean the presence of various deities. 28 Since (a) divine providence presupposes predetermination and (b) predetermination. Providence implies predetermination because. more recently. 30 See LS I. IJ. in turn. It comes in the lines immediately following the passage quoted at the beginning of the previous section: the gods who are not subject to destruction. from their knowledge of a single period [of any single period that they know]. 1: 't'OU~ lle eeou~ 't'OU~ ILTJ imoKEIIJ. as Mansfeld rightly observes ('Theology'. to ensure that the world as a whole (in extension and duration) turns out to be as good as possible. Stoic. These issues are extensively discussed in Sorabji. know from it everything that is going to be in the next periods. 7. 1998). . 'with the exception of Zeus.a possibility that is consistent with two facts: (i) the origin of the key-notion of anapn:A. Necessity. And there is at least one powerful reason that explains why he does not undertake any calculation. YWWOKEW be 't'IXU't'T]~ 1ttXV't'(X . in R. It may merely reflect the multiplicity of guises of the one Stoic god.a. know from it everything that is going to be in the next periods'. 3ll: 'god knows from acquaintance with any one world all that will happen in subsequent worlds'. our passage implies that his providential 't''!i <p6op~ 't'txlhn. Plutarch. Thus. unless he could use the change to decrease the amount of dispreferred indifference. Divine foreknowledge is not just a sufficient condition for predetermination. and (ii) the theory reported by Nemesius is the earliest Stoic version of the doctrine of everlasting recurrence. chap.

which would go against his rationality. Knowing in detail the complete chain of events that took place in these earlier cycles.1027). 75-6. And to ensure that this be the case.LanKo~ A.which involves the knowledge of the content of its seminal formulae . their seminal formulae must contain exactly the same information.6you~. god's knowledge of the previous cycle. the initial mass of pure fire left by the conflagration.Lapj.6yo~) of each thing .ou J.LEpT]. respectively. The necessity affecting the obtention of r in the next cycle has its ultimate source in god's necessary nature. so too the parts of the universe. Now suppose that in the next cycle c obtains but Napoleon wins the battle. which means that if c obtains in the next cycle (as it must). 32 In order for the complete sequence of events of the present cycle to be identical to that of the previous cycle. by setting up its initial sufficient conditions. They would differ with respect to r.UlpT] 1ttXV'tlX qruE"tlX\ EK 07tEPJ.ov -cou~ A. See. oihw KIXt 'tOU oA. Hahm. ev tot~ KIXBt]Kouat xpovot~ cpuetlXt ('Just as all the parts of a single entity grow from seeds at the proper times. r must obtain in both cycles.1 (SVF 1.is needed. We may appreciate in some detail how this process works if we bear in mind that the complete sequence of events of any one cycle is predetermined ab initio. Ohio. what the Stoic god actually does is simply to ensure that this chain obtains again.6you~).E.31 The information contained in these formulae is set up at the very beginning of each cycle. and it embraces 'all the seminal formulae according to which individual things come to be by fate' (nana~ -cou~ onepj.28 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism determination and planning of the present cycle was itself determined by his knowledge of earlier cycles rather than by a calculation. grow at the proper times').153. ou~ eKao-ca Kae. eij.La 1:wv dmav-cwv ex. 31 32 ta ta ta . See also E 1. The world of the next cycle would be discernible from the world of the present one. let c be the set of causal conditions that brought about Napoleon's defeat at the battle of Waterloo in the present world-cycle. 2. among which both animals and plants happen to be included. 1977). Thus. 7-22 (SVF 1.37.497): wanep yap ev6~ ·n VO~ "ta J. unless he were to undertake a calculation.Lan KOU~ A. is 'as it were a sperm which possesses the principles of all things' (Ka8anepe( n onepf. which includes his rationality.3 Transcyclical Identity and Determinism We are now in a good position to draw the deterministic implications of everlasting recurrence. To take an example.LEVTJV y(ve1:at). A similar D. 'according to which the emergent offspring takes its shape' and that determines 'what is shall be and how it shall behave during its life' .98) and E 1. as we have seen.a notion that David Hahm has aptly described in terms of 'the formula in the seed' of each thing. This ab initio predetermination is carried out through what the Stoics call the 'seminal formula' (onepj. Therefore. 22-3 (SVF 2. The Origins of Stoic Cosmology (Columbus. Napoleon's defeat has to obtain as well. ev. which does not obtain in the next cycle. praep. Ka8. and let r be the event consisting in the causation of Napoleon's defeat by c. But this is impossible. 15.14.ItX'tWV EV 'tOt~ KIXBtJKOUO\ XPOVOt~. wv KIXt ((\IIX KIXt cputa OV'tlX tuyx&vet.

Everlasting recurrence plays a direct explanatory role only when it comes to establish the necessity of the event: the reason why Napoleon had to be defeated given c is that this particular instance of causation obtained in earlier cycles and no transcyclical variation is allowed.28 (SVF 2. The idea is not that if the same causes were repeated. Transcyclical regularities such as this one differ substantially from the regularities that are empirically accessible to us. The kind of regularity involved in everlasting-recurrence determinism. . they would bring about the same effects (meaning that it does not matter whether the causes will ever be repeated). The examination undertaken so far in this book of the argument for Stoic determinism is now complete. Given the argument from bivalence. The origin of the necessity is transcyclical indiscernibility. see also Gels. it must have obtained now. which precludes the possibility of world-cycles that are different from those that have and will actually come about. by necessity. they will bring about. 4. The causal relation between c and his defeat at Waterloo does not obtain with regularity within any one cycle (Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo only once in each cycle). Everlasting recurrence does not have a direct role to play in this account. But it should not distract us from the fact that the early Stoics did appeal to regularities to argue for the necessity of causation. From the fact that it obtained in the present cycle. Its two basic theses find support on separate but complementary early Stoic arguments. and given the orthodox version of the doctrine of everlasting recurrence. To explain Napoleon's defeat.Causation is Necessitating 29 argument may be mounted to the effect that r had to obtain in the present cycle. however. the proximate reason why Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo is not that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in earlier cycles. which are 'intracyclical' in kind. when the same causes are repeated in the next cycle (meaning that they will be repeated). Notice too that the theory implies a principle of regularity ('same causes. and turn to the problem of compatibilism. Consider once more the Napoleon example. but if it did obtain then. With this remark I conclude the part of this book devoted to determinism. we may infer that it must have obtained in earlier cycles.LEVOV lintxptxA. but rather that. is peculiar. I hope to have shown in this chapter that regularity-based determinism is constitutive of the orthodox Stoic doctrine of everlasting recurrence. cis sufficient. every cause must of necessity have the effects it actually has. 33 In addition to the crucial evidence from the Nemesius passage discussed in section 2.626). same effects') in which the regularities at stake are not hypothetical but factual. the same effects. where it is at least suggested that there is always a prior cycle ('each thing which occurred in the previous period will come to pass indiscernibly': EK!XOtOV ev t'fi 1tpOtEp«j: m:pt6c'itp ytvOf.eicr8txt). the daily recurrence of sunrise.)~ linoteA.A. the argument applies to any past cycle given the beginninglessness of the sequence of world-cycles in orthodox Stoicism. The difference is substantive and should not be underestimated.aKt(. for example. 33 Notice that in this theory the explanation of an event differs from the explanation of its necessity. Mutatis mutandis. everything has a cause.1. In particular. But it obtains with regularity from cycle to cycle (he is defeated at Waterloo once in every cycle).

PART II COMPATIBILISM .

chapter 5. oux eKwv). Furley. Aristotle's Philosophy of Action (London. 33 . that should eventually (and sometimes absurdly) be praised or blamed for the state or event. being blown to an unknown destination by a storm is not a voluntary action of the sailor. 'Self-movers'. if every state and event is determined by prior causes. On this particular issue. as is indicated by the analysis he offers of voluntariness in EN. Rorty (ed. In consequence. 2 The philosophical question addressed in the present chapter is whether this 'internality requirement'. 1980). In consequence.) Essays on Aristotle's Ethics (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London. It is something that merely happens to him as a result of external forces. the cause should not be purely external because. but our environment. it is essential to look carefully at the philosophical context of each. it is not something for which he can be held responsible. 1 Thus. The objection (henceforth the 'externalist objection') is that. this concern with external determination was not new. 59 and 62-5 and D. The theory explored in the present chapter is compatibilist and the discussion that gave rise to it concerns specifically the issue of external determination. if it were. One major objection against compatibilism turns on this issue. It is prominent in Aristotle.o:Pwv •iJv xeipo: o:u1:oil •umot e1:epov.99-107. I start the exposition of what I called the 'four' Stoic theories. in A. 1984). Both legal and moral responsibility require voluntariness and a state or event x is a voluntary action of an agent a only if the efficient cause of x is inside a. as I shall call it. it is not us. 1110b2 (ev 1:oi9 EK'to9). lllOblO (e~w) and 1135a27-8 (wo1tep ei 'tl9 A. Charles. One condition that compatibilists and incompatibilists alike deem necessary for holding us responsible for the occurrence of a state or event is that it be not determined solely by factors that are external to us. 2 See EN lll0b9-17. On the idea that the cause's being spatially outside the agent is sufficient for involuntariness see EN liiOal (e~w8ev). By the time of the Stoics. All four were designed to meet specific challenges raised by different kinds of incompatibilist opponents.O. In order fully to appreciate why the Stoics developed these theories and not others. But is the externalist objection cogent? A central compatibilist argument developed by Chrysippus was designed to rebut it.Chapter 3 The Threat of External Determination In this chapter. then everything we do is in fact fully determined by external factors alone. the internality requirement cannot be met and causal determinism would remove any possible ground for the justified ascription of responsibility. see D. Generally. can be met in a world governed by determinism. On his 1 On the idea that voluntariness is required both for legal and for moral responsibility. see respectively EN 1109b30-35 and book 3.

f]v cpavtaaiav). 4 A detailed analysis of the Stoic psychology of action is provided by B.2 is devoted to studying this version of the objection. 4 (1) To begin. I begin in section 3.1 with an analysis of this account and of the early Stoic notion of action.. 2. 1998).61. has an external impressor as there are impressions which are not formed through an activity of the external sense organs. 73-4 (SVF 2. Brennan.54. their propositional content is of the form I ought to cf>. as Aristotle claims). can in some relevant cases be perfectly met in a world governed by determinism.6v). Stoic impressions are epistemic states that possess the following characteristics: (i) their causal origin is usually an external state or event. for example.187).83-5 (LS 40J). See also M 7.117 (SVF 1. 3. The charge is that if the psychology of action works as the Stoics suppose it does.34 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism view 'everything is determined by prior causes' does not have to imply that we are always at the mercy of purely external forces. Dian's being present (also a state) or Dian's walking (an event). an analysis of the argument is offered in section 3. however. LS 40F).5 (ii) in humans.LIX'tiX).402-10 (LS 40H). The Emotions in Hellenistic Philosophy (Dordrecht. 5 See DG 402. EngbergPedersen (eds). Inwood in Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism (Oxford. LS 39B): 'the cause of an impression is an impressor' (cpav.1 The Stoic Theory of the Psychology of Action In Stoic theory the 'psychology of action'. 1985). See. M 8. As for Chrysippus' reply to the objection.o. 89-102 and T. Sihvola and T.. at 26-9. LS 39A). the agent must have received an impression (<panaaia). including what we call our 'actions'. Given that the externalist objection hinges on the account the Stoics provide of the psychology of action. Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind (BerkeleyLos Angeles-Oxford. 6 (iii) in practical contexts. M 7. Annas. See also Annas. Thus.3. The version of the externalist objection that we find in the Hellenistic period is specifically directed against the Stoic theory of the psychology of action. or it is appropriate (Ka0i1Kov) 3 For a thorough analysis of the Stoic soul. impressions have a propositional content in virtue of which they are true or false. takes place in the region of the agent's soul known as the ruling part (r'jyqwvn:6v). which in the case of humans is said to consist in his thought or mind (th&voux). thanks to the possession of which they satisfy predicates (and thus constitute states or events). 6-7 (SVF 2.aatov II£ 1:0 ltO\OUV . 1992).625. For examples. Objects too cause impressions. 37-70.241. is ultimately determined by external factors alone..a. . there are at least three phenomena that must have occurred in the mind prior to the action. are the primary bearers of truth-values. 'The old Stoic theory of emotions'. The internality requirement. in J.51 (SVF 2.. generically labelled the 'impressor' (<pav. if an action has taken place. 3 According to the Stoics. which is a necessary condition for responsibility (either legal or moral. which constitute the intensional content of impressions. something's being white (a state). Not every impression. for example. see DL 7. 6 Propositions (!X~tWJ. but in Virtue of their qualities and dispositions. then every activity that we undergo. Section 3. anything capable of causing an impression is an impressor. See DL 7. see J. Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. or sequence of mental states and events that typically leads to an action. 42-101. Acad.

someone might have the impression that the sun is a foot across without accepting as true. LS 2. 64. The Stoics maintain that assent and impression are two separate events that occur in the mind. an act of assent. LS 53Q) and E 2. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. 10 But the psychic motion in which the impulse consists is one that must be preceded by.A. 9 See E 2. 90-91. Assent. To take an example. 224 and Annas. in the case of humans. I (SVF 3. (eds). 2. Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. and the impression has a propositional content. . 10 See E 2. For an impulse is not for the Stoics a vague desire to act in a certain way.La'3 a 1 See E 2. namely the proposition that I ought to save the child. 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice'. 1057A (SVF 3. (2) In addition to an impulsive impression. 17-18 (SVF 3.La) that cl>-ing is appropriate.T)'t"tKat). Images of Man in Ancient and Medieval Thought: Studia Gerardo Verbeke (Leuven.Lfj. 6 (SVF 3. see A. 9 Whereas the object of the assent is the proposition (a~tWj. or assenting to. the object of the impulse is not the proposition. 90-91 and Inwood. For discussion of this particular point. where cl> is an action.177. LS 331) discussed in LS 2 201.88. the act of assent is followed by an impulse for cl>-ing.169. the Stoics held in the context of this theory that every human impulse is numerically identical to an act of assent to an evaluative impression (n&aa'3 M: "tlh 6pj.169. Acad. An important characteristic of Stoic practical impulses is that when you exercise one.-. 19-87. 1976).91. LS 33I).fj'3 en{ n) and. a 'motion of the mind towards something in acting' (<popav (havo(a'3 en{ "tt "tWV ev "t~ np&. See Long. 2-6 (SVF 3. which is expressed in a predicate (Ka"tT)yopT)j. and assent to the proposition. you are very close indeed to the action itself. 23-98. Cicero. the impression will satisfy the three conditions: the child's being trapped in the burning house is the state that caused me to have the impression that I ought to save him. but rather the action itself (cl>).? Practical impressions are called 'impulsive' (<pcwtcxaiat opj. ifl see a child trapped in a burning house and form the impression that I ought to save the child. An impulse will actually result in action unless you change your mind in the meantime or find some unexpected external obstacle that bars the execution of the act. Bossier et a!. rep.24-5. the proposition that the sun is actually a foot across. The notion that the term '<IJ-ing' has a predicative function in the proposition clJ-ing is appropriate may be appreciated if the proposition is rephrased as I ought to F. in F. 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice'. according to the theory.ew).86. Practical impulses are a 'motion of the soul towards something' (<pop ljru:x. For example.86. LS 53Q). (3) The third basic element in the Stoic action theory is practical impulse. but rather something like the positive intention to act in that way. and consists in a mental act whereby someone accepts as true the propositional content of an impression. 91. Long. is directed at the propositional content of the impression. 8 The Greek Stoic term for assent is auyKa"t&8eat'3.I.The Threat of External Determination 35 for me to cl>. According to one source that is of crucial importance for the understanding of the Stoic theory of the psychology of action.La) embedded in the proposition.171. action necessarily requires that the agent assents to the impression. 8 See Stoic. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. or npaKnK-rl 6pj. LS 53S). or involve. Cf. 318.97. Once I receive the evaluative impression that I ought to cl>. the latter of which may take place without the former. Inwood.

u My assenting to the impression that <I>-ing is appropriate and my exercising an impulse for <I>-ing are not two separate events. 2. NJ.177. 'The epeleustik2 dunamis in Aristo's psychology of action'. Accepting as true a proposition such as iP-ing is appropriate causes the agent to order himself to perform the action that is mentioned in the proposition. 24. 75-94 at 92 n. ll0-11. See D. 15 See his principle (P2) in 'How is weakness of the will possible?'. but one and the same event described in two different ways. in tum. And this is.24-5. Phronesis 40 (1995). where it is said that for Chrysippus and Antipater there can be no impulse without an act of assent. Joyce. LS 2. rep. 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice'. 1 (SVF 3. 23. notably. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. that these pro-attitudes are E 2. 96 n. Studies in the Terminology of Early Stoic Ethics (Wiesbaden.175. 200. Acad.l 7tpOO'tO:K'tlK09 O:U'ti!> 'tOU 1tOtEiv). in Davidson's. 42-66 and especially 61-2. LS 53R). And the impulse. 1980). 13 This intuition. first.88. see Annas. LS 53S). Phronesis 41 (1996). that impulses constitute pro-attitudes towards courses of action . 315-35 at 319-22. In recent scholarship. 1974). LS 33I). 18 We may leave aside the intricacies of Inwood's interpretation. 14 This latter thesis reappears in contemporary philosophy as a tenet of some action theories and. reasons.>1tOU A.C. the latterY The assent to a proposition such as iP-ing is appropriate causes an impulse. Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. 18 Crucial to Inwood's interpretation is the evidence from Plutarch (Stoic. rep. 90-91. Annas. This idea has been amply discussed by some scholars. Long.6yo9 i:o. 20). 12 One basic intuition that underlies it seems to have been that someone who assents to an impression whose content is the proposition that <I>-ing is appropriate is thereby adopting a pro-attitude towards the action of <I>-ing. cf. One case in point is Stoic. according to whom Chrysippus maintained that impulse is 'reason prescribing action' (~ opf!i) KIX'tCX y' IXU'tOV 'tOU av6p!. M. 1037F. but the proposition in question refers to action in the future. See also G. 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice'. 373-86 and R. Hellenistic Philosophy ofMind. Inwood believes.171. 91: 'To assent to a proposition is to accept it as true. 92-7 (esp. since they do not affect the notion I wish to emphasize in connection with the relation between assent and impulse. and causes'.and. 13 For the talk of pro-attitudes (as a Davidsonian term of art) in connection with the Stoic psychology of action. SVF 3. 16 No identity claim is explicitly made. Inwood has claimed that Stoic impulses are 'parallel' to acts of assent in the sense that they are controlled and determined by. For criticism. is probably based on the still more basic intuition that someone who accepts as true a proposition such as iP-ing is appropriate cannot but adopt a pro-attitude towards <I>-ing. Boys-Stones. 16 See also Cicero. both in Essays on Actions and Events (New York.36 The Stoics on Detemtbtism and Compatibilism ouyKata8eoet~ eivat). 9. the opening moves of his 'Actions. see Inwood. 17 See Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. Tsekourakis. cfJ that the agent addresses to himself..what one has an impulse for is typically an action as expressed in a predicate embedded in the propositional content of an impression . 15 There are other sources. and in line with this non-identity view of interpretation. 'Early Stoicism and aki·asia'. 92-7. II 12 . is something like the utterance of the imperative You. 1994). but not strictly speaking identical to. however. Nussbaum. It can only be accepted as true by an agent who seeks to dispose himself in the manner prescribed' (my emphasis). where one finds a weaker formulation of the relation. The Therapy of Desire (Princeton. 14 See Long. 1057A (SVF 3. and this pro-attitude is precisely what the impulse for <I>-ing is. second.

to the acceptance of a certain kind of proposition. But the action should not be identified either with the eventual motion of the limbs or the external organs (tongue. To illustrate what this tension is. or does not have to.402. the proposition that it befits me to «<I. 11-16. eyes and so on) whereby the agent puts the impulse into practice. As we have seen. As in the present example. the act of assent constitutes (or causes) an impulse for acting in a certain way. 20 The activity underlying this tension is analysed by the Stoics in terms of a tensile motion (·rovtKTJ KtV'IlOt'il) of the mind's breath (1tVEUIJ. the action does not. my remaining still is an action. if I assent to the proposition that it is appropiate to remain still. A general definition of action. For the Stoic notion of tension and tensile motion.which on Inwood's view is what the impulse consists in had I not assented in the first place to the proposition which presents «1»-ing as appropriate or otherwise valuable (for example. 2-10 (LS 47J).450. which consists in its 19 This notion is preserved intact in Inwood's interpretation because on his view: (i) I would not have addressed to myself the order to «<I . precisely. The following remarks. in tum. LS 47K). not every practical impulse.The Threat of External Determination 37 intrinsically connected . however.:) of the mind.I9 To sum up. The practical impulse. if nothing external hinders (and there is no change of mind). Every action requires the occurrence of a practical impulse. the sequence leading to an action according to the Stoic theory consists in the following chain: you first come across an impressor I which causes you to form a certain impression.403.O:). therefore. . See Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. however. see also Alexander of Aphrodisias. For two other similar examples. And it follows from this that the action is not the impulse: even though every action presupposes an impulse. 10 (SVF 2. and I do remain still. To take an example. On the contrary it is defined. and (ii) to assent to that proposition is precisely what makes me address that order to myself. This is because the action presented in the impression is not defined by the motion of the limbs or the external organs. It is an action because it is the result of an impulse that follows (or consists in) the assent given to a certain practical impression. in terms of the absence of their motion. LS 471) and N 18. 224. it is not identical to it. has to do justice to these two restrictions: it cannot be identical either to an impulse or to a motion of the limbs or the external organs. 14-26 (SVF 2. yields an action.442. may help to adumbrate some of its elements. to use Inwood's terminology). 91-101. Galen offers the analogy of the muscles of an arm under strain: they are active and yet at rest as a whole. involve any motion of the limbs or the external organs. mixt. we do not know much about the Stoic concept of action itself. the impression must be given assent and.by causation if not by identity . Although a good deal of information may be gathered from our sources about the Stoic theory of the psychology of action. see 4. 20 See De museu/arum motu 4. lips. some of them conjectural. 1-11 and 402. some unexpected external obstacle may bar the physical execution of the act towards which the impulse is directed. one may appeal to what the Stoics call the 'tension' ('t6voc. while active. Thus the motion of the mind in which the impulse consists is not yet the action. To define action. 12-403. For an action can take place without any such motion. when it is given assent. leads to the action itself.

that may or may not go along with a motion of the limbs or the external organs. But from the account just given in the present section we may gather sufficient elements for distinguishing between a Stoic action and an event or state that merely happens to us. and thus a different action. the impulse can be frustrated by external factors. Our actions and the events (or states) that merely happen to us are formally alike in one respect. but as the event consisting in the mind's breath stretching from the mind to the feet (spiritum esse a principali usque in pedes permissum). For a different interpretation. My impulse for walking. when the translation of an impulse into practice requires a motion of the limbs (as in the case of walking). 22 For example. Otherwise. the impulse causes a certain tension and tensile motion of the mind. it may have been the latter's view that an action is a tensional state of the mind. In both cases we satisfy a certain predicate that expresses a state or event (and.3. which is the action proper. a certain equilibrium.38 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism physically stretching in opposite directions so as to reach. in the latter case. which I find obscure. the impulse causes a different tension and tensile motion of the soul. brought about by an impulse. which does not go along with any motion of the limbs. Although Seneca does not plunge into the details of Cleanthes' action theory. but fail to satisfy the predicate to remain still. a certain state or event takes place 'at' us). Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. Cleanthes ail spiritum esse a principali usque in pedes permissum. In either case. if nothing external hinders. he defined the action of walking. 50-51. or requires the absence of bodily motions (as in the case of remaining still). I assented to the proposition that remaining still is appropriate. In this case. but something inseparable from the action. thus.23: Cleanthes and his pupil Chrysippus could not agree in defining the act of walking. This motion is not the action itself. These notions are implied in Cleanthes' views on the nature of action. I explore further some aspects of the Stoic theory of the psychology of action in sections 4. The crucial 21 See ep. depending on the nature of the impulse. not as a certain motion of the feet.2 and 4. the action proper goes along with the motion of the limbs that is characteristic of walking. while Chrysippus maintained that it was the mind itself ('inter Cleanthen et discipulum eius Chrysippum non convenit. then. quid sit ambulatio. see Inwood. Cleanthes held that it was breath stretching from the mind to the feet. Chrysippus ipsum principale'). and my impulse for remaining still is frustrated by the wind of a hurricane that throws me to the ground.with no reference to the motion of the feet. for example.walking is 'ipsum principale'. The frustration is analogous in both cases in that I fail to satisfy the predicate at which my impulse is directed: in the former case I assented to the proposition that walking is appropriate but fail to satisfy the predicate to walk. 22 Chrysippus departed from Cleanthes by asserting an identity claim between walking and the mind's pneuma. may very well evince an emphasis on the part of Chrysippus on the idea that walking does not consist at all in the motion of the feet that is characteristic of walking. The polemic. is frustrated by the presence of a wall that surrounds me. 113. . when the translation of the impulse into practice does not require a bodily motion. According to Seneca. as in the example of the arm under strain. 21 The opposite directions taken by the stretching are revealed in the back and forth motion of the feet of the walking person.

24 For reasons which I indicate in the next section. Mignucci (eds). however. But [d] if the cause of impulse is not located in us. is the result of a causal chain that normally starts from an external state or event. The objection is documented in Cicero (F 40). For this reason. The final inference in the argument. is that it was Arcesilaus. neither do those things which are brought about by impulse are [i. One possibility. if the externalist objection is correct and the Stoic theory of the psychology of action entails external determinism. so too do the things which follow on impulse. So [f] neither assentings nor actions depend on 23 In P. have their antecedent cause]25 located in us. [c] therefore so too do assentings. first envisaged by Pamela Ruby.M. 422 n. the Stoic theory cannot accommodate the internality requirement: the things that it classifies as 'actions' are in fact events that take place at us solely by virtue of external factors. We cannot know for sure who was its author. loppolo. 37-52 at 49-50. the total set of causes that determine that we satisfy a predicate ci> involves an act of assent to the proposition it is appropriate (for me) to f!J. 1989). Leaning on a distinction between types of causes. 83-5. 23 A different possibility. 25 I discuss this gloss in the next footnote. 'Le cause antecedenti in Cic. an Academic sceptic contemporary of Zeno. Hence. On Fate.2 'Epicurus' and the Threat of External Determination The specific reason that motivated the externalist objection against the Stoics is that their theory of the psychology of action cannot (supposedly) accommodate the internality requirement. Barnes and M. in J. he shows that the occurrence of an action A may be causally related to the prior occurrence of an external state or event E without it being the case that the occurrence of A is fully determined by the occurrence of E. 3. the set of causes may include external factors only. as addressed against the Stoics. what the Stoics call 'actions' are things that are ultimately determined by external factors alone. but not in the latter. 8. [e] and if this is so. the distinctive contention of external determinism is that. And [b] if impulses do. Phronesis 15 (1975). De Fa to 40'. The objection runs as follows: They [those who formulated the objection] argued as follows: '[a] If all things come about by fate. it is alleged by the objector.The Threat of External Determination 39 difference is that in the former case. Ruby. For a full discussion of the issue. In this she has been followed by N. Symbo/ae Os/oenses 65 (1990). 24 See A. This is so. I side with Ruby. even if the chain involves at some point an act of assent. as is neatly brought out by Chrysippus. In fact. the externalist objection. ultimately. Matter and Metaphysics (Naples. Cicero. by contrast. see Sharples. 188-9. as the Stoics themselves emphasize. impulse itself too does not depend on us. Gulley in 'Lucretius on free will'. . is fallacious.e. this set always includes external factors only. it does not include the assent of the agent. all things come about by an antecedent cause. entertained by Pohlenz. is that it was Epicurus. In particular. fails. because any action. In the latter case. 'An Epicurean argument in Cicero'. Thus.

ergo etiam adsensiones. which the text regards as brought about by impulse. every impulse must have an antecedent cause.'26 In what follows. ilia etiam quae adpetitum sequuntur. a possible reconstruction of the argument is given. (2)* Antecedent causes fully determine their effects: for any two events A and B. That this is the general meaning of the objection is pointed out by Long in 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action'. 'located in us' in [d) and 'depend on us' in [e) (Sharples.27 (4) Antecedent causation is transitive: if X antecedently causes Y and Y antecedently causes Z. followed by Frede in 'The original notion of cause'. But the idea cannot be that such things would be indeed outside us (how could assent. if A is antecedently caused by B. 139-44. (1) If all things that occur come about by fate. quod si ita est. on the other hand. 28 This is the general principle on which step [d] in the text seems to be based. Cicero. 25).40 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism us. 27 This uncontroversial claim is elliptically assumed in step [b] in the text. ultimately. . omnia fiunt causa antecedente. because the (ultimate) antecedent cause of impulses is not located in us. for example. On Fate. B is sufficient all by itself to bring about A. translates 'sita in nobis' in both [d) and [e) as having the same meaning ('lie with us') but claims. In this case. then whatever is antecedently caused by something external to us does not depend on us either. The starred items are premisses that are implicit in the text and that I have made explicit to ease understanding. impulses do not depend on us (are not 'in nostra potestate'). namely that since the causes of assent and action are external to us. 26 'iique ita disserebant: "Si omnia fato fiunt. (3)* If everything that occurs has an antecedent cause."' In [e). the point of the objection seems to be lost. 245 n. 2B (7) Therefore. however. 85). et si adpetitus. Some translators have tried to solve the problem by surmising that the meaning of 'sita in nobis' in [d) is not the same as in [e]: 'located in us' in [d) and 'in our power' in [e) (LS I 387). and from this it follows that [g] neither praise nor blame nor honours nor punishments are just. the Latin merely says 'and if this is so. all things have an antecedent cause. ne ilia quidem quae adpetitu efficiuntur sunt sita in nobis. ex quo efficitur ut nee laudationes iustae sunt nee vituperationes nee honores nee supplicia. at si causa adpetitus non est sita in nobis. X itself does not depend on us (is not 'in nostra potestate'). ne ipse quidem adpetitus est in nostra potestate. (6)* If something X has its (ultimate) antecedent cause in something that is not located in us ('non est sita in nobis'). assent and action do not depend on us. (5)* The antecedent cause of impulse is. by contrast. neither do those things which are brought about by impulse are located in us'. not located in us (non sita in nobis). The argument underlying (6)* would be: since what is outside us does not depend on us. then Z is antecedently caused by X. 182-3. that 'sita in nobis' and 'in nostra potestate' are synonymous expressions (Determinism and Freedom. be outside us?). non sunt igitur neque adsensiones neque actiones in nostra potestate. Bobzien.

us. the antecedent cause of impulses being the antecedent cause of the things that are consequent upon impulses. 113. steps [e] and [f]. (4). The combination of (4) and (5)* entails the thesis that the antecedent cause of what is consequent upon impulse is 'not located in us' (non sita in nobis). >1 Cf. that is. it is not inside. This follows from (4). The first part of (10) follows from (8) and (9)*. Thus. 30 (10) Therefore. the argument is valid. Therefore. which construes antecedent causes as causes that fully determine their effect.The Threat of External Determination 41 (8) Therefore. (5)* and (6)*. 31 We may bring out the kernel of the argument without having to agonize on all its problematic details. ep. (6)*. or Cf. given the internality requirement for responsibility. For some conjectures as to why in F 40 impulse is said to precede assent.18 (discussed in Inwood. This is apparently assumed in the inference from [b] to [c] in the text. neither our acts of assent nor our actions depend on us and. we cannot be held responsible (either legally or morally) either for our actions or for anything consequent upon impulse. In addition to external states and events. sufficiently brought about) by the occurrence of B alone. In Stoic orthodox doctrine. a simplified version of the objection would run as follows: given that what is consequent upon impulse (namely assent and action) is antecedently caused by something external to us. (5)* and (6)*. Premiss (2)*. 247. for this reason. the causal relation it bears to each of these factors taken separately is not (or not always) fully determining: the occurrence of an event A may be causally related to the prior occurrence of an event B without it being the case that the occurrence of A is fully determined (that is. the antecedent cause of the things that are consequent upon impulse is not located in us (in nobis) and. it follows that what is consequent upon impulse is fully determined by something external to us. asserts the general thesis that we cannot be held responsible for something whose antecedent cause is not located in us. he will argue that although every event is fully causally determined by the complete set of factors involved in its production. 29 (9)* Acts of assent and the actions that result from them are among the things that are consequent upon impulses. in tum. we cannot justifiably be praised or blamed for them. Its main premisses are (2)*. 81 n. The only other passage that apparently construes impulse as preceding assent is Seneca. these things do not depend on us (are not 'in nostra potestate'). is contentious. On this reconstruction. The problem is that it is unsound. but outside. however. 29 Jo . see LS 2. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. In fact. 384 and Bobzien. this being so. it constitutes the target of Chrysippus' counter-argument. and given that antecedent causation is fully determining. step [g] in the text. Determinism and Freedom. assent does not follow impulse. 193). This distinction enables Chrysippus to claim that the existence of a causal relation between our impulses (and acts of assent) and our external environment does not by itself imply that the former are fully determined by the latter. for example. And this thesis is backed up by (2)*. As we shall now see. in particular. they are fully determined. the occurrence of acts of assent and impulses involves internal causes. assent.

but does not give it the power of rolling. Chrysippus is able to deny universal external determination by leaving room for events that take place at us while meeting the internality requirement: (B) It is false that for any object X and any activity <II. The next section is devoted to studying in full how this line of argument is deployed by Chrysippus. if X <11-es (or <II takes place at X). (i) and (ii) may be studied independently from each other. the gist of which is a distinction between internal and external factors. At the same time. Determinism and Freedom. 32 Chrysippus' argument is reported through a quotation at F 43: 'As therefore. so an impressor when it stlikes will. 3. on the one hand. In what follows. it would not be true that everything occurred by fate. that is. For although Cicero's exegetical account is worth analysing on its own for understanding the details of the general Stoic taxonomy of causes. La Conception Stoi'cienne de Ia Causa/ire. Sharples. '[a] he who pushes a cylinder gives it the beginning of its motion. not by the external factors alone. Cicero. [b] If something were to occur without an antecedent cause. but assenting will depend on us. on the other. in the same way as was said in the case of the cylinder. [c] if however it seems likely that everything which happens is preceded by a cause. what reason can 32 See Duhot. 261. it is pushed from outside but for the rest moves by its own force and nature. then X's <11-ing is fully determined by its cause. and Bobzien.' he says.42 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism sufficiently brought about. .3 Chrysippus' Internal Causes The report given by Cicero of Chrysippus' rebuttal of the objection (F 41-4) comprises two different elements: (i) a philosophical argument by Chrysippus to the effect that impulses and acts of assent are not determined by external factors alone. 198. This enables Chrysipplis to maintain universal causal determinism: (A) It is true of any object X and any activity <II that. by the combination of these two elements.an account that is supposed to draw on Chrysippus' general theory of causation. and 'proximate and auxiliary' ones. it is true. On Fate. if X <11-es (or <II takes place at X). impress and as it were stamp its appearance on the mind. I shall focus mainly on (i). and this is false even if X's <11-ing is causally related to something external to X. 182. then X's <11-ing is fully determined by something external to X. and. and (ii) an account by Cicero of how this distinction relates to a more technical distinction which he attributes to Chrysippus between 'perfect and primary' causes. the whole set of causal factors involved in its production.

the Stoic theory of the psychology of action does leave room for the internality requirement. sic visum obiectum imprimet illud quidem et quasi signabit in animo suam speciem.the cause of action .' 33 As [b] and [c] suggest. Lucretius' DRN (2. this would favour Ruby's suggestion that the objector is Epicurus. and according to [a] and [b]. as is alleged by the objector. the external push by which the cylinder is set in motion. it is not necessary to give up the thesis that everything has an antecedent cause . is compatible with the idea that the causation of acts of assent does involve external factors but is not fully determined by them alone. It is first illustrated through the example of a cylinder rolling down a slope and then applied to acts of assent. How did Chrysippus show that assent is antecedently caused without being determined by external factors alone? According to [d].lacks itself an antecedent cause: assent is not fully determined by external factors alone because it lacks an antecedent cause. volubilitatem autem non dedit. while it is suggested in another source.' inquit. For earlier in F.251-60). that Epicurus. extrinsecus pulsa quod reliquum est suapte vi et natura movebitur. the only way of doing justice to the internality requirement would be to concede that assent . 'qui protrusit cylindrum dedit ei principium motionis. on the other. Sharples in Cicero. falsum esset omnia fato fieri. if the objector were right. the aim of the argument is to establish. 10 and 176). at 23. As a matter of fact. in the context of a libertarian argument possibly directed against Stoic compatibilism.' 34 Unless the objector is thinking that having a cause does not necessarily imply having an antecedent and external cause (a position apparently envisaged by Carneades as a logical possibility at F 23-5. we find two causal factors. In other words. cf. It is possible that this may indeed be the position espoused by the objector. quid adferri poterit cur non omnia fato fieri fatendum sit? modo intellegatur quae sit causarum distinctio ac dissimilitudo. on the one hand.a thesis that would have to be given up if having an antecedent cause implied being determined by external factors alone. and its cylindrical shape by which it rolls down once it is set in motion. understood here as a thesis that follows from the claim that everything has an antecedent cause or is 'preceded by a cause' (as in F 21). The term used to refer to this '' 'Ut igitur. On Fate. his strategy consisted in appealing to a distinction between causes. used the notion of an uncaused atomic swerve as the only way to explain that our actions are not fully determined by external factors alone. sed adsensio nostra erit in potestate. the distinction is specifically between internal and external causes. Thus. quemadmodum in cylindro dictum est. it is suggested that for Epicurus something that lacks an antecedent cause is totally causeless. It is an open question whether the objector is thereby adopting the position that at least some things must lack a cause altogether if responsibility is to be saved. that the thesis that everything comes about by fate. sin omnibus quaecumque fiunt verisimile est causam antecedere. in order for assent (and action) to meet the internality requirement.[d] provided only that it is understood what is the distinction and difference among causes. 34 Anyhow.The Threat of External Determination 43 be adduced for not admitting that everything occurs by fate?. against the externalist objection. eaque. . In the former case. quod si aliqua res efficeretur sine causa antecedente.

an external state or event. this has been interpreted in at least two different ways: as the peculiar quality (iOCct 7tOt01:TJ'l) of the agent. and (b) impressions themselves do not impress the soul's pneuma (as Cicero would be obliged to be saying if visum were the impression). See. In recent scholarship. Long.A. 'just as if you throw a cylindrical stone across a region of ground which is sloping and steep.that causes an agent to form a practical impression. it is true that elsewhere (Acad. the definition of cognitive impression in DL 7. for although this factor is external. Thus. for example. that is common to a group of persons. A third possibility is envisaged by Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom. or as a set of qualities that defines a certain type of character and. The cylinder example and the analogy with the psychology of action are also found in book 7 (chapter 2. you were37 the cause and beginning of headlong fall for it. see LS 1. an explanation of the event that only alluded to the external factor would be incomplete. in F 42 'commota viso'.40) Cicero explicitly states that he translates !pCXV't:cxaicx as visum. rather than the external factor on its own. that the agent gives (or withholds) assent to the impression. Rather. 263-4. I do not know why. On the contrary: just as the external push does not cause the cylinder to have the power to roll.an external impressor. namely by the complete set of causal factors that fully determines its occurrence. In other words. 36 As in the case of the cylinder. Sandbach. in A. v. the external factor does not determine all by itself the effect .in this case. they are themselves the result of an impressor's impressing the soul's pneuma. 13 and Oxford Latin Dictionary. In this respect. Chrysippus claims that the same applies by analogy to acts of assent. It is the combination of the two factors. by which the agent differs from any other individual person. But it is not determined by the external factor alone. that is. 'It is. 385. then. the force and nature of the agent's mind is intrinsic to the agent and it is not itself caused by the external factor. 1971). 1. 341. His report closely coincides with the Cicero passage. 36 For the latter interpretation. The analogue of the push is a visum. The former interpretation is suggested as a possibility in LS 2.H. However good these reasons may be for adopting 'impressor' in this particular passage. LS 40C2). section 11) of Gellius' noctes Atticae. that determines the event. see Bobzien. it is not the push that causes the cylinder to have the power to roll. the distinction made in F 43 between visum and species becomes obscure. . which denotes a capacity or power for rolling ('rollability') that is triggered off by the external push. Determinism and Freedom. hence. Problems in Stoicism (London. 'Ennoia and prolepsis'. 'visum proximan causam habeat' and 'viso commoveri' are three expressions that 'point to the impression itself' rather than to the impressor. 35 The analogue of the cylinder's power to roll is the 'force <of the mind> and its own nature' (suapte viet natura). any act of assent is antecedently caused. the event is not fully determined by the external factor alone. on her view. s. In consequence.44 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism latter factor is 'volubilitas'. This I interpret as a 'thing seen'. 268-9 (a tensile state of the mind's pneuma). but soon 35 An alternative reading consists in taking 'visum' to mean 'impression' (see F. 37 Reading 'fueris' instead of 'feceris'. This power is independent from the external push insofar as the cylinder is not given this power by the external push.).53. For discussion. I prefer the other reading for two reasons: (a) if the visum were the impression.46 (SVF 2. so too neither the impressor nor the corresponding impression cause the agent's mind to have the specific force and nature it actually possesses.' he says.

contrary to what seems to be implied in F 43 and NA 7 .11 . 39 For an exhaustive list (featuring 26 names) of scholars who have adopted this interpretation. Bobzien contends that in the cylinder argument the internal factor is not a perfect and primary cause. Cicero does not say. sed quoniam ita sese modus eius et formae volubilitas habet: sic ordo et ratio et necessitas fati genera ipsa et principia causarum movet. causa quidem ei et initium praecipintantiae fueris. but just that the perfect and primary cause of assent (or of the cylinder's rolling down) happens to be internal. Just so the order and rule and necessity of fate sets types and beginnings of causes in motion.2. impetus vero consiliorum mentiumque nostrarum actionesque ipsas voluntas cuiusque propia et animorum ingenia moderantur. 40 See Sorabji. we also find in F an account by Cicero of how Chrysippus' distinction between internal and external factors squares with his distinction between causes that are 'perfect and primary' and causes that are 'proximate and auxiliary' (F 41-2). however. Whatever may have been the nature of the causes to which Cicero refers as 'perfect and primary'. which are presented by Cicero as mere necessary preconditions (twice in 42 and once in 44). 39 On this interpretation. although not for the reasons she mentions.The Threat of External Determination 45 it rolls headlong. 'lapidem cylindrum si per spatia terrae prona atque derupta iacias.the impressor .' 38 As in F 43. the external factor . not because you are now bringing that about. 'Chrysippus' theory of causes'. 23. He claims. 80. whereas the impressor and the corresponding impression are relegated either to a mere necessary precondition or at best to a triggering factor. the idea is certainly not that for Chrysippus the perfect and primary cause of a motion is always internal to the object that performs the motion. that.corresponds to the proximate and auxiliary cause of the assent. mox tamen ille praeceps volvitur. As I mentioned earlier. the term itself suggests that such causes have a greater explanatory power than those that are 'proximate and auxiliary'. 40 38 'Sicut. I believe that here and elsewhere he thinks that assent is necessary.' inquit. but because that is how its fashion and the capacity for rolling in its shape are. I think that this is a possibility (see below). his point being just that it is not subject to external necessity.the internal cause of assent is not on a par with the external impressor and the corresponding impression. neither the act of assent (or impulse) nor the action that results from the assent is fully determined by external factors alone. non quia tu id iam facis. and Blame. It is brought about by the combination of an external stimulus and the nature of the agent's mind. Cause. At least this is how Cicero's account has been traditionally interpreted in modern scholarship. In contrast with this view. namely that Chrysippus' intention is to establish that assent is not necessary. One implication of this would be that. but has an explanatory priority over them: it is the internal cause that does the causation proper of the act of assent. He thereby intimates that the force and nature of the agent's mind corresponds to the perfect and primary cause. 205 n. and our actions themselves. but the impulses of our minds and deliberations. see Bobzien. Necessity. in the assent example. are govemed by each person's own will and by the nature of our minds. . What the nature of these causes is. the latter not being itself determined by the former.' Marache's text has 'feceris' instead of 'fueris'.

41 Chrysippus proceeded otherwise. whether there is not a deeper sense in which the Stoic theory of the psychology of action is vulnerable to the externalist objection. namely by the artisan who built it and imposed on the 41 See Frede. on a different interpretation of the evidence. One may wonder. The internal cause of assent. unlike that of B. The autonomy of the internal cause at the time of the assent is plausible at first sight. whether it was used by Chrysippus in this particular argument against the externalist objection. second. is of such a nature as to cause assent to this type of impression. It is certainly not because I see a child trapped in a burning house. By analogy. is that the mind of A.is itself determined by earlier external factors? In the trapped child example. But. the same holds true of the cylinder. upon receiving a particular impression. but also a greater explanatory role than the one possessed by the external impressor and the corresponding impression. The external cause of assent does not determine the assent all by itself. could it not be argued that my being the kind of person to assent to the impression was something externally determined by my education? As for the cylinder too. that the nature and force of our mind is not itself determined by the impressor. since different persons react differently to the same impressions. 139. that assent is brought about by the combination of the impressor's acting on the mind through an impression and the nature and force of the mind and. must not be itself determined by any external factor. Now. is not its capacity to roll something that is ultimately externally determined. 'The original notion of cause'. But could it not be objected that the nature and force of the mind . But there is one proviso. the question whether this priority claim is compatible with what we do know of Chrysippus from Cicero F 43 depends on how we construe his overall strategy in that passage. the internal cause has no explanatory priority over the external impressor and the corresponding impression. the internal cause of assent emerges as having not only some role to play (the external factors cannot explain all by themselves why different people react to them in different ways). It is not because I push it from the top of a slope that it has the power to roll. for instance. According to F 43 and NA 7. the difference has to be accounted for in terms of a difference in the make-up of the person's mind. Remember that his distinction between internal and external factors is drawn in the context of an argument to the effect that our reactions to impressions caused by external impressors are not fully determined by these impressors.2. . His strategy consisted in maintaining that. According to this strategy. and form the impression that I ought to save him.the other factor at play . as we have seen. however. that I am the kind of person that would assent to the impression. Either strategy is effective as a reply to the externalist objection. According to this latter strategy. if it is. an agent A granted his assent whereas an agent B withheld it.46 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism This claim about the priority of the internal cause is philosophically attractive even though it is an open question whether it is Chrysippean and. which Chrysippus identifies with the nature and force of the mind. For it is true that the appropriate explanans of why.11. first. the strategy Chrysippus employed for reaching this conclusion was to argue.

This aspect of Stoic peculiar qualities is highlighted in a passage from Simplicius' commentary to Aristotle's de anima: with reference to <individual form> the Stoics speak of something peculiarly qualified.Filosofia 29 (2000).. It is not as if there had been a pre-existing cylinder on which the artisan then imposed a cylindrical shape. 36-218. The opponent could argue that the cylindrical shape that the cylinder now has was imposed on it from outside by the artisan who built it. -ro lhOj. 43 In what follows. 1989). 11-47. 45 Simplicius. Bobzien recognizes that 'this is a powerful criticism' and that it is one that Chrysippus cannot successfully meet. See 'El determinismo estoico y los argumentos compatibilistas de Crisipo'. I offer a different approach to the problem. Suppose we interpret the internal nature and force of the mind in F 43 as the peculiar quality of the agent (his iaia notOtT)«::). and was not ever. therefore.395. 14~2 and Sharples. there is not any one of them at which the cylinder itself received its cylindrical shape from outside.which in Stoic theory is corporeal . of all the instants of time that belonged (unapxet) in succession since the beginning of the present cosmic cycle. If so. as would be required in order for the cylinder to receive its shape from outside. Donini. An analogous conclusion may be drawn in connection with the internal nature and force of the mind in the case of assent.The Threat of External Determination 47 cylinder its cylindrical shape. ill Ar. 17 (LS 28D). 2 (SVF 2. externally determined. he caused that the predicate to have a cylindrical shape be satisfied by the lump of wood: he did not cause it to be satisfied by the cylinder itself.ote ytvOf. which is both gained. in Stoic terms. all together. The cylinder itself only began to exist at the very instant at which the lump of wood received the shape. . thanks to which it now has the capacity to roll? This line of objection is acute and gives a new impetus to the externalist objection voiced in F 40. 44 I owe to Marcelo Boeri this clarification.L. being what fixes the individual identity of the agent over time. and remains the same throughout the compound entity's life even though its constituent parts come to be and are destroyed at different times. is its cylindrical shape really something externally determined? Think of an artificial wooden cylinder. not the cylinder. esp. For a peculiar quality. 47. KCXtt01 -rwv f. Thus. attempt has been recently made to defend Chrysippus against it. See also E 1. is temporally coextensive with the agent. 21-179. It has been suggested by some scholars that the criticism was actually raised in the sections of paragraph 45 of Cicero's treatise that are now lost. 193-4. this quality .4s 42 See P. 43 See Bobzien. 217. To begin with the case of the cylinder. 44 Its currently having its characteristic shape. Determinism and Freedom. Cuademos del Sur.is never external to the agent.LW6ev eicSo~> icSiw~ 1tn:p& tOt~ EK tfi~ :EtoiX~ UyetCX1 1t010V. de an.Uwv &A. Ethos: Aristotele e il Determinismo (Alessandria. 34 n. 8 KCX'i IX6p6w~ emyivetCX\ KCX'i (XU a1toy(vet(X1 KCX'i to CXUtO EV 1t(Xvt\ t<l> toil ouv6itou Pi~¥ cStCXj. 42 A recent. and lost again. 290-301. but not entirely satisfactory. Cicero.A.LOpiwv &. LS 281): KCX6' 8 <sc. is not.IEV£1.177.LEVWV. 298-9. On Fate. But to this Chrysippus may reply that what the artisan acted upon at the time of creation was the lump of wood.LEVWV te KCXt ~p6etpOf.

it has been predetermined all along by god's providence that I would begin to exist at a certain point of time and that I myself would have the peculiar quality that I have. SVF 3. 201-16. 46 In this respect the internal nature and force of the mind is not externally determined. see Inwood. LS 60B).85-6 (SVF 3. In our lifetime it gradually evolves into fully moral concerns. 47 and also powerful arguments in favour of the innateness of the primary concern from which this development takes place. 1968). See also A.69. 48 See especially their arguments against the Epicureans. On their view. 47 The fullest account is to be found in Hierocles.310. For an extensive discussion of moral development in early Stoicism. there is not any one of them at which the agent himself takes on from outside the peculiar quality. 2005). Scott. the list of factors involved in the formation of moral character should include at least one crucial element that does not have an external origin.178. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. if anything.). See DL 7. McCabe. 5-6 (SVF 2. Again. 321-5. according to which the internal nature and force of the mind is the set of qualities that is common to the type of moral character possessed by the agent. ep. who may even be interpreted in connection with F 7-9 to have claimed that these factors are salient items in the whole set of causes that determine the development and its impact on individual decisions. To be sure. our moral evolution is determined by the development of our concern for self-preservation. a Stoic of the first century AD. This primary concern is innate and it is accompanied by an equally innate power to discriminate things that are appropiate to the preservation of our constitution from things that are not. Recollection and Experience (Cambridge. LS 46A). . Metaphysics. however. The Stoics have a detailed account of how this development occurs. at least not fully so determined. 225. 46 Strictly speaking. in E 4. who held that animals in general are impelled to pursue pleasure and avoid pain from the moment of birth. The conclusion is not affected if we adopt the rival interpretation.M. 'Extend or identify: two Stoic accounts of altruism'. 199-207. But. The important role given to innatism in ethics goes back at least to Chrysippus (Stoic. 48 They surely acknowledge that the development itself may be influenced by external factors.671. 1041E. 7-673. 121. 1-2 (SVF 2. The fullest discussion of Stoic innatism is D.7-8. for the reasons just mentioned. Bonhtiffer. it is not as if the agent pre-existed and at some point received from outside that peculiar quality. The Stoics plausibly argue that the moral character one may happen to possess is not determined by external factors alone. 49 But given that its starting point is not externally determined. LS 57A). acts upon matter from within. who pervades the whole world by mixture. 11 (LS 57G). What is externally determined.1027. Cf. this cannot imply that my mind is externally determined by god. not even matter is externally determined by god because the Stoic god. 1995). Epicter und die Sroa (Stuttgart. See Alexander of Aphrodisias. of all the instants of time that belonged in succession since the beginning of the present cosmic cycle. Seneca. such as our attitude towards the well-being of our fellow humans. This much is acknowledged by Chrysippus himself. 49 As has been brought out by Sedley in 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causality'. rep.48 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism As in the case of the cylinder. mixt. is the matter that has been predetermined all along to take on that specific peculiar quality. 182-215 and more recently M. Salles (ed. in R. LS 45H) and DG 306. Soul and Ethics in Ancient Thought (Oxford.

I believe. But they are not determined by external factors alone.as 'Epicurus' did . everything we do is in fact fully determined by external factors alone'.'if the world is governed by determinism.that causal determinism inevitably yields full external determination. Our actions are necessitated. Its purpose is to establish. 3. If we look at Chrysippus' reply from this specific dialectical perspective. and if innate or connatural factors are themselves things that one could hardly be responsible for (either legally or morally). examined in the next chapter. The question. To look into the sufficient conditions for responsibility. we need to consider another compatibilist theory. if action ultimately involves the activity of so many external factors. the Chrysippean reply is not inappropriate as a compatibilist argument seeking to prove that responsibility is compatible with determinism. it becomes clear that the appeal to innate and connatural factors is not intended to pinpoint sufficient conditions for responsibility. . The causal chain by which they are produced is structurally different from that of the events and the states that take place at us but are fully determined by factors that are external to us. I wish to thank Bob Sharples for pressing this question on me. given that our actions ultimately involve innate and connatural factors in their causes. rather. misses the point of Chrysippus' reply to the externalist objection.4 How much is the Theory intended to prove? One could still ask whether. that an incompatibilist is not entitled to maintain . The reply is not intended to establish that.The Threat of External Determination 49 I have argued in this chapter that the extemalist objection . we are thereby responsible for them.does not pose a real threat to Stoic compatibilism.

In particular. In Chapter 5.a theory reported by Alexander of Aphrodisias in DF 13 and Nemesius of Emesa inN 35. It should lead us to reconsider the place that has been given to the Stoics not only in the history of compatibilism. until we come to Chapter 5. I shall assume that he is. To be more precise. I explain in detail why this is not the view I favour. the version of the objection that will be discussed in this chapter states that if it was necessitated that one <I>-ed at t. the agent could not have done otherwise in a certain sense of the capacity. I return to this issue in section 5. 1 This formulation is cumbersome but required in order to distinguish this specific capacity to do otherwise from a general dual capacity. some scholars have doubted whether we may trace back the origin of the theory to early Stoicism. then. and (b) to bring out a strong similarity between this argument and a prominent compatibilist argument developed in recent times by Harry Frankfurt.5.Chapter 4 Reflection and Responsibility One might grant to the Stoics that causal determinism does not entail full external determination. this freedom is not enough. The problem to be discussed. but Nemesius mentions Chrysippus. relevant for responsibility. I undertake the study of the theory in sections 4. I believe that Chrysippus is the author of the theory and. 51 .4. although moral responsibility requires this freedom from external determination. is whether this specific dual capacity is indeed relevant for responsibility. as alleged by the incompatibilist. one lacked at t the dual capacity of either <I>-ing at tor not <I>-ing at t. 1 and unless one did have this capacity one cannot be held responsible for the action actually performed. which is fully compatible with Stoic determinism. It may be felt that the theory designed by Chrysippus to meet the internality requirement does not provide enough ground for a complete theory of moral responsibility. The parallel with Frankfurt is drawn in section 4. According to the Stoics it is not. which suggests that he is the author. but also in the current philosophical debate on the nature of responsibility. Alexander does not name the author of the theory.1 to 4. and the aim of the present chapter is twofold: (a) to study a Stoic theory where an argument is given against its relevance for moral responsibility. the incompatibilist may complain that if an action and its underlying psychology are necessitated at all (let alone by mere external factors). however.3 below. but insist that. In spite of Nemesius' indication. This conceptual proximity is of both historical and philosophical interest.

'Self-motion in Stoic philosophy'.ona'twp Ko:'i &A. W~ 1:C\l iilio:n 'to ljluxew Ko:\ eKacr't<i' 1:&v <putwv 1:0 tot6vlie Ko:pnov <pepew Ko:\ 'te\l A.. <in accordance with> impulse and 'krisis' 2 Hence.LO:pj. ei Iii: E~ cilvayKTJ~ E1tO:KoA.Lfj~ yev'llcre'to:t. from the class of non-human animals. follows from necessity..2 below.7tpoi) oUiii:v e1:epov cilnolietKvuoucrt ilnliv'to: Ko:6' eij. ei.. 3 The theory is based on the Stoic scale of nature. too. when nothing of the things external and according to fate resists this impulse.LEVTJV.EVTJ~ ytv6j.LEVTJV cr<j>(e'tO:\ (eKaO''t<i' yap 'tWV yt VOIJ. NJ.1 Overview of the Evidence I begin by quoting the relevant parts of Nemesius' report inN 35: Those who hold that both that which depends on us and that which is in accordance with fate are preserved (for something in accordance with fate is given to each thing: just as cooling <is given> to water. Self-Motion: From Aristotle to Newton (Princeton.A. in turn.52 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism 4. . 18-27. if they also happen by us and in accordance with our nature. 106.the action thus performed fully depends on US ('t'EAEOV e<p' TJf.cr'i. 10-11: Oi lie A. too. and 106. Ko:'i. N 105. 23-48. 'tO't£ 'tO 7tEpt1tO:'teiv tEAEOV E<Jl' i)j. u<p' iJ!J. and Inwood. see D. may be unpacked as follows: (la) 'our nature' (i] TJJ.Tjv Ko:'i Kpicrt v . 1-4.L&V.iyov'te~ on KO:'i 'tO E<p.&v yiveto:t Ko:'i KO:'tcX 'tTJV iJIJ. will happen in accordance with fate. through 'our' nature] by fate depends on us' ('r:o t'h · TJJ. then walking fully depends on us and we will definitely walk) those who say these things (they are Chrysippus and Philopator and many other famous <Stoics>) do not prove anything else but that everything happens in accordance with fate . 4 Its two tenets are: (1) human nature comprises a number of elements that are related to human action. see section 4. For this reason.e..LEVOV e<p' TJf. &po: 'to lit' i)j. Lennox (eds). 1994).ot noA. Gill and J.LO:pj.pJ.LO:p!J. someone who acts in accordance with these elements is fully responsible for having performed the action .LE't'epa. But if exercising an impulse.TI j. which explain why it is responsible. 2 3 eij. Ko:'i AO:IJ.LO:pj. i)j.LEVTJV KO:t 'ta tfj~ opj.o'i. Illinois Classical Studies 17 (1992).ing responsibility. lie 1:&v :E'twtKwv Xpucrtnn6~ 1:e Ko:'i.. ~tA. that which happens through us by fate depends on us. <puat~) is composed of a set of elements that are specific to human nature . (lb) these elements are sufficienffor explaiQ. 4 For extensive discussion of the Stoic scale of nature. moving upwards to fire.tV ecrtt. lifjA. Thesis (1).i6<i! 'to KO:'tw<pepes KO:t 'te\l nup'i.ou6ei KO:t 'tO opj. it is clear that those things that happen by impulse.oi to:iho: A. so too giving assent and exercising impulse <is given> to animals. 'A neglected Stoic argument for human responsibility'.La.L. oihw KO:t te\l (<\><il 1:0 cruyKo:'to:'ti6ecr6o:t KO:t opj. i.LEV) .E.LO:pj. moving downwards to the stone.LeVT)\l ytvOf.Levov e<p' iJ!J. that is. notably. For the meaning of this term..EVTJV yivecr6o:t .LWV uno 'tfj~ dj. in M.LWV uno 'Tl~ eiJ. O'tO:V ae 'tO:U'tn 'tfi OPIJ.iyov1:e~ (ei.t).LtV eon).LEVTJV.LiV etvo:t KO:t nanw~ 1tEpt1tO:'t.EVWV lieli6cr6o:t 't\ K0:6' Eij.LTJiiEv cXV't\1tEO'n 'tWV 8~w6ev KO:t K0:6' eij.LO:p!J.ov w~ K0:6' eij.A.they serve to demarcate the class of humans from the lower classes of the scale of nature and. Hahm. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. and (2) this explanatory link holds even though human action and its psychology are fully predetermined and causally necessitated.LiV KO:t 'tO K0:6.LtV eiva.etepo:v <pucrw Ko:t op!J.O'Oj. bearing this sort of fruit to each of the plants.L&V. 6-14. 1:0 cilvw<pepe~. 'that which happens through us [that is.G.

eyouotv i:cp' iJfJ. The Ko:l is deleted by most editors. In consequence. 6 A. listed by R. 15-18: 1:Glv ov1:wv "tE Ko:l ytvofJ. There are differences between the two reports. the differences mentioned in DF 34 cannot be natural in the strong sense.EVOV [Ko:l] <'h 'iJfJ. Sharples in 'Alexander of Aphrodisias.i:V dvo:t 1:0 ytYofJ.Evov Ko:l lh' TJfJ. . Cf. As is observed by Sharples (see also Bobzien. is not used in 34 (the differences 34 envisages between humans are not set out as differences in 'proper' natures). I focus on what Alexander's report has in common with Nemesius' in connection with the topic of responsibility and human nature. 17). 48. which are those that are envisaged in DF 13. human nature is not explicitly mentioned. are those of all animate things the same. 243-66 at 254--5. Against this evidence.i:v dvo:t "to u1to "tE 1:ij~ Ei. envisaged in DF 13.14. nor even. for the differences in species of the things that are show the differences in their natures). 378 n.9 The link between human nature and what depends on us is not explicit either. at 181. where it is said that differences in moral character (something more specific than human nature) are 'in accordance with nature' (Ko:"ta cpuot v). 24--30. In Alexander's words: the natures of the things that are and come to be are various and different (for those of animate and inanimate things are not the same. But the notion of nature in this chapter of DF is fine-grained enough to accommodate the human species as a class on its own.eyouotv i:cp' iJfJ. De Fato: some parallels'.WV. 5 the key notion of what occurs 'through' (5ui) us is also used in connection with the notion of what depends on (bt{) us. Consider 181.W. again. Determinism and Freedom. 7 A. 18-21). 367 n. 6 And a remark in the margin of one of the MSS gives the fuller version of the thesis in a formula whose wording closely matches that of Nemesius: They say that what happens by fate and through us depends on us. !XU' ou<'le 'tWV EfJ. which suggests that these differences do correspond to differences in nature after all. tv· o:i yap KO:"t' d<'lo~ 1:Glv oV"twv llto:cpopo:l 1:a~ 1:Glv cpuot:wv o:u1:Glv <'lto:cpopa~ <'lt:t Kvuouot v). 9 But is the notion of nature in this chapter sufficiently coarse-grained to imply that humans constitute an infima species? Maybe not. Detenninism and Freedon. none of them indicates a difference in doctrine.fJ. 8 In Alexander's report.Reflection and Responsibility 53 In Alexander's report. 7 As in Nemesius. Classic Quarterly 28 (1978). In the opening lines of his report. but also to sub-classes of 'animate' .EVTJ~ ytvofJ. see Bobzien. DF 34 205.evwv o:i cpuoEt~ enpo:( "tE Ko:l <'h&cpopm (oil yap o:i O:U'tO:l 'tWV EfJ.ljrlixwv 'tE KO:l 'tWV aljruxwv. however. the theory is based on the Stoic scale of nature.ljrUXWV tX1tcXV'tWV o:i O:U't!XL 1t&A.O:PfJ. This is reflected in the tetminology used in each chapter: the notion of 'proper nature'. But it is also implied. 18-21: 5 In what follows. cmcial in 13 (181.GlV. For discussion. note that in Stoicism differences in moral character do not correspond to differences in the scale of nature. that they con·espond to divisions in the scale of nature. for example. however. the term 'nature' is used to refer not only to classes of entities such as animate and inanimate beings. we find: They say that what happens through us depends on us. In the present passage. • 181.

OfLEVW~. To determine what is specific to humans. the phrase 'through an entity by fate' appears to be an expansion of 'by an entity' . 11 As is suggested in a crucial example given in the chapter: the downward motion of the stone when released from a height in the absence of external obstacles.11 Thus the events that are said to occur 'by us' correspond to those which occur 'through us by fate'.t KCX. in fact. And since the events that occur 'by' an entity are those whose occmTence is in accordance with the proper nature of the entity. For in the whole of DF 13 the use of the preposition 'by' (uno) is closely connected to that of the preposition 'through' (&ux). as in Nemesius' report. those by fire in accordance with that of fire and those by a living creature in accordance with that of a living creature. if the occurrence of E is explanatorily related to the exercise by T of the elements that are specific to its proper nature.' EKCXO<OV tWV yt VOfLEVWV U'lt. in other words.m v &A. 13 Some 10 y\vetcn Iii: tcX ucp.tTJVO:YKCX.which is said in lines 182. The generic class of 'animals' ((<{>a) is defined by the possession of impulse and assent ('to ouyKa-ca-ci8eo8at Kat 6pj.is identified earlier in the text (181. we are responsible for the events that occur 'through' us despite the fact that these very events are necessitated.A. where human nature is explicitly referred to.&v).Wou Ka. they say. 3-4 to be a motion that occurs by fate 'through' the stone. tcX !-LEV U'ltO A.ta ti)v A. 1993). 10 The passage indicates how the notion of proper nature is related to that of an event that is brought about by an entity: an event E is brought about by an entity T if the occurrence of E is in accordance with the proper nature ofT.\ ta uno (<\lou Ka. the events that occur 'through' us (and depend on us) are those whose occurrence is in accordance with the proper nature of humans.those by a stone in accordance with that of a stone.o6a.v cpuot v ucp. 2-23) with something that is brought about 'by' the stone. O:UtWV y(veo6a. which it has already used to determine what distinguishes animals in general from the lower entities. the answer is not immediately clear. 12 How then does this Chrysippean theory individuate the nature of humans? 4. Animal Minds and Human Morals (London. KCX. EKttOtOU ytv6t-LeVa.tcX ti)v oiKe(a. ta li' uno nupo~ Ka.ta ti)v [uno] (<\lou.ta ti)v nupo~ Ka.\6ou. According to 181. seeR. the doctrine does not appeal to the notion of assent.tcX tf]v oiKe(a.w~ exew.2 Chrysippus' Account of Human Nature Even in Nemesius' report.( cpa. Finally. and each entity's type of constitution is fixed by fate. 13 On the ascription of assent to non-human animals in Stoicism.J.v cpuotv. 21-3: Nothing of the things which are brought about by each thing in accordance with its proper nature. . 41-4.U. can be otherwise. This is relevant for our purposes.54 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism the things that are brought about by each thing come about in accordance with its proper nature . 12 oUiii:v !-LEV tWV KCX. To each type of entity corresponds a certain type of constitution. but each of the things brought about by them comes about compulsmily. a. Sorabji. EKttO<OU ytvOt-LEVWV liUva.

16 In either case. that an entity's displaying that unique combination of mental activities is sufficient for its belonging to the class of humans. v. and (ii) Clement of Alexandria (strom.988): 'tO Kpi:va\.18.1. As I argue below.which involves critical acceptance .!ij Kal Kptcr\~ would state a sort of identity claim. which I address in what follows and in the next section. which intro. where assent is explicitly defined as involving verbalized assertion. It is clear that in this passage Kptm~ involves at least a critical selection of impressions: when humans KptVE\ their impressions. to achieve a better understanding of the doctrine. They believe that passionate persons are people who emit kriseis (in the former sense). See also Kptcr\~ in LSJ s. D 1. defines Kp(cr\~ as a type of assent (mxaa Kptcr\~ . as before. I accept as true the proposition p.a krisis in this sense combines the mental act of assenting to the proposition with the speech act of uttering affirmatively (to oneself) the corresponding sentence. In fact. 3. without having previously reflected on whether the propositions they assert and verbalize ought to be accepted as true. constitutes something specifically human. As some scholars have observed. something the frrst sense does not require at all. Imagine that I form the impression that p. Clement of Alexandria in a passage I quote and discuss in the next section. 2.992) who. a notion to which I shall return shortly.7. 14 The idea presumably is. and that I krinei that p in the former sense. in reporting the Stoics. This reading still leaves us with the question of what is meant by Kptcr\~. ep. cruyKa't6:6ecr(~ i:crn v).. But to be a krisis in the second sense. 14 The Ka( can also be taken epexegetically as a gloss of opf. especially.. So. One of them is that of judgement in the sense of verbalized assertion: to 'krinein' that p consists in (or at any rate involves) asserting to oneself that p is the case. But let us first consider the notion itself in more detail. the former does not entail the latter. the second sense of krisis. princ. they reject some of them and accept others. This possibility is actually envisaged by the Stoics as something that does occur in the context of passions. 113. early(?) Stoics ap. the term krisis may refer to either of two concepts.duce the concept of krisis. In Stoicism. 1haKp(vew in early Stoics ap. These two senses of krisis are not equivalent to each other. krisis goes along with the use of reason (A.20. There.! ij. in which case the expression 6pf. .6yo'3) and. 'our' nature (i) tifLE'tepa q>uov~) is referred to as consisting of impulse and krisis (opf! fl Kat Kptot-~). 16 See. I shall return to this particular issue in Chapter 6 in connection with Epictetus' theory of responsibility. 15 The other is that of critical acceptance of an impression.Reflection and Responsibility 55 further notion is required. 15 This sense of Kptcr\~ is suggested by the combination of two pieces of text: (i) Seneca. the acceptance of the impression also has to be based on a previous reflection about whether p is really the case or not. This should throw light on what the doctrine intends by the unique combination of impulse and krisis. either on general philosophical grounds or in Stoic theory.55. we need to know what krisis means in this context. In particular. By so doing. And this will help us to put forward in section 4.4 the reason given by the theory for the compatibility between determinism and responsibility. Origen.3 (SVF 2. and Epictetus. 11. thus.is very probably the one involved in the doctrine reported. 3-4. it may be found in lines 106. we may easily imagine people who uncritically accept as true and verbalize the propositional content of all (or most of) their impressions.1 and 2. SVF2.12.

Everson (ed. and (ii) in practical contexts. 11 (SVF 3. at any rate. 19 A. D 1. once the agent forms the cataleptic or clear impression that something is good for him to do. I 8-85. . the fully rational agent will never assent to an evaluative impression uncritically: a krisis in the first sense always presupposes a krisis in the second senseY Consider the case of a practical or 'impulsive' impression. 17 Long in 'The early Stoic concept of moral choice'.128. that this does not preclude that some examination be required to determine whether a given impression is cataleptic or clear in the first place. but only if. I may pause to consider whether in fact it would be good to go to the beach. But. Long. in the present circumstances. B (995b2--4) dealing with method. the fully rational agent will reflect about whether the action of 41-ing is as it appears in the impression. if it is cataleptic.495-6. LS 59E).). 239 have rightly remarked that in Stoic epistemology fully rational agents will not critically examine cataleptic impressions before assenting to them: (i) in purely theoretical contexts. namely appropriate. the agent finds that no other action is more appropriate at that time than 41.27. SeeM 7. Before Chrysippus.3. the critical acceptance will take the form of a reflective process aimed at deciding whether. whose content is a proposition such as I ought to cP (now) or it is (now) appropriate (Ka8ijKov) for me to cP. Companions to Ancient Thought 2: Psychology (Cambridge. once the subject forms a cataleptic impression that something is the case. There are actions which are appropriate without qualification. 18 This occurs. inS. namely virtuous actions. all things considered. insofar as it will depend on the particular circumstances that obtain at that time whether or not an action of this sort ought to be performed. however. And it is also possible that one forms a non-cataleptic impression that strikes one as cataleptic (cf. See also Stobaeus' remarks on the Stoic taxonomy of value in E 2. the agent should accept as true the proposition that 41-ing is appropriate. hence. the agent will try to determine whether.4. M 7. if the impression is cataleptic but represents a mere Ko:6fjKov nepta't'o:nK6v. Notice. 18 If.84.3 The Role of Reflection in the Psychology of Action I begin by considering how the distinction between the two senses of krisis verbalized assertion and critical acceptance . I had the appearance [impression]. Because there are many other things that I ought to be doing.1-6 and 3. 84-5 and Inwood in Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. A good example of this sort of reflection has been given by Anthony Long: 'Like it or not. an impulse for 41-ing will be exercised. he will assent to the impression also straightaway and by necessity. An example of this comes in an Aristotle passage from Met.8.257 and D 3. without previous reflection. 'Representation and the self in Stoicism'. he will assent to the impression straightaway and by necessity.A.108-109 (SVF 3. LS 58E). To reach a decision. an act of assent will occur and. So the impression which represents them as appropriate. the verb krinein had already been used by Aristotle (although with a legal connotation) to refer to a comparative and all-thingsconsidered evaluation of alternatives.253-4 and 256). he will stop to consider whether he should perform the action or not. II I. In Stoic theory. 41-ing is appropriate in those particular circumstances.' 19 This reflection provides the agent with comparative reasons for assenting to (or rejecting) an impression.works in the psychology of action. For it is possible that someone forms a cataleptic impression but finds it unconvincing (ibna't'o9) given the particular external circumstances in which the impression is formed (cf. In this instance. that it would be good to go to the beach. 1991). let us say.56 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism 4. in the case of 't'ft Ko:6'11Kono: m:pla't'O:'t'lKa and •iX OUK &el Ko:6'11Kel described in DL 7.1-5). In other words. will be assented to straightaway. otherwise.

the things that appeared are indeed as they initially appeared.g o:ipetwv tOV A. eKe'ivo o:ipe'ito:t KO:to:A. ei ~ev e~eto:(6~evo: tCt <po:vto:cr8evta. on reflection. on reflection.einc.iov "CO ~i} O~Otc.A.:. he who has heard all the contending arguments.>v aK1lKOO"CO: naV"tc.iy~o:Vt09 O:U"CCt toil A.2o The passage I should like to examine in detail is later and comes from chapter 11 of DF (178. ei at aA. [iia] if. that he does not follow impressions in the same way as them. 21 And I suggest that this is indicative that the Stoics exploited the Aristotelian notion of krinein to formulate their own notion of krisis.6yc. leaving behind what initially appeared to him as deserving of choice. On Fate (London. 20 en {le a~<ptOP11"tOUV"tc.oyet"CO:t {IT} npo9 amiv"tc. but has reason from her as a judge of the impressions that impinge on him concerning certain things as deserving to be chosen.>v (<\>c. aA.>V "to "CWV &Uc.>v "COV &v8pc.o n 0:0 o:ipE"tW"tEpov. must be in a better position for judging. noUCt. the latter case is described. having seemed different to us in their first impressions <from what they appeared to us subsequently>. ola ti}v apxi}v e<paVE. yoilv tO:'i9 npWtO:t9 <pO:V"CO:OtO:t9 i]~iv aUo'io: M~o:vto: OUKEt' E~ElVEV en\ "tij9 npoA. 1983).J11!rec.' EXElV no:p. In [iib].>9 exew nA.6yov. 17-27). 5to npo:x8evto: &v ocrov en\ t'fi O:U"CWV yevo~evn <pO:V"tO:Ot~ [yevo~ev11]. 140.>9 EKelVOt9 "CO:t9 <pO:V"CO:OlO:t9 fnecr8o:t. 5ta to pouA. [i] It is agreed by everyone that man has this advantage from nature over the other living things. Alexander of Aphrodisias. on account of our deliberating about them they were not done. There is no doubt that the picture on offer is greatly influenced by Stoic theory.>V KO:t "CWV A. as if they were the parties to a case. but [iib] if they appear different or/and something else <appears> more deserving to be chosen. <\1 XPW~EV09.>V C. see R. either of the two following things occurs (or both. no longer remained as in our previous notion when reason put them to the test.g o:ipe"COV O:U"C<\J <po:vev..A. This happens if. he chooses that. 21 On the Stoic influence in this account of deliberation.>v to ti}v apxf]v C. But the evaluation Alexander describes is specifically of actions.>9 eA. [ii] Using this.oio: <po:(ve't"O:t).>V .eucro:cr8o:t m:p\ O:U"CWV OUK enp&xe. and of actions that are presented in impressions. 22 Two different types of cases are distinguished: when. he assents to the appearance and so goes in pursuit of them.o Kpivt¥1 "COV wcrnep avn5tK!. though they would have been done as far as concerned the impression of them. 22 178. t1). the agent assents to a first evaluative impression and when.o'io: <po:ivetat f) <KO:t according to one MS> &A. he does not. o:im'j9 Kpni}v "CWV npocrm n"COUOWV <pO:Vt!XOtWV nepi "ttv!.W. cruyKo:tati8etai tE t'fi <pO:V"tO:cri~ KO:t 0Utc. 17-27: o~oA.>nov "toiho napa Tij9 <pU0£!.6you. according to one of the MSS): (1) the course of action that appears in the impression no longer appears as it initially did (ei of: aA. It introduces a late Peripatetic concept of deliberation (~ouA.nov avayK11 EXEtv npo9 r. Sharples. (2) some alternative course of action turns out to be more peA. As in the Aristotle passage. when they are examined. KO:t eon.>9 ~etetcrtv aut&. [iii] At any rate <there are> many things <which>.>V.Reflection and Responsibility 57 Further. krinein carries the sense of a comparative and all-thingsconsidered evaluation of alternatives. on reflection. The text is relevant for our present purposes because it shows in detail how the notion of krinein works in the context of the psychology of action.A. [iv] and so.:.A.

on reflection. the text also suggests what the difference is between agents who use their faculty to accept impressions critically and those who do not. .714): it A. no details are given here concerning how the use of this faculty operates. the difference between fully rational agents. but instead judge the presentations and not be calTied away with them. I explore in detail the normative force of nature in Stoic theory in Chapter 6. the agent who assents and acts in accordance with his use of the capacity to accept impressions critically will leave behind what appears as valuable in the first impression. If so. a Christian bishop of the second century AD.111 (SVF2. is that the former.oy~KTJ 1\e 1\Uvo:ln~. A similar point is made by Clement of Alexandria. but not the latter. which is very significant indeed. and perform the action itself provided that nothing external hinders. and animals and unreflective agents on the other. It does not essentially reside in what they actually assent to. in a report of the Stoics on human individuation: But. on the one hand. If either (1) or (2) occurs (or both do). It is also implied that not every human being actually uses that faculty: we all have it and we should all use it insofar as the faculty itself is distinctive of human nature.58 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism choiceworthy (aipe-rw-repov).. 23 strom. there are cases where a first evaluative impression about what is to be done is not left behind. will never give assent to a first impression before having reflected on the all-things-considered appropriateness of the action it presents. however. 23 The passage suggests that humans possess a specific faculty that enables them to assess impressions before assenting to them. both of the two following things occur: (1 ') the course of action that appears in the impression still appears as it initially did (oia ·~v apx~v e<pave). OUX ~OIXU'tW~ 'tOt~ tXAOY01~ (<\Jo~~ Opj. but rather that they do not assent to them automatically. it should not exercise impulse in the same way as irrational animals do.ITJ OUV0:1to<p€pea8o:t O:UtO:t~. In contrast with the Alexander passage..by impressions).liXV O<pELAt~. Alternatively. thus. instead of assenting to them automatically (which is how I interpret the notion of being carried away ouvano<pepeo8cu . This happens. to the same impressions as those that are assented to by the unreflective agent.20. The difference. the agent will assent to the first impression (ouyKa-ra-r18e-ca( -re -r'fi <panao(~). if. 2. and (2') there is no alternative· course of action that turns out to be more choiceworthy than the one presented in the first impression. To put it differently. it is manifest that the idea is not that fully rational agents (who do use the faculty systematically) do not assent to their first impressions. according to [iia]. As in the Alexander passage. Having distinguished the two cases above. tXAAiX KO:t 1\~0:KptVtl V "ta~ <pO:V'tO:OtO:~ KO:t j. For the reflective agent will sometimes assent to his first evaluative impressions (when (1') and (2') are fulfilled) and. il\(o: ouao: t"ii~ &:v8pu:me(o:~ lj!uxi\~. since the rational capacity is specific to the human soul.

the assent is always preceded by an assessment of the impression. Epictetus. which criteria should I use to reach a decision? One that is especially important in Chrysippus. 'Reservation in Stoic ethics'.we can interpret in at least three different ways the equation between 'our nature' (ti ftf. and T.I.i. A.1 and. 24 This appeal to cosmic order rather than to legal matters strongly suggests that the reflection envisaged by this theory is intended to guarantee moral. The Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1988).6. Brennan. LS 58J): 'As long as the future is uncertain to me I always hold to those things which are better adapted to obtaining the things in accordance with nature.eKnK6v. For my foot too.this corresponds to the krisis or critical acceptance of the impression. see R. is the action choiceworthy? Should I assent to the impression?'. (b) I reflect on the all-things-considered appropriateness of the action.E't"Epa q>uat~). a course of action <I> is more desirable or appropriate than a course of action \jT at a time t provided that at t <1>-ing is more in accordance with god's providential plan than \jf-ing. (c) I reached the conclusion that the action is choiceworthy and. 24 See Chrysippus ap. D 2. for god himself has made me disposed to select these.W.A. 149-77. Whatever impression the former assents to. I would even have an impulse to be ill.WV &v E7t. Archiv fiir Geschichte der Philosophie 82 (2000). Thus. Because of step (b). even in the absence of a law or a judge that forbids or encourages the course of action that was assented to.I. Back to Nemesius.a E7t\ -co 7tTJAOiluBat. thereby. for instance.at 7tpo9 -co -cun:&vetv t&v Ka-c& cpuuw· au-co9 y&p fl. 25 The reasons I have for thinking that 'nature' in both DF 13 and N 35 refers to human nature in general and not. the fully rational agent will be responsible. 'Stoic eudaimonism'. 77-99. if it had intelligence. ei M ye nlletv O't\ vouel:v flO\ KaBdfJ. To recapitulate.).9 (SVF3. someone who has acted on the basis of a critical acceptance of an impression must have gone through the following process: {a) an impulsive impression was received presenting a certain course of action as appropriate.verbalized assertion and critical acceptance of impressions . for the assent and the corresponding action (it will 'depend on him' in this moral sense). that is. If we consider the two possible senses of the term krisis in his report . 197-216 at 203-204. But if I actually knew that I was fated now to be ill. au-co. and morally so.i.l.e\ -c&v euqmeu-cepwv E)(Of. Both Clement and Alexander are silent on the criteria used by the fully rational agent in step (b) to decide whether the impression should be assented to.' o Beo9 e7tOtYJuev toutwv •hcA. Sharples. what is specific to us qua humans. rather than legal.191. would have an impulse to get muddy' (f. Wpf. is whether the action in question is in accordance with providence: given that the world is providentially ordered for the best. When I ask myself whether the action presented in the impression is worth performing all things considered. assented to the impression and exercised an impulse for the action . especially. asking myself 'given the present circumstances. n . Long and Sedley trans. 15-18.ap-cat vilv. 'Could Alexander (follower of Aristotle) have done better? A response to Professor Frede and others'. For discussion. in the discussion I offer of DF 181. are given in section 4. (d) the impulse yields the action. 25 on the one hand. responsibility. to the individual nature of a person. Ka\ Wpf. Ka\ y&p 0 7tOU9. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1987).Reflection and Responsibility 59 lies in how they assent to impressions: they do not assent to them in the same way (oux waau't"wo. c\.. Long.Ol -c& f:~fj9. ei cppeva9 dxev.i.E)(pt9 &v atlT]AIX f. call the impulse in (d) a 'fully rational impulse'.). and to which I shall return in the next section.

Actually.fj and Kptot~. 6l) to suppmt his interpretation of Stoic impulses as utterances of imperatives. 26 On this question.fj and Kp(ot~ constitutes (or is part of) 'our nature' means that the impulses which are most paradigmatic of human nature . To be sure.fj and Kp(ot~ constitutes (or is part of) 'our nature' means that every human impulse.60 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism and the combination of 6p!J. goes along with (or is constituted by) the assertion and verbalization of the propositional content of an impression that summons the agent to act in a certain way. see the evidence used by Inwood in Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. 26 But there are good reasons for believing that this feature of human impulse is not the only one implicit in our passage. 42-66 (esp. on the other. which construes krisis to mean just verbalized assertion of a proposition. unlike non-human animal impulses. is fully rational.fj and Kpi'ot~ constitutes (or is part of) 'our nature' means that every human impulse. As I argue in Chapter 6. however.fj and Kpi'ot~ is intended by the doctrine reported by Nemesius as an explanation of responsibility. One of them.are those that are fully rational. (N3) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J. is this: (N 1) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J. unlike non-human animal impulses. This interpretation is not without problems. the notion that human impulse essentially involves (or is constituted by) assertion and verbalization is clearly not something that could by itself explain that the corresponding action is responsible (or 'depends on us'' e<p. (N2) The thesis that the combination of 6p!J.tV). The Chrysippean doctrine reported in DF 13 and N 35 is partly designed to explain why there are things that 'depend on' us in the ethical sense of responsibility. From a Stoic point of view.insofar as human nature involves the capacity to accept impressions critically . the thesis that every human impulse goes along (or is constituted by) assertion and verbalization is Stoic. that is. .and there will always be. the Stoics think that there are. And to explain why these persons are nevertheless responsible for their actions the Stoics do not appeal to the notion that their impulses involve (or are constituted by) assertion and verbalization. The other two interpretations lean on the idea that the term Kpi'ot~ does not mean assertion and verbalization only: it also involves the notion of critical acceptance of impressions as described by Alexander in the passage from DF quoted earlier in this section. Thus (N 1) is inadequate given that the combination of 6p!J. TJ!J.persons who become unable to withhold assent to their first practical evaluative impressions. their explanation lies rather in the notion that these persons are (very often) fully responsible for having become unable to withhold assent to their first impressions. those which are actually based on a prior reflection concerning the all-things-considered desirability of the action.

LTI f. to assess impressions.LtV ei vat Ka\ n&v1:w~ nept na't't1oof. 40: 'I agree that there is a very large difference between those who are capable of reflecting on their appearances and those who are not. 7).' 28 The modal interpretation of the 1taV1:<.LEV) requires some comment. 105. 2 (e~ avayKTl~).eov e<p' iJf. The necessity of the action derives from the combination of the impulse and the absence of external obstacles: given these two factors.LEVTJV. is an advantage that (N3 ) possesses over (N 1). the use of that capacity is at least relevant for responsibility.L&v) and fated. for example. 19 (1t&crcx avayKTl). The details of the relation are conspicuous in Nemesius' report: 'When nothing of the things external and according to fate resists this impulse [that is. .1-2. for example. It just states that. in order for an impulse to be fully in accordance with human nature. 4-5).>~ is supported by the context..>~ in this context as 'come what may' (see 'The three deterministic arguments opposed by Ammonius'.Animal Minds and Human Morals. 4. if their actions had been inevitable all along. 28 Its purpose is to stress the deterministic aspect of the theory of responsibility on offer. Alexander. I construe the clause to convey a modal thesis: the agent (we) will necessarily walk. 'utique' in Seneca's analysis of anger in ir. And I think the capacity so to reflect is indeed relevant to moral responsibility. in tum. derived from their rational faculty (A. Moreover.. (N3) avoids the main difficulty faced by (N2). Cf. The same applies to the absence of external obstacles. See also Sorabji. a fully rational impulse]. then walking fully depends on us and we will definitely walk' (o1:av 1:a1hTI 't'TI OPf. DF 183. 23 and 106.oytKTJ ouvafu~). See. which leaves room for there being people who do not always.Lapf.Lev). I begin with two questions: how strong is the thesis that such an impulse is sufficient for one's being morally responsible for the corresponding action? And how does this thesis relate to the question of necessitation and the compatibility with responsibility? Regarding the latter question.20-132. 27 This. or who never. use the capacity. which is said to be fated. as is recognized even by the incompatibilist. (N3) does not assert that all the impulses exercised by humans are fully rational. Sorabji translates 1taV1:<. 105. 11-12. 105. This seems to leave us with (N3). and Ammonius' use of 1tav1:<. in my view.4. oe 27 See. 2. 131.4 The Argument for Compatibilism As we saw earlier. the Chrysippean doctrine reported by Nemesius and Alexander relates what depends on us to what is specific to human nature. It is important to stress that the impulse itself is necessitated (cf.ou8ei Kat 1:0 6pf. 23: e~ avayKTJ~ e1taKoA. 't'O't'e 't'O nept na1:eiv 1:eA. it has to be fully rational. Thus.' Sorabji's concern with the Stoic position is that this reflection is not sufficient for responsibility: 'No amount of reflection. would make them liable to praise and blame. This finds a parallel in the Clement passage quoted earlier.. 105. the clause 'and we will definitely walk' (Kat mxnw~ nept 1ta't'tlOOf. 21 (avayKTl).Reflection and Responsibility 61 (N 2) should be dismissed on the grounds that for the Stoics not every human impulse is indeed fully rational in the above sense.28-9 and 184.>~ in his discussion of the Reaper Argument (in A1: int. the action becomes necessary and inevitable.LTJOEV avnneon 't'WV e~weev Kat Ka8' eif.

then.12-22. Thus.it is necessary given certain conditions 29 . 32 Epictetan reflection also proceeds on the basis of a similar criterion. then walking completely depends on us'. but also the conviction was based on argumentative reasons. even though the necessity of the action is derivative . fj ll T)OEV avn neon) refers to the absence of obstacles to the actual action that corresponds to the impulse. yet. that the assent and the action were the right thing to do. notwithstanding the all-encompassing scope of necessity. 23-30.EV would have to occur in the O't!XV clause rather than in the 'tO'tE clause. Epictetus uses the term 'understanding' (napaKoA. and have reasons to be certain. the capacity of acting otherwise at the time of the actual action. In reply to an incompatibilist.ot38T)crt~) or. 2. MA 3. I am certain. .EV does not suggest that necessitation explains responsibility. more fully. the impulse's being based on a krisis is deemed by the doctrine to be sufficient on its own for the action's depending on the agent in a moral sense. To denote it. 1.it derives from a combination of two factors.8. If I acted from an impulse based on a prior reflection. I could perfectly say: 'Yes. for example.5-6.J~ m:pt7t!X'tllOOIJ. 133-75. the absence of obstacles to an alternative course of action is irrelevant for determining whether the action depended on me. I return to this question in the final chapter (section 6.' I return to this issue when I come to compare Chrysippus' compatibilism with Frankfurt's. All this suggests that according to the Chrysippean doctrine reported a strict and all-encompassing necessitation is at work. I regard myself as justified in having acted as I did. 32 See. and 2. D 1. thanks to this reflection. where he stresses that the necessitated behaviour of an entity is due to the combination of external and internal factors.3. 30 The clause K!Xt 7tav·te. notably. namely whether a given oe 29 A similar point is made in Alexander's report at 181. that is.6. In the text.28. The kind of reflection involved in Chrysippean fully rational impulses is also prominent in the late Stoicism of Epictetus. I take this sufficiency claim as evidence that the theory is responding to an incompatibilist who maintains that responsibility requires the specific dual capacity for acting.62 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Thus.42. and not to the absence of obstacles to an alternative counterfactual course of action. 31 See S. the sentence would have to read (which it does not): 'whenever nothing external and fated hinders this impulse and [whenever it is true that] we shall walk definitively.19-20. To suggest the former. each of which is necessitated and fated on its own.10. Given those reasons. Phronesis 43 (1998). 'understanding our use of impressions' (1t1Xp1XKOAOU8T)Ot~ t'TI XP1loet t'WV q>IXVt'IXOt&v). Cf. In line with a recent interpretation of the theory. sections 6 and 7 of 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem'. but just that responsibility is compatible with it. As the text stands. the clause 'when nothing resists this impulse' (ihav t'IXUt'TI t'TI op!J. that is.1 and 4. 31 We may think of one particular reason why in the present context Chrysippus would hold that a fully rational impulse is sufficient for responsibility. not only did I form the conviction that the action was worth performing. 30 Notice that an action's depending on me does not require that I could have acted otherwise (either in those very circumstances or at some other time). Bobzien. I know that it was necessary for me to assent to the impression and to act as I did.2). the 7tUV'tW~ 1tt:ptna"t'llao!J.

or have impulses for.w~ y{yvea8on 't"tX ytyv6f. see R. however.7.18 and 1.5 Chrysippus and Harry Frankfurt Chrysippus' argument contains some of the basic intuitions put forward by Harry Frankfurt. are indeed in accordance with god's providential plan. which requires knowledge of whether the courses of action we desire. 121) Long explains why Epictetus' thesis that not even god can constrain prohairesis cannot be intended to 'introduce a clear break in the causal nexus dependent on Zeus and also called fate by the Stoics'. as we shall see in Chapter 6. that we are responsible despite determinism). and Long.A. Stobaeus (E 4.against libertarianism. SeeD 1.a prominent modem compatibilist philosopher.30-c. 2. For the idea that the attainment of this state necessarily requires 'understanding' (no:po:KoA. See Musonius Rufus ap. Brennan. and it is not possible for the things that happen to happen otherwise than they do now' ('t"OtO:U't"T] iJ 't"OU KOOf. and will be the nature of world. 345-60 at 350-52.34 cited by Long in 'Representation and the self in Stoicism'. 33 In Epictetus. its relation to the backward-looking problem of the ascription of moral responsibility is also clear in at least some of his extant Discourses. Against Dobbin ('Prohairesis in Epictetus'.110 and 4. see 1.7. This is a state to be aimed at and whose attainment requires that none of our desires and impulses be frustrated.22.1.3 and 27-9. Epictetus.4-6. Determinism and Freedom. is. 2002).14-15. 113.100). See also 1.22.15. 111-35 at 121 and 133 and Epicteflls: Discourses I (Oxford. which I comment on in section 6. 'Prohairesis in Epictetus'. For a fuller treatment of this question by Long himself. 36 A general statement of determinism is attested for Musonius Rufus (AD c.14-17 and 2. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 25 (Winter 2003). 111.4.1.pa~ia).29 and 4. the topic of reflection is connected mainly with the forward-looking theme of freedom of emotion and tranquillity of mind (anaeew: and a·w. 2.3.84.24. O:xford Studies in Anciellt Philosophy 21 (Winter 2001).OU cpuat~ KO:l ~v KO:l eon KO:l EO't"O:t KO:l mix ot6v 't"E &A.44.i.61 and 4. Dobbin. Graver. Ancient Philosophy 11 (1991).6. 'Not even Zeus'.ou8T]at~).17. 33 34 . For discussion of this specific issue see T. there is a problem surrounding whether someone who acts without prior reflection should be held responsible for the action. But there is no good reason to suppose that Epictetus was not a determinist and that both determinism and compatibilism are not presuppositions of his ethics. 'Fate and free will in Stoicism'.Reflection and Responsibility 63 course of action is in accordance with god's providential plan. On the questions of determinism and compatibilism in Epictetus. chaps 4 and 6. 259-86 at 275--S and M.8.i.EVO: i') w~ vilv exet). 1998). 36 4. Bobzien. Js See notably D 1.4.28. One important difference between Chrysippus and Epictetus is that the latter does not make it explicit that his views are compatibilist (that is. Epictetus' teacher.6. 220-22 and 230. On freedom of emotion and tranquillity of mind in Epictetus. If unreflective agents are not argumentatively convinced that what they do is right. 34 Although in Epictetus the topic of reflection is primarily connected to this forward-looking theme. 35 On his view. 335-8. what is it that justifies blaming or praising them for what they do? This very question presupposes that the ascription of responsibility poses no difficulty in the case of agents who do act from a prior reflection. 1. 3. 60): 'such was.6.7. see his Epictetus (Oxford.1.2. seeD 1.

In particular. and London. book ii. Watson (ed. Frankfurt's argument leans on the design of a thought experiment: someone A deliberately chooses to <P. Let us look at Frankfurt's theory of responsibility in detail. So A could not have acted otherwise at the time he <P-ed. 1975 (1690)). if A had shown any sign of an inclination not to <P. Essay Conceming Human Understanding. Schoeman (ed. such that. 37 Maria is a neurosurgeon who. is unaware of this. Elbow Room (Cambridge. are uncontroversial: (1) Maria did not intervene. The agent is responsible. Cause. xxi. conceals a device in his brain that allows her to monitor and control Jake's activities. in G. Locke. and as being incompatible with determinism. (2) it was impossible for Jake to have performed a different 37 See Frankfurt. I hope. the device would enable Maria to determine that Jake actually vote for Y. Responsibility. And if so. and the Emotions (Cambridge. 'Freedom of will and the concept of a person'.64 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism A central element in Frankfurt's theory is the contention that responsibility does not require the specific capacity to act otherwise often posited by the incompatibilists as a necessary condition for moral responsibility. Dennett. and acts accordingly.M. 24-40. especially. he engages in a practical reflection about whom he should vote for and concludes that. in the actual psychological process that led Jake to vote for Y. all things considered. P. B would have seen to it that A <P-ed anyway. J. 1984). Jake. chap. in F. The device installed by Maria is so sophisticated that it allows her to monitor and control in detail Jake's voting behaviour. 1984).). Fischer. it suffices that the choice or desire on which the agent acted be backed up by a previous and all-things-considered practical reflection. . Cf. Necessity. all things considered. where the idea of a prior all-things-considered reflection becomes the focus of the argument. he and Chrysippus explain responsibility along the same lines: in order for an action to be responsible. and 'Identification and wholeheartedness'. at the time of the elections. he chooses and acts accordingly. chap. one of the basic intuitions of the incompatibilists turns out to be unfounded: at least in contexts such as this one. he should vote for Y. is someone who would never take a political decision precipitately.H. In consequence. Sorabji. Jake. Joumal of Philosophy 79 (1982). Nidditch (Oxford. 254-5. This thought-experiment appeals to two facts which. if Jake were to show any sign of an inclination to vote for party X. Thus. But Frankfurt's conclusion is that A is nevertheless responsible for having acted as he did. J. 6. in performing an operation on Jake.). Mass. and Blame. 'Responsibility and control'. because the agent's choice (or decision) was based on a previous practical reflection: the agent rationally concluded that. Free Will (Oxford. ed. 'Alternate possibilities' and. and D. meanwhile. Character. So. sections 8-11. he contends. though. but there is someone B who can interfere with A's actions. The following is an adapted version of the thought-experiment he originally proposed. Even though Frankfurt's theory does not deal explicitly with the question of predetermination. the fact that A actually lacked the capacity to act otherwise is irrelevant to the evaluation of his responsibility. <P-ing is the most desirable course of action and what he should do. the capacity is not required. 1987). in consequence the specific dual capacity for acting is not required. at any time.

as a matter of fact.either an inclination to vote for Y or an inclination to vote for X. where Jake's reasons for voting for Y are imposed by Maria and. if Jake had not had Maria's device installed in his brain. he would have chosen to vote for Y anyway and acted accordingly. The purpose of Maria's device in the present case is just to ensure that. the argument proceeds. his lack of that capacity in the present case should not undermine the claim that he is responsible in this case as well. and even supposing that he could have had a different will. But. he arguably would not have been responsible for voting for Y. that he did it because he wanted to do it.during the reflection . and are responsible. if Jake had ever shown the slightest sign of an inclination for voting otherwise. To quote Frankfurt's own words: Suppose that a person has done what he wanted to do.. One way of unpacking this inference would be this: Jake is responsible in the 38 One can imagine a thought-experiment. function in the argument. Thus. exactly. if it was impartial. But the element consisting in Maria's non-intervention also has a more specific. and critical. This guarantees the satisfaction of a necessary condition for responsibility. hence.. The conclusion drawn by Frankfurt-inspired philosophers is that.. Jake would not be responsible. Under these conditions. and that the will by which he was moved when he did it was his will because it was the will he wanted. the choice would have been forced upon him from outside.he lacked. and partly because of (1). he would not have done otherwise. It shows that. in that case. In this case. I have already mentioned one of its grounds: there is no intervention from Maria's part on Jake's psychology. . 39 Notice that Jake's reflection. he would not vote otherwise. different from Frankfurt's. despite (2). all else being equal...Reflection and Responsibility 65 action . 40 (B) The second stage rests on the following inference: since Jake's possession in the hypothetical case of the capacity to choose and act otherwise is irrelevant for the explanation of his responsibility in that case. our possession of it is irrelevant to the explanation of why we are responsible. it is quite irrelevant to the evaluation of his moral responsibility to inquire whether the alternatives that he opted against were actually available to him. he would not have wanted his will to differ from what it was . 38 In that case. Had Maria intervened so as causally to determine Jake's actual choice. was carried out without his having. he would not have shown any such sign either had he not had Maria's device installed in his brain. Jake is fully responsible for having voted for Y. (A) The notion that Maria did not intervene at any time on Jake's psychology indicates that. But this is clearly not the type of case that Frankfurt has in mind when he claims that the agent emerges as responsible despite lacking the capacity to act otherwise. the capacity to act otherwise. •o From his 'Freedom of will'. Jake's possession in that hypothetical case of the capacity to act otherwise does not really matter for the explanation. from outside: she causes him to think (without him noticing) that voting for Y is the best option all things considered. when we do have the capacity to act otherwise.. at the time the choice was made. Even supposing that he could have done otherwise. It is composed of three stages. 39 Thus. 94. Jake did not show any such sign. It is important to spell out how. of his responsibility for voting for Y. This step represents the kernel of Frankfurtian arguments.

and are explained by. It is noteworthy that in some of his later works Frankfurt's account lays a certain emphasis on second-order desires.whether or not one should have it. the question addressed in the reflection is mainly 'should I desire to <I>?' Its focus is a desire. In the Chrysippean account. Frankfurt and Chrysippus explain moral responsibility by appealing to factors that are substantially the same. by contrast.the rational process whereby he concluded that he should vote for Y. the responsibility for the action derives from the agent's decision to perform it.including the one in which Maria's device made it totally impossible for Jake to act otherwise. from the impulse's being fully rational. 41 Similarly. the question it addresses is 'Is it appropriate for me to <I> (given the present circumstances)?' This difference between the two authors.is that his choice and action derive from. but if one were to provide an account of why he is responsible in that case. he ought to choose and behave . all things considered. his capacity to act otherwise would not occur in the account. One of them has already been alluded to. In Stoic doctrine. is only superficial. An activity <I> is appropriate (Kcx8flKov) relative to a living being L if and only if <1>ing is in accordance with the nature of L. Given the normative force of nature in 41 Although the importance of there being such a reflection is not emphasized in the originall969 paper 'Alternate possibilities'. In other words. why should the absence of that capacity in the present case preclude his responsibility? (C) The third stage complements the other two by specifying the factors that do explain Jake's responsibility in both the present and the hypothetical case. See below. however. Therefore. We may now tum to the affinity between Frankfurt's compatibilism and the compatibilism proposed by Chrysippus in DF 13 and N 35. the focus of the reflection is on action. It is the absence of external intervention: Jake's choice is not coerced by external factors either in the present or in the hypothetical case. if so. according to Frankfurt's theory. A further important factor. In Frankfurt's theory. his practical reflection. 42 Second-order desires become central to Frankfurt's theory of responsibility in 'Freedom of will' and 'Identification and wholeheartedness'. which involves a reflection concerning the all-things-considered desirability or appropriateness of the action. the appropriateness of an action is tantamount to its desirability.66 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism hypothetical case. however. desire is based on a previous practical reflection concerning the desirability of the latter: the agent is responsible because he came to have the desire to desire to <I> as a result of a reflection about whether the desire to <I> is worth having. the responsibility for the action in Chrysippus derives from the agent's exercise of an impulse for it (or his assenting to the impression where the action is presented as valuable). but also. it does becomes a key element of the theory developed in 'Freedom of will'. second-order. the two kinds of reflection emerge as mutually equivalent. but also from that decision's being based on a previous all-things-considered practical reflection. and crucially. it is sufficient to desire having the desire to <1>. As we have seen. . is Jake's previous reasoning about how. provided that the former. one crucial reason why Jake is responsible in both cases . Under logical analysis.42 To be responsible for <1>-ing.

43 This is an important element of the Stoic theory of values.1-5) which prevents the sage from not assenting to clear impressions. it is the nature of intellect. 9-10) -that prevents us from assenting or acting otherwise than we actually do. Cleanthes ap. The intervention on Jake's psychology would have had an external origin. then.3). rather. there is something like an invincible power that would prevent them from not performing the actions they actually make. Determinism and Freedom. Fate is not some kind of external obstacle that would thwart our eventual inclination for acting otherwise. had he shown the slightest inclination to do so. So. 45 In Chrysippean Stoicism. 46 We find in Nemesius' report the suggestion that there could be cases where our impulses are thwarted by external obstacles whose presence is fated (N 105. just as Maria is there to ensure that Jake complies with a certain pattern of behaviour. 351-7.10. ep.44 is a further piece of text that we can read along these lines: the dog is bound to follow the cart.28. One clear implication of the doctrine is that it has been impossible all along that we do not act as we actually do.which is given to us by fate (seeN 105. fate is acting upon us from outside. 11-16. the question raised by the Stoic agent 'Is it appropriate for me to <I>?' becomes 'Is it desirable for me to <I>?'.494. it is Maria who would have prevented Jake from choosing and acting otherwise.is something that operates from within us. 4 (SVF 3. if they were to try not to perform them.and the nature of the rational soul (D 1.T] q>ucrt~ "t"fj~ lhctvoict~.prevents him from actually choosing or acting otherwise. the invincible power in Frankfurt-type thoughtexperiments is arguably external to the agent. LS 59B). Chrysippus' position would be. In both Jake's case and the case of the Stoic dog. which includes our actions. 107. In the example discussed earlier. On this issue. who is presumably not departing from Chrysippus on this issue. 13-86. In orthodox Stoicism. when fate actually prevents us from assenting or acting otherwise.the invincible power alluded to above . likewise Stoic fate ensures that we comply with what is due to happen. see DL 7. I should like to explore two disanalogies between the theories. This impossibility follows directly from the thesis that-everything that occurs is fated. A further point of similarity holds between the role given to fate in the Chrysippean argument and the role of Maria's device in the thought-experiment we have been discussing.Reflection and Responsibility 67 Stoic doctrine. it is not the case that. The Stoic simile of the dog tied to the cart reported by Hippolytus. In Epictetus.107 and E 2. 44 See DG 571. 106. fate . . Epictetus. that it is our inner constitution. I shall begin by describing what they consist in and.85. For discussion see Bobzien. <I> is appropriate relative to L just in case it is desirable for L to <I>. Cf. which entails and is entailed by the question 'Should I desire to <I>?' entertained by the Frankfurtian agent. But even in such cases the thwarted impulse itselfwould be fated (cf. Ench. 43 So. Seneca. 45 The idea is rather that the very structure of the agent's inner constitution. submit that they are less substantive than they appear to be. for example. whether he wills or not. 53. 46 In contrast with this view. 1-3).which is not itself determined by external factors alone (see section 3. The notion of external coercion is by no means at issue.1 and ap. 10-11). To complement these remarks.

In the Frankfurt-type thoughtexperiment we discussed. We are told that the things that occur 'through' (oux) us. The theory states merely a sufficient condition. the power is factually active. but only if. one final remark is in order. But they do not carry any significant difference as to how the nature of responsibility itself is understood. the invincible power that prevents Jake from choosing and acting otherwise is external. they may be construed to reveal just alternate strategies to avoid the threat of external coercion. In the Stoic doctrine. Maria would have intervened. the agent is responsible. the threat is avoided through the notion that the power is internal. And this. fate is active in the factual case as well. In a Frankfurt-type thought-experiment such as the one I have proposed. According to the doctrine. there is no external coercion. To end. It could hardly be doubted that the preposition u1t6 carries in this instance the connotation of actual agency. If. on the contrary. This has no parallel in Chrysippean theory. Chapter 6 is devoted to studying how the Stoics justify the ascription of responsibility to these people. then.are brought about by (u1t6) fate. In either case. If the action is preceded by this type of reflection. when coupled with the cmcial fact that the agent acts on the basis of an allthings-considered practical reflection. Thus people who act without having previously gone through a reflection of this sort may still come out as responsible. The threat of external coercion is avoided through the notion that that power is factually inactive. In this instance. How significant are these two disanalogies? Do they reveal a substantive disagreement regarding the nature of responsibility? I venture to say that they don't. But Jake did not show any such inclination. the invincible power that prevents the agent from acting otherwise is factually inactive. The Chrysippean theory examined in this chapter does not state a necessary condition for responsibility. It does not say that only those agents who act on the basis of a fully rational impulse are responsible. is held by both theories to be the explanation of the agent's responsibility for the action.which are those that depend on us. .68 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism The second disanalogy has to do with the idea of activity. by contrast. In fact. Jake had shown the slightest inclination for voting for X. despite predetermination. and only counterfactually active.

and T2 . in fact. and many other famous <Stoics>': 69 . in some cases at least. Its Stoic provenance has not been challenged. however. we have already examined in some detail. The question is whether it is early. We shall see that T3 complements T 1 as part of a single strategy against Aristotelian incompatibilism. I take issue with this interpretation by questioning the arguments adduced for supporting it. It is the theory from F 43 and NA 7. The first three sections are devoted to tackling the issue of the attribution of T3 • Although in DF 13 Alexander does not refer by name to the author ofT3 (any more than he names his opponents anywhere in DF).Chapter 5 The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus We have assumed that the Stoic compatibilist theory from DF 13 and N 35 is Chrysippean. The other theory. 5. This is evidence that Chrysippus himself is the author of the argument and that the other Stoics in question were simply following him. in N 35 Nemesius mentions Chrysippus along with other Stoics. In the course of this chapter I shall refer to these theories as T3. some recent scholars have questioned this attribution. or late. which was designed to refute the incompatibilist 'externalist objection': if the world were governed by determinism. be fully determined by external factors alone. respectively. has not been mentioned so far in this book.1 The Dispute over the Authorship ofT3 In recent times. It states that. One of them.11. in spite of determinism. and Chrysippean. The present chapter argues that there is no conclusive reason for thinking otherwise. an individual action may be contingent in a sense that the agent may either perform it or not at a specific time. Although Nemesius is quite explicit in attributing T3 to 'Chrysippus. Philopator.2. which modern scholars have also attributed to Chrysippus. T~. determinism is compatible with the freedom to do otherwise which incompatibilists standardly regard as a condition sine qua non for responsibility but also as incompatible with determinism. and compares this theory to two other Chrysippean compatibilist theories. Despite Nemesius' indication. Implicit in this theory is the contention that. everything we do would. the issue of the attribution of T 3 has motivated a considerable amount of scholarly controversy.

A. 180 n. fatalism and early Stoic philosophy'.eyovte~ omitting Xpum1t1t6~ te KO:t <l>lA. Of these two lines of interpretation. in J.o:j. 1971). 2 Long.that Chrysippus is its originator. and that the attack levelled by Nemesius himself against the Stoics may be reflecting this source.o\ Ka'i A. it does not contain any philosophical element that is not virtually present in the early Stoicism of Chrysippus. Botros does not tackle the issue of attribution either.A. as formulated in DF 13 and N 35. which is primarily about Chrysippus and early Stoicism.M. Archiv fiir Geschichte tier Philosophie 52 (1970).ol 1toA. 1973).and it is sometimes even expressly denied . So even though the originator of T3 is perhaps not Chrysippus himself. Rist (ed. 187). 12-13: oi ·m:ih·a A. and uses DF 13 to shed light on Chrysippean compatibilism.A. 247-68 at 268 n. Those who have adopted it include von Arnim.o\ Ka'i. 5 See 'Necessity and fate in Stoic philosophy'. was probably not designed by Chrysippus himself. 3 Amand. We may distinguish three main lines of interpretation: (A) T 3 is a theory designed by Chrysippus himself. 283. Arnaud attributes the Stoic views themselves that are attacked (that is. But these differences may very well reveal complementary doctrines. 4 and 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action'. 4 See Fatalisme et Liberte (Amsterdam.A. 274-304 at esp. (B) T3 . 196). One of the MSS has eio\ tle tG>v atwl KG>v oi tailto: A. respectively) as evidence that he thinks they reflect views that are either entirely Chrysippean or derived from Chrysippus. .eyovn~ (eio\ tle tG>v :EtumcG>v Xpuol1t1t6~ te Ka\ <l>lA. 6 See 'Freedom.11tpoi).omitwp Ka\ &A.979 and 2. its actual originator (it may be Philopator) did not introduce any substantial innovation in Stoic compatibilism. T3} to '!'ecole de Chrysippe'. Nonetheless. Phronesis 30 (1995). The reference by Nemesius to Philopator et al. is evidence that Chrysippus' compatibilist views persisted almost unchanged throughout the development of Stoicism at least until Philopator (first half of the second century AD). A. Amand claims that the source for chapter 35 of N (and in fact for the whole of chapters 29 to 41) is a Peripatetic commentary on Aristotle's Nicomaclzean Ethics hostile to Stoicism. 3 See 'Stoic determinism and Alexander of Aphrodisias De Fato (i-xiv)'.991. But the fact that she mainly discusses early Stoicism. causality.ot 1toA. 1978).6 1 N 105.aj. the former is the more widespread. The Stoics (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London. 4 Reesor5 and Botros. In LS 1. T 1 and T2 are precisely two cases in point.omitwp Ka\ &A. 560-64 devoted toN 35. would suggest that she regards T 3 as Chrysippean. 392-4. but DF 13 is given a prominent place in her discussion (seep.). Admittedly.70 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism those who say these things (they are Chrysippus and Philopator and many other famous <Stoics>) 1 it is not agreed by all . Long and Sedley also use DF 13 and N 35 to shed light on early Stoic compatibilism. 27 (= p.11tpoC 2 I interpret his inclusion of the relevant passages from DF 13 and N 35 in the 'Chrysippi Fragmenta' of the SVF (2. T3 differs in important respects from compatibilist theories that we know to be Chrysippean. in Problems in Stoicism (London. Reesor does not address expressly the question of the attribution.

It is a theory that reflects a late Stoic compatibilist doctrine that . The reasons adduced by Bobzien differ from those given by Theiler. who forced the discussion of causal determinism and responsibility to a different level. 276-98 at 276-7. Inwood is perhaps the strongest advocate of the view that T3 is originally early Stoic. Epictetus in D 2. 7 See 'Alexander of Aphrodisias. 8. 8 See 'The dramatization of determinism: Alexander of Aphrodisias' defato'. but that it is intentionally distorted by Alexander and Nemesius for polemical purposes. Phronesis 27 ( 1982). in 0. chap.J. which explains . in any case. T3 was designed by late Stoics.u (C) T3 should definitely not be attributed to Chrysippus. On Fate.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 71 But we also find some scholars who have defended (B). (eds). De Fato'.). there are dialectical and philosophical reasons for believing that the correct interpretation is (A) and. On p. On his view. Wiesner (ed. 'Categorical possibility and incompatibilism in Alexander of Aphrodisias' theory of responsibility'. 'Tacitus und die antike Schicksalslehre'. 552. 2001). Gigon et al. 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action'. . Before I begin. to cope with objections raised by Middle Platonists late in the first century or early in the second century AD. T 3 departs from Chrysippean compatibilism insofar as the former but not the latter presents humans as instruments of fate. 253-6. 9 In opposition to (A) and (B). alien to the disputes between early Stoics and their rivals. there is a third line of interpretation. some reasons will be provided for thinking that this extreme position is unfounded. for rejecting the extreme view proposed by (C). 8. For discussion see Long. 27. She strongly suggests that the non-Chrysippean elements that are apparently present in DF 13 may be due to a distortion by Alexander for polemical purposes. Sharples claims that the formulation of the principle of same causes-same effects in DF 13 and N 35 'may be that of Philopator' (his emphasis). 10 According to W. see R. But she observes. but claims that 'it is not however necessary to suppose that his position differed materially in this respect from that of Chrysippus'. there are no elements in T 3 that definitely cannot be associated with Chrysippean Stoicism. that 'there is. von der Miihl (Basle. Phylloboliafiir P. see Chrysippus ap. that Chrysippus was indeed the author of T3. I should like to address two preliminary reasons that have been used to question a Chrysippean origin: the presence of Philopator's name inN 35 and the absence of Chrysippus' name from DF 13. in accordance with the overall argument she develops in the article. 10 but has been recently given a new impetus by Bobzien. against Theiler. I return to this issue in section 5.if taken as a whole substantially differs from anything Chrysippus may have proposed. On this question. and notably Philopator. Although we cannot know for certain. Theiler.? Frede8 and Inwood. Salles. 88-91. Mithexis 11 (1998). Der Aristotelisnms bei den Chriechen 3: Alexander von Aphrodisias (Berlin. 11 See 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem' and Determinism and Freedom. Three examples are Sharples.2. he attributes T 3 to Chrysippus. with the same emphasis. given the state of the evidence. 65-83. More specific references will be given as we proceed.the presence of (supposedly) nonChrysippean elements in DF 13. 1946).9. 9 See Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. of course. In Cicero. in P. 191. Inwood returns to this claim. on p. However. the problem of our sources' historical accuracy and fairness'.on Inwood's view . 256. 252 n. Frede suggests that Alexander (and Nemesius?) is reporting the views of a Stoic contemporary who maintained a stronger determinism than Chrysippus' and did not always understand the 'refinements' of earlier Stoic compatibilism. See also his 'Schriften'. It was defended by Theiler. In what follows. 180 n.6.

An example of this is the treatise de mixtione.a practice that Alexander used to See Bobzien. n I entirely agree with Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom. which he even explicitly mentions at the end of his report at 106. On Fate. 216. 7. but he does so not because he draws on Chrysippean ideas. then (iii) the source used by Nemesius was Philopator's treatise.72 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism The reference inN 35 to Philopator and his treatise Peri heimarmenes has been taken as one reason (among several others. In consequence. 120. Second. My concern is just that the book from which the information stems may be reporting one of the other philosophers especially when he is an especially prominent one. Nemesius' inclusion of Chrysippus in the list of the advocates ofT3 may well have been motivated by the presence in Philopator's treatise of a quotation from Chrysippus and an explicit reference to his authorship.. along with other prominent Stoics. in which case Philopator might have been reporting Chrysippean views that he himself. I< See ibid. 8 and 14. which I also discuss further) for denying Chrysippus' authorship. for example. step (iii). fully endorsed without reservation. it is more likely that the given information stems from that book . 19 n. 369. 368-9. 9-10. This highly conjectural argument is convincing up to. mixt. the presence of Philopator's name in this list is not all by itself a reason for thinking that T3 is not Chrysippean. (iv) this is relevant for thinking (among other reasons) that Philopator. Determinism and Freedom. The absence of Chrysippus' name from DF 13 (and indeed from the whole treatise) has also been taken as positive evidence against the Chrysippean authorship ofT3 • 14 Two separate reasons are given for taking it in this way. . an explanation is needed of why Chrysippus is mentioned at all by Nemesius as one of the advocates of T3 • The explanation offered is that (v) Philopator presents himself as a follower of Chrysippus. there are works of Alexander where he does mention Chrysippus by name when he expressly discusses his views. Other examples are given by Sharples in Alexander. rather than Chrysippus. Therefore (ii) Nemesius would not have mentioned Philopator's name along with that of Chrysippus if Nemesius were reporting directly from the works of Chrysippus. If so. 15 Thus. is the originator ofT3• Given this conclusion. But the crucial inference from (iii) to (iv) is invalid insofar as (v) is unfounded. Alexander would have mentioned him by name.. 12 . 15 See. 368: 'when we have different philosophers named but a written work of only one of them. 12 The argument runs as follows: (i) Philopator is a rather obscure Stoic of the early second century AD (his intellectual prime being located somewhere between 80 and 140) in contrast with Chrysippus who was much more famous than Philopator even in the second century. and including. if the views discussed in DF 13 had been Chrysippean. there was a practice in antiquity of not citing the name of living persons in criticism . but just to enhance the status of his own doctrine even though his compatibilism substantially differs from Chrysippus'. First. 213. In consequence. 13 This could explain satisfactorily why Nemesius refers to T 3 as a theory defended by 'Chrysippus and Philopator and many other famous <Stoics>'.especially when it is later'.

2 The Differences between T1 and TJ T3 differs substantially from what we know with some certainty from other sources about Chrysippus' compatibilism and. it should be noticed that in DF Alexander does not even mention the Stoics by name. 17-32 at 18-19.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Cluysippus 73 observe. On this specific issue. the presence of Philopator's name inN 35 and the absence of Chrysippus' name from DF 13 are not evidence that the theory is late. In consequence. 'The dramatization of determinism'.B.11 which I have called 'T/. about the theory reported in F 43 and NA 7. P. 16 Therefore. 277. It has to do with the political context in which DF was written. the principle is virtually contained in early statements of the determinist position. Therefore. 18 Let us compare T3 and the doctrine of everlasting recurrence in some detail to see that. And there is a good reason why Alexander does not mention the Stoics. must belong to a contemporary Stoic school or author rather than to Chrysippus himself. But although T 1 does not contain an explicit statement of the principle. This could weaken considerably the case in favour of the attribution of T3 to Chrysippus. and criticizes in chapter 14. 16 17 . Journal of the Histo1y of Ideas 35 (1974). This may explain why Alexander does not mention by name either the Stoics as a school or any individual Stoic philosopher.n the dedicatees of the treatise. and how. Alexander's dedication is probably a sign that he wanted to please the emperors in return for having been recently appointed to the chair of Aristotelian philosophy at the school of Athens. De Fato'. the notion itself of regularity-based determinism is certainly present in early Stoicism. we find in T3 the statement of a principle of regularity. 5. To openly lambaste the Stoics in DF would have been against his own intentions and interests in those particular circumstances. 'Alexander of Aphrodisias. the views Alexander reports in chapter 13.'same causes. see J. 1984). As we have seen in Chapter 2. 18 In addition. they do not represent any good reason for denying that Chrysippus is the originator ofT3 • (1) First. I shall argue that the differences between the two theories do not reveal disagreements between them. and does not imply that Alexander did not regard Chrysippus as the originator ofT3• To conclude.Septimus Severns and Caracalla (164.2. lxxviii and lxxxii-xc.which is absent from T 1. and Sharples. it is constitutive of the early orthodox doctrine of everlasting recurrence. Traite du Destin (Paris. Against this line of argument. they both imply the principle of regularity. As Thillet observes in the introduction to his edition. 'The Stoic conception of fate'. but given that he is indeed the author ofT~> then he cannot be the author ofT3• Against this objection. he cannot be the author of both.were admirers of Marcus Aurelius and sympathetic to Stoic philosophy in general. same effects' . Given the differences between T 3 and TI> runs the objection.). Thillet (ed. Gould. his failure to mention Chrysippus is no evidence against his authorship. see also Frede. 3) . and notably in the early doctrine of fate. however. in particular. 256: on their view. Alexandre d' Aphrodise.

if it is 19 For Alexander.oc.t:. given the stone's weight 'whenever the external causes which contribute to the natural movement of the stone are also present. seeN 105.~> af>UVU1"0V auo<t> IJ.w~ 1tU><.. For it is not possible for the stone. 01"UV KUt e~w6ev atna 1tp0~ 1"TJV KU1"a <pUOtV KtVTJOlV o<t> Ai6Cf> OUV1"eAOUV1"!X 1tUp'fi.TJ <pepeo8ut K&ow 1J.! oihwc. av&yKTJV ou 1"TJV fK Pi'ac. it is fully necessary that the same things come about. First. oa oa aU. ou5ev IJ. as they claim. UU1"WV yi'veo6at KU1"TJVUYKUOIJ. 1tO'te I>& &A. those by fire in accordance with that of fire and those by a living creature in accordance with that of a living creature .teou.l. and its necessity derives from the impossibility of a situation where c obtains. o!XUUJV 5' eivat <1"TJV> 1"0~UU1"1]<. corresponds to the possibility-based conception of regularity used in (b). IJ.EVU>V U1t. but each of the things brought about by them comes about compulsorily. if nothing hinders'.!. can be otherwise'. 18-21 'When the same surrounding causes are present. whereas at another time they come about in a different way' ('twv cxti'twv cxi't(t:. n&crcx livayK11 'ttt cxu't& yivecr6cxt. see below in the main text. the things that are brought about by each thing come about in accordance with its proper nature . y(veoa~ 5e U<p. .~· '<t> <yap> papU1"TJ1"U IJ.~. can be othetwise.~ (OV1"U>V 1"WV 1tepteooC:nwv 1"010U1"WV <W<.A. This.EVU><.74 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism A crucial contention made by T 3 is that for any actual causal relation r in which a set of causal conditions c brings about an effect e.~ K!X1"a <puotv <ahfav>.A. on the other hand..~ eiJ.EV exew !XU1"0V auo<t>.nothing of the things which are brought about by each thing in accordance with its proper nature. when the circumstances are such as could not possibly not have been present to it. which implies that (b) e will obtain in every possible situation in which c does. e~ lXVUYKTJ~ 1"0V . for it appeals to the impossibility of a situation where the conditions for the stone's downwards motion obtain.TJ oihwc. if it is released from some height.TJ Mvuoeu~ 1"0 5f) 1te<pUKO<. KU1". but e does not. Kcxl ouK ol6v n: 1tO'te JJ..A. 'it is not possible for the stone.A.A.A.TJ 1tepteoo&vu~) 1"01"e &.. given that these things have been so allotted from eternity it is not possible that at some time <they come about> in this way.i'Bou KU1"a oTJV . (a) r is necessary.e.ieov W~ 1tE<pUKeV <pepeo6u~.A. ei lX1tO U'irOU<. eK&OoOU yw61J. but the motion itself does not. of necessity the stone is moved in the way in which it is its nature to be moved'. This corresponds to (a). Mvuo8u~ IJ.TJ5evoc. IJ.~ KUt o& U1t0 (4>ou KUo& 1"TJV (4>ou. These two elements are conspicuous in Alexander's report of T3 • 19 In the course of an argument to the effect that 'nothing of the things which are brought about by each thing in accordance with its proper nature .l~ a7tOKEKA11PW06cxt 'tcxihcx).~ exetv.. Second. For Nemesius.eva K!Xoa 1"TJV oi.A.~ K1VTJ6flvut.. a.A... ev oa '* oa <For since> .! Kt v1loewc.~ Kaoa of)v 1tupoc.&V OU'tt:.EVWV Mvuo6a( <pUOtV &. i.! KUt IJ.l~ yevecr6cxt l>ta 'tO e~ cxiwvo~ OU'tt:. t:l~ q>cxcrw cxthoi.i'Bov.! a<pe6ei'TJ n v6~.wc.1to5i(ov.lV. they say. (a) and (b) are illustrated though an example. in accordance not with the necessity that results from force but <with that> resulting from its being impossible for that which has a nature of that sort to be moved at that time in some other way and not in this. 18-30) is worth quoting in full: <E1tet yap> . o& 5 • u1to 1tupoc.A.A. eK 1"00 IJ.. The relevant part of the Greek text (DF 181.lv neptt:O't1lKO'tt:.*e yap 1"0V . not to be canied downwards.Ke(uv <puot v.EV 1"WV KUo& 1"TJV oiKei'av <puow u<p' eK&OoOU YWOIJ.' EKUOWV 1"WV YWOIJ.EV u1to .those by a stone in accordance with that of a stone.

we also find a version of T/s (i) and (ii) in everlasting recurrence. What occurs through us is identified by Aristotle as that which we (ought to) deliberate about. . 22 ° 2ll For a transcyclical reading. and this is the natural cause of such a motion. they will bring about the same effects. which implies that (ii') e will have to ensue in every possible future world-cycle in which c obtains. 26. where we find instead the term 'depends on us' (in nostra potestate) being applied to particular activities without an explicit general definition of what it is for an activity to depend on us.. section 2.tV eivat -ro <uno n: -rfj~ eiiJ. 2 For this reason. 22 See EN llllb23-4. see section 4. we can say that within Stoic physics it is very unlikely that the same situation concerning a cause and its circumstances will ever occur twice . T 3 offers a definition of the notion of what depends on us ("ro i:q>' tiiJ. This is acknowledged by Bobzien in 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem'.EVT)~> ytv61J. this difference is no conclusive evidence that the origin of T3 is not Chrysippus.' See also Bobzien.WV). To make this explicit. On Long's reading. 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action'. the use of the phrase 'through us' (used in the definition given by T 3 of what depends on us) in the field of ethics is not late but early: it is found in Aristotle to refer. 'given the same external situation and an absolutely identical human character then at time t in cycle p action x is the same as the action performed in cycle pl at time t1'.eyouot v i:q>' ti!J.' 21 See DF 181. Now. The idea is not that if the same causes were repeated. 188-9. to activities for which we are morally responsible. same effects' in question here is not hypothetical (cf. Because it has weight in itself. is this a difference between the principle of regularity in the doctrine of everlasting recurrence and in T 3? The question requires a cautious answer. Determinism and Freedom. 168 and n.evov <Kat> ot' ri1J. as in T 3 . if nothing hinders. not to be canied downwards. It denies the possibility of acting differently at the identical point in the next cycle. It is important to recall that the principle of 'same causes.except perhaps in the next world-cycle.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 75 released from some height. that the principle in T3 has not an early origin. b27. 14. we may complement (i') and (ii') with something like (iii'): 'and. see Long. Thus. morally responsible. it would be wrong simply to assume that the pdnciple of reguladty is not the same in both theories and. For if we go back to T 3 we observe that. as a matter of fact. 21 This has no parallel in Tt. 'the theory does not say anything which is relevant to action now. and for which we are. For discussion.<XPIJ. 373-4: 'If we take the phrase "the same" literally (exempting only the factors of time and space). the theory may well be referring to transcyclical reguladties and. the idea is rather that when the same causes are repeated in the next cycle (meaning that they will be repeated). Again.3). to non-hypothetical ones. (2) Next. c will obtain in every future world-cycle'.1. therefore. hence. then (i') the causation of e by c is necessary in virtue of the impossibility of a cycle in which c obtains but e does not. whenever the external causes which conu·ibute to the natural movement of the stone are also present. Now. as far as the texts are concerned. which spells out in general terms what it is for an activity to depend on us: 'They say that what happens <by fate and> through us depends on us' (l. 63. If a set of causal conditions c brought about an effect e in the present cycle. 1112a30--b4. of necessity the stone is moved in the way in which it is its nature to be moved. therefore. First. they would bring about the same effects (meaning that it does not matter whether the causes will ever be repeated).tV).

3-4. and also. This. namely Philopator.3. addresses a different question and a different opponent. of ideas originally put forward by Chrysippus. This is shown through the much stronger thesis that most of the behaviour of objects in general is not so determined. 124. the use of the phrase 'through us' is a reflection of anti-determinist criticism. is not evidence that T3 is late. The analogue of the cylinder's power to roll in Cicero's report at F 43 is the 'force' of the mind and its 'own nature' (suapte vi et natura). however. T3 specifies the internal cause by appealing to human nature ('t'flv ti!J. The strategy T3 employs against this claim consists in showing that reason. In T~o the nature of the internal cause in humans is introduced through an analogy. Sharples himself ('Schriften'. But even though this analogy is the main axis of the argument. See respectively 'Alexander of Aphrodisias. T3. 24 SeeN 106. See my third reason.1. however. According to Sharples. apparently. it merely derives from the fact that T 1 and T3 are addressing different objections. 143 and 'Stoic determinism and Alexander of Apbrodisias De Fato (i-xiv)'. by contrast. if so. defines the notion of what occurs 'through us' in terms of more basic notions (see section 4. For this idea in DF 13. however. As I shall argue. in the form 23 As has been suggested by Sharples and Long. 254 n. 378 n. does not imply that the two theories contradict each other. In the case of persons.76 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Second. It seeks to show why determinism does not imply that everything we do is ultimately determined by external factors alone. the goal of T 1 explains why the theory also concentrates upon differences between persons and between inanimate objects. which is exclusive to each individual agent. for example. the make-up of one's mind is relevant for the explanation of our reactions and.1). On Fate. In T3. just as in modern science later scientists often formalize earlier theories without adding any substantive claims of their own to these theories. . 552) take issue with this view. these cannot be determined by external factors alone. 24 whereas T 1 does not. 23 But it would not follow from this that T 3 is alien to Chrysippus: it is perfectly possible that T3 is nothing but a formalization by Philopator. De Fato'. The target of the theory is no longer the externalist objection. Alexander of Aphrodisias. (3) The third major difference between T3 and T 1 lies in the specification of the internal cause of what depends on us. This difference. 47). Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy.indicated by the fact that T3. if different persons react differently to the same impressions.en!pav qn)otv). but the libertarian claim that responsibility requires the dual capacity to do otherwise at the time of action. or as a set of qualities that is common to a certain type of character. T 1 is set out to address the 'externalist objection'. couched in his own technical terminology. In other words. this has been interpreted in at least two different ways: as the peculiar quality (iMa 1tOtO't'TJ~) of the agent. the technical use of the phrase in T3 . see section 4.may be due to an anti-determinist critic (and perhaps to Alexander and Nemesius) rather than to the Stoic source they are reporting. The generality of this thesis explains why T 1 establishes an analogy between the behaviour of cylinders and the acts of assent of humans. in contrast with Aristotle. the internal cause is the use of a capacity that is common to all humans. 268. As we saw in section 3.

in contrast. a single author . On this issue. See notably D 1. But walking involves. 'Prohairesis in Epictetus'. 1. when they occur. And this kind of motion can be hindered by external obstacles. SeeM 8. 4.implies that the types of activities it concentrates upon are mental: they are activities which occur in the agent's mind (animus).20-27. . forms the impression that it is appropriate for her to stand up. in contrast with T1o T 3 concentrates on the example of walking. for this reason. which is not a mental activity. This explains why T3 specifies the internal cause of human action in terms of a capacity that defines human nature in general.a triggering cause and the absence of external obstacles.1. but on human nature in general. 27 SeeN 105. She assents to the 25 Also in relation to the internal cause. namely a 'triggering' cause. Nothing else is required. When I am about to assent to an impression. Does this difference imply that T 1 and T3 depart from each other regarding the causation of what depends on us? I shall argue that it does not. The theory does not say that actions that do not involve such a reflection are not responsible.cannot be the originator of both. instead of appealing to a difference between types of person. T3 . To be sure. is sufficient for responsibility and does not presuppose any form of dual capacity to do otherwise. 27 Stoic walking surely requires underlying mental phenomena. a fourth major difference is this: T 1 argues that the causal production of activities that depend on us involves only one external factor.396-8. mentions two external factors . 26 This thesis is prominent in Epictetus.assent . it is natural forT 3 to focus not on differences within the human species. There is no reason to suppose that Epictetus is here departing from the early Stoics. chap. 10-12. are sufficiently caused by the combination of the occurrence of an impression and our inner nature.Chrysippus . because of this difference.something that has no parallel in T1. see sections 4. T 1 and T3 do differ in their specification of the internal cause of what depends on us. Therefore. The example given by T 1 . But this difference derives from the fact that they intend to rebut different objections and. the Stoics believe. assent does require that an impression occurs.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 77 of prior examination of impressions.2. who is now sitting on a chair. there is no reason to suppose that. But someone's acts of assent cannot be hindered by external obstacles in that person's environment. Thus.6. see Dobbin. But this difference is not a reason for denying a Chrysippean origin for T3• For T3 posits this reflection as a mere sufficient condition for responsibility. such as an act of assent and a corresponding tensile motion of the mind's breadth (see section 3. 26 Our acts of assent. a further reason for contending that Chrysippus could not be the author of both theories is that T 3 claims that activities that depend on us involve a previous practical reflection concerning the all-things-considered of an action . and that the reason it does not is that T 1 and T 3 are dealing with two different types of activities that depend on us. 8.40.68-9. For discussion. it leaves room for situations where one acts unreflectively but is nevertheless responsible for the action.17. they do not contradict each other.2). in addition. as I explain in the next chapter. And its impressor is often external. 25 (4) Finally. Lucille.1 and 4. the motion of the limbs. 132-3 and Long. However. Epictetus. there is nothing external to me at that time that can by itself prevent me from doing so. Consider a different example of an activity that involves the motion of the limbs. In consequence. But given that reason as a capacity is not exclusive to certain kinds of persons.

fate encompasses all causes. Whether Lucille will actually stand up or not depends on whether her external environment at that time allows her to perform the motions of the limbs required for standing up. but (ii) such an incompatibilist position only arose with this Aristotle scholar.e ouv&j. I have shown in this section that none of the major differences between T3 and T 1 is evidence that T 3 is not Chrysippean. that the activities the theory regards as responsible are described as requiring the absence of external obstacles. 29 See Detenninism and Freedom. 114. the Middle Platonist conception attacked by T3 is mainly the one referred to in chapter 34 of N. she shall not stand up. 301-14. 359 and sections 6 and 7 of 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem'. The claim that responsibility requires the specific dual capacity to do otherwise is already present in Aristotle. See chapters 11 at 179. . A central argument for a late attribution is that T 3 is not responding to an early position but to an Aristotle scholar of the Middle Platonist period. 3. who seems to have been perfectly aware of the problem of 28 There are at least two other major differences that I have not discussed.78 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism impression. as Bobzien herself shows in great detail (and convincingly) that F 42-4 is consistent with the hypothesis that fate encompasses all causes. For discussion of this issue. exercises the corresponding impulse for standing up. 24-115. So it is because the example given by T3 is of an action that involves the motion of the limbs. 29 Being a response to a Middle Platonist position. As I explained in the previous chapter. According to Bobzien. 'Alexander of Aphrodisias. Chrysippus himself cannot be the author of T3 • Now. The second difference I did not discuss is the absence from T3 of the cylinder analogy. the dual capacity to do otherwise at the time of the action). I did not discuss this apparent difference. cf. 'that which admits in equal parts of our being capable of doing both it and its opposite' (eon &E: E1ttOT)~ tvoexollevov o a1h6 ..o IXv-nKetj. In T3. and thereby causes her mind's breadth to undergo a certain tensile motion. I agree with (i). 12-18. 20--23. 20--25. including the internal one (see section 3.3 T 3 and Aristotle I now turn to a different kind of reason for thinking that T3 may be early. however. Cf.LEVov IXIhiil). she cannot be held responsible for not standing up.. with examples at 114.. who was active in the late first century or early second century AD. the thesis that the target ofT3 is this late Aristotle scholar is argued on the basis of two central theses: (i) the target attacked by T 3 has to be an incompatibilist position according to which responsibility requires the specific dual capacity to do otherwise (that is.. see Sharples. De Fato'. not earlier. 255. T3 as a whole is fully consistent with what we know of Chrysippus' compatibilism. 28 Although they are all substantial. whereas there are elements in F 42-4 that may suggest th~t fate encompasses only the network of antecedent external causes. But I now want to show that (ii) is wrong. See Detenninism and Freedom. 5. three passages outside DF 13 which strongly imply that the set of examples used by T3 to illustrate the concept of something that occurs 'through' an object originally included the analogy. and 36 at 208.Le6a KIXt . If she happens to be tied to the chair. One of them relates to the scope of fate. 19 at 189.1 for discussion). which defines what depends on us in terms of what is 'in equal parts'. 21-2. And if that happens. There are.

in reacting to this debate.LEv -cotaiha wa-ce 'ttxil-ca II' EO'ttv oaa Eq>. On this question. Cause. And we cannot discard the possibility that the early Stoics knew of this debate.L~ -crx f. hence. 245-7 (cf. I return to this question at the end of this chapter. Let us see first why we already find in Aristotle both the concept of a specific dual capacity to do otherwise and the idea that this capacity is required for responsibility. Aristotle's concept of voluntariness is full of subtle distinctions and. he maintains that: For where it depends on us to act it also depends on us not to act. Ktxt -co vai. . <and> these are the things the doing or not doing of which depends on us.Liv -co np&Hew. then. 4-7 (cf. On Fate.euaaaBat nep\ au-c&v il f. and vice-versa. see Sharples. 8 and 9 of book two of EE.a notion that is intimately related to that of responsibility. One of its central elements. 247-74 at 264-7) and Sorabji. In fact the two notions are presented as materially equivalent to each other in the opening lines of EN 3. is simple: we acted voluntarily (or responsibly) only if it depended on us to perform the action or not. there are some such that we deliberate about them . iJf.W. Phronesis 20 (1975). and that. Alexander of Aphrodisias. 'Aristotelian and Stoic conceptions of necessity in the De Fato of Alexander of Aphrodisias'. 31 See EN 1135a23-8 and EE 1225b7-10 and 1226b30-32. 32 And also that: Of possible things. extremely complex. Ktx\ -co fl. 33 EE 1226a20-28: fan ~~~ -c&v c'luva-c&v Ktxt dvtxl Kat f. What is specifically human (because it presupposes rationality) is the capacity for doing othenvise. His discussion centres on the concept of voluntariness ('to eKouowv). Necessity. 34 Aristotle's own term for 'capacity' in connection with action is c'IUV«f. though. 31 And in Aristotle's view. and that an individual action depends on me only if I can not perform it at that time. R. an action's depending on us requires that the agent should have the dual capacity either to perform or to refrain from performing it.L ~. 33 A possible interpretation of these claims is that the things that depend on us are individual actions at particular times. Sharples. But the presence of that claim in Aristotle shows that the issue was already debated in the early Lyceum. .1: we are responsible for an action <I> that we performed (that is.txl. susceptible to being praised or blamed for having performed it) if and only if we <1>-ed voluntarily. 34 The capacity of acting otherwise 30 Even though he may not have addressed the problem as systematically as the Stoics and later incompatibilists did. Let us consider the evidence in some detail. Aristotle's theory of responsibility is developed in chapters 2. Although Aristotle does not offer a formal definition of what it is for something to depend on us. 0.L~ np&!.Ll~ -coil noleiv ('capacity for doing').~ np&Hew.. 32 EN 1113b7-8: ev ot~ yap eq>' iJf. and Blame. This capacity is not restricted to humans because it does not presuppose rationality.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 79 responsibility and determinism. 3 and 5 of the third book of EN and chapters 6. xiii). 30 The early Stoics may not have read Aristotle's school treatises. Ktx\ ev ot~ -co f.5 at 1047b35-1048a10. See especially Met. 0 0 • .LiV eon np&~al evllixeaBtxl ~ouJ. they defended the view that Aristotle himself happened to oppose.

not everything is or happens of necessity. therefore. respectively.eto:t KO:t TO dvo:t KO:l to ILTJ dvo:t. and Blame. inevitable. Yet I may have now the general capacity of either staying or not staying in my cell: provided that I am not sentenced to life imprisonment. it is important to notice that the kind of determinism he wishes to deny about the future is specific. Aristotle holds that future states and events are not yet predetermined and. The difference may be illustrated through an example. and that. A central element in Aristotle's discussion of future truth in int. the future states and events whose necessity Aristotle denies are not temporally undetermined but determined. wan: KO:l. an action that falls within the range of actions that are available to me in my lifetime. Evidence in favour of this view has been given by Richard Sorabji. KO:l O'n OAW~ ea-nv EV toi~ ILTJ Ike\ evepyoiiat to lluvo:tov dvo:t KO:l 11'11. 37 opG>fLEV yap O'n ea·n v apx. but lack the specific. ea-nv oiln yiyveto:t. whose implications for this issue have not been fully explored. Many things are obviously like this . both being and not being and. consequently. both corning to be and not corning to be. in general. To use his own example.80 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism required for responsibility is relative to a moment of time and to a specific situation that includes the agent's internal state at that time. it is neither necessary nor impossible that there should be a sea battle tomorrow. The passage occurs in chapter 9 of de interpretatione. . For this reason I now possess the general.A. 35 However. hence. one of the reasons Aristotle gives against specific necessitation occurs in lines 19a7-11 and 18-19: For we see that what will be has an origin both in deliberation and in action. Loening. Now. Cause.lV llf]Aa EO't'\V oihw~ ex.. here both possibilities are open.& TJIJ. 36 I should like to focus on a further passage. in things that are not always actual there is the possibility of being and not being. 18b30-31). If I am in prison now I do not have the specific dual capacity of either staying or not staying in my cell: I simply cannot go out now. Bobzien claims that Aristotle is systematically ambiguous as to whether he is referring to the general or the specific capacity. Ev ot~ cXIJ. 'The inadvertent conception and late birth of the free-will problem'. The interpretation of Aristotle according to which the passages above do not refer specifically to the specific capacity to do otherwise was first proposed in modern scholarship by Richard Loening and has been defended by Bobzien herself. Necessity. For they may also be read as implying that the dual capacity required for responsibility is not relative to individual actions at particular times.EVWV KO:t a no toil pouAEUEa6o:t KO:l ana tOU np&~o:i -n. 1903) and Bobzien. but to the range of actions that are available to the agent in his lifetime.. Die Zurechnungslehre des Aristoteles (Jena. Clearly. (jlO:VEpov &po: O'n oux &no:no: E~ avayKT]~ oih.. going out of my cell is something that I will actually do at some time in the future and. 36 See Sorabji. 37 35 See. 223-41. chapter 18 ofR..(jlW £vll€x. Now. that is. to yevea6o:t KO:t to ILTJ yevea6o:t· KO:t noA. thus. dual capacity to do otherwise. I believe that there is evidence elsewhere for thinking that for Aristotle responsibility does require the specific capacity to act otherwise.ovto: .i} tG>v EOOIJ. 9 is his denial of determinism understood as the thesis that 'everything is and comes to be by necessity' (nav·m: d VU\ KUt yiyveo6at e~ avayKTj~. 140. But these passages are ambiguous. In particular.

for example. as we have seen. For discussion. but this is compatible with holding that my waking up before dawn on Monday was necessitated (I had to catch an early plane) and that so was my waking up at noon on Saturday (I went to bed at 9 o'clock in the morning after a long party). not even the general one: there are actions which are no longer in the range of actions available to me from now on.which int. tum him into an incompatibilist diametrically opposed to T 3 and.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 81 The argument holds that something's having the dual capacity of either being or not being. 81-104). 40 As is implied by EN 3. 'Aristotle on responsibility for action and character'. Notice that for Aristotle an action may depend on me (and be voluntary) even though it is not based on prior deliberation. Aristotelian responsibility presupposes the (specific) capacity to act otherwise although this capacity does not necessarily presuppose actual deliberation: it only presupposes rationality. or of either coming to be or not coming to be (a capacity that is involved in deliberation according to Aristotle). Met 0. he would be merely conceding it for dialectical purposes. this would not affect responsibility in the least'.is precisely the one at stake in his characterization of what depends on us. 'The contribution of Nicomachean Ethics iii.2. 39 And there is no reason to suppose that Aristotle was unaware that they would be compatible. This rebuts the claim that Chrysippus could not have been the author of the theory because the position it rejects only arose later in antiquity. that the gist of Aristotle's argument at 1114a12-21 may be something like: 'even if one were to concede to the determinist that character may reach a point from which it becomes a necessitating cause. it would be compatible with specific determination. into a suitable candidate for being the target of the theory. 42 Aristotle's views on responsibility. Consider another example.51114a12-21. Histol)' of Philosophy Quarterly 6 (1989). as is shown by the jail example that I offered earlier. 42 Notice. My current responsibility depends on my earlier possession of the specific dual capacity for alternative actions. But it does not constitute by any means a substantive concession to the compatibilist. with deliberation must be specific.S to Aristotle's Theory of Responsibility'.3 and its context. see the second of David Furley's 1\. however. See 18b32-3. And the necessity in question is specific. Aristotle would not be actually endorsing the deterministic premise that character may necessitate. the dual capacity that he intends to link in this chapter of int. 1967) and the polemic between R. 26-77.vo Studies in the Greek Atomists (Princeton. according to which it requires the specific capacity to do otherwise.5. Therefore. If so. thus. 23-47. 38 is compatible with its being necessary. Ancient Philosophy 10 (1990). I discussed this claim in section 1. 41 But although character may necessitate a certain pattern of behaviour. the dual capacity presupposed by deliberation . NJ. J. 38 39 . The proviso is that when my character becomes deeply ingrained I may no longer have the dual capacity of acting otherwise than I do. 40 There is one proviso to Aristotle's incompatibilism. Ancient Philosophy 9 (1989). and 'Aristotle's compatibilism in the Nicomachean Ethics'. Now we know that if the dual capacity at stake were general. Everson (in. See. Roberts and S. especially if I was earlier in life in a position to refrain from performing each of the individual actions that determined my character. the resulting actions may be nonetheless responsible. As a matter of fact. This is important for our present purposes because it shows that it is the specific capacity to do otherwise that Aristotle requires for responsibility. respectively. Curren. 9 shows to be specific. Waking up before dawn and waking up after noon are both in the range of actions that are available to me in my life span. 4t SeeEN3.

10-22: Philo enim dicit possibile esse quod natura propia enuntiationis suscipiat veritatem . such as Virtue is beneficial. 45 See.ev avayKata. int. 45 Thus. in the case of actions. Necessary is that which is true and is not capable of being false. Sorabji. ape'tf] wcpt:Aet.is notoriously obscure. some nonnecessary.l. 78-9 and LS 1. 4 and DL 7.W:) that is 'capable' of being true or false . Non necessarium autem idem ipse determinat quod quantum in se est possit siscipere falsitatem. in Ar. quantum in se est. 'tWV eK'tO~ jJ. 235. 2.. eodem autem modo idem ipse Philo necessarium esse definit quod cum verum sit. lluva't"OV jJ. 'tcX II' OUK avayKata. and Blame.eV eon. cat.'Tlllev evavnoujJ. Frede. is capable of falsity. a proposition: IX~tWf.75 (LS 38D). Assuming that T 3 is also Chrysippean. otov 'tO neptna't"et 8(wv.evwv. Inpossibile vero. But some scholars have suggested that. in A1: a. olov . for example. in A1: a.6. olov . numquam possit susceptivum esse mendacii. 169. yij in'ta'tat. can never be capable of falsehood. The sentence in brackets is needed to preserve the interdefinability of the four notions as in Stoic. In the same way Philo defines that which is necessary as that which. Die Stoische Logik (Gottingen. 19-21. and Simplicius. as far as itself is concerned. That which is non-necessary he detennines as that which.43 The notion of 'something' (presumably. 112 n.Tl6E~ dvat <ii emlleKnKOV jJ. Cause. 't"WV i:K't"O~ !J. Necessity. avayKatov II€ eonv onep cXAT16E~ ov OUK eonv emlleKnKOV 't"OU tjreilllo~ dvat. as far as itself is concerned. 6-10. The two main sources for T 2 are Boethius.TJ evavnOUjJ.4 The Relation between T2 and T3 T 2 is a Chrysippean theory according to which specific determinism is compatible with the specific capacity or possibility to act otherwise.. quod secumdum propriam naturam numquam possit suscipere veritatem (in Bobzien's translation: 'Philo says that <a proposition> is possible which is capable of truth according to the proposition's own nature . and some necessary.tl eo'ttv emlleKnKOV 't"OU aA. and that which is impossible as that which according to its own nature.l. Non-necessary is that which both is true and is capable of being false.EV eO'tl lluva'tcX. the present section undertakes an examination of how these theories relate to each other. Possible is that which is capable of-being tlue and which is not prevented by external factors from being t!Ue. 40 and 119-22.82 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism 5. some things are possible. 44 Philo's own modal system is reported in Boethius. can never be capable of truth'). 107-17). I tf) is capable of being 43 "En 'te 'tcX j. such as The earth flies.fVWV ei~ 'tO cXA'Tl6e~ dvat. 1974). 195. 2.. . ii emlleKnKOV j. some impossible.. it may refer to the intrinsic physical fitness of an agent for performing a certain action. I quote the latter: Further.fV 't"O emlleKnKOV 't"OU cXA'!l6E~ dvat. otov (ft 8toKA. and is not prevented by external factors from being false. or is capable of being false but is prevented by external factors from being false. in/.I. 't"cX II' i:K't"O~ aiJ'tlj> i:vavnoil't"at npo~ 'tO tjreilllo~ dvat. pr.ij~· aiiUva't"ov lie o IJ. 'tcX II' aiiUva'ta' Kat 'tcX j.a notion that Chrysippus inherited from Philo the Dialectician (late fourth century BC)44 . See also Alexander.. being true. p1: 184. 234 and Bobzien. 10550-F (see M. OUK avayKaiov lie eonv 0 Kat cXAT16e~ eO'ttv Kat tjreilllo~ ot6v 'te dvat. 27-235. Determinism and Freedom.234..fV eon 't"cX II' eK't"O~ aiJ't"lj> evavnoil'tal npo~ 'tO cXA'Tl6e~ dvat>. Impossible is that which is not capable of being hue <or is capable of being true but is prevented by external factors from being true>. such as Diocles is alive.234. in Ar. For discussion see LS 2.31-196. rep. Philoponus. such as Dion is walking. in Ar.

B. 136--43). Although the use of the second condition to define the four concepts is an innovation of Chrysippus. 120) that the close correlations between DL 7. 1995). I now have the intrinsic fitness required for walking and nothing external prevents me from doing so.· 47 See Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom. See Alexander of Aphrodisias. necessary in a causal sense. See notably M. Therefore. She detects two kinds of necessity in Chrysippus: one is 'cosmological' and is associated with the causal necessity of fate. or at least senses. 48 46 The two conditions are quite independent from each other: I may have the physical strength required for breaking a jewel and be prevented from doing so by external factors (for example. Thus understood. Philo claimed that something which is capable of being true is possible 'even if it is prevented from coming about by some necessary external factor' (Kiiv u1t6 ·nvo~ E~<. as I shall argue in some detail later on in this section. enough to $. the other is 'logical' in that it refers to one of the four interdefinable modalities. as has been hypothesized in recent scholarship. I agree with Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom. In fact. the proposition I stand still now is non-necessary in Chrysippus' modal system. 46 The non-necessity of a proposition in this modal system is compatible with there being necessitating causes for the event in question. namely by the whole rational process by which I came to the conclusion that I should remain still and that caused me to act accordingly. K. and it is capable of being false if I have the physical strength to refrain from $-ing. In other words. 47 One sense is that required by the modal system just described. Papazian. there seems to be two kinds.). 'Sur Ia logique modale des StoYciens'. thereby. pr. Yet.75 and Stoic.being or not being prevented by external factors (1:a eK't'o~) from being true or false. 227-31 at 227-8 and Brennan. it was already alluded to by Philo as something that is relevant for the definition of the possible. As for the other condition . 10550-F are strong evidence against Mignucci's position. He reserved the term 'necessary' (aVcXVKT]) to refer to causal necessity and restricted the term 'that which is necessary' ('ro ava:vKa:iov) to refer to logical necessity. 'Review of Susanne Bobzien.>AUflEVov). 'Fate and free will in Stoicism'. whose aim.it refers to the presence or absence of factors external to us that either prevent us from acting in a certain way or force an event or state to take place at us. It follows from (i) and (ii) that a factual action whose opposite is counterfactual at all times but possible is. whereby he expressly takes issue with Philo on this question. 184. of necessity in Chrysippean Stoicism. Ancient Philosophy 21(2) (2001). . in J. rep. Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy'. the latter is an innovation of Chrysippus. the mere capacity of being true is obviously a very weak requirement for something to be possible. 75). 6-10. 271-5. or strong. even though my action is. Bobzien has shown that this distinction is reflected in Chrysippus' terminology. the proposition I stand still now is non-necessary in the sense envisaged by this modal system. Algra. in Ar. if the jewel is kept in a bank-vault). In contrast with the former condition. Concepts of Space in Greek Thought (Leiden. a. at the same time. Les Stoi'ciens et leur logique (Paris. For further discussion of this particular point. 289 n. Brunschwig (ed.>Bev ava:yKa:iou ii yevecrBa:t KeK<. see M. (ii) to preserve the interdefinability of the four central modal notions. Mignucci. 48 Some scholars have argued that Chrysippus' four notions are not meant to be interdefinable. non-necessary. Consider a situation where my action is to stand still. As a criticism of Diodorus. 1978) (cf.. is twofold: (i) to establish that some states and events that are counterfactual at all times are nevertheless possible.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 83 true if I am fit. my standing still is causally necessitated. is a midway position between the extremely strong position of Diodorus and the extremely weak one adopted by Philo. Chrysippus' own definition of the possible..

TJ tl1tapxetv).so On the other hand. the core of T3 is a sufficiency thesis according to which a fully rational impulse suffices for responsibility. 201. This interpretation finds a particularly straightforward formulation in LS: If I want to claim credit for not smashing the jewel.138. See also Reesor. To be responsible for my action. 'Necessity and fate in Stoic philosophy'. 49 50 . Sorabji. my being kidnapped on Monday). 16-17 (SVF 1. according to which an effect is necessitated by its cause . Long cited by Botros in 'Freedom. In fact. In consequence. causality.it was not a thousand miles away. but only those. 235 (cf.89. that is. according to which responsibility requires the specific capacity to do otherwise. They do overlap. and Blame. The action's being based on a fully rational impulse is deemed by the doctrine to be sufficient on its own for holding the agent responsible for the action. oo 3e eonv a:i:nov IJ. I must in particular show that it was possible for me to smash it in the sense that I had the opportunity to do so. In Chrysippus' modal system. 282. 49 Thus. Determinism and Freedom. chap. namely. however. those that are subject to full external necessitation. as described in Chapter 3. or locked up in a bank-vault. the proposition is 'necessary' in that system. to Zeno: 'it is impossible that the cause be present yet that of which it is the cause not obtain' (aouva:1:ov 3' d va:t 1:0 11-ev a:i: nov 1tttpeiva:t. and (b) that [external] circumstances did not prevent me . and Bobzien. LS 55A). and by someone with my strength (intrinsic fitness). 3. but also a theory of responsibility. and for this reason. This is why T3 and Aristotle are diametrically opposed. there is a special class of causally necessitated states or events that are 'necessary' in Chrysippus' modal system. This sufficiency thesis apparently indicates a significant difference between T 3 and T 2 • For one influential interpretation ofT2 has been that it is not only a modal system. It is not required in addition that I had the specific capacity to do otherwise. E 1. What would really be intended by T3 is this: my acting on the basis of a fully rational impulse is sufficient for my responsibility for the action in those. I must show (a) that it is breakable. cases where I had the physical strength to act Zeno ap.an idea that Chrysippus never contradicted and that goes back. There is no contradiction as long as we bear in mind that these are two different kinds or senses of necessity that were not meant by Chrysippus to be equivalent to each other. are not exclusive. Think of an event that takes place at me in virtue exclusively of causes that are external to me (for example. it is enough that I act on the basis of a fully rational impulse for this action. fatalism and early Stoic philosophy'.84 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism The other sense of necessity is that required by Stoic causation. 5 1 Someone who adopts this interpretation of T2 may try to explain away the difference between T 2 and T 3 by arguing that the sufficiency thesis in T 3 is implicitly qualified. 393). 51 See LS 1. The concepts of causal necessitation and of 'logical' necessitation. a factual event necessitated by its cause may nevertheless be non-necessary from the point of view of Chrysippus' modal system. this is a true proposition and one that is 'prevented by external factors' from being false (the external factors being the ruffians who kidnapped me). Necessif)\ Cause. 78-9. Now consider the proposition that asserts the ocurrence of this event (I am kidnapped on Monday). tacitly restricted to cases where I did have the specific opportunity to act otherwise. Stobaeus. as we know.

106-107.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 85 otherwise in that situation and there were not external obstacles preventing me from doing so. if what it really meant is that it is only qualifiedly sufficient for responsibility. rep. necessarium. Philoponus. In order to show that T3 is consistent with T 2 . that the two theories reflect different stages of a development in his philosophical system. we would have to conclude that Chrysippus changed his mind regarding the nature of responsibility and. I believe. apr. will not be tme. 234. illt. In consequence. however. 22-6): 52 Diodorus determines that <a proposition> is possible which either is or will be <true>. there is an argument from silence that tells against it. D 2. Alexander. 53 Diodorus possibile esse determinat. The modal system that T 2 introduces is meant as a revision of the modal system of Diodorus Cronus. it has a special strength in this particular instance. Cicero.1. 2. The full system is only reported by Boethius (in Ar. and Boethius. int. 2. 54 The system. being true. one assumption that would have to be made by someone who argues that T3 is so qualified is that it must be consistent with T 2• But this is a petitio principii.284 Be). Epictetus. in consequence. To avoid this conclusion. as I think it is not. I shall argue that T 2 may not be a theory of responsibility at all.234. 183.tV). IfT3's sufficiency thesis is not qualified. leader of the Dialectical School (died c. . impossibile. and is non necessary which either is now false or will be false. in Ar. in Ar. but T2 were a theory of responsibility. 54 This is well brought out by Bobzien in Determinism and Freedom. namely those that will cease to be factual at some point. non necessarium. quod cum falsum sit non erit verum. 10-11 of the sufficiency thesis does not fit well with the deflationary interpretation. however. does not leave room for possibilities that are forever counterfactual. quod cum verum sit non erit falsum. On the contrary.19. is impossible which. F 17. It would be at least odd that T 3 asserted that a fully rational impulse guarantees by itself that the corresponding action entirely depends on its agent (oi. that this deflationary interpretation of T3 is inadequate for two reasons. I conclude that T3 is not implicitly qualified: it does not mention either the fitness to act otherwise or the absence of external obstacles to the alternative course of action. being false. With this qualification T3 does not depart from T 2 after all. Stoic. 16-17. and to end this chapter. it explicitly maintains that there may be things that are factual and yet contingent. in A1: a. 53 Diodorus' system does not either state or imply that everything factual (or every true proposition) is necessary. quod aut est aut erit. Therefore. it is not enough to assume that it must be. See also LS 1. because it does not regard them as relevant for responsibility. There is no evidence either in Nemesius' report or in Alexander's that T3 is intended by Chrysippus to be qualified. 17-19.412. The existence ofT2 is the only historical reason one can have for supposing that T3 is implicitly qualified.eov eq) TJIJ. 6. 34-184. dubbed by sz Cf. pr. 169. will not be false. On the one hand. quod aut iam est aut erit falsum. 1055E. For it implies the idea. The second reason is that the very statement in N 105. is necessary which.A. Although arguments from silence tend to be weak. Plutarch.

Diodorus]. see Gaskin. I lack the capacity.WV yevio6at 't'e KIXt IJ. 58 In addition to Long and Sedley (LS 1. As a result of this he redefined the possible. 2-4): According to him [that is. Epictetlls. It is for this reason that he modified Diodorus' modal system and. Lovejoy. cit. Mass. oM!: auvatov ~v. of either «<>-ing or not «<>-ing at t. Die· Stoische Modal/ogik (Wiirzberg. Determinism and Freedom. Why did Chrysippus perceive that implication as a shortcoming of Diodorus' system? In other words. 265. and the notion of specific dual capacity to do otherwise it entails. 66.EAAOliJ.\ eoeo6at· ei ae ILTJ YEVOliJ. 217-81.. that Chrysippus also intended T 2 as a theory of responsibility (either legal or modal). But Chrysippus. Ifl were never to be <in Corynth>. The Great Chain of Being (Cambridge. that there be specific altemate possibilities for our actions. The Sea Battle and the Master Argument. Bobzien. As Alexander reports (in Ar. 184. 1936). 235 and 393). 297-305 and S. 59 See DF 33 at 205. 52 . a. 'Fate and free will in Stoicism'.6yos) is vast. contrary to what is generally assumed. 't'O yap EIJ. or possibility. together with the other three correlative concepts in such a way as to preserve determinism but leave room for such possibilities. pr.but if this means. are not presented by the theory itself as related to the concepts of responsibility and of what depends on us. 105-13. Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom. For a comprehensive account of the modern discussion. certainly. that it is impossible that I do not «<> at t. 56 Chrysippus perceived this implication as a shortcoming of Diodorus' system.l'j).T]V. and also that these possibilities be consistent with causal determination. considered it important.86 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Lovejoy the 'Principle of Plenitude' . 10-11: 'what depends on us is such as to be what it is possible to happen by us and not' ('t'O 't'otoihov e(jl' ~IJ. 58 In the one place where we find a discussion of Stoic views that connects what depends on us with the possibility of acting otherwise. at any rate. The inexistence of possibilities that are forever counterfactual rules out the existence of specific alternate possibilities for actual states or events. it would not be possible either <that I be there>.. Bobzien. So given that a proposition is possible if and only if it either is true or will be true.lV. however. On the specific issue of Chrysippus' refutation of the Argument. for metaphysical reasons. (X1JTOV. cf. in consequence. 0 <'iuVIX't'OV U(jl' ~IJ. In particular. why did he think it important to preserve possibilities that are forever counterfactual? One reason may have been the following. 144-5) claims that Cicero implies in F 12-14 that Chrysippus' 55 56 . op. as Diodorus thinks. 1986). then. I am in Corynth comes out as possible if I were in Corynth or. it rules out the specific dual possibility to act otherwise for factual actions: if I«<> at t. 57 The amount of secondary literature on the Master Argument (6 KUpteuwv A. namely the 'Master Argument' . see Dobbin. 59 it is not clear whether the connection is made by the Stoics See A. i\ Ei 1tUV't'WS IJ.E ev Kop(v6~ yevio6a\ auva't'OV K(X't'. Ei EiT]V EV Kopive~. 106.55 according to which all genuine possibilities must at some time be realized. The modal notions it defines. that he sought to refute the argument by which Diodorus wanted to establish his own notion of possibility. ifl were going to be. my not «<>-ing at tis forever counterfactual (even if I«<> at some other time). I do not ff) is impossible unless I «<> either now or at some later time.57 It is controversial. and Brennan. see Gaskin. as I explain below. 97 and 119.

(3) responsibility is incompatible with specific determinism.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Ch1ysippus 87 who are reported or is rather a reflection of Peripatetic views that slipped into the discussion. (2) to be responsible for an action. He did not take issue with the validity of the argument. Chrysippus had to design a modal system that could leave room both for the specific capacity to act otherwise and for the specific necessitation of our actions. The strategy used by Chrysippus was to reject the conclusion by casting doubt on each of the premisses. 220). 61 So it may be doubted whether Chrysippus. However. It rules out possibilities that are forever counterfactual. Uber das Schicksa/ (Berlin. we may reasonably suppose that T 2 is not a theory aimed at imposing a necessary condition for responsibility. she argues that the difference stems from a supposedly substantive difference between (a) the notion of something that it is possible (ouvo:. T 2 . she does not prove (nor do I see how it could be proved) that this difference is Stoic. . 1995). To tackle the first premiss of the argument. See Determinism and Freedom. On Fate. I do not see that this is implied anywhere in the passage. used in chapter 33. And he used T 2 and T 3 precisely for this purpose. Therefore. Diodorus' modal system was compatible with determinism.ov dvo:t) for someone to do.ltV. Bearing this in mind. but was unable to leave room for the specific capacity to act otherwise. Diodorus' system.AlexanderofAphrodisias. In consequence. and these. 61 See DF 26 at 196. This is why Chrysippus proposed a new modal system. Bobzien (Determinism and Freedom) contends that the view attacked by the Stoics in chapter 26 of DF differs from the view asserted in chapter 33. The argument is as follows: (1) if our actions are subject to specific necessity.. therefore. we must have had at the time of the action the specific capacity to act otherwise. that could replace Diodorus' in that it could accommodate modal system was intended to leave room for the ecp' ftj. Bobzien takes this passage as evidence that the Stoics linked what depends on us with the Chrysippean possibility of acting otherwise. posed a threat to any determinist wishing to deny the first premiss of the argument above. 392. and (b) the notion of something that the person is capable of doing (I>Uvo:crBo:t). but with its soundness. used in chapter 26. one source reports a Stoic argument that expressly denies that the connection holds. are presupposed by the specific capacity to act otherwise. The onus of proof being on her side. 168 and Alexander von Aphrodisias. ever thought that responsibility requires the specific capacity to act otherwise (or the specific contingency of our actual actions). 60 Furthermore. 25-197. one by one. respectively. we lack the specific capacity to act otherwise. as we have seen. 60 As is shown by Sharples andZierl (see. 3. the function ofT2 in Chrysippean compatibilism may have to complement T 3 for rejecting the conclusion of an incompatibilist argument. or indeed any Stoic.

he merely says that the capacity for doing (Mvcqu~ ·mu nou:tv) involves a certain internal state of desire (namely a desire or opeet~) in combination with a certain state of the external environment. expresses views in which he positively believes and that are central to his logic and his ethics.a claim that he makes in a central passage of int. T2 and T3 seem rather to complement each other as two different weapons against the soundness of a single argument. which states that responsibility requires the specific capacity to act otherwise. If Chrysippus was reacting to this argument.o:) to the action.Lt~) that we find in Met. As for the argument itself. We cannot know in detail how the two theses of the argument reached Chrysippus. Each of its premisses. is to question the second premiss of the argument. shows to be wrong. 9 (see section 5. however. this assumption is questionable. did Chrysippus actually perceive himself as an adversary of Aristotle on this particular subject? Or was Chrysippus simply addressing two theses that were 'in the air' and that would have incompatibilist consequences if put together? Important though these issues are for the history of early Stoic philosophy. As for the philosophical question of how effective is Chrysippus' response to the first premiss. I suggest. by contrast. we may notice that as long as the incompatibilist opponent behind the argument above does not beg the question by defining counterfactual possibility in terms of that whose factual opposite lacks necessitating causes. 62 The argument above is a reconstruction and a synthesis of how he would have reacted if pressed on the issue of compatibilism. According to the central account of capacity (Mvcq. If we follow this interpretation of the two theories. which includes the absence of 'external obstacles' (. To be sure. as I have argued in section 5. It is important to stress that Aristotle himself never comes close to asserting that by definition one can only have the specific capacity (or possibility) to act otherwise in the absence of necessitating causes for what we actually do.uov. 8. T2 is perfectly compatible with the idea that everything factual is causally necessary.. is implicit in both EN 3. ForT2 is very likely to be a theory that is not positing that capacity as a necessary condition for responsibility. was he arguing against an early peripatetic who. was he aware that the argument is Aristotelian? That is. it has its roots in Aristotle. .88 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism both the specific capacity to act otherwise and the specific necessitation of factual actions.a KwA.3.. it is not attested as a whole anywhere in his works. they should not divert us from the simple fact that the combination of eew 62 Premiss (1) is implied in int. According to T3.5 lll3b7-8 and EE 2. put the two theses together in the form of an argument? If he was. Thus. In this respect. T2 and T3 emerge as theories whose target is Aristotle's incompatibilism. there is not any contradiction between them.3) and that T2. which is possible.10 1226a20--28. as we have seen in the previous chapter. 9 at 19a7-ll and 18-19. The connection in Aristotle between the specific capacity to act otherwise and indeterminism is meant as a substantive claim . the argument is Aristotelian both in spirit and in doctrine. In particular. And premiss (2). The aim of T3 . in contrast with Aristotle himself.5..

. The reconstruction just offered is conjectural. 'T2 '. more basic than that addressed by T3 : the former deals with the metaphysical problem of whether determinism allows us to act otherwise and in what sense. it is disputable on textual grounds. and want to avoid the conclusion that Chrysippus changed his mind regarding the nature of responsibility. Neither option is satisfactory for reasons that I have already mentioned. let me explain why I called the three theories 'T 1'. If we assume that the aim of T 2 is to state a necessary condition for responsibility. and 'T3 '. whose aim is to tackle the problem of whether determinism allows one to act otherwise. I now tum to a theory of responsibility designed to complement T3. but which only arose with Epictetus. we have to suppose either that (i) the sufficiency thesis in T 3 is implicitly qualified and restricted to cases where the agent has the possibility to act otherwise. or that (ii) T3 is later than Chrysippus. logically prior to T3 because the issue addressed by T 2 is. As for the very idea that the aim of T 2 is to state a necessary condition for responsibility. T 1 deals with the problem of whether determinism allows one to contribute at all to the causal production of one's actions. also in a certain sense. rival interpretations are equally so.The Three Compatibilist Theories of Chrysippus 89 T2 and T 3 is a philosophically sensible response to an argument that is Aristotelian both in spirit and in doctrine. To end. Given the state of the evidence. the latter deals rather with the ethical and psychological problem of whether our ascription of moral responsibility to a person is justified given that person's reasons for acting in a certain way. in a certain sense. And they are also less plausible. As forT~. and that a good grasp of the details of Aristotle's position helps understand why Chrysippus developed these two theories to defend compatibilism. however. albeit in a different sense: the issue addressed by T 1 is more critical than that addressed by T 2 • In contrast with T 2. The sub-indexes are meant to state a logical order among them. T 2 and T3 are two complementary theories that were put together in order to question a single incompatibilist argument. But T2 is. it is logically prior to T2.

5. and human nature in particular. the agent must have acted from a fully rational impulse. Striker. the notion that nature in general. 16-27 (SVF 3.16. 398-401 and 406-10. 1986). see G. 1995). Schofield and G. 'Antipater and the art of living'.Chapter 6 Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action One important thesis we have encountered in our examination of Stoic compatibilism is that an action is morally responsible if the agent acted from a fully rational impulse. in order to be responsible. Greek Thought (Oxford. The theory in question. and C. Given those reasons. The Norms of Nature (Cambridge. if you like. It is because of this. chap. LSI. Gill. I regard myself as justified in having acted as I did. Thus. The present chapter takes up the task of investigating how to justify the ascription of moral responsibility to such agents. to agents who acted unreflectively. Cleanthes and Chrysippus ap. 8 (LS 68B) and 2. In his discussion of the problem of moral responsibility in unreflective action Epictetus does not espouse the idea that if I behave badly. If I do perform this reflection. that my acting from a fully rational impulse is sufficient for responsibility. 'T3 '. In Stoicism. I formed the conviction that the action was worth performing. The core of the argument he offers is the thesis that I am responsible for the action because I am responsible for my umeflectiveness or 'precipitancy' (nponen:ta). his distinctive contribution to Stoic theories of responsibility resides in complementing T3 with this missing account. The argument proceeds on the basis of a normative account of human nature. more importantly. Striker (eds). The theory does not hold that. but unreflectively. I am thereby exempt from responsibility and hence blameless. the theory claims. This is an impulse based on a previous all-things-considered reflection on the desirability of the action. For discussion. 1 But it is in Epictetus that the connection fully 1 See notably Zeno. LS 68A). 91 .3). T 3 leaves ample room for justified ascription of moral responsibility to agents who did not act from this sort of impulse or.77. has a normative force goes back to the earliest orthodox Stoics. is reported by Alexander of Aphrodisias and Nemesius of Emesa and I have argued in the previous chapter that it is Chrysippean. 11-76. Stobaeus in E 2.75. This final chapter is devoted to complementing the account of responsibility offered by T 3• An important element of this theory is that acting from a fully rational impulse is just a sufficient condition for moral responsibility. the conviction is based on argumentative reasons. Although Epictetus agrees with T3 on the thesis that the kind of reflection it envisages for fully rational impulses is sufficient for responsibility (see section 4. in M.

2. . Section 6. This section is complemented in section 6. 247. (2) activities that are in accordance with human nature are activities that one ought to perform. The Epictetan maniac follows whatever impressions he forms: 2 See D l. They are all regarded as 'maniacs'.28 is clearly not this phenomenon.1-5. we should not be angry with them. have interesting things to say about it. The discussion is based on a detailed exegesis of some Epictetan passages on human nature. Crucially.92 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism emerges between the normativity of human nature and moral responsibility.30 (quoted below in this section). One reason for starting with D 1. Now. amongst men'.19-22.1-2 and 4. one paradigm of which is Medea.22. (1) The activity that consists in critically examining our impressions before eventually accepting them is an activity that is in accordance with human nature. this discourse has a double purpose: (i) to bring out the basic features of the psychology of action of those people whom he calls 'maniacs' (!J. SeeM 7. 6. (4) if I behave badly because I acted unreflectively.5. unreflectiveness or 'precipitancy' (npomheux) is a pattern of mental behaviour consisting in the repeated failure to reflect critically on impressions before reacting to them. I will refer to Epictetus' argument as the 'Normative Argument' for responsibility. 2 One of the places in his works where this phenomenon is brought into focus is D 1.3 by an analysis of Epictetus' proposed therapy for treating unreflectiveness.I:VOl.2. the psychology of such agents does not ever involve the critical examination of impressions that often.46.104.l. and what small.28. 4. namely delusion and hallucination.2. I am blameworthy for the action.9-10. 3 SeeD 2. one is genuinely blameworthy. given the psychology of these people.1 presents Epictetus' analysis of the most salient features of the psychology of unreflective action.28 is meant to apply to the psychology of action of other tragic and epic heroes as well. More particularly.cn VOIJ. 3.17. 2.l. 4. Entitled by Arrian 'That we should not be angry with others. modern readers. characterize most of us. and Epictetus in particular.1 The Psychology of Unreflective Action In Epictetus. would characterize as madness. But the focus of D 1.8.28 is that for Epictetus the 'maniac' is distinguished by an extreme precipitancy. or at least sometimes.13. for in that case my unreflectiveness cannot count as an exculpating factor for my bad behaviour.4. 249. and D 3. The phenomenon studied through the analysis of these characters is not what we. 3 and (ii) to show that. This chapter is divided into three sections.28. Hence. and (3a) if one fails to carry out an activity that one ought to perform. The analysis in l. The focus of the discussion is on the difference between this psychology and the psychology of reflective action as described in T3• In section 6. The structure of the Normative Argument is as follows. 4. or at least as one of its varieties. even though the Stoics in general.244-5. I tum to Epictetus' Normative Argument for the ascription of responsibility to unreflective agents. (3b) if I fail to examine my impressions critically before acting. I am blameworthy. ). and what things are great.

nowhere anything like a standard.>cr(a). . or being precipitate (-ro 1tpo1tt1t-retv). I provide a comparative analysis of this psychology and the psychology of reflective action as described in T 3 • As we saw earlier (section 4. See Herculaneum Papyrus 1020. but rather pauses to reflect on the all-things-considered appropriateness of «1>-ing in the present circumstances.111. who constitutes an extreme case.Eyov-rrn oi mxv-r\ 5 .3). is a mark of the non-sage.. LS 410): precipitancy (1tp01tTr. The content of the impression is a proposition of the form: it is appropriate (Ka0ijKov)for me to lP.>llows: (1 ') As with R.l (SVF 2.28.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 93 What are they called those who follow all the things that appear to them?. 18-112. The importance of the matter is so overwhelming that it constrains us to react without proper reflection. There are circumstances in which most of us display some precipitancy. oMtxi-LOil 0!-LOlOV n KIXVOVl. and most of us would be that the former is always precipitate. by contrast. our psychology resembles that of the maniac. 6 To evince the specific features of the psychology of precipitate action in general. that is. o1tou &e -ro 1tpril-rov Ka\ 116vov a[n6v ea-rt -roil Ka-rop6oilv il IXI-lap-rrivet v. (3) If no unforeseen external obstacle prevents R from «1>-ing. If R reaches the conclusion that «1>-ing in the present circumstances is indeed appropriate all things considered. LS 410) and E 2. 4 col. col.33: -rive~ l'lE: A.548. Epictetus remarks that precipitancy is not exclusive to maniacs. ev6a&e 1-LOVOV eiK!XLOt K!Xt 1tpo1te-re\:~. there only do we act rashly and precipitately. an act of assent to the impression occurs and the impulse for «1>-ing is exercised. •4'> rpawoi-LEV!j> !XKoA. The psychology of precipitate action. of everyone except the sage. 6 This is in accordance with early orthodox Stoic doctrine.>. But where the first and only cause is concerned of either acting rightly or going wrong. is structured as f<.131. Nowhere anything like a balance. The action is necessitated by the combination of the impulse and the absence of external obstacles. but something appears and I immediately perform it. in paragraph 30. -roil rXTUXELV i') eUTUXeLV. 4 Earlier in the text. the agent P forms the impulsive impression that «1>-ing is appropriate.Maniacs. the psychology of reflective action is structured as follows: (1) The agent R receives an impulsive impression presenting a certain course of action as appropriate.5 The difference between the maniac.ou6oiine~. (2) R does not assent straight away to the impression. oMIX!-LOil 01-lOlOV 't"l (uyr. 4 D 1. -roil eupoei:v i') &uapoe\:v. the impulse yields the action and the agent actually «1>-es. especially when we are obliged to decide on an important matter. rXAArX n erprXVTJ K!Xl eu6u~ 1tOlW -ro rpaviv.Matv611evot. of happiness or adversity. In such circumstances. or success or failure. 8 (SVF 3.

1-2. The main difference between precipitate action and reflective action is that the agent of the former assents to impulsive impressions without the prior reflection undertaken by the agent of the latter. the 'immediately' (eu6u~) is potentially ambiguous. 3.1-4.oy!l). 150 and 172-3. 10 This dispositional account is explicit in D 2.18. 7 In Epictetus' theory of action. and DL 7. 8 Second. as opposed to good courses of action.18.94 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism (2') P assents straight away to the impression and exercises an impulse for <P-ing. 9 Clearly. one of which is a disposition: (i) a first impression of something as good or as being the case and (ii) the disposition (e~t~) to accept as true impressions of this sort. the clause 'if nothing hinders' is not explicit in the text. If we follow the modal reading.3 below. this mechanism is dispositional.82. it is no longer used in the early Stoic sense to denote the highest genus of which all states of desire (including desire proper) are species.108-109. 'The old Stoic theory of the emotions' and 'Reservation in Stoic ethics'. the impulse yields the action without the mediation of anything else: the impulse and the absence of external factors are sufficient on their own for the action to take place). it is appropriate to pay back my debtor tomorrow). see.1-2.4. 2. 8 I return to this topic in section 6. The step (3') deserves two comments. impulse is directed at merely appropriate causes of action (Ka8!lKOV'ta).86-8. it is appropriate to <I> now). the action is necessitated given (i) the impulse for the action and (ii) the absence of external obstacles. 2.1-2. which are indifferent. see Inwood.6.3. For in dealing with the psychology of action. 116-19. both precipitate and reflective action are governed by a necessitas consequentiae.? (3') If nothing hinders.79. To go further into Epictetus' analysis of precipitancy. 1. For Epictetus' heterodox classification.J. the impulse yields the action. which would be implicit in the text. It may have either a temporal force (in the absence of external obstacles the action ensues immediately after assent is given to the impression) or a logical force (in the absence of external factors. in Epictetus' terms. I quote and discuss the relevant passages in section 6. we need to look into the mechanism that underlies the precipitate assent to an impression. I shall argue in section 6. Brennan.e6' ime~atpeaew~). typical passages includeD 1.3. for example. But it is safe to assume that it is presupposed. but in a narrower sense to denote just a species coordinate with desire proper.3. The early Stoic analogue to Epictetan 'impulse' is 'selection' (i:KA. This reveals a shift in the meaning of the term 'impulse' (Opf11l): in Epictetus. In either case. D 2. First. for in that case the action would take place well after the assent. The former reading presupposes that the content of the impression involves a temporal operator referring to the present (for example. 3. For discussion.9-10. For the early Stoic classification. 9 As there is no reason to suppose that Epictetus' analysis of precipitancy is restricted to situations where the impression involves this operator. it would not work for impressions whose content involves a temporal operator referring to the future (for example. . 10 In the presence of such an impression. Epictetus often stresses how external obstacles may thwart our impulses for action -an issue connected to the topic of impulse with reservation (!. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism.2. E 2. which deals with anger. An act of precipitate assent results from the combination of two factors. the latter reading is more adequate as an interpretation of the present passage. the action occurs 'immediately' (eU8u~). which are the object of desire proper (ope~\S).

Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action

95

the disposition is triggered off, which leaves no room for prior reflection. The difference between precipitate and reflective agents is that the disposition is stronger in the former than in the latter: in the presence of first impressions of things as good or otherwise valuable, precipitate agents normally cannot by themselves either prevent the activation of the disposition or stop its activity once it has been triggered off. To conclude this section, I wish to tackle a further question. Epictetus sometimes describes precipitate agents as persons who do act on the basis of a previous practical reasoning. If so, what does their precipitancy consist in? To establish that the difference in Epictetus between precipitancy and full practical rationality lies in a practical reasoning that is present in the latter, but absent in the former, we need to bring out the difference between the practical reasoning that is present in fully rational action - a practical reasoning defined by an all-thingsconsidered reflection on the desirability of the action- and the practical reasoning that we find in Epictetan precipitancy. One precipitate person whom Epictetus presents as acting on the basis of a prior reasoning is Medea. 11 He deals with Medea twice in the Discourses and, in both places, his analysis is worth considering. In paragraphs 19 to 22 of D 2.17, in an argument to the effect that one should not be angry at her, Epictetus describes in some detail the sequence that led Medea to the murder of her children. His description is a free paraphrase of Medea's great speech in Euripides:
It was because she was unable to endure this that Medea came to murder her· own

children. This is the action of noble spirit in this regard at least, that she had a proper impression of what it means to be disappointed in one's desire. 'Thus', she says, 'shall I take vengeance on one who has injured and wronged me. Yet what shall I gain from putting him into such a miserable plight? How is this to be achieved? I kill the children. But that will be punishing myself too. Yet what do I care?' 12

Medea is presented as having gone through an instrumental reasoning that connects her action to her prior decision to take vengeance on Jason. Given her decision - expressed in the statement 'I shall avenge myself' - she inquires deductively into how this decision may be carried out: 'how can that [avenging myself] come about?' As a result of this enquiry she reaches the conclusion: 'I kill the children', which specifies the best means to avenge herself. Epictetus presents the action of killing her children as something whose appropriateness as a means to a higher goal Medea assents to. Thus her impulse for killing her children - not
11 For a recent extensive discussion of Medea's great monologue in Euripides in connection with philosophical issues in moral psychology, see C. Gill, Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy and Philosophy (Oxford, 1996), 216-33.

Toii-co K«t ti M!llleta. oux urco~eiva.oa. 'llA.6ev ere\ 'CO artOK'CEtV«t -c& 'I;EKV«. K«-rli ye "I;OU'I;O. eixe y&p ijv llei qHxv,a.oia.v, ol6v eo1;t -co & 6iA.et "I;tv\ ~il rcpox(A)p&tV. 'eha. OU'C(A)~ 'I;l~(A)p!loo~«l 'COY alllK!loa:v-cli ~e K«\ u~pioa:V'I;«. Ka:\ -ci Olp&AO~ -coii Ka:K&~ OU'C(A)~ llla:KEt~ivou; n&~ oov YEVT]'I;II:l; arcOK'I;etV(A) ~ev ,a; 'I;EKVa:. aA.A.& Ka:\ e~a:<u>tiJv tl~(A)PJlOO~II:l. Ka:\ -ci ~Ol ~EA&l;'
12

~eya.A.oqm&~

96

The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism

mentioned in the text, but required by the action - is based on a prior reflection about how best to achieve a certain goal. So in what sense is Medea precipitate? The answer is that the prior reflection that supports her impulse for killing her children is not one that would count, by Epictetan standards, as an all-things-considered reflection about the desirability of this action. For one question that is relevant for its evaluation, but which Medea does not really address, is whether she should avenge herself in the first place. There is evidence for this both in the present passage and in the other place of the Discourses where Epictetus discusses the case of Medea. To begin with the latter (1.28.7), the text starts with a quotation from Euripides' Medea 1078-79:
Yes, I understand what evils I intend, but anger is stronger than my reasoning.l3

And this quotation is followed by a brief commentary by Epictetus:
For it is just this, the gratification of her anger and the taking vengeance on her husband, that she regards as more advantageous than the saving of her children. 14

Medea is presented as someone who makes a comparative judgement in which taking vengeance on Jason and satisfying her temper appear as the preferred option, the other option being saving her children. Blinded by her anger, however, she does not inquire, at the time of the action, into whether avenging herself is really the right thing to do. The same is true of D 2.17.19-22, which I quoted a few paragraphs ago. To be sure, she sees there, however momentarily, a reason for not taking vengeance on Jason, 15 namely that, by killing her children, she will punish not only Jason, but also herself (Q:A.A.& Kat Ef!<XU't'TJV 't'tf!Wpt)oof!at). But what Medea wavers about is not whether she should take vengeance on Jason, but whether she should take vengeance on him in the way she is planning to, namely by killing her children. The object of her wavering is just whether the action of killing her children is the best means to achieve vengeance, not whether vengeance itself is the right thing to do.

13 Kn:t 1J.n:v8&vw IJ.EV otn: l>piiv IJ.EAAc.> Kn:Kci, I 8u1J.o~ 1>£ Kpe(ooc.>v t&v EflWV Poul..eUIJ.cXtc.>v (Van Looy). 14 IXU'tO toiho, t(il 8u1J.(il xap(on:o8n:t K!Xt 'ttiJ.c.>p~oaoBn:t 'tOV &vl>pn:, OUIJ.<popwtepov i]yel:tn:t toil o&on:t t& teKvn:. 15 Gill (Personality in Greek Epic, Tragedy and Philosophy, 230) makes a similar point in connection with Chrysippus' analysis of Medea, reported by Galen at PHP 4.2.27: she assented to the impression that 'it is better to take vengeance on Jason than save the lifes of her children' with the awareness that the proposition is false or unreasonable. For discussion see also section 4 of M.D. Boeri, 'The presence of Socrates and Aristotle in the Stoic account of akrasia', in R. Salles (ed.), Metaphysics, Soul and Ethics in Ancient Thought (Oxford, 2005). Also, it is possible that Medea's wavering be intended by Epictetus to correspond to what Chrysippus calls an oscillation (tpon~) in his analysis of emotion. For Chrysippus every emotion is preceded by an oscillation of the mind between two courses of action. See Plutarch, virt. mor. 446F-447 A (SVF 3.459; LS 65G).

on

Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action

97

To recapitulate I have argued that Epictetan precipitancy is embodied in two different kinds of agents: (1) agents who accept automatically whatever first impressions they receive if these present a course of action as one they should pursue, without any kind of reflection concerning whether they should really pursue it; and (2) agents who do accept this kind of impression on the basis of a prior reasoning rather than automatically, but who, as is the case with Medea, fail to take into account factors that are greatly relevant for the evaluation of the desirability of an action. In either case, the difference between precipitancy and fully rational action is sharp because of the defective nature of the reasoning (if any) that is involved in the latter.

6.2 Epictetus' Normative Argument

There is one important proviso in Epictetus' ethics to the ascription of responsibility to persons in general, and to precipitate agents in particular. Given that the Normative Argument is an argument for ascribing responsibility to precipitate agents, the proviso is worth mentioning at the outset. An important theme in Epictetus' ethics is that of revising the grounds of our moral reactions to other people. Since the ascription of moral responsibility is a moral reaction to other people, it is worth asking whether, and to what extent, Epictetus regards the practice of ascribing moral responsibility as really justified. What is it exactly, if anything, that needs revision in this practice according to Epictetus? As I shall argue, it is not the practice itself, but rather the emotions that are often involved in it. The idea is not that we should refrain from holding people responsible for what they do- praise, blame and the like being 'Epictetus' stock-in-trade' 16 -but that this practice should not be motivated by an emotional reaction on our part. 17 Consider for instance the following two passages, which deal with precipitate agents. In paragraph 9 of D 1.28, Epictetus asks in connection with Medea:
Why, then, are you angry with her, because, poor woman, she has fallen into error on the most important points, and, instead of being a human being, has become a viper? Why do you not, if anything, pity her instead, and, as we pity the blind and the lame, so likewise pity those who are blinded and lamed in their ruling faculties? 18

In paragraph 9 of D 1.18 (entitled 'That we should not be angry with those who fall in error'), Epictetus takes a further step by suggesting that not even pity is strictly appropriate as a reaction to precipitate agents:
I borrow this expression from Dobbin, Epictetus, 67. In Epictetus' stoicism, the reason for this is that emotion (mxeo~) is contrary to the ideals of freedom from passion and tranquillity of mind (ami8eux and a't'cxpcx~(cx), which are central to his ethics as the proper focus of a good life. See notably D 1.4.3 and 27-9. 18 't'( OUV XCXAE1tCX(Vet~ CXU't'tl, on 1tE1tAaVT]'t'CXt <i)> 't'CXACX(n<.>po~ nep\ 't'o:;)V f.Ley(o't'<.>V KCXt ext~ an\ av8pwnou yeyovev; oux\ I)', einep apex, f.LIXAAOV eA.eei~. W~ 't'OU~ 't'Uq>A.ou~ eA.eOUf.LEV, W~ 't'OU~ X<.lAOU~, oii't'<.>~ 't'OU~ KUptW't'CX't'CX 't'E't'UiflA<.lf.LeVoU~ KIXt cX1tOKEX<.lA<.>f.Levou~;
16 17

111 (in Epictetus see also D 3. see notably Cicero. 1. Hahm's thesis. though. 20 On pity conceived by the Stoics as an emotion.ou6TJat~ -has an Epictetan origin.MA 3.ou61Jat~ to Chrysippus). which are emotions. Hadot. Phronesis 27 (1982).1.4-5). or 'understand'. <puaw E7tt ·wt~ fXAAO't'p{ot~ KtXKOt~ atrx't'{6ea8rxt.43 and 4.18-22 (which I quote further in this section). . if you must be affected contrary to nature at the ills of another.28. Epictetus. 2000).ou61Jat~) is used by Origen in his argument on responsibility and predestination in oral. For discussion. 22 In the recent literature.16. Emotion and Peace of Mind (Oxford.989). 3.oueo~EV •fi xp1loet 't'WV <plXV't'IXOt&v). but rather that the crucial notion of that argument -the notion of 7ttXptXKoA. 21 See. 'Freedom and determinism in the Stoic theory of human action'. pp.8. in consequence. eA. hate or pity.56 and DL 7. The only proviso is that this ascription should not be grounded on emotion.10. you should pity him rather than hate him. notably. 39-46. if maniacs are genuinely responsible. especially. where the characteristics of human nature are identified with those characteristics that mark off humans from the lower animals. 3.6. Boter. The Encheiridion of Epictetus and its Three Christian Adaptations (Leiden. Tusc. is not so much that Origen's argument is paralleled in detail in Epictetus' works. 1992). especially. we also reflect on. for example.does not exculpate them. The distinction is that. The connection between 'unnaturalness' and blameworthiness.1-2 (SVF 2. plants) base 19 &v6pw7te. and Hahm. as it is constitutive of human nature to examine impressions critically. we are justified in ascribing responsibility to them. In consequence.1. Epictetus' Normative Argument proceeds by showing that unreflectiveness is 'unnatural' relative to humans. a particularly detailed analysis of it may be found in David Hahrn's article 'A neglected Stoic argument for human responsibility' . 4. 224 and. 169-79 (where an attempt is made to trace back the origin of Epictetus' notion of 7ttXprxKoA. La Citadelle lnterieure (Paris. Epictet 1111d die Stoa. 21 The gist of this distinction has been well described by others. As we shall see shortly.13. The Christian paraphrases have been newly edited in G.5-6 and 2. 23 See. R. this thesis is developed in an account of the scala naturae.98 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism Man. derives from the further thesis that human nature is normative: we ought to behave in accordance with what is specific to human nature. our use of impressions (napaKoA.3. D 1. 2. 389-90. Epictetus' position in the Normative Argument is rather that their precipitancy.LcXAAOV f} ll {aet.19-22. 189-92 and 'Soul and body in Stoicism'. 34-57 at 49-53. Cf.23 The lower animals (unlike. Sorabji. ei ae aet 7ttXp&.22.manifested in Medea in her failure to appreciate that what she did is wrong . 1999).24. 4.20. 'A neglected Stoic argument for human responsibility'. our failure to do so is actually blameworthy (and hence not an exculpating factor). 22 See Bonhoffer. see Dobbin. 74-6. in tum. 7. P. 20 This is sharply different from claiming that they are not responsible at all for their deeds.Eet tXlJ't'OV f. although we 'use impressions' (xpw~eea <p«XV't'aot&v) as non-human animals do. The argument begins by identifying reflection as something that is constitutive of human nature.1 9 Clearly. the aim of these passages is specifically to establish that our reaction to maniacs should not be governed by anger. As is the case in Chrysippus' T 3 . The central thesis developed by Hahm in his article is that Epictetus' notion of 'understanding' (7ttXptXKoA. Long. who explains that it is for this reason that Epictetus' treatment of pity was suppressed in at least one of the Christian paraphrases of the Ench.

unlike the lower animals.eyetv E1t.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 99 their reactions to the world on the impressions they form.11 'On family affection' (llep\ qnA. .It seemed to me that I was acting naturally. may critically examine and select their impressions through the use of reason. on 1t!iV'tE~ oxeMv i1 oi ye 1lAElO'tOt Ujlttpt!iVOj. e<p. Consider for instance D 1.Not even I would deny that are you are so affected. it is something that we ought to achieve. 0 0 0 . 'Cl>-ing is natural' does imply 'Cl>-ing is right (op8&c. ei ope&~. that ci> is a course of action that one ought to pursue.Toiho.et. It is precisely the inference from 'Cl>-ing is something that most people do' to 'Cl>-ing is natural (KO:'ttt qn3m v)' that Epictetus challenges. because they do develop and even that en·ing is natural. or at least most of us. on yiVE'tttt. On his view.yw oe neiow. he said.. But 'Cl>-ing is something that most people do' does not imply. since reflection is constitutive of human nature. The inference leans on the claim that what is natural (KO:'ttt qn3ot v) for an entity E to do does not necessarily coincide with what E normally does.t 'tOU OWjltt'tO~. . said he.Ouo F. make errors.> yiveoea. llel: A. As I mentioned earlier. 'tO c'l' Ujl<pto(}ll'tOUj. enel 'tOU'tOU y EVEKtt Kttl 'tcX q>Ujltt'ta. ou. But humans. Kttl F. the contrast intended by Epictetus between natural (KO:'t"tt qn3ot v) and unnatural. what is unnatural for us to do is not necessarily what we rarely do. . but rather what we ought to avoid.&~ 'tO Ujlttp't!ivetv dva.. Thus.u·ni> 'tttiha. O'tt ou yive'ta. E<f>ll·. on 1lcXV 'tO Ktt'tcX <pUOtV yt VOj. -All fathers.oo1:opyCo:c. E<J>ll.IEV.)' and. .t Ktt'tcX <pUOtv. The next step in the Normative Argument is to infer that. because all.t. it would have to be said that tumours develop for the good of the body. For.yw OOt UV'ttA.IE 1lEtOOV.illuotK&~.AHa j. ope&~ <pa. but rather that we all ought to behave reflectively and ought to avoid precipitancy. 1t(Xv'tl:~ i1 oi ye 1tAEtO'tOt 1ttt'tepe~ nliOXOilEV.IEVOV ftjltV EKetVO EO'ttV. Human nature is granted a normative character. which in principle enables them to determine whether or not a given course of action is in accordance with Zeus' providential plan. Kttl anA. thus.. but do but convince me of why you were acting naturally. They report a conversation between Epictetus and a man whose daughter was seriously ill. the thesis that reflection is constitutive and distinctive of human nature is not intended to mean that we all actually behave in a reflective way (which is false). but the issue under dispute is whether these things are right. corresponds not so much to the difference 24 -Ti ouv. In the case of humans. lhon <pUOtK&~. 1tE1tOt11KEVttt. The man ran away from his daughter because he could not stand seeing her in that state: a -What. paragraphs 4-8. 'Cl>ing is natural'. he said. this claim is coupled with the further thesis that what is natural to do is what ought to be done.).ivet oa. are affected by this. By contraposition.IEVOV ope&~ yive'tttt.. by your argument.. aya. E<p. or most of them at any rate.24 The man justifies his attitude before Epictetus by arguing that he acted 'naturally' ( qmot KW\1 ): most fathers in his position would also have suffered and behaved in the way he did. and I will convince you that everything natural is right.eyw.ITJV 'toih6 j. which can be unnatural ( 1t p o: qn3 at v) relative to E' s nature. did it seem to you that you were acting rightly in doing these things?. and may in fact be irrelevant to deciding whether.Certainly.

it is shameful that humans should begin and end where the lower animals do. what is the need of understanding impressions and of being capable of judging them? But god has introduced humans into the world as spectators of himself and of his works.oya.16vov 6eat1lv. another for the production of cheese. cUI. Epictetus makes it clear that he uses the term 'shameful' to denote the class of things that are morally blameworthy. and the blameworthy is that which deserves blame?26 Epictetus' Normative Argument is now complete.100 The Stoics on Detenninism and Compatibilism between what we generally do and what we generally don't do.n XPd~ napanAT]UtCjl. Precipitancy is at variance with human nature. human nature is given a normative character. tov a' &v6pwnov 6eati')v eiuliyayev ai>tou te Ka\ tWV epywv tWV ai>tou. but also interpreters of them.A.26. understanding and a way of life in harmony with nature. KataA.o en' &A. 1:0 ai: tjJEK'tOV &~t6v eon toO tjleyeo6at. In consequence. concludes Epictetus.1lyetv onou Ka\ t& &A. to a· &AA.& ll&A.. therefore. and not only as spectators. ckA. Ka\ oil j. they ought rather to begin there. For this reason. But it is clear that for Epictetus the former implies the latter. but to end where nature itself has fixed our end. as is suggested in paragraphs 18-21 of D 1.>vov ate~!Xywyf)v tfi q>uoet. as in the previous passage. But it has fixed our end in contemplation. 25 eKdvwv EKitU'tOV Klt'tltUKt:U&(et 1:0 jlEV WU't. 1:0 a. to do. And it follows from this that. hence. it is actually shameful (o:icrxpov) for us merely to use impressions. This enables us to live in harmony with nature.lnct> &pxeu6!Xt Ka\ KataA. which I quote below.9. Therefore.& Ka\ e~TJYTJti'Jv ai>twv. The connection between unnaturalness and blameworthiness is not explicitly made in the passage just quoted.A. at& toiito aiuxpov eon t<j> ckv6pc. Notice that the mere use of impressions in humans is explicitly identified as something that falls short of human nature and. but given the normative character of human nature.>pt1XV K!X\ n!Xp!XKoA.liyetv fle eq>' o K«tEAT]~EV eq>' ijjlWV Ka\ ij q>UO\~. one to be eaten. Ott 1:0 aioxpov tjJEK'tOV eonv. God constitutes each of the animals for some use. it cannot count as an exculpating factor. npo~ & 'tl~ xpda 't"OU n!Xp!XKOAOU6eiV tai~ q>IXVtau(ats Ka\ 'tltU'tlt~ ataKplVE\V auvau6at. 26 oi>Mnote ijKouoa~. to a· wute tupov <pepetv. K<ttEAT]~EV a' en\ 6e<. since precipitancy is unnatural. in D 3. Have you never heard that the shameful is blameworthy.A. as the lower animals do. . Rather. The human being is naturally constituted as an interpreter (e~'I')Y'I')t*) of god's works.ou8'l')Otc:l). precipitancy is morally blameworthy. and relative to these uses.6. wute i>nT]peteiv eh yewpyt!XV. as to the difference between what we ought. 25 Elsewhere. another to serve in farrning.ou6T]O\V K!X\ OUjlq><. and what we ought not. And this interpretation requires the reflection (no:po:KoA.ov £v6ev jlEV &pxeo6at. what is at variance with it ought to be avoided and is. it is something that we ought to avoid. morally blameworthy. eu6(eu6at. and yet another for some other similar use.

she is blameworthy for being precipitate and.12. 29 In Epictetus. she failed to perceive that the action was wrong. 255. I return to this issue below.the present capacity to act in the future otherwise than they act now . thus. Epictetus offers a substantive account of how it can be avoided in the sense that he tells us in some detail how one may become. As we shall now see. This is precisely what is at issue in Epictetus' analysis of the incapacity for reflecting on impressions. 4. Sinnott-Armstrong.62-8. (2) I can avoid to ct». See below. a reflective person. On general philosophical grounds. 249-61. according to the Normative Argument.4). or at least make progress towards being. For. Determinism and Freedom. . 331-8.e~oucrio~) if there is nothing that could hinder my actually <11-ing. The latest discussion of this matter in Epicetus is Bobzien. I discuss a crucial step in the Normative Argument. There is no evidence that the specific capacity plays any role in Epictetan ethics. 33-41 and W. then it is false that I ought to <II in the first place.8. 4. 'One last time: "Ought" implies "Can"'. Margolis. SeeD 1. In consequence. Unreflective agents are blameworthy.16 and 4. the truth of (1) presupposes the truth of (2): (1) cl»-ing is something that I ought to avoid. Necessity.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 101 If we return to the case of Medea.2-4. Although she murdered her own children because.25. But precipitancy cannot be something that one ought to avoid unless it is also something that one can avoid. for the failure that led her to murder her children. This presupposes that for Epictetus precipitate persons possess the general capacity to act otherwise. 28 As will be seen. she is genuinely blameworthy. see notably J.3 Ought and Can: Responsibility and Epictetan Therapy In this section. See also Sorabji. 6. Personalist 48 (1967).1. because their precipitancy understood as a pattern of mental behaviour consisting in the repeated failure to reflect critically on impressions before reacting to them . 29 27 For recent discussion. the argument runs.7. "'Ought" conversationally implies "Can"'. the validity of the Normative Argument requires that precipitancy be something that precipitate agents can avoid. Ifi cannot <II. unless I am responsible for my incapacity (otherwise I could escape having to do something simply by making myself unable to do it). Cause. an activity <II that I plan to carry out is within my control ( a:ti. 28 This capacity is not the specific one envisaged by T2 (see section 5.and that the possession by them of this capacity is indispensable for us to be justified in holding them responsible for their current precipitate behaviour.21 Agents who cannot avoid precipitancy would be blameless because it would not be something that they ought to avoid in the first place.is something that ought to be avoided. this does not exculpate her. Philosophical Review 93 (1984). and Blame. in his account of what needs to be done to become reflective Epictetus stresses that the procedure does not depend on factors that are beyond our control. as a result of her lack of reflection..

~ l. see Simplicius. or be intensified and strengthened if they were.ii.' ttlhoil. and that (ii) every disposition..18. we need to examine Epictetus' views on relaxation.~ E~El~ Ktt'i .393. A disposition is intensified through its repeated activity: if the activity (epyov) of a disposition D is triggered off by impressions of type P.V't't) D. but rather that (i) some are and some are not (the disposition to react precipitately to first impressions presumably is). 30 One passage dealing with intensification is D 2. they cannot prevent its activity.ii.f.7: For dispositions and capacities must necessarily be affected by the corresponding actions.ii. But the idea that every disposition is initially weak . consider again the example above. CK'&lKOV 1tOlEl ttlho· ei n llfJ 1tOlEiV tiBeA. make it a disposition. it is manifest that the passage describes the process opposite to intensification. abstain from doing it. 20 (SVF 2..18.e(veo6ttt Ktt'i i..the idea being. Disposition D becomes stronger each time it is triggered off. To do so. then.patibilism Epictetus' therapy for treating precipitancy is chiefly a matter of weakening the disposition to react precipitately to first impressions. In order for it to be weakened. The verb 'being intensified' (c1ttn:(veo6o:t) used in this passage is also the one used by Epictetus at D 2.cXAAOV ckv. is initially weak but subject to intensification. opposite to D.f. To spell out its nature.18.iX.EV Cf.. the repeated 3 For the early orthodox Stoics on this question. Epictetus suggests. in Ar.oxupo1toteio6ttt. cat. the agent has to acquire a disposition D*.n~. that D will not keep its acquired strength if it remains inactive. The therapy has its theoretical basis on an orthodox Stoic conception of dispositions (e~etc.~ liuvaiJ.. presumably.): they are states whose strength can be relaxed ((Xvteo8a:t) or intensified (1':7n't'dveo8a:t) with time. and if you want not to do something. and acquire the disposition for doing something else instead. 237.fJ 1tOtEt ttu. 32 Ktt66A. To see how maniacs can become reflective. whether or not it is acquired. But they would be people in whom the disposition to react precipitately to first impressions has become so strong that. and by p3 at t3. 25-238. we may look at the beginning of the discourse (D 2.ilV epywv llfJ Ktt'i . Thus. when they form first impressions that present something as good or as being the case. if you want to do something. l..o.!XAAtlA<. By t3 it has acquired a degree of strength that it did not have before.102 The Stoics on Determinism and Com.7. 31 ckc'hlvtt'&OV y&p ckm) '&WV 1\:(X'J.~ 1i' &m. . and D is triggered off by p 1 at t" by p 2 at t2.n~. ° .suggests that extreme precipitation is an acquired condition.f..4): In general. and exerciseD* instead oj(ix. and become implanted if they were not present previously.El~ . ckU' e6wov &Uo n 1tptX1:1:Etv l. 3 1 Epictetus' point is not that every disposition is acquired. 32 Although the term 'relaxation' is not used here.ou oov Ei n 1totEiV &eeA. which I quote below. the strength of Dis greater at h than at t 1• The extreme case of the maniacs is not considered in the present passage.an idea that is stated in the present passage .tq>ueo6ttt llfJ 1tp61:epov ouott~. as the occurrence itself of first impressions is to a great extent something that is beyond our control. LS 47S).

one may exercise D* either to stop the activity of D once it has been triggered off or simply to prevent that D be triggered off. see Epictetus Ench. LS 47S). 35 See especially D 1. 5. To cause the inactivity of D. Even if it could. for nothing can interfere with the plan of the Stoic god. and Seneca.6. 4. For according to Epictetus. it would be destroyed only in the sage. An impulse is exercised with reservation when it is accompanied by a belief whose content includes a qualification such as 'unless it goes with god's providential plan'. The closest Epictetus comes to saying that it may become impossible to change a disposition is at D 2. In consequence.40. But the activities that are within my control are not restricted to my mental activities.393. whether the disposition to react precipitately to first impressions can be totally destroyed. 25-238. my impulse for walking cannot be frustrated at t. then.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 103 exercise of D* will not only strengthen D*. 237. 1taA1V K!XtcX tG>v o:utG>v ll!X<JnywOe\~ OUKE't'l llWAW7tO:~.that could prevent me from exercising an impulse for action or from assenting to the impression that I should perform the action. Remember that in Stoic orthodox theory it is in the nature of dispositions to be subject to relaxation.50. oil~ ei 11-rl 't'l~ E~a1ei1Jln KO:AG>~. ben. But there is no suggestion anywhere in D 2. MA 4. But the thesis he puts forward there is not so much that it may become impossible to treat it. IX11' EAKT) 1t01ei.11-12.18. Marcus Aurelius.18 that a point may be reached in the evolution of a disposition that it becomes so strong that it is no longer possible for it to be therapeutically treated. It is not clear. For reservation in late Stoicism. 2 and fr. and unless a man erases them perfectly. however. as is the case of the maniac. 33 If D has acquired a maximum degree of strength. it will no longer be possible to treat it. impulses with reservation cannot be frustrated if one knows at any given time whether or not the action is in accordance with god's providential plan.13. 20 (SVF 2. Epictetus claims that a sustained process of relaxation may end up with the destruction of a disposition.1. mental activities . what needs to be done by the patient is a certain kind of mental exercise whose success is largely independent from factors that are beyond his control. presumably. For there will be cases where nothing can prevent me from actually performing an action if the action is in accordance with an impulse 'with reservation' (!lee' ime~a:1peoews). Certain imprints and weals are left behind on the mind. 35 33 At 2. See again Simplicius in Ar. cat. the amount of inactivity required for it to become controllable by the agent will be considerable. Something like this happens also with the affections of the mind.not even god . i)CVT) n VeX KO:t llWAW1tE~ anOA<E>l1tOV't'0:1 EV O:U't'tJ. But it is not said that if it ever becomes a wound. For there is nothing .18.34 and 4.20 and 6. but also weaken D. 34 Epictetus provides detailed information about how to exercise a disposition D* instead of a disposition D that one wishes to weaken. quoted below. If I know that my walking at t is in accordance with god's plan. My impulse for walking is an impulse with reservation if it is coupled with the belief that 'it is appropriate or fitting (Ko:BilKov) that I should walk now unless my walking now is at variance with god's providential plan'. 27 Schenkl.acts of assent.39. he has weals no longer but wounds. impulses and the beliefs that result from assent -are the paradigm of activities that are within one's control (au't'e~ouo(o~). as that it might become very difficult to do so. And if I know that my walking . In either case. the next time he is scourged upon the old scars. The disposition to assent precipitately (in the context of emotions) is compared to a weal that may become a wound. 34 ·mwiit6v n KO:l E1tl tG>v til~ wuxil~ 1to:BG>v yivE't'O:l.

38 This is what seems to have happened with Epictetus' Medea. If she had assented to this impression.iyouot v oi cptA.OV1KOV !'JIJ. produced by this reasoning..t1Xt apyupiou).104 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism One therapeutic exercise designed for the former type of situation is described in paragraphs 8-9 of 2.tlOU9 ikpyupiou. of course. as any other emotion.et KIXt t& lkppwott11J. As for the other therapeutic exercise . and Sorabji. Epictetus does not say. second.oyo~ t:i9 cxio6T]01 V &. one has to assent to that impression and. For a recent discussion.~wv toil KIXKOU. the appetite is brought to an end. This act of assent will generate an impulse for not <I>-ing that will replace the appetite for <I>-ing.1t1X~ em6UiJ. where <I>-ing is a course of action that I regard as conducive to financial benefit. But the process presumably involves a precipitate act of assent to the impression that I ought to <I>. exactly. First.<. at t is at variance with his plan. The passage deals with situations where the appetite is being exercised. 399. that she should not kill her children after all. 37 See the evidence collected by von Arnim under SVF 2. if reason is applied to bring you to the perception of the evil. see section 6. 36 I assume that Epictetus is using the word 'perception' (aia6wt~) in an orthodox Stoic sense to denote an impression that has been given assent. is a good example of how. How. Emotion and Peace of Mind.Ev 1tpoocxx6ft A. persuade oneself that one is aiming at something bad.at. The exercise focuses on anger. my impulse cannot be frustrated either because I simply will not exercise the impulse at t. 121-2. see p. thus. and the governing faculty of the mind regains its original authority. So she probably did entertain the impression.18. Medea. what needs to be done by the agent to bring the appetite to an end (nenam:ai) is twofold.IXU't"TJV 't"t!J.18. They focus specifically on avarice. Note that these steps are quite independent from each other. an appetite of this kind actually comes about.6oocpot. 53-4 and 219-20. for example. See also Inwood.iA. Nussbaum. One may fail to assent to an impression that would stop the initial appetite if it were assented to. 67).17. This is. a condition generated by the repeated occurrence of individual 'appetites for money' (em6u!J.preventing the disposition from being triggered off. her impulse for killing them would have been replaced by the opposite impulse.>p'llao!J. see Brennan. Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism. 1tE1tiXU'tiXL tE !'J em6UiJ. 38 My analysis of this passage coincides in many respects with that offered by Graver in 'Not even Zeus'.WV t:\9 to e~cxpxi\~ !k1tOKIXtEOtT]. however.tiX KIXt to !'JYEIJ. 2. If we look back at the example from D 2.cx<cx imocpueo6cxt A. and as we know. 36 0ii<W9 ikiJ. ii'tcxv y&p &. did not assent to this impression.37 On this reading. 'Reservation in Stoic ethics' (who would probably disagree with the interpretation just given.1). which. LS. she used reason to realize that if she takes vengeance on Jason by killing her children she will also harm herself (aU& Kat EIJ. how philosophers say that sicknesses grow in the mind.consider paragraphs 12-14 and 23-24 of2. . 417. 353-4. The Therapy of Desire. which supposes that the disposition has already been triggered off and is active.71-81. in Stoic theory. one has to produce by the use of reason the impression that the action of <I>-ing is bad (KaK6v) and. When you once have an appetite for money. &v IJ.

TJ dvat opyiA.. 39 The therapy proposed by Epictetus consists in opposing to the first impression that yields the activity of the disposition a number of thoughts that render the first impression less attractive. then every third. This thought corresponds to an act of assent to a different impression. after that every other day. presumably. and you are being taught in my school.epav.~~:ua81lon 1i1t' au•f\~.ue1:at 1:i)v 7tpW1:1lV. sacrifice to God. IJ. And my purpose is this . If you oppose such thoughts to the impression. the initial first impression is not assented to at all.' If you go as much as thirty days without a fit of anger. . 41 D 2.one who is able to instruct the precipitate agent what the exercise consists in. But in a certain sense." &v at: Ka\ 1:ptcXKOV1:« 1tapaH1tn~. "Ka8' iJIJ. in this respect. 'Representation and the self in Stoicism'. happy. after that every other day. IJ. therefore. you will overcome it.Et ih OUK wpyiae. .' See also Gill. i) y&p e~t~ i:~~:A. If. 'I used to be angry every day.. iJIJ.18. they are not totally independent from such factors. In contrast with what is supposed to occur in the situations that the first type of exercise envisages.~. At 29-34.o~. For the disposition is first weakened and then utterly destroyed .epa~ apt81J. 40 The thought envisaged by Epictetus is that 'I used to be angry every day. then every third. free.TJ 1:pecpe aou 1:TJV e~tv. 1:TJV 1tpW1:11V i)ouxaoov Ka\ 1:1h iJIJ. Personality. set before it nothing on which it can grow. that 'anger is bad'.epav eiw8etv 6pyi(eo8at. 228-31 and Sorabji. their execution is independent from factors that are beyond our control. without the help of this sort of teacher. and hindrance. and then every four days. Emotion and Peace of Mind. secure against restraint. At this initial stage. Epictetus speaks of the 'right use of impressions' and alludes to some of the conditions required for its achievement: And so now I am your teacher. viiv 1tap.12-14 and 23-4: ei oov 8eA. and not be carried away by it. 29-33. E1ti8uoov •ci> 8e£i>.19.to make of you a perfect work. and then every four days' and also. do not feed your disposition. eha Ka'i 1t«V1:EAW9 !Xvatpet't!Xt . prosperous. oux' i:A. whereby "weakness" describes the state of a "perverted" reason. ll5. see Long. This implicit presupposition is made explicit in a passage from D 2. which I now consider.IlliEV «1h'fi 1t«pcX~«AAE «U~11UKOV. As the first step. The performance itself of the exercises can be carried out by the precipitate agent on its own. assenting to impressions that trigger off impulses inconsistent with a well-reasoned understanding of what their objects are worth. 420--21: 'A passion is a weak opinion.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 105 the disposition to assent precipitately to first impressions is activated. you do not wish to be angry. e{'ta 1tap& auo.41 The two exercises considered so far are mental.Xvn8e\~ VtK'Iloet9 ti]v cpavtaaiav. But he cannot get started. keep quiet and count the days on which you have not been angry. as it were. 1:aiita .et~ IJ. looking to God in everything both small and great. The act of assent in this case corresponds to the activity of the disposition D* that one exercises instead of D. 39 On this issue. . 40 On the structure of this particular exercise. see LS 1. eha 1tap& 1:pei:~. his guidance will be crucial. compulsion. They implicitly presuppose the availability of a specific kind of teacher .

do you not finish the work? Tell me the reason. 224-42. toilto cXVEIJ. then. which fits well with Epictetus' use of the term 'plan' in the present passage. 1J6eotepov.>V eat(v. P must have had the opportunity of having a good teacher.>v. OUtE doilt6~ eon V eq>' TJIJ.22 (SVF 3. or.Ei~ exet. a 'plan' (i:mpoA.iv.EYIXA. then. and as having the right preparation (7tapaaKeuli) to do so. EIJ. an assent to the impression that I ought to learn from this person how to become reflective. Ktx'i. do you not complete the work. not health. In his diagnosis of the failure. This is relevant for the Normative 42 Ktx\ vilv ey<.E1:Epo~.CV exc. then. and here is the material. 1ttxp!XOKEUTJV oitxv llei.O'i.> 1:!XU1:T]V <1:TJV> i:mpoA.tx i:vllex61J. i'l y&p 1ttxp' &IJ. 0'\'(XV tile. Kay<. The thing itself is possible and is the only thing that is under our control. o1tep .86.!X~ '\'0 epyov.li) to learn. What is important for our present purposes is that for Epictetus the condition is necessary for achieving reflectiveness. cX1ttxptx1tollio1:0U~. anything else except the right use of extemal impressions.etliaovte~ 1tapeote. for achieving reflectiveness. The cause of the failure is not pointed out and the text ends in aporia.lV.A.tx61Jo61J. i:tcllex. toilto cXKWAUtov q>UOE\ IJ. For it lies either in me.txto~.CV OUV tWV &J.E i:on v i']1ttxp' UIJ.eu6epou~. then. UIJ. it is the only thing in the whole world that is under our control. llu~ '\'L ouv OUK cXVUE'\'E '\'0 epyov. A.> cX1t01:EAEO!X~ cXKc. IJ.lV oii6' uy(e~tx oiite ll6~tx oilte &A.OVOV IJ. if it is true that you on your part have the tight kind of purpose and I on my part. llt& t( ouv OUK avuete. . This reveals that for Epictetus this condition is necessary. Cannot the matter be taught? It can.169 and 3. UIJ.evov tctx'i.tx. cXV!XVtxyKa01:0U~.T]v oitxv llei dy<. 43 See E 2.ei~ lle ttxilttx 1J.EA.evo1 tctx\ IJ. '\'0 Aet1tOV eat~ v. is the craftsman.one whom Epictetus describes as possessing the plan (emPoA.oiJ.~Kp<f> tctx'i. 42 Epictetus describes the case of a person P who has not succeeded in becoming reflective.. IJ. what is nearer the truth.173.>v 1taVtc. or in you. Here also.XA.106 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism and you are here with the purpose of learning and practising all this.&~ 'lj. In the present passage.> IJ.<potepou~.e y(vettx~ i']1ttxp' UIJ. i:mpoA.~ IJ.~j>· UIJ. or in the nature of the thing. eulltx~IJ.c. in a word. Wealth is not under our control. nor fame. nor. in us both. Why. then. 17-87.11) to teach how to use impressions correctly. in the case of P.43 it is a desiderative state that involves an act of assent: in the case of the teacher.lV Ael1tE1.liv. txilto to 1tp&y1J.fi Ktx'i. have the right kind of preparation? What is it that is lacking? When I see a craftsman who has material lying ready at hand. ei Ktx'i. i:A. probably. UIJ. LS 53Q) with extensive conunentary by Inwood in Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism.ll) and. 0'\'!jl UATJ 1tlipeanv 1ttxp!XKE~IJ. t'i. I look for the finished product. 1J.OVOV. UIJ. ev61ille '\'OLVUV 6 '\'EKtc. This alone is by nature secure against restraint and hindrance.OVOUV'I:tx~. he mentions the necessary condition that I pointed out a few lines ago. 1ttxp · cXIJ. but not sufficient.6vov eq> · iJIJ. ei~ 1:0V Beov a<popWV'\'!X~ i:v 1ttxn'i. T] UATJ eot(v· tl TJIJ. Is it. not under our control? Nay. llllltxtct6v. in addition to the purpose.> 1:fK'\'OV!X. Consequently. IJ.Ol tT]v txit(txv.I'h i']1ttxp& tT]v q>uow toil 1tpliy1J. a form of opouot~ which is defined as directed 'towards something in the future' (e1t( n IJ.cX~ 1ttx~lleueo6e.> 1tp0~ tti i:mpoA.ov). However we interpret the term 'plan' . OUK eon lltlltxKtOV tO 1tp&y1J.o t~ cX1tAW~ 1tATJV op6T] 'XPf\01~ q>txVttxo~wv.Eh lle 1t!Xp. OUK eonv OUV e<p' TJIJ.EVTJ.J. el1t!Xte IJ.eA. the fault lies either in me. tctx'i. an assent to the impression that I ought to teach this person how to become reflective. who also needs to have the plan (empoA.J. eupooilV1:tx~..li) is a species of practical impulse (1tp!XKt~KTJ OPIJ. the condition has been met. According to Stobaeus' report.CV 1ttx~I>EU1:ll~ eiiJ.1tOI>~otov.>AU1:0U~.omov ouv i']1ttxp' EIJ. Why.. or in you.

4 6 SeeD 2. 25. it will be helpful to consider an imaginary dialogue between himself and an opponent: '-As you rightly point out. I regard my teaching as one that is largely inspired from the practical teaching of Socrates. Epictete et Platon (Paris. 45 SeeD 4. See also A.159-69. On how central Socrates is to Epictetan ethics. par. Long. for example. 1946).A. Epictetus. I concede that the kind of teaching you impart is much more accessible than I initially thought. when I first started teaching in Rome. Hellenistic Philosophy (London. 44 and to whom.which is someone much easier to find than a Stoic philosopher trained at Nicopolis. Jagu. like me. As we have seen. 200. . as we are not the only persons who can teach you the basics of what is required for starting to make progress towards reflectiveness. to whom. don't have that opportunity are blameless? So are you not restricting the scope of your Normative Argument to the extremely narrow set of those who have that rare opportunity?' To this objection Epictetus could reply as follows: '.an opportunity that is arguably something beyond their control? This would introduce a severe restriction to the scope of the Normative Argument. and that of Diogenes (the Cynic) 26 times. and so. See Schenkl's index s. does not it follow that only very few precipitate agents are blameworthy for their precipitancy? In particular. in his Teubner editio maior of Epictetus.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 107 Argument. As a matter of fact. I allude very often in my discourses. Epictetus.1.12. the argument presupposes that only those precipitate agents who can become reflective are blameworthy for their precipitancy. 29-33 and 47-72. esp. as you know. compared. 46 So at least to start making progress it suffices that you follow the courses of a Socratic teacher .v. I believe that Epictetus' own answer to these questions would be in the negative. But I believe you are wrong in making that assumption. someone who doesn't have the opportunity of having a good teacher is blameless for being precipitate.The core of your objection seems to rest on the assumption that in order to start making progress towards reflectiveness one must attend either my courses at Nicopolis or the courses of someone who has attended my courses. But if the condition above is necessary. To appreciate the difficulty and also one possible way in which he could handle its intricacies. does not it follow that precipitate agents cannot be blamed for their precipitancy if they don't have the opportunity to benefit from a teacher trained in Epictetus' school and who knows the specific kind of exercises he envisages for treating precipitancy . I shall recognize that the lack of opportunity 44 The figure of Socrates is refened to 68 times in the works that go under Epictetus' name. if you remember. to 23 references to Chrysippus (next to Chrysippus comes Cleanthes with 13). But aren't you thereby committing yourself to the view that the vast majority of people are blameless for their precipitancy? For how many people have the opportunity of having either yourself or one of your successful trainees as a teacher? Does not that entail that all of those who.' A second possible objection against Epictetus is the following: '-Very well. 45 My concern with emulating Socrates goes back to my youth. see A. 1986). Stoic ethics owes so much.

as I have argued. On the one hand. I described those who engage in the business of learning how to become reflective as persons who follow a plan (e1ttPoA. they won't try to find a proper teacher who teaches them how to become reflective. see Gill. And what does this waveling indicate if not the fact that she did not want to assent to the wrong impression? And doesn't this want reflect a desire for being able to determine which impressions should be assented to and which shouldn't? Notice.19.1 ).17).26. again. what is this fundamental desire if not a desire for being able always to assent to the right impressions? So to return to your objection. that this waveling is not something that marks off Medea from other unreflective persons.). As I have shown in my discourse on 'How should we apply our preconceptions to particular instances?' (D 2. . however unreflective we are. Personality.L!Xp'tavet). Epictetus could reply as follows: '-Again. you should bear in mind the case of those who err (tXf. Even Medea has something like that desire. Consider the case of Medea. 47 For they do so unwillingly. aren't these people blameless for being precipitate? For how are we going to blame someone for his precipitancy if he doesn't even have the awareness of the desirability of avoiding precipitancy? Shouldn't we say that this person is not subject to justified blame?' To this second objection. And this being so. the number of 47 On the Stoic difference between emotion (1ta8o~) and error (IXIJ. It is something we all possess. for instance. as you know. contrary to your claim. It reveals one of our basic aspirations as humans. In addition.Iipnuw. surely. 229-30. In Chrysippus' opinion. those which present as good a course of action that is in fact bad. as Socrates used to say.29). furthermore. In consequence. I believe that your entire argument proceeds from an assumption on which you shouldn't be relying.' These two lines of argument reveal how the scope of Epictetus' Normative Argument is not as narrow as it initially appears. I do not share your view that precipitate persons are not aware of the desirability of becoming reflective. But. But I strongly believe that this basic desire or attitude is far from being a distinctive feature of the progressive.!l) to do so (2. that is. more particularly. But I still think that you will end up restricting the scope of your Normative Argument to an extremely narrow set of persons.1-3) . if they aren't even aware of that desirability.19). But. I do not share that view because. And by this plan I mean something that corresponds at the very least to a desire for becoming reflective.precipitancy is something that we all desire somehow or other.as I have shown in my discourse on 'What is the distinctive feature of error?' (D 2. And what this means . no precipitate person can use as an exculpating factor for his unreflectiveness that he was not aware of the desirability of being reflective. she slightly wavered about whether or not she should assent to the impression that she ought to take vengeance on Jason (see section 6.is that every person seeks to avoid (qmye\v) assenting to misleading first impressions and. to misleading first impressions about what is to be done. For what makes you think that precipitate persons lack the awareness of the desirability of becoming reflective? In my discourse 'To those who take up the teachings of the philosophers only to talk about them' (D 2.108 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism to attend your courses is something that doesn't exculpate one's precipitancy. every emotion (1t1i6o~) involves an oscillation (tpom1) of the mind between two courses of action or states of affairs. For you have to grant that precipitate persons might not (and in most cases will not) be aware of the very desirability of becoming reflective. the paradigm of the unreflective person.

1987)). Our examination of Epictetus' contribution to Stoic theories of moral responsibility is now complete. To my knowledge. In recent years. On the other hand. Character and the Emotions (Cambridge.). The reason why the agent is responsible resides in the reflection. punishment. the Normative Argument is no longer threatened. He not only provides a detailed account of the therapeutic exercises that one needs to perform in order to start making progress towards reflectiveness. . The argument claims that precipitancy is not an exculpating factor because one is blameworthy for one's precipitancy. The reason given by the argument is that precipitancy is something that ought to be avoided. Watson's illuminating study 'Responsibility and the limits of evil: variations on a Strawsonian theme' of the case of Robert Harris. a serial killer sentenced to death at the end of the 1970s. and desert' (both appear in F. Epictetus does not undertake a detailed study of these cases: he does not expand on the nature of the obstacles that would be needed to exculpate these persons. Burgh. 'Responsibility and desert: defending the connection'. But two obvious. 63-77 and S. 485-6. Responsibility. But the argument does not collapse because on Epictetus' view precipitancy can be avoided in a substantive sense. But what could justify the ascription of responsibility to agents who do not act from fully rational impulses? Is not the lack of reflection an exculpating factor? Chrysippus does not tackle these issues. complements T 3 • His answer is that the ascription of 48 See notably G. see also R. Mind 105 (1996). and there might always be. between responsibility and desert. 'Desert: reconsideration of some received wisdom'. unless one can avoid precipitancy: if one can't. but Epictetus does and. but the kind of teaching Epictetus has in mind is one that is not only largely available to most of us. though rather extreme. the Normative Argument collapses. even though the teaching Epictetus seems to be thinking of is one that is largely available to most of us and one that precipitate agents will naturally try to pursue. The difficulty studied in the present section was that it would not make sense to claim that one ought not to be precipitate. Schoeman (ed. thereby. which presupposes reflection. For. and eventually drawing a line. Mind 104 (1995). 'Guilt. Smilansky. 157-63 and 'The connection between responsibility and desert: the crucial distinction'.Epictetus on Responsibility for Unreflective Action 109 unreflective persons who are blameworthy for their precipitancy is indeed very large: they must surely have had the opportunity to have a good teacher. examples would be that of someone who has been locked up in jail for most of his life and that of someone who has been totally neglected by his parents since childhood. however. Feldman. Mind lOS (1996). but also points out the great extent to which the practice of these exercises does not depend on factors that are beyond our control. there may be precipitate persons who are prevented by external obstacles from having access even to this basic teaching. but also one that precipitate agents will naturally try to pursue. Chrysippus' T 3 is aimed at explaining how someone who acts but lacks the specific dual capacity to do otherwise may still be responsible for the action: the agent is responsible if the action is done from a fully rational impulse. some moral philosophers have been greatly concerned with studying cases such as these and to determine the extent to which we are entitled to hold this kind of person responsible for their deeds. These discussions have motivated a further concern for reflecting on the relation. some unreflective persons who are not blameworthy for their precipitancy. there might be. 48 Thus. See F.

But there is no sign anywhere in Epictetus that responsibility requires the specific capacity to do otherwise and. and yet be responsible. aih·T] ~OVT] arco:Uaylj <'louA. for any given situation.22. thereby. which is important in early Stoicism and central to Epictetan ethics. 4.131: aihT] ~ 000~ ETC. 3. 50 D 4. Sorabji (ed.42. KO:t au y. which course of action is best from this cosmic perspective. or desires. to act from one's own desires and inclinations. there is the idea in Stoicism that freedom requires specific determinism in the sense that I will only have the capacity to do what I want if I restrict the scope of things that I want to do to the set of things that I am predetermined to do. and knowing also. I have not said anything about the Stoic determinist notion of freedom. and the only release from enslavement is to be able to say wholeheartedly: Lead me. On their view. that t\Aw8ep(a is i:~oua(a auwrcpay(a~. to do.34. D 2. understood as the capacity for alternative courses of action. 49 For references and discussion see S. 53.95.4. 'Stoic conceptions of freedom and their relation to ethics'. is not exclusive to the Stoic sage.1. ~ IIercpw~EVT]. but it goes back to Cleanthes.' Zeu. See also Seneca. probably Chrysippean. I may not have had the capacity of either <I>-ing at t or not <I>-ing at t (not even in the narrow compatibilist sense envisaged by T 2). For Epictetus see below. A recurring topic throughout this book has been how the Stoics stand on the question of whether responsibility requires freedom. in R. freedom is the privilege of the Stoic sage. 50 So defined. does not exculpate them. This is the first time in Stoic thought that some form of dual capacity is strongly presupposed in accounting for responsibility. that is. Stoic freedom (eA. and you. This idea is neatly expressed by Epictetus. ep. w . 107.e(a~. Responsibility.). the sage will align his desires with god's providential plan so that they will never be frustrated. are responsible according to Stoics is what I have tried to bring out in the present book. he is consistent with Chrysippus' attack on the incompatibilist assumption that such a capacity is required. in this respect.eu8ep{a) is a matter of having the capacity to do what one wants. Fate.110 The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism responsibility is justified to the extent that their lack of reflection is blameworthy and. two verses of whom are cited in the following passage from D 4. Epictetus' argument hinges on our having a general capacity for either being or not being precipitate. or most of us. by contrast. Knowing that the universe is providentially ordered for the best. orcot rco8' u~iv ei~l <'ltcr-ce-cay~evo~. I have argued that for the early Stoics this capacity is not required. In fact.1. 338-45. 'CO <'luvT]8ijva( rco-c · eircetv i:~ OAT]~ ljmzij~ i> &you <'le ~. 49 It is compatible with specific determinism as I may want to do at a certain time something that I am predetermined to do at that time. Bobzien. Ench. Cf.11. at least if it is the specific capacity that one has in mind. Aristotle and After (London. wherever you have ordained for me.23. Especially important for early Stoicism is the idea. t\Aeu8ep(av &yet.121). when I <I>-ed at t. 1997) and Detenninism and Freedom. Zeus.131: The road that leads to freedom. And the reason why we all. 'a power to act independently' (DL 7.

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Classical Quarterly 28 (1978).. 1995. Cambridge.O. Seel. 1991. Sedley. R.. 'Alexander of Aphrodisias. Doring and T. Sedley. Frede and A. Sorabji.. Smilansky. 243-66..). Sharples. Rorty (ed. D. 1983. 'Schriften und Problemkomplexe zur Ethik'. D. R. Sharples. 'Aristotelian and Stoic conceptions of necessity in the De Fato of Alexander of Aphrodisias'.... Text. Sharples. The Consolation of Philosophy iv. translation and commentary. R. Matter and Metaphysics: Fourth Symposium Hellenisticum. in J. Wiesner (ed. 'Causes and necessary conditions in the Topica and the De Fato'. in B.. 2003. 249-61. Journal of Philosophy 66 (1969). in J. 485-6. On Fate... Sorabji. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1987). R.W. . 1993. Sharples. 266-79. 'The school.S-7.. Ebert (eds). London. Cambridge. Sharples. W. Sharples. S. Shari_)les.120 Select Bibliography Schofield. Epicureans and Sceptics: An introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London. Scott..W. 157-63.. Der Aristotelismus bei den Chriechen 3: Alexander von Aphrodisias. Mind 105 (1996). R.. Powell (ed.W. The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics. 1996. Alexander of Aphrodisias.. Oxford. 'The origins of Stoic god'. Phronesis 20 (1975). Barnes and M. S. 'The connection between responsibility and desett: the crucial distinction'. Nussbaum (eds). S. Mignucci (eds).. to which references are made.). R. Cicero the Philosopher. London. 363-81. 'Necessity in the Stoic doctrine of fate'. 'Chrysippus on psychophysical causality'.. G. Shoemaker. Stuttgart.W. D. Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic Theology. Symbolae Osloenses 61 (1981).. Sharples. 2001. Dialektiker und Stoiker. 'Zur Geschichte und Logik des 6epi(wv MyotS'.J. 1988. 1993. v (Philosophiae Consolationis). D. Passions and Perception. Essays on Aristotle's Ethics. London. Philosophical Review 93 (1984). R. Brunschwig and M.W. Laks (eds). Mind 105 (1996). in P. Originally published in 1973. England. Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate.. R. Warminster.). 'The retrenchable present'. Stoics. 'Aristotle on the role of intellect in virtue'.. Sedley.W. Sharples. 1995.W. 1993.G. M.W. in D.W. inK. Reprinted in A. R. Sinnott-Armstrong. R. Inwood. R. Leiden-Boston-KOln. 197-216. 247-74. De Fato: some parallels'. Cambridge. Smilansky. in J. Naples.E. Cicero. 'Could Alexander (follower of Aristotle) have done better? A response to Professor Frede and others'. Recollection and Experience: Plato's Theory of Learning and its Successors. On Fate (De Fato) & Boethius. "'Ought" conversationally implies "Can"'. its Background and Aftermath. 1980. from Zeno to Arius Dydimus'.. 'Time without change'. Berlin. 'Responsibility and desert: defending the connection'. 2002.

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Index of Names

Abell1 Academy 4, 39 Alexander of Aphrodisias and the attribution of the Stoic theory T3 to Chrysippus 71 nn. 8 and 9, 73, 76 on determinism as entailing the superfluousness of deliberation 10, 17 and libertarianism xiii on the nature of Stoic determinism xvi on the Stoic notion of what occurs 'through' us 53-4 on the Stoic psychology of action 57, 59-60 on the Stoic theory T3 xx, 51, 61, 85, 91 Amand 70, 70 n. 4 Anti pater on the idea that preferred indifferents are objetively preferrable to dispreferred indifferents 24 n. 21 and the idea that there is no impulse without assent 36 Arcesilaus on indiscernibility 21 as the possible author of the 'externalist objection' 39 Aristotle on action occurring 'through' us 75-6 on all-things-considered evaluation of alternatives 56-7 on 'capacity' (MvaJ.Lt~) 88 on bivalence 6 n. 10 on 'crude' fatalism xv, 3, 16-17 on deliberation 9, 10 n. 18, 15, 81 against the destluctibility of the world 23 n. 18 on external determism xvii; on fatalism and indleness 9-10, 15-16 on the 'general' determinism of the Megarians xiv on prior truth as entailing prior necessitation 7 123

as the target of the Stoic theory T3 xxi, 79,81,88 on responsibility 33-4, 75, 75 n. 22, 79, 81 on the specific capacity to act otherwise 79-80, 80 n. 35, 81, 88 against specific determinism 80-81 on voluntary action 33-4, 79, 81 on what 'depends on' US (1:0 eq>'i]).J.tV) 79 Atrian as a source for Epictetus 92 Athens 4 Bobzien 44 n. 35, 45 n. 39, 71, 71 n. 11, 72 n. 13, 75 nn. 20 and 22, 78 nn. 28 and 29, 80, 80 n. 35, 83 n. 47 Boeri 47 n. 44 Boethus opposed the doctrine of conflagration 20n. 5 Botros 70, 70 n. 6 Cain 11 Caracalla 73 Carneades on Chrysippus versus Epicurus on uncaused events 5 n. 8 on the idea that a lack of antecedent and external cause does not necessarily entail a lack of cause altogether 43 n. 34 Chrysippus on all-things-considered evaluation of alternatives 56, 59, 62, 66, 68, 91 on bivalence and causation xviii, 3, 5, 6, 6 n. 10, 8-9, 18 on causation and necessitation xix, 7, 18, 84, 84 n. 50 on 'concomitant' events 25 n. 22 on cosmogony 21 on 'co-fatedness' 12-14, 14 n. 27, 15 versus Cleanthes on the nature of action 38 nn. 21 and 22

124

Index of Names
on the significance of Chrysippus modal logic 86 n. 59 distorted Chrysippus' position 18 as a source for the 'externalist objection' xx, 39 as a sow·ce for the 'idle argument' 10, 17 on Stoic indiscernibility 22 Cleanthes on the nature of action 38, 38 nn. 21 and 22 on cosmogony 21 on everelasting recun·ence xix and the place of freedom in Stoic philosophy 110 as a reference in Epictetus 107 n. 44 Clement of Alexandria on all-things-considered evaluation of alternatives 59, 61 Davidson 36, 36 nn. 13 and 15 Dialectic School and the Reaper Argument 17 n. 33 Diodorus Cronus and the capacity to act otherwise 86-7 and the 'Principle of Plenitude' 85-6 attacked by Philo the Dialectician concerning the notion of possibility 83 n. 46 on modal logic 85 Diogenes of Babylon on peculiar qualities 22 n. 10 Diogenes of Sinope as a model in the ethics of Epictetus 107 n. 44 Diogenianus as a source for Chrysippus' theory of 'cofatedness' 13-14 Epictetus on assent as free from external necessitation 77 n. 26 complements Chrysippus' theories of responsibility xxi-xxii, 89, 91, 109110 on determinism and compatibilism 63, 63 n. 36, 110 on dispositions (e~et~). 102-3 on freedom (Heu6epio:), 110 on freedom of emotion and tranquility of mind (1bt&6eto: and O:·mpo:~io:) 63, 63 n. 34, 97 on the genetic object of impulse 94 n. 7

and the cylinder analogy 42-7, 76-7 on determism and idleness 11, 15-16 on the destructibility of gods at the conflagration 27 n. 29 and Diodorus Cronus 85-7 on emotion as involving an oscillation of the mind 96 n. 15, 108 and Epictetus' views on responsibility xxi-xxii, 91, 107 n. 44 and everlasting recurrence xix, 73-5 against the 'externalist objection' 33, 39,41-9 on fatalism xvi, 16-17 and Harry Krankfurt xxi, 63-4, 66-8, 69-71 on impulse and assent 36, 44 on the individuation of human nature 54,98 and innatism 48, 48 n. 48, 49 on modal logic xvii, 83, 83 n. 46, 87 on the 'nature and force' of the mind 46-7 on two senses or kinds of necessity xvi-xvii, 83, 83 n. 47 and the specific (vs. general) capacity to act otherwise xx, xxii, 62, 86-7, 87 n. 60, 88, 109-10 and the Stoic theory T1 xx, 33-4, 69, 73,76-7,89 and the Stoic theory Tz xx, 69, 82, 85-9 and the Stoic theory TJ xx, 51, 69-71, 70 n. 4, 71 n. 10, 73, 75-7, 77 n. 25, 78,81-2,85,87-9,91,98,109 and the 'fourth' Stoic theory of responsibility xxi on uncaused events 5 n. 8 on peculiar qualities 22 n. 10, 23 n. 14 and Plato 25 n. 23 and the principle of regularity 'same causes, same effects' 73-5 on responsibility 33-4, 49, 51, 59, 62, 64,66-8, 75,85, 88-9,109-10 on 'simple' events and states 15 on the specific (vs. general) dual possibility of alternative events and states 12 on transcyclical identity 25, 25 n. 24, 26 Cicero on Chrysippus' theory of causation 42, 45, 76 as a source for the Chrysippean argument that everything has a cause 8

Index of Names
on the individuation of human nature 98-9 on Medea's psychology of action 95-8, 104 on ought and can 101 the flrst Stoic to claim that some fmm of the dual capacity to act otherwise is needed for responsibility xxi, 101, 110 on the therapy needed to treat precipitancy 102-9 on all-things-considered evaluation of alternatives 62-3, 91, 95, 99 on the nature of precipitancy (1tpo1te1:eux) 93-7 on responsibility for unreflectve action xxi-xxii, 63, 91 on its being justified to hold people morally responsible for their deeds 97-8 Epicureans opposed Chrysippus on co-fatedness 13 and the idea that determinism involves external determination xx and libertarianism xiii as the target of the Stoic theory T 1 xx versus the Stoics on innate impulse for self-preservation 48 n. 48 Epicurus and the idea that any form of causal determinism involves external determination xx, 49 versus Chrysippus on uncaused events 5 n. 8 as the author of the objection in Cicero's de jato 40 39, 43 as the target of the Stoic theory T1 xx Frankfurt xxi, 51, 63-8 Frede, D. 9 n. 10, 71, 71 n. 8 God unable to prevent the conflagration from subsiding 20 is not destroyed at the conflagration 27 n.29 unable to introduce changes from one cosmic cycle to the other 26-8, 26 n. 26 and foreknowledge, 27, 27 nn. 28 and 29,28 does not determine our minds from outside 48, 103

125

as a necessary reference in fully rational evaluations of alternatives 99 as a providential being 27, 27 n. 28, 100 and predetermination 27 n. 27, 28 Hegesarchus used in an example in Chrysippus' theory of 'co-fated' events 13-14, 14 n. 27 Hierocles on appropriation (oiK:eiwo~'l) 48 n. 47 Hippolytus on the simile of the dog tied to the cart 67 Huby 39,43 Inwood 36, 36 n. 18, 71, 71 n. 9 Jake 64-8 Jason 96 Loening 80 Long 56, 63 nn. 34 and 36, 70, 70 n. 3, 75 n. 20, 76 n. 23 Long and Sedley 84 Lovejoy 86 Lucille 77-8 Mansfeld 20, 23 n. 18, 25, 27 n. 29 Marcus Aurelius and Alexander of Aphrodisias 73 Maria 64-8 Medea as being genuinely blameworthy according to Epictetus 101 as a paradigm of unreflective behaviour in Epictetus 92, 108 as acting on the basis of a prior reasoning 95~, 104 Megarians as proponents of 'general' determinism xiv Melancomas used in an example by Dio Chrysostom14 n. 28 Middle Platonists as the possible target of the Stoic theory TJ 71, 78, 78 n. 29 Mignucci 83 n. 48 Mnesarchus on peculiar qualities: 22 n. 10

23 Socrates as a model in the ethics of Epictetus 107. 70 n.72. 46 on modal logic 82. 10-11 vonAmim 70 Waterloo (Battle) 28-9 Zeno (of Citium) versus Arcesilaus 39 and the idea that causation is necessitating xvii. 36 Index of Names Reesor 70. Napoleon 28-9 Nozick xviii Nemesius of Emesa distorted Stoic theory for polemical purposes 70 n.126 Musonius Rufus and determinism 63 n.69.60-61. 76 n. 23 Pohlenz 39 Posidonius on peculiar qualities 22 n. 44 and the idea used by Epictetus that one does not err willingly 108 Sorabji 80 Theiler 71. 44 Philopator as attacking Middle-Platonist position on responsibility 71 as the possible author of the Stoic theory T1 69-71. 71 nn.53-4. 7. 49 n. 5 Rome 107 Sedley 70 n. 71. 3 Seneca as a source for the debate between Chrysippus and Cleanthes on the nature of action 38 Septimius Severus 73 Sharples xvi. 71 n. xviii. 7. 107 n. 50. 18 on the idea that prefetTed indifferents are objetively preferrable to dispreferred indifferents 24 n. 82 n.85. 84 on cosmogony 21 versus Epicutus xx on god's being unable to introduce changes from one cosmic cyle to the other 23 n. 21 51. 23 as a source for the Stoic theory T1 xx.91 Peripatetics and libertarianism xiii as a source for chapter 35 of Nemesius' de natura hominis 10 n. 71 n. 9 on the Stoic notion of 'critical acceptance' 59-61 as a source for the doctrine of conflagration 19. 71 n. 13 Plato on concomitants to teleology 25 n. 4. 72-3. 4 Philo the Dialectician versus Chrysippus 83 n. 10 . 76 Phoenix bird 22 n.

69. 10 1225b7-10: 79 n. 14 183. 2-23: 54 n. 1-3: 15 192. 17-20: 10 n. 19 181. 61 204. 7-182. 76 n. Codex parisinus graecus 2064 17 n. 10: 1226b30-32: 79 n. 17. 18-30: 74 181. 32-218. 19 179. 13-197. 20 (chap. 61 n. 31 Metaphysics B 995b2-4: 56-7 11 5 1015a26: xvii n. 17 9 18b30-31: 80 9 19a7-11: 80 9 19a18-19: 80 De motu animalium 700b20-701a5: 5 n. 28 192. 33. 7: 17 n. 18 127 De interpretatione 9: X~ 3. 21-23: 54 182. 17-27: 57 179.2-4: 86 184. 20-25: 78 n. 1: 22 n. 4 05:88 e e e . 34-184. 9 208. 25 181. 33 Aristotle De Anima 3. 1-2: 48 n. 34): 53 n. 59 n. 46 De Fato 178. 20-132. 25-197. 46 De Philosophia (fr. 73-4. 59 n. 9. 6: 85 n. 11 182. 11 182-20-185. 22-207. 61 205. 2-4: 54 n. 9. 23 n. 44. 61 196. 14: 53. 11 3: xiv 3 1046b29-1047a29: xiv 3 1047a15-16: xiv n. 26): 87 n.6:79 2. 33 9 18b17-25: 17 n. 10 1226a20-28: 79. 27 184. 32 9 18b26-33: 9. 6-10: 82 n. 83 n. In Aristotelis de interpretatione commentarius. 19c Ross) 23 n. 10-11: 86 n. 12-14: 10 n. 33-6: 22 n. 4 Ammonius In Aristotelis de interpretatione commentarium 131. 15-18: 53. 88 n. 29. 52 184. 3: 87 n. 14-26: 37 n. 10 433b13-29: 5 n. 9 205. 4 (chap.8:79 2. 28 179. 3 (chap. 20-23: 78 n. 75 181. 24-30: 53 n. 7. 2 & 3. 28 Anon. 28-205.Index Locorum Alexander of Aphrodisias In Aristotelis de Anima commentaria 217.80-1 9 18bll-13: 17 n. 12-18: 78 n. 70 nn. 28-29: 61 n. 20 225. 10. 7 In Aristotelis analyticorum priorum librum I commentarium 180. 3-11: xvi 196. 11-12: 61 n. 13): 53 n. 66. 27 189. 53-4 181. 14): 73 183. 28 De mixtione 224. 62 2. 2-4: 20 n. 7 (chap. 18-21: 53 n. 10 Alexander Lycopolis Contra Manicheorum opiniones disputatio 19. 7 Eudemian Ethics 2. 22 (chap. 24 181.9. 31 2. 33): 87 n. 59 205.9:79 2.

234. 44 n. 40 3. 234. 15 3. 10 7. 8. 44 Dio Chrysostom Discourses 29. 20 4. 18 Posterior Analytics B 94b37-95a3: xvii n. 3 1112a30-b4: 75 n. 22 Boethius In librwn Aristotelis de interpretatione 2. 46 402. 3: 79. 16-17 Cicero Academica 1. 48 7. 1. 2. 3: 1113b7-8: 79. 10 1152a18-19: 10 n. 20: 98 n. 15 3. 47 41-44: 42 41-42: 45 42: 44 n. 34 A:4 A 7 1072a21-34: 5 n. 35 7. 9. 16 . 41 & 42 5. 22 3. 11: 44-46.18 3. 40 8 5 1047b35-1048a10: 79 n. 1 5. 28 43: 42-3. 2 1111b23-24: 75 n. 18 3. 2 1139a31-bl3: 9 n. 20. 69. 234. 43 23-25: 5 n. 5-6: 48 n.128 Index Locorum 2.10-22:82. 18 28-29: 10-11 30: 12 nn. 73 Defato 7-9: 48 12-14: 86 n. 11110b9-17: 33 n. 1 1109b30-35: 33 n. 8. 36 n. 9 8 5: 81 n. 111: 58 Dexippus In Aristotelis categorias commentarium 30. 22 3. 56: 98 n. 3 1112b2-4: 10 n. 7 1150b19-22: 10 n. 55: 55 2. 82. 22 3. 9: 26 n. 20-26: 22 n. 2 1111b26-9: 9 n. 5 2. 8 1135a27-28: 33 n. 22-26: 85 2. 1 3. 45 42-44: 78 n. 1 3. 18 21: 17 n. 33. 101-103: 24 nn. 52 20: 5. 3 1112a34-35: 10 n. 82 2. 31112a30-31: 10n. 35 2. 12. 11-12: 14 n. 16: 98 n. 15 3. 6-7: 34 n. 83-85: 34 n. 1. 34 26: 5 n. 85: 22 2. 62 3. 10 DG 306. 46: 44 n. 11110b 10: 33 n. 104-105: 24 n. xviii. 20 4. 28 Diogenes Laertius Vitae Philosophorum 7. 45-7. 3 1113a2-9: 9 n. 95: 6 n. 43 n. 5 1114a12-21: 81 nn. 7 Nicomachean Ethics 3.9 7. 11110a1: 33 n. 76 44:45 45:47 Tusculanae disputationes 3. 25 n. 20 Clement of Alexandria Stromata 2. 412. 88 n. 15 7. 81 n. 1 3. 22 7. 40: 34 n. 73. 22 3. 27-235. 6 n. 75: xvii. 83 n. 1. 3 1112b24: 75 n. 31 6. 58: 22 n. 2 llllb26: 75 n. 35. 79 3. 3 1112a15-17: 9 n. 20. 8. 8. 59 17: 85 n. 11110b2: 33 n. 11 Aulus Gellius Noctes Atticae 7. 1: 79 3. 4: xvii. 24-25: 35 n. 35.44 2. 26 7. 7. 22 & 24 40: 39-40. 1 3. 8: 1135a23-8: 79 n. 2 3.65:6n. 20 & 21 7. 11-16: 67 n. 5: 33 n. 69. 5 571. n.2:79 3. 18 7. 18 3. 7-13: 25 n.

22. 14-17: 63 n.50 Fragments (Schenkl) 27: 103 n. 20 117: 34 n. 95: 110 n.9:97 2. 45 1. 94 n. 34 4. 4: 102-3 2. 52 2. 29 4. 13: 98 n. 46: 92 n. 17. 6. 34: 110 n. 40: 77 n. 6. 33 4. 46 2. 16: 101 n. 7: 55 n. 21 1. 104: 92 n. 32 1. 2 2. 7: 63 n. 17. 18: 92. 20 3. 97 n. 110n. 1-5: 67 n. 13. 8: 101 n. 6. 29-34: 105-6 2.18. 6. 34 4.18. 26. 25: 10 n. 17 3. 3 2. 17 3. 22. 18. 27. 7 1. 34. 17: 104. 8. 7 3. 28: 13 6. 28. 2 4. 92. 35 1. 33 2. 32. 1 4-5: 98 n. 8. 4. 18. 7: 102. 32 1. 9: 25 n. 3: 63 n. 34: 63 n. 61: 63 n. 25: 107 n. 18. 9: 97-8 1. 3. 26. 26 4. 7: 63 n. 42: 110 n. 100 1. 18: 63 n. 33 1. 102 n. 10 2. 34 1. 26-9: 12 n. 7 3. 15: 63 n. 16 1. 17 1. 25. 3: 62 n. 5 121: 110 n. 17 1. 3. 19. 28. 1: 85 n.9: 100 4. 108 2. 62-8: 101 n. 5: 92 n. 1-3: 108 3. 2. 30: 92 n. 8. 4. 93 1. 4-6: 63 n. 4-8: 99 1. 6. 2 Encheiridion 2: 103 n. 4. 28. 4: 56 n. 103 n. 107: 67 n.1:67n. 20. 21 2. 9-10: 92 n. 1. 8. 1 . 7 2. 7. 6. 68: 77 n.44. 6. 1. 7. 18. 10. 43: 98 n. 71 n. 94 n. 7 111:98 n. 34 1. 35 1. 43 108-109: 56 n. 8. 12-22: 62 n. 7. 13: 103 n. 3. 49 134: 20 n. 21 2. 7 1. 4. 29 4. 1-2: 94 n. 26. 7. 30 2. 2 3. 35. 2 4. 1-5: 92 n. 1. 7. 19-20: 62 n. 34 2. 33 1. 22 6. 11. 8-9: 104 2. 97 n. 34 2. 7. 24. 94 n.Index Locorum 7. 18.2: 92 n. 11-12: 103 2. 35 53. 1. 8. 6. 28. 12-14: 104-5 Euripides Medea 1078-1079: 96 Eusebius Praeparatio evangelica 6. 18. 7. 22. 33: 93 2. 19: 108 2. 34. 2. 12. 50 3. 7. 22. 20 3. 18. 59 n. 20 6. 23. 18. 2 4. 26 1. 17 1. 5-6: 62 n. 19.23-24:104-5 2. 1. 9-10: 94 n. 32. 29: 108 2. 19-22: 98 n. 29 1. 19-22: 92 n. 1. 3 142: 21 150: 20 n. 29: 15 15. 8. 18. 28. 17. 33 3. 4: 63 n. 34 2. 84: 63 n. 24. 35 129 Epictetus Dissertationes 1. 22. 5 140: 20 n. 92 n. 34 3. 1. 3 1. 28: 63 n. 20 4. 12. 20. 29: 63 n. 1-2: 94 n. 14-15: 63 n. 98 n. 2-4: 101 n. 7. 22. 18-22: 98 n. 1-2: 92 n. 7. 110: 63 n. 131: 110 4. 10 2. 50 4. 19. 4. 3. 20-27: 77 n. 8. 1-5: 56 n. 1-6: 56 n. 95-6 2. 1-2: 94 n. 98 n. 50 2. 27-29: 63 n. 29 4. 24. 14 1: 28 .

35 4. 6-14: 52 n. 43 53R: 36 n. 27 52F: 22 n. 12 n. 19 105. 46 46A: 21 n. 28. 1-4: 52 n. 28 106. 25 n. 1-11: 37 n. 59 n. 28 106. 3 & 4. 50: 103 n. 21-23: 61 105. 13 (chap. 9 & 11 33J: 35 n. 10 33M: 22 n.3:78 n. 18-21:74 n. 3 106. 8. 35 40F: 34 n. 3 105. 10. 3 45H: 48 n. 1 Galen De musculorum motu 4. 42: 62 n. 35 6. 10. 32. 23 n. 251-260: 43 LS 28D: 22 n. 10. 3 111. 82. 15 Herculaneum Papyrus 1020 4. 106 n. 24 106. 9-10: 67 n. 5 39B: 34 n. 21 4. 20. 21: 61 n. 18 58F: 24 n. 10-12: 77 n. 18 Marcus Aurelius Ad se ipsum 3. 23: 61 n. 9 37H: 6 n. 45 281: 22 n. 20 47K: 37 n. 56 n. 22 58C: 24 n. xviii. 26-112. 2. 48 62F: 10 n. 10 331: 35 nn. 2-10: 37 n. 6 Lucretius De rerum natura 2. 27 105. 9 38D: xvii. 36 540: 25 n. 1: 27 112. xviii. 46 106. 20: 103 n. 83 n. 5 41D: 93 n. 1-3: 23 114. 15 68A: 91 n. 21-22: 78 n. 20 47S: 102 n. 21 58E: 24 nn. 20 47J: 37 n. 7. 20 & 21 58B: 24 n. 22 65G: 96 n. 10-11: 52 n. 402. 20 4. 6 44A: 20 n. 1: 62 n. 70 nn. 73 105.24-115. 35): 59 n. 33 Index Locorum 53S: 35 n. 20 De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis 4.27: 96 n. 6-106. 20 4. 11-16: 37 n. 20. 1: 103 n. 48 39A: 34 n. 43 59E: 56 n. 1-3: 67 n. 45 105. 20 58J: 25 n. 5 40J: 34 n. 22. 403. 22 54Q: 25 n. 46 46C: 21 461: 20 n. 20 58D: 24 n. 10-11: 67 n. 18 60B: 48 n. 24 59B: 67 n. 27 n.2. 14-25: 19-20 111. 7 & 9. 20 58H: 24 n. 103 n. 47 28J: 22 n. 10. xvii n. 22 55A: xvii. 5 40C: 44 n. 48 57G: 48 n. 66. 69. 47 58A: 24 nn. 5 40H: 34 n. 3-4: 76 n. 29 . 32 5. 2: 61 n. 29. 402-403. 47 n. 46 105. 98 n. 29 114. 34 52C: 19-20. 30. 14 53Q: 35 nn. 84 57 A: 48 n. 35 Nemesius of Emesa De Natura Hominis 18. 28 105. 7 471: 37 n. 10 34A: 6 n. 4 47F: 21 n. 20 105. 20 & 21. 10: 37 n.130 FDS 1253: 17 n. 48 n. 6 41G: 93 n.1: 93 n.

17 7. 133. 9 In Aristotelis de anima commentaria 217. 332: 20 n. 5 Philoponus In Aristotelis analytica priora commentaria 169. 138. 84 1. 18: 41 n. 8 & 12 7.64-7: 24n. 10. 1 2. 22 1048A: 24 n. 5 Timaeus 74C-75D: 25 n. 5: 20 n. 47 Laws 901A-903A: 20 n. 18-85. 7 2. 16 113. 23: 38 n. 3 1. 247: 92 n. 35 4. 18 Seneca de benejiciis 4. 47 n. 12 n. 5 237. 16-17: xvii. 20 Simplicius In Aristotelis categorias commentarium 195. 3: 55 n. 19-21: 82 n. 13: 24 n. 16-27: 91 n. 33 De oratione 7. 10-84. 82:94 n. 7-8: 48 n. 75. 153. 8 n. 13 8. 1-2: 61 n. 34-407. 20 2. 10: 6 n. 39: 103 n. 36-35-5: 17 n. 244-245: 92 n. 241: 34 n. 36-218. 9. 6: 82 n. 15 Stoicorum Repugnantiis 1037F: 36 n. 257: 56 n. 6-10: 20 n. 7 2. 48 Philo of Alexandria De Aeternitate Mundi 78:20 n. 21 121. 22-3: 28 1. 30. xvii n. 23 De Principiis 3. 20 1052A: 27 n. 44. 31-196. 52 1056C: XV 1057A: 35 n. 4. 77. 2: 22 n. 253-254: 56 n. 17 7. 25-238. 11: 24 nn. 132. 10: 67 n. 79. 177. 20 & 21. 75-76: 20 n. 73-74: 34 n. 50 113. 84. 21-179. 3 7. 256: 56 n. 11 7. 10. 252: 22 nn. 402-410: 34 n. 8. 1. 20: 102 n. 10. 83 n. 55 n. 44 Plato Sextus Empiricus Adversus mathematicos 7. 25 9. 1-2: 98 n. 17 7. 17: 22 n. 34 406. 52 169. 3 7. 18 1041E: 48 n. 32 1. 1 2. 22 4. 8: 91 n. 23 Plutarch De virtute morali 446F-447A: 96 n. 20. 7: 4 n. 396-398: 77 n. 3 11. 3 7. 5: 6 n. 48 1055E: 85 n. 11: 110 n. 7-22: 28 n. 29 1055D-F: 82 n. 45 2. 5 7. 48 1044D: 25 n. 30. 37. 12-213. 409-410: 22 8. 44 107. 20: 10 n. 34: 103 n.Index Locorum 131 Origen Contra Celsum 2. 28 epistulae morales 107. 56 n. 83. 79:94 n. 5 9. 18-80. 28: 29 n. 33 Stobaeus Eclogae 1. 44 212. 249: 02 n. 248: 22 n. 35 de ira 2. 6 8. xviii. 36 Stephanus In lib rum Aristotelis de Interpretatione commentarium 34. 21 2. 2: 24 n. 11-76. 103 n. 26-133. 15 . 5 7. 3 1. 17-19: 85 n.

2. 20 3. 198: 6 n. 56 n. 4. 2. 43 3. 2-6: 35 n. 2. 84 1. 12 n. 187: 34 n. 2. 496: 56 n. 137: 24 n. 2. 5 2. 53: 44 n. 2 988: 55 n. 43 3. 171: 35 nn. 10 . 2. 193: 6 n. 119: 24 n. 14 625: 19-20 626: 29 n. 625: 34 n. 524: 20 n. 1: 35 n. 22 3. 169: 35 nn. 48 n. 450: 37 n. 22 1497: 28 n. 7 88. xviii. 20. 9 2. 16 989: 98 n. 1: 35 n. 7 & 9. 22: 106 n. 2. 7-673. 4. 2. 442: 37 n. 548: 93 n. 195: 6 n. 32 16: 91 n. 5 2. 3. 439: 21 n. 18 3. 2. 395: 22 n. 30. 6 2. 28. 3. 5 2. 2. 36 671. 34 2. 3 624: 22 n. 10. 22. 43 86. 178: 48 n. 20 2. 10 3. 47 Index Locorum SVF 1. 71-81: 104 n. 2. 11 88. 300: 20 n. 361: 24 n. 25 n.196: 6 n. 102: 21 1. 20 1. 4: 67 n. 10 44. 2. 1 69: 48 n. 48 3. 5 2. 15 3. 17-18: 35 n. 2. 311: 20 n. 9 2. 191: 25 n. 46 1163: 25 n. 8. 20 & 21. 12 n. 23-98. 98: 28 1. 2 992: 55 n. 54: 34 n. 128: 24 nn. 36 3. 27 2. 393: 102 n. 9 2. 494: 67 n. 22 1027: 21 n. 87: 20 n. 23 991: 70 n. 19-87. 2.175: 36n. 20.132 2. 22 1170: 25 n. 2. 91: 35 n. 9 & 11 3. 2. 459: 96 n. 9 86-88: 94 n. 15 998: 10 n. 17-87. 13-86. 60: 63 n. 18 3. 2. 45 86. 18 3. 85. 11: 48 n. 20. 6 3 Boethus 7: 20 n. xvii n. 7. 495: 56 n. 48 3. 5 2. 7 2. 18 3. 124: 24 n. 43 3. 22 979: 70 n. 10. 2. 103 n. 177: 35 n. 2. 106 n. 21 3. 89: xvii. 2. 2. 173: 106 n. 131: 93 n. 35 2. 3 1. 23 n. 9 97. 59 n. 7 86. 9 2. 47 2. 310: 48 n. 61: 34 n. 6: 35 n. 24 3. 33 957: 10 n. 20 2. 6 2. 5 3 Diogenes 22: 22 n. 46 2. 10.