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Concepts of Stoicism and Skepticism Essay

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Updated: Jan 6th, 2022

Introduction

Undoubtedly, the awe-inspiring philosophies of Plato and Aristotle form the foundation of the contemporary philosophies. In most cases, their philosophies laid more emphasis in modern science, epistemology and metaphysics. However, after their death, the emerging philosophers such as Sextus Empiricus, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius developed new philosophies on the issue that had troubled ancient Greeks the most-ethics. The ancient Greeks wanted to discover what it takes to be virtuous, what one has to do in order to be full of character and nobility, and what it takes to live the good life. Consequently, among the philosophies that emerged include stoicism and skepticism. The paper will compare these schools of two schools of thought with an aim of establishing their differences.

Stoicism

According to Epictetus, stoicism is a school of thought that explains how free a person is when educated. The person behind the development of this school of thought is Zeno of Citium. In those days, cynics dominated many schools in Greece and students had to learn its precepts along with other philosophies. However, Zeno became predisposed by the Socrates and adopted the philosophies of the Socrates. Among the many aspects of Socrates and hence stoicism was to be virtuous, and most importantly, surrendering to the will of God. In fact, the ancient Greeks believed in one God and Zeno failed to differentiate between God and nature. To him, the two resembled and were one. In fact, this philosophy goes further to state that human beings can only acquire happiness by either observing the cogent law of humanity or by living according to nature.

Stoicism values apatheia, that is, the dearth of passion as it is the one that makes human beings virtuous. Marcus Aurelius in his book, Meditations, tells that uncontrolled passion sires a hysterical emotion or physical longing, which is dangerous to human beings. Thus, by doing away with this attitude, human beings develop wisdom and ability paramount to their daily practices. Thus, whenever people control their inner self, they can master their lives without being slaves to the emotions of other people. In this way, the external circumstances influence personal unresponsiveness (Boeree 1).

Additionally, in Stoicism, the basic fundamental belief is that everybody is equal and that the state is universal where all men are brothers. This aspect or principle of stoicism calls for duty to others. Nevertheless, this is not possible minus substantive amount of empathy, impartiality forbearance and active help. In stoicism, human beings are intrinsic social creatures who exhibit ethics at all times, which is natural in reason itself. Clearly, stoicism illustrates that human beings can revolutionize their attitudes and behavior in order to be virtuous.

Skepticism

Skepticism, the school of thought developed by Sextus Empiricus, starts by first defining who a skeptic is. According to Sextus Empiricus, a skeptic is a person who explores or investigates situations or events, shelving the sentence during the investigation period. He uses an example of the real object and its image in the mirror by saying that they counter hence, no one should judge because, the criterion of truth never exists (Hooker 1).

In other words, skepticism is an approach that scrutinizes claims of conviction. The art of believing misses out and doubt takes center stage even in matters of truth and knowledge. The peripheral construct of a person on a particular statement or even only changes through cacophonous substantiation or knowledge rather than the core constructs. In fact, in order to alter the peripheral construct, a rational argumentation is obligatory. On the other hand, a brawny emotive component is necessary in the alteration of core constructs. Otherwise, it is hard to change a skeptic’s core construct, as they appear more resistant as compared to believers (Sextus, Annas and Barnes 35-65).

Works Cited

Boeree, George. 2000. Web.

Hooker, Richard. Skepticism. 1996. Web.

Sextus, Empiricus, Annas, Julia, Barnes, Jonathan. Outlines of Skepticism. Cambridge University Press. 2000. Print.

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