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Hellenistic Age: A Mixing. Greek/Mac. Alexander the Great - 300s bce Roman Might Emerges - 200s bce Alexandria, Egypt a locus of mixing cultures. Epicureans Stoics and Cynics Early Christianity. The Mixing of Cultures H ellenism. Socrates to his pupils: “Seek the good life…”.

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hellenistic age a mixing
Hellenistic Age: A Mixing
  • Greek/Mac. Alexander the Great - 300s bce
  • Roman Might Emerges - 200s bce
  • Alexandria, Egypt a locus of mixing cultures
epicureans stoics and cynics early christianity

EpicureansStoics and CynicsEarly Christianity

The Mixing of Cultures


socrates to his pupils seek the good life
Socrates to his pupils: “Seek the good life…”
  • One pupil, Aristippus, inspires Epicurus (341-270BC)
    • Epicureanism
  • Pupil two, Zeno, at the Stoa inspires Cicero and Epictetus
    • Stoicism
  • Pupil three, Antisthenes, inspires Diogenes
    • Cynicism
epicureans adopt socrates devotion to knowing thyself
Epicureans Adopt Socrates’ Devotion to Knowing Thyself

“The highest good is pleasure, the greatest evil is pain.”


Pleasure = an absence or avoidance of pain.

Physical pleasure: CAUTION!!

  • Two kinds of pleasure
    • Long term mental pleasures = Katastematic
    • Short term physical and mental urges - Kinetic

Guide to Happiness: Epicurus on Happiness

Epicureanism =
  • Pleasure ethic of Aristippus + atomic theory of Democritus
  • “Nothing comes from nothing”
two main problems and solutions
Two main problems and solutions
  • Fear of the gods
  • Fear of death
  • Universe is unchanging: gods, if they exist, do not watch over or punish people (agnostic at best)
  • We do not feel pain in death, as there is no longer a body or a soul to feel it – soul atoms disperse
s eneca stoic force
Seneca & Stoic Force

“One who accepts what happens without a lot of complaining or emotional display.”

  • We live in a rational universe.
  • Purpose and intelligence permeates the universe.
  • Logos binds all things.
  • Man can understand it, if he wills, so he is rational too.
stoics adopt socrates calm sense of civic responsibility
Stoics Adopt Socrates’ Calm Sense of Civic Responsibility
  • Cosmopolitan: socially active beings.
    • Family important
    • Believed in a government of laws, not men.
    • We have reason and give language to it: such makes man unique.
  • Eliminated dualism by assuming a unity of body and spirit
    • One nature
  • Zeno
  • Cicero
  • Epictetus
  • Seneca
  • Marcus Aurelius
q what makes man depart his true self
Stoic Answer:

Irrational passions!*#@&)

Anger, fear, hate, desire for ecstasy

Insanity is a departure from our nature…it is unnatural…

A deviation from reason….so, reject superstition.

Hence, cultivate Apatheia in your life

Q: What makes man depart his true self?
never say you re l ost there s a reason for everything
Never say you’re Lost: there’s a reason for everything…


An active systematic discipline to deny the power of undisciplined passions and resign oneself to a natural order that is determinative.


The intrinsic ordering principle of the world.

with your group
With your group
  • After reading the two case studies, decide how a philosopher from your viewpoint would respond or advise Richard and someone who has listened to the Sermon on the Mount…
marcus aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

“The reason, in respect of which we are rational beings, is common; if this is so, common also is the reason which commands us what to do, and what not to do; if this is so, there is a common law also; if this is so, we are fellow citizens…if this is so the world is in a manner a state. My nature is rational and social; and my city and country so far as I am [Marcus Aurelius] is Rome, but so far as I am a man it is the world”

tips for developing self discipline
Tips for Developing Self-discipline?
  • Self-reflection
  • Know yourself
  • Note under what conditions you face the most temptation
  • Tell yourself: you are in control of your actions
  • Make the mundane a treat
cynics adopt socrates frugality
Cynics Adopt Socrates’ Frugality
  • Reject all absolutes
  • True happiness lies not in external advantages
  • Withdrawal from society brings most happiness
  • Little concern for self or others
  • Suffering and death are of little concern
  • Antisthenes, a pupil of Socrates
  • Diogenes to Great Alex:

“You’re blocking my sun, dude…”


the cynic barks
The Cynic Barks
  • Antisthenes
  • Embrace the burden of our pain and suffering that accompanies our search for inner wealth
the humanist contemplative
The Humanist Contemplative
  • DT Strain
  • Humanist Minister, certified by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and a Spiritual Naturalist. A writer for the Houston Chronicle, and other sites, Rev. Strain speaks and writes on a wide variety of philosophic concepts and participates in several organizations.
  • Enthusiast of Stoicism, Buddhism, and other ancient philosophies
  • Read article…