Stoic Meditations

Occasional reflections on the wisdom of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. More at https://massimopigliucci.com. Please consider supporting Stoic Meditations. (cover art by Marek Škrabák; original music by Ian Jolin-Rasmussen, www.jolinras.info). Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/stoicmeditations/support

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Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 2m. Bisher sind 741 Folge(n) erschienen. Dies ist ein täglich erscheinender Podcast
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The Stoics got divination wrong, but cause-effect right


The ancient Stoics believed in divination, because the world works by cause-effect. They were wrong on the specifics, but correct about the general idea, which is what still today underpins modern science.

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Isn't the eye the most sophisticated thing you've ever seen?


The ancient Stoics used their knowledge of human, animal, and plant anatomy to argue for the intelligence and wisdom of the universe. Similar arguments were still advanced at the beginning of the 18th century.

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739. The universe is not the result of random events


The ancient Stoics advanced an argument for the intelligence of the universe very similar to the one deployed by modern creationists. The difference is that - given the advances of science - creationists ought to know better.

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738. Reason and wisdom, or chance and necessity?


The Stoics make an argument against the Epicureans about the nature of the universe. For once, it is the Epicureans who got closer t the truth.

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Is the universe governed by wisdom?


The Stoics put forth a three-pronged argument to arrive at the conclusion that the universe is governed wisely and providentially. Unfortunately, their argument is both invalid and unsound.

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736. Different conceptions of the gods


The Stoics rejected the gods of the Olympian pantheon as obvious projections of human psychology. But modern thinking leads to doubts even about the Stoics' own more sophisticated conception of God as Nature.

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On the movement of the planets


The complex patterns drawn by the planets in the sky seem to indicate the existence of a higher intelligence. But of course modern physics has other ideas.

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734. The cosmos is neither living nor endowed with mind


Cicero has one of his Stoic characters very explicitly state a notion about the nature of the cosmos that does not hold up to modern philosophical and scientific scrutiny.

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Is the world wise?


Cicero summarizes a beautiful argument by the Stoics to the effect that the world itself is wise. Unfortunately, the argument is based on unsound premises, and its conclusion is incoherent.

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Like from like, nothing from nothing


Zeno claimed that life can only come from life, and reason from reason, so he concluded that the universe was alive and endowed with reason. It's a beautiful idea, but one that has not withstood the test of modern science.

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