Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Epictetus was a stoic

Epictetus like most of us was born with out a golden spoon. He was born a slave who was then banished because of his beliefs.

His main idea was to make determinism compatible with free will (compatibilism). He believed in fate and stated that all external events are beyond the control of humans but he also advocated free will or how one chooses to deal with those events. Compatibilist believe that one could be morally responsible for one's actions because of one's motives and desires, no matter how random those actions are. Epictetus tried not to be worried about events which were not in his direct control and on the other hand exercised extreme self discipline.

Prohairesis was a term defined by Epictetus which represents the choice involved in giving or withholding assent to impressions.

"Practise then from the start to say to every harsh impression, "You are an impression, and not at all the thing you appear to be". Then examine it and test it by these rules you have, and firstly, and chiefly, by this: whether the impression has to do with the things that are up to us, or those that are not; and if it has to do with the things that are not up to us, be ready to reply, It is nothing to me."

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