Russell by Russell Bertrand

By Russell Bertrand

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5 According to the Stoic view, it is primarily assent that is “in our power” or “up to us” (eph’ h¯e min), and it is only because this lies in our control that anything at all does. So if we are responsible for any of our actions, for any of our desires, or for any of our passions or emotions, it is because these all depend upon our capacity to give or withhold our assent in particular cases. Similarly, if we are to bear any responsibility for our own moral character, this too will be due to our capacity for assent.

Similarly, if we are to bear any responsibility for our own moral character, this too will be due to our capacity for assent. But responsibility for desires and emotions is primary here, for our actions and our moral character are functions of them, of what we want and how we respond to the world. And our desires, in a fairly clear sense, just are emotions, for the Stoics, for they are the impulses to pursue or avoid, to accept or reject, certain objects (technically, certain prospective or actual properties applying to ourselves) as being respectively good or bad.

Bonh¨offer (see note 22). Studies that deal with it in some detail include D¨oring 1979 and Gourinat 2001, whose article includes reference to my present paper. 2. 4), and no form of the word occurs in the surviving fragments of Chrysippus or other Stoics. 3); but by their time this specification had become too standard to allude specifically to Socratic discussion. As for irony, it was officially excluded from the sage’s character (whose virtues include irrefutability [anelenxia]) and treated as a mark of inferior persons (SVF 3:630).

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