Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Friday, May 06, 2005

Stoic Faith

"I had the thought today that faith in the rationality and goodness of
Nature is the very essence of Stoicism.

"Secure knowledge of the rationality, and goodness of Nature is the
highest attainment of the Stoic Sage.

"Since the qualities of the Whole, like intelligence, rationality, and
goodness are unavailable to and unprovable by science,

"making progress in Stoicism requires faith in the rationality and
goodness of Nature."

Yahoo! Groups : stoics Messages : Message 8842 of 8922


Blogger DT Strain said...

Hi Dave,

I haven't really seen much indication that Stoicism requires faith, although I am no expert. But then that depends on your definition of "faith". Also, I'm a little fuzzy on the belief that Nature was "good". But this also depends on how one defines "goodness".

Lastly, it should be noted that there is a difference between "Stoicism" and "what ancient Stoics believed." In other words, Stoicism, as any philosophy, is a general approach. If the ancient Stoics had access to the information we do today, they likely would have had some different conclusions, even if applying the same Stoic approach.

Some people want to believe what the ancient Stoics thought (like wanting to be a Pagan or something), and some people want to apply Stoic philosophy to our modern knowledge. I think the conclusions of these two groups will often vary considerably. I consider myself a modern Stoic, which means I think ancient Stoics were wrong about some things. This has nothing to do with them being Stoics though. It's kind of like saying that Newton was still a scientist who used the same methods of today. Although his conclusions were different, he is still a scientist.

So, are you talking about "historic Stoicism" or "modern Stoicism"? How are you defining "faith"? How are you defining "goodness"?

12:12 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Till just recently I considered myself a Stoic of the orthodox (classical) type.

I've been a member of the Stoic International Forum for the last few years, where the debate between the so-called classical and modern Stoicisms has been on-going.

But since I'm no longer a Stoic, I don't have much motivation to defend the orthodox view.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I'm posting message/543 of the Yahoo! Groups link that was truncated:

"My philosophic background, such as it is, includes a predominently
Thomist, pre-Vatican II, Catholic education. When I lost my faith, I
lost the Thomist ethics, too. But as it turns out, my interest in
Stoicism has brought me back to a point where I want to renew my
Catholicism and re-educate myself in Thomism.

I still have an intellectual interest in Stoicism and I believe that I have a particularly stoic temperament, but I no longer think of myself as a convert to Stoicism, rather as a stoic Christian.

1:26 PM  
Blogger DT Strain said...

Thanks for the info Dave. Actually, I've been peeking at the ISF for sometime now, and finally decided just today to sign up (assuming they like my intro letter and allow it).

I would be interested to hear what reasoning lead you from Stoicism back to Catholicism?

1:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

My investigation last Nov. of the Virtues led me to Alasdair McIntyre. I agreed with his idea that an ethic is really efficacious only within a tradition. Thomism offers me a stronger defense than Stoicism does against the individualism, subjectivism, and relativism of much postmodern ethics.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have had a different life than anyone ive ever met in my life and its due to a series of events and decissions ( whether bad or good) that have brought me to this way of thinking. i just found out what this stoic thing is relating to and i was blown away by the constant simularities between what i was reading and my daily conversations. i dont respect anyone that has anykind of authority at all. ethics and logic combined are the only tools someone needs to grow their mind and clear their mind of brainwashed habits.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the proper way of looking at stoicism is to view its properties in a modern light, although I know that many people still consider the ideas held by th classical stoics true.

Also, please check out my modern stoics site at

10:22 AM  

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