1st Edition

The Stoic Doctrine of Providence
A Study of its Development and of Some of its Major Issues

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after August 1, 2021
ISBN 9781138125162
August 1, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
250 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

The Stoic Doctrine of Providence attempts to reconstruct the Stoic doctrine of providence (as argued for in ancient texts now lost) and explain its many fascinating philosophical issues.

Examining issues such as the compatibility between good and evil, and how a provident god can serve as model of political leadership, this is the first monograph to focus on the question of Stoic providence. It offers an in-depth study of the meaning and importance of this topic in eight distinct generations of Stoics, from Zeno of Citium (4th century B.C.) to Panaetius of Rhodes (2nd century B.C.) to Marcus Aurelius (2nd century A.D.).

The Stoic Doctrine of Providence is key reading for anyone interested in Ancient Stoicism or the study of divine providence in a philosophical setting.

Table of Contents

1. Zeno on providence
1. Providence as one of god’s names
2. Providence and nature
3. Providence and divination
4. Does god care for even ‘the slightest of things’?

2. Cleanthes on providence
1. The world is governed by a divine mind
2. A cosmobiologogical approach
3. The maintenance and destruction of the cosmic order
4. Cleanthes’ disagreement with Zeno’s theodicy
5. God’s care for human beings

3. Chrysippus’ On Providence
1. On Providence, book I
2. On Providence, book IV
3. Fate and moral responsibility

4. Panaetius on providence
1. Panaetius’ On Providence
2. The world is indestructible
3. Doubts about divination
4. Rejection of astrology
5. The human telos and the power of reason
6. Reason, wisdom and politics

5. Posidonius and Cleomedes on providence
1. Posidonius on the human telos
2. Reason as a criterion of truth
3. God’s providence and the cosmos
4. Against Epicurus
5. Providence and the city (Sen. Ep. 90)

6. Seneca on providence
1. Providence and the free unfolding of nature
2. Wisdom and the unfolding of human nature
3. The practical and political dimension of contemplation
4. From the cosmic city to Nero’s imperial administration

7. Epictetus on providence
1. Praising providence, or not
2. Providence, philostorgia and human societies

8. Marcus Aurelius on providence
1. The perfection of the world and its compatibility with evil
2. Providence and the freedom to sin and to correct oneself
3. Providence and the Stoic doctrine of the principles
4. Providence and politics

9. Providence and self-preservation
1. Nature and the heed for self-preservation
2. Oikeiôsis and the preservation of life
3. Providence or atoms? The Epicurean challenge
4. Stoics and Epicureans on the conservation of life

10. From cosmic oikeiôsis to personal providence
1. The object(s) of divine providence
2. Alexander’s objection and the Stoic reply
3. The Stoics on the good and the advantageous
4. Cosmic oikeiôsis
5. Providence and individuals

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Bernard Collette is Associate Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. He is the co-editor of L’esprit critique dans l’Antiquité I. Critique et licence dans l’Antiquité (2019), and the author of books and articles on Neoplatonism and Stoicism. He is editor at the Laval théologique et philosophique.