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Journal of Studies on Ancient Thought

Ed. by Alesse, Francesca / Chiaradonna, Riccardo / Spinelli, Emidio

Editorial Board: Aronadio, Francesco / Berti, Enrico / Brancacci, Aldo / Centrone, Bruno / Decleva Caizzi, Fernanda / Dorandi, Tiziano / Ioppolo, Anna Maria / Opsomer, Jan / Rashed, Marwan / Reydams-Schils, Gretchen / Sedley, David

CiteScore 2018: 0.22

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Seneca e la passione come esperienza fisica

Stefano Maso
Published Online: 2018-11-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/elen-2018-0021


If the ancient Stoics conceived passion as a judgment or the consequence of a judgment referring to external reality, it is correct to define their conception of the psyche as ‘monistic’; it is very different if we consider that passion is due to another faculty independent of reason. In this second case, a scenario opens up in which a realistic and ‘reified’ conception of passion emerges. With reference to this, in the Letter 113 Seneca discusses the paradoxical thesis of the ancient Stoic scholars according to whom “the soul is an animal”, just as virtues and passions are. Through a series of close logical arguments, he shows the absurdities that can be reached in this way. By comparing this letter with the De ira we can define the position of Seneca as a type of practical/operational imaginary dualism: the development of an original coherent form of monism. Not to give in to passion (for example to anger or libido) will not be just or not so much a psychological exercise of reason and will, but certainly a physical experience of resistance.

Keywords: Seneca; affections; ethics; monism; dualism


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-24

Published in Print: 2018-11-30

Citation Information: Elenchos, Volume 39, Issue 2, Pages 377–401, ISSN (Online) 2037-7177, ISSN (Print) 0392-7342, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/elen-2018-0021.

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