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The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521779852
ISBN-10: 0521779855
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The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) + The Stoics Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Hackett Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I thoroughly recommend this book to anybody with an interest in Stoicism, its history, and its legacy. [An] unqualified success. The Companion leaves us not only with a good impression of, and furthered interests in, the Stoics themselves, but also with the systematic question of whether Stoic ethics and moral psychology can be separated from their theoretical and cosmological commitments. If they can, they have a good deal to teach us moderns about the role of reason, emotion and virtue in human life." Dominique Kuenzle, University of Sheffield, Metapsychology

"...another fine volume in the Cambridge Companion series, a series which always delivers on it promise to give 'specialists' a solid conspectus of the latest scholarship..." -Ancient Philosophy, Jeffrey S. Purinton

Book Description

This volume offers an odyssey through the ideas of the Stoics in three ways: through the historical trajectory of the school itself and its influence; through the recovery of the history of Stoic thought; through the ongoing confrontation with Stoicism, showing how it refines philosophical traditions, challenges the imagination, and ultimately defines the kind of life one chooses to lead.New readers will find this the most accessible guide to the Stoics currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of developments in the interpretation of the Stoics.

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Philosophy
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521779855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521779852
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Megarian on April 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the best collection of scholarly articles on ancient Stoicism available. Brad Inwood has gathered together some of the top specialists in the field and has produced what is sure to be a standard and essential resource for scholars and students for years to come. Well written and edited, this is an ideal companion to the primary texts and fragments.

Contributors include: David Sedley, Christopher Gill, R.J. Hankinson, Suzanne Bobzien, Michael J. White, Keimpe Algra, Dorothea Frede, Jacques Brunschwig, Malcolm Schofield, Tad Brennan, R.J. Hankinson, David Blank & Catherine Atherton, Alexander Jones, T.H. Irwin, A.A. Long.

Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By zauzich on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a true "companion" rather than a commentary or guide to the Stoics in that it addresses issues that underly the writings and thought of the Stoics rather than merely summarizing ideas or commenting on various writings. This makes it an invaluable guide for bringing depth to one's reading and study of the Stoics enabling one to study them in their historical, social, and literary context so that one can study them with originality rather than being restricted to a particular point of view or interpretation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BW on May 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This beautifully edited volume, in 15 chapters written by some of the most distinguished philosophers, scholars and translators of the ancient texts, gives readers a compact, state-of-the-art overview and bibliography of Stoic systematic philosophy. It begins with two chapters on the history of the school, and concludes with a chapter on its philosophical significance in later Western philosophy. Between those two bookends are chapters on Stoic cosmology and theology, physics, metaphysics, determinism, logic, and ethics. The writing throughout is superb and accessible to anyone with even a slight acquaintance with ancient Stoicism. Nonetheless, it is aimed at the serious student – someone who is interested in the difficulties of reconstructing and interpreting the ancient texts, and learning about the philosophical differences between ancient Stoics themselves.
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From the description offered on the back cover, "One aim of the series is to dispel the intimidation such readers often feel when faced with the work of a difficult and challenging thinker." An earlier reviewer expressed frustration that the text was convoluted, I disagree on the whole, but there are areas (especially early) in the book that I think are overly complex and aimed specifically at academics. This is unfortunate because I think most of the book does a great job introducing and clarifying many aspects of Stoicism, and provides a solid foundation for continued reading.

This is a compendium of essays and not all authors are equal. As an example, there is a chapter on Stoic logic early in the book that is clearly written by an accomplished expert; however, the entire chapter is essentially wasted on the average reader as it wades into levels of minutiae aimed at an academic interested in reading texts to extract hidden or hard to find details. There is no introduction as to why Stoic logic is important, how it evolved, who evolved it, how we interpret it at a macro level, or what it offered to other schools of philosophy. True, some of this information can be inferred in the meat of the text, but you have to read about "exclusive-cum-exhaustive disjunctive assertibles" to find it. I understand this has critical importance to scholarship, but as an admitted novice I rely on the experts who dedicate their lives/careers to the field to understand these intricacies and provide their interpretation in an understandable format.

I would certainly recommend this to others, but would advise average readers not to become discouraged because of one or two chapters. It is still worth the read and it's clear that many of the authors collaborated together and did an excellent job of trying to make many complicated aspects of Stoicism accessible.
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