25 May 2009

Stoic Logic and Semantics. "Stoic Physics," Ch5.6 of Luhtala, On the Origin of Syntactical Description in Stoic Logic

5.6 Stoic Physics

Stoic physics views causality materialistically.
the only things that really exist are material bodies. (σώματα, somata) (117b)
A body is what can act and undergo action. In fact, only bodies can act and be acted upon.

But the Stoics consider a wide variety of things to be corporeal, for example, "the soul, sensation, virtues and qualities, and even such activities as walking and dancing." (117) Such things can interact with bodies. Hence they too are bodies. This means that causation for the Stoics always involves physical contact. As well, God himself is corporeal.
The ultimate source of all activity, the divine, rational mover, was also understood as corporeal. (117bc)
Incorporeals (ασώματα, asomata) do not "exist properly;" rather, they subsist (υπάρχειν, uparchein). There are four types of incorporeals (ασώματα, asomata). Sextus Empiricus gives this list:
1) void,
2) place,
3) time, and
4) 'sayable' (λεκτόν, lekton)
(Adv. math. X, 218 = SVF 2.331. SVF: Stoicorum veterum fragmenta I-III. Ed. Iohannes von Arnim. Leibzig: Teubner 1905-24.)

Cleomedes offers this list:
1) time
2) surface,
3) 'sayable' (λεκτόν, lekton) , and
4) void
(Met. I, 1, 16,2-3)

Plutarch lists these five:
1) time
2) predicate (κατηγόρημα, kategorema)
3) proposition (αξίωμα, axioma)
4) (συνημμένον, synemmenon), and
5) (συμπεπλεγμένον, sympeplegmenon)
(De comm. not. 30, see Duhot 1991: 92ff.

We note that these lists include linguistic items as well such traditional metaphysical things like time, place, and void.

Both the corporeals and incorporeals together make-up the highest Stoic ontological category: the 'something' (τί, quiddam)
(Sen Ep. 58,12-15 = SVF 2.332; Alexander In Ar. top. IV,301,19-25 = SVF 2.329)

Luhtala, Anneli. On the Origin of Syntactical Description in Stoic Logic. Münster: Nodus Publikationen, 2000.

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