9 Feb 2018

Goldschmidt ( Le système stoïcien et l'idée de temps, “Les causes parfaites et les événements, 2”, summary


by Corry Shores


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[The following is summary. Bracketed commentary is my own, as is any boldface. Proofreading is incomplete, which means typos are present, especially in the quotations. So consult the original text. Also, I welcome corrections to my interpretations, because I am not good enough with French or Greek to make accurate translations of the texts.]




Summary of


Victor Goldschmidt


Le système stoïcien et l'idée de temps


Deuxième partie


Aspects temporels de la morale stoïcienne




La Connaissance


Chapitre IV


L’interprétation des événements




L’usage des représentations




Les causes parfaites et les événements, 2







Brief summary:

( The impulses that we receive are given to us by perfect and primary, that is, by sufficient and necessary causality, meaning that our actual reception was something determinately caused by the factors acting on us; and, our reaction will be caused by the impressions we have received; however, our response results from auxiliary and proximate causality, meaning that the prior factors (the impressions) were only enough to present us with the choice to assent or not to them, and whatever the effects of our chosen reaction is will themselves be a primary and perfect causality upon something else (which likewise takes our forward-giving perfect and primary cause as being for itself an auxiliary and proximate cause to its own reaction to it). ( The way the body works is just like how the cosmos and God work. God’s own actions determine the series of events by means of the perfect corporeal causality. Likewise, the leading part of our soul is a perfect cause of how it transfers its pneumatic impulses and thereby affects other corporeals, and thereby, it causes incorporeal effects, like walking, sitting, or being angry, etc.







[The Non-Necessity of Our Caused Reactions (Perfect and Primary Causes versus Auxiliary and Proximate Causes)]

[The Leading Part of the Soul as like God]










Les causes parfaites et les événements, 2

[The Non-Necessity of Our Caused Reactions (Perfect and Primary Causes versus Auxiliary and Proximate Causes)]


(p.107: “1. La distinction entre causes prochaines et causes

parfaites …”)


[In sum: The impulses that we receive are given to us by perfect and necessary causality, meaning that our actual reception was something determinately caused by the factors acting on us; and, our reaction will be caused by the impressions we have received; however, our response results from auxiliary and proximate causality, meaning that they were only enough to present us with the choice to assent or not to them, and whatever the effects of our chosen reaction is will themselves be a primary and perfect causality upon something else (which likewise takes our forward giving perfect and primary cause as an auxiliary and proximate cause to its reaction).]


[For the first notion, we should examine text of Cicero’s de fato. In section, we read through de fato, chapters III-VIII (text replication and discussion begins here). What we gathered from those sections is that Chrysippus holds that events are organized by fate and that we can use the conditional form (or its logical equivalent using conjunction) in order to understand the causal sequence that orders the events of time. But this created some confusion, because although Chrysippus says that there could be the divination of the future, he also seems to want there to be some measure of free will. We will now need to get more into the perfect and proximate causes distinction, especially in reference to the cylinder example. So let us continue through the text a little more.

Cicero, de fato, IX-XIX

[Marginalia:] Diodorus’s theory restated and upheld

17. IX. “But let us go back to the argument of Diodorus already mentioned, which they term Peri Dynaton, in which the meaning of the term ‘possible’ is investigated.

(Cicero 1968: 211, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Recall how we distinguished three claims with regard to causality and determinism, taking this from Epictetus’s The Discourses, Book II, ch.19, lines 1-8 (part):

{1} everything that has happened is necessarily true;

{2} that the impossible cannot be a consequence of the possible; and

{3} that something is a possibility which neither is nor ever will be true.

Diodorus’ Master argument affirms the first two but denies the third. The basic thinking here we said was that everything that has happened is necessarily true; for, the past cannot change, and thus it is necessarily. And since what is happening now is no longer a future possibility but is actually something that has transpired, that means that the present moment was caused by necessity. Now, that means, up until now, there was only one possibility for what could have come next, because whatever happened occurred by necessity, and thus it was never possible for an alternative to happen. But suppose we move from this present moment to the next. That means even though right now different alternatives seem possible, the fact that only one thing will happen means that only that one thing could have happened, as it will be necessary as a present event, and that means the only possibility of what can happen is whatever does happen. In other words, there are never more than one possibility for how things can go.]

Well, Diodorus holds that only what either is true or will be true is possible. This position is connected with the argument that nothing happens which was not necessary, and that | whatever is possible either is now or will be, and that it is no more possible for things that will be to alter than it is for things that have happened; but that whereas in the things that have happened this immutability is manifest, in some things that are going to happen, because their immutability is not manifest, it does not appear to be there at all, and consequently, while the statement ‘This man will die of this disease’ is true in the case of a man who is suffering from a deadly disease, if this same statement is made truly in the case of a man in whom so violent an attack of the disease is not manifest, none the less it will happen. It follows that no change from true to false can occur even in the case of the future. For ‘Scipio will die’ has such validity that although it is a statement about the future it cannot be converted into a falsehood, for it is a statement about a human being, who must inevitably die.

(Cicero 1968: 211-213, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So far we see that we can have true statements about the future, whose truth we can sometimes know in advance, when for example their negation is an impossibility. We can know now that Scorpio will die, because it is impossible for Scorpio not to die, given that he is a mortal.

[Marginalia:] Nevertheless Epicurus’ ‘swerve’ needless to avoid fatalism since secondary causes are accidental

18. If the form of the statement had been ‘Scipio will die by violence in his bedroom at night,’ the statement in that form would have been a true one, for it would have been a statement that a thing was going to happen that was going to happen, and that it was going to happen is a necessary inference from the fact that it did happen. Neither was ‘Scipio will die’ any truer than ‘Scipio will die in that manner,’ nor was it more inevitable for Scipio to die than it was for him to die in that manner, nor was it more impossible for the statement ‘Scipio has been murdered’ to change from a truth to a falsehood than for the statement Scipio will be murdered’; nor, these things being so, is there any reason for Epicurus’s standing in terror of fate and seeking protection against it from the atoms and making them | swerve out of the perpendiculara and entertaining simultaneously two utterly inexplicable propositions, one that something takes place without a cause — from which it will follow that something comes out of nothing, which neither Epicurus nor any natural philosopher allows —, the other that when two atoms are travelling through empty space one moves in a straight line and the other swerves.

(Cicero 1968: 213-215, copied from The Information Philosopher)

a. Epicurus held that, as the atoms fall vertically through space at the same velocity, they would never meet, were it not that any one of them occasionally makes an entirely uncaused swerve, thus sometimes coming into collision with other atoms and ultimately producing one of the clusters of atoms of which visible things consist. Such a swerve taking place among the atoms of a man’s mind is what is known to his consciousness as an act of arbitrary volition: this was Epicurus’s method of proving the freedom of the will. See §§ 21 ff. and Lucretius ii. 216 ff.

(Cicero 1968: 214-215, copied from The Information Philosopher)

The main idea so far is that Diodorus argues for a strict determinism, and now in the following we will learn why Epicurus need not fear such a deterministic system on the grounds that it eliminates all free will entirely.

19. For it is not necessary for Epicurus to fear lest, when he admits that every proposition is either true or false, all events must necessarily be caused by fate; for the truth of a proposition of the form ‘Carneades will go down to the Academy’ is not due to an eternal stream of natural and necessary causation, and yet nevertheless it is not uncaused, but there is a difference between causes accidentally precedent [by chance] and causes intrinsically containing a natural efficiency. Thus it is the case both that the statement ‘Epicurus will die in the archonship of Pytharatus, at the age of seventy-two,’ was always true, and also that nevertheless there were no fore-ordained causes why it should so happen, but, because it did so fall out, it was certainly going to fall out as it actually didc.

(Cicero 1968: 215, copied mostly from The Information Philosopher)

c. Editors emend the text to give ‘was going to befall by a definite series of causes.’

(Cicero 1968: 215)

To understand the idea here, we might appeal to the ideas from section (and also see section At the present moment, it might seem like we are able to decide between two fates, by making a decision that will take the course of events down one or another road. The truth is that the whole deliberative process was also determined, so we really were not going to choose otherwise than we did, even though it may have seemed that way. Generally speaking, if it ever seems like things could have gone another way, that is only because of our ignorance of the efficient causality of the situation. We also need keep in mind that efficient causality is primary for the Stoics. So something’s fate being what it is, is not because it was predetermined to happen before the actual chain of causality was set in place. Rather, that chain was set in place simultaneously with the decision of where things will go, and so while it is predetermined to go that way, the destination was not what causally determined the chain of events, it rather is the necessary result. This might be Cicero’s point above. Before Epicurus dies, the truth of the prophesy, “Epicurus will die in the archonship of Pytharatus, at the age of seventy-two” may be unknown to us, but that does not mean the chain of events can go one way or the other. It will by necessity go one particular way. But it goes that way for the primary reason that the efficient causality takes it that way, and not because it was decided before that chain of efficient causality began that it would need to go in that direction.]

20. Moreover those who say that things that are going to be are immutable and that a true future event cannot be changed into a false one, are not asserting the necessity of fate but explaining the meaning of terms; whereas those who bring in an everlasting series of causes rob the | human mind of freewill and fetter it in the chains of a fated necessity.

(Cicero 1968: 215-217, copied from The Information Philosopher)

I do not follow the reasoning above, but maybe it is the following. If we suppose that what will be cannot be changed, we are not explicitly saying that fate is necessary, and maybe this is because here we are not thereby saying that everything is determined by causal necessity, but just that statements about the future which are true cannot happen otherwise. But if we also say that the reason true statements about the future cannot occur otherwise is because of a fixed series of determinate causes, then we are removing free will from the picture. Maybe the idea is the following. If the future is fixed, that does not mean we cannot freely choose what to do until then. But if the series of events are fixed, then we really do not have a free choice, because even our choices are determined by antecedent causes.

[Marginalia:] Chrysippus proved fates by formal logic

X. “But enough of these subjects; let us examine others. For Chrysippus argues thus: If uncaused motion exists, it will not be the case that every proposition (termed by the logicians an axioma) is either true or false, for a thing not possessing efficient causes will be neither true nor false; but every proposition is either true or false; therefore uncaused motion does not exist.

(Cicero 1968: 217, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Chrysippus argues that all motions are caused in the following way. We assume that all statements are either true or false. And we take the case of movement. Suppose it has no efficient causality. That means were we to make some statement, like, “the moving object will roll down the hill,” it would be neither true nor false, because there is no efficient causality on the basis of which that would determine the motion. Thus, so long as we assume all statements are either true or false, then we must conclude that all motion is efficiently caused, and furthermore that there is no uncaused motion.

21. If this is so, all things that take place take place by precedent causes; if this is so, all take place by fate; it therefore follows that all things that take place take place by fate.’ At this point, in the first place if I chose to agree with Epicurus and to say that not every proposition is either true or false, I would rather suffer that nasty knock than agree that all events are caused by fate; for the former opinion has something to be said for it, but the latter is intolerable. Accordingly Chrysippus exerts every effort to prove the view that every axioma is either true or false. For just as Epicurus is afraid that if he admits this he will also have to admit that all events whatever are caused by fate (on the ground that if either of two alternatives is true from all eternity, that alternative is also certain, and if it is certain it is also necessary. This, he thinks, would prove both necessity and fate), similarly Chrysippus fears that if he fails to maintain that every proposition is either true or false he will not carry his point that all things happen by fate and spring from eternal causes governing future events.

(Cicero 1968: 217, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Being a fatalist requires saying that all statements must be true or false, and this is why Chrysippus holds this view and Epicurus does not.

[Marginalia:] Epicurus’s ‘swerve’ as basis for free-will

22. But Epicurus thinks that the necessity of fate is avoided by the swerve of an atom; and so in addition to gravity and impact there arises a third form of | motion, when the atom swerves sideways a minimal space (termed by Epicurus elachiston). Also he is compelled to profess in reality, if not quite explicitly, that this swerve takes place without cause; for the atom does not swerve in consequence of being struck by another atom, since how can impact between them take place if they are indivisible bodies travelling perpendicularly in straight lines by the force of gravity, as Epicurus holds? but it follows that if one is never driven aside by another, one will never even meet another; the consequence is that, even granting that the atom exists and that it swerves, the swerve is uncaused.

(Cicero 1968: 217-219, copied from The Information Philosopher)

As we know, Epicurus’ physics calls for an uncaused factor, namely, the swerve of the falling atoms.

23. “The reason why Epicurus brought in this theory was his fear lest, if the atom were always carried along by the natural and necessary force of gravity, we should have no freedom whatever, since the movement of the mind was controlled by the movement of the atom. The author of the atomic theory, Democritus, preferred to accept the view that all events are caused by necessity, rather than to deprive the atoms of their natural motions.

(Cicero 1968: 219, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Epicurus wants to preserve free will, thus he introduces this non-deterministic factor of the swerve.

[Marginalia: Epicurus’s ‘swerve’ as basis for free-will…] proved needless by Carneades: free will means volition without external cause.

XI. Carneades showed greater insight: his doctrine was that the school of Epicurus could have maintained its cause without this fictitious swerve. For it would have been better for the dogma of the possibility of some voluntary movement of the mind to be maintained than for them to introduce the swerve, especially as they were unable to invent a cause for it; and by maintaining that dogma they could easily have withstood Chrysippus, for in admitting that no motion is uncaused they would not have been admitting that all events are due to antecedent causes, as they would have said that there are no external and antecedent | causes of our volition.

(Cicero 1968: 219-221, copied from The Information Philosopher)

I do not know Carneades’ theory, but the idea seems to be that rather than physical atoms having the capacity to act in an uncaused way, to instead say that the mind does. But I am not sure how the mind is conceived here, if for example as a corporeal like the Stoics hold.

24. Therefore when we use the expression ‘Somebody wishes (or does not wish) something without cause, we are perverting the accepted convention of language; for we are using the phrase ‘without cause’ in the sense of ‘without an external and antecedent cause,’ not ‘without a cause of some kind.’ Just as when we say that a vessel is empty we do not use the expression in the sense in which it is used by the natural philosophers, who hold that no absolute vacuum exists, but we employ it to mean that the vessel has (for example) no water in it, or wine, or oil, similarly when we say that the mind moves without cause we mean that it moves without an antecedent external cause, not without any cause at all. Motion without cause can be predicated of the atom itself in moving through void by reason of gravity and weight, because there is no additional cause from outside; 25. but on the other hand, for fear lest we all be laughed at by the natural philosophers if we say that anything takes place without a cause, a distinction must be made, and the matter must be put in this way, that it is the nature of the atom itself to be kept in motion by weight and gravity, and that its nature is itself the cause of its travelling in this manner. Similarly no external cause need be sought to explain the voluntary movements of the mind; for voluntary motion possesses the intrinsic property of being in our power and of obeying us, and its obedience is not uncaused, for its nature is itself the cause of this.

(Cicero 1968: 221, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So the idea here is that not all causality is external causality, like the movement of objects being affected by other objects. The mind, for example, can act independently of external physical causality acting on it (or the body).

[Marginalia:] Universal causation implies fate, but not necessity: some causes are fortuitous;

26. This being so, what is the reason why every proposition is not either true or false, if we do not allow that whatever takes place is caused by fate? The reason is, says he, that future things that have not got causes why they will be in the future | cannot be true; therefore those that are true must necessarily have causes; accordingly when they have occurred they will have occurred by fate.

(Cicero 1968: 221-223, copied from The Information Philosopher)

I am not sure here if we are talking about Carneades, Chrysippus, or Epicurus. The idea is that if you think that things happen by fate, then you think things happen by causal necessity, and thus statements about the future must be true or false. If you reject the idea of fate, then statements about the future can be neither true nor false.

XII. That ends the business, inasmuch as you are bound to admit either that everything takes place by fate or that something can take place without a cause. 27. Consider the statement ‘Scipio will take Numantia’: if an external chain of interlinked causes is not going to bring this about, can it be true in any other manner? could it have been false if it had been said innumerable ages ago? And if the statement ‘Scipio will take Numantia’ had not been true then, even after Numantia has fallen the statement Scipio has taken Numantia’ is not true either. Therefore is it possible for anything to have happened that was not previously going to be true? For just as we speak of past things as true that possessed true actuality at some former time, so we speak of future things as true that will possess true actuality at some following time.

(Cicero 1968: 223, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Things are a bit complicated, but it seems we are saying the following. Scipio in fact took Numantia. We suppose it is before that event happened. And we suppose that before the event happened, we consider the statement about the future, “Scipio will take Numantia”. Next we suppose that “an external chain of interlinked causes is not going to bring this about”. And we ask, could it have been true any other way than if causes were going to bring it about? (Perhaps for example we might say that it would be true supposing that by chance it occurs, but even then it is not yet true, because the chance factors have not yet determined it as such.) The next question is, “could it have been false if it had been said innumerable ages ago?”. I do not know what the idea is there, but maybe it is that if enough time spans between some moment and the predicted future, then perhaps something false long ago can be true later, depending on how events transpire (but then again, if events happen differently, it would imply it was true no matter how long ago.) So what we see then is the view that whatever does happened must have been true forever into the past. Thus, “just as we speak of past things as true that possessed true actuality at some former time, so we speak of future things as true that will possess true actuality at some following time.”

28. Yet it does not immediately follow from the fact that every statement is either true or false that there are immutable causes, eternally existing, that forbid anything to fall out otherwise than it will fall out. The causes which bring it about that statements of the form ‘Cato will come into the Senate’ are true statements, are fortuitous, they are not inherent in the nature of things and the order of the universe; and nevertheless ‘he will come,’ when true, is as immutable as ‘he has come’ (though we need not on that account be haunted by fear of fate or necessity), for it will necessarily be admitted that if the statement ‘Hortensius will come to his place | at Tusculum’ is not true, it follows that it is false. Our opponents hold that it is neither; which is impossible.

(Cicero 1968: 223-225, copied from The Information Philosopher)

This is quite tricky to follow. So we conclude that whatever happens always was true. But now we say that we cannot thereby conclude that there are unchangeable causes that prevent things from happening otherwise. The only way I have right now to understand this is the following. Let us take the example the simple claim that we will die someday. That does not mean that the exact path to our death is predetermined. Things could go one way or another, but, one way or another, we will end up in death. I think this cannot be the point, however, because any statement about the way we will die can be either true or false. Let us continue.

[Marginalia:] and the existence of fate does not mean inaction:

“ Nor shall we for our part be hampered by what is called the ‘idle argument’ — for one argument is named by the philosophers the Argos Logos, because if we yielded to it we should live a life of absolute inaction. For they argue as follows: If it is fated for you to recover from this illness, you will recover whether you call in a doctor or do not;

29. similarly, if it is fated for you not to recover from this illness, you will not recover whether you call in a doctor or do not; and either your recovery or your non-recovery is fated; therefore there is no point in calling in a doctor.’

(Cicero 1968: 225, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So here, we have the argument that whatever is fated cannot be changed by our actions. So no matter what we do, we cannot change fate. The lazy argument goes further and says that we can therefore do whatever we want or even do nothing, because no matter what we do, whatever it was that was fated for us is what is going to happen.

[Marginalia:] action is fated as well as its object.

XIII. This mode of arguing is rightly called ‘idle’ and indolent, because the same train of reasoning will lead to the entire abolition of action from life. It is even possible to alter the form by not introducing the word ‘fate’ and yet to retain the same meaning, thus: ‘If the statement “You will recover from that illness” has been true from all eternity, you will recover whether you call in a doctor or do not; and similarly if the statement “You will recover from that illness” has been false from all eternity, you will not recover whether you call in a doctor or not; the conclusion following as before. 30. This argument is criticized by Chrysippus. For, he says, there exist in actuality two classes of facts, simple and complex. An instance of a simple fact is ‘Socrates will die at a given date’; in this case, whether he does some action or does not do it, the day of his death has been determined. But if it is fated that ‘Laius will have a son Oedipus,’ it will not be possible for the words ‘whether Laius mates with a | woman or does not’ to be added, for the matter is complex and ‘condestinate’a — he gives that name to it because he thinks it is fated both that Laius will lie with a wife and that he will beget Oedipus by her: in the same way as, supposing it were said that ‘Milob will wrestle at Olympia’ and somebody replied ‘If so, he will wrestle whether he has an opponent or not,’ he would be wrong; for ‘will wrestle’ is a complex statement, because there can be no wrestling without an opponent. Therefore all captious arguments of that sort can be refuted in the same way. ‘You will recover whether you call in a doctor or do not’ is captious, for calling in a doctor is just as much fated as recovering. These connected events, as I said, are termed by Chrysippus ‘condestinate.’

(Cicero 1968: 225-227, copied from The Information Philosopher)

a. συνειμαρμένον

b.This famous wrestler won six times at Olympia in the later years of the 6th cent. B.C.

(Cicero 1968: 226, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So the idea seems to be the following. We suppose a statement about the future is true. That statement might have built into other cofated events. So it does matter what you do. It is sort of like saying, you will recover from your illness, and before that you will call the doctor.

[Marginalia:] Carneades held that volition disproves fate, and that only necessary results can be predicted.

31. XIV. “Carneades refused to accept this class of things entirely, and held the view that the line of argument in question was not quite accurately thought out. In consequence he used to put his case in another manner, and did not employ any trickery; his argument ran like this: ‘If everything takes place with antecedent causes, all events take place in a closely knit web of natural interconnexion; if this is so, all things are caused by necessity; if this is true, nothing is in our power. But something is in our power. Yet if all events take place by fate, there are antecedent causes of all events. Therefore it is not the case that whatever events take place take place by fate.’

(Cicero 1968: 227, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Carneades says that some things are in our power to decide, thus not everything is decided by antecedent causes, and thus furthermore not everything takes place by fate.

32. This line of argument cannot be made more rigidly conclusive. For if anybody chose to repeat the same point and to put it thus, ‘If all that will be is from eternity true, so that it must certainly turn out as it will be, events necessarily take place in a closely knit web of natural interconnexion,’ | he would be talking nonsense. For it makes a great deal of difference whether a natural cause, existing from all eternity, renders future things true, or things that are going to be in the future can be understood to be true even without any natural eternity. Accordingly Carneades used to say that not even Apollo could tell any future events except those whose causes were so held together by nature that they must necessarily happen.

(Cicero 1968: 227-229, copied from The Information Philosopher)

This is very tricky, but the idea might be the following. We make a distinction. We might on the one hand say that the reason things are fated is because of necessary causation that made them true from the beginning. Or we might say that certain future events will happen, but not because they were determined to happen by some causality that was always there from the beginning of time. And thus, we can only predict future events tied by some causality, meaning that they in fact were always fated, but other things in the future we cannot predict, because they are not fated.

33. For what consideration could lead the god himself to say that the Marcellus who was three times consul was going to die at sea? this had indeed been true from all eternity, but it had no efficient causes. Therefore Carneades held the view that Apollo had no knowledge even of these past events which had left behind them no trace of their passage — how much less had he knowledge of future events, for only by knowing the efficient causes of all things was it possible to know the future; therefore it was impossible for Apollo to foretell the fate of Oedipus when there were no causes fore-ordained in the nature of things making it necessary for him to murder his father, nor could he foretell anything of the sort.

(Cicero 1968: 229, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So even the gods can only deduce an unknown past on the basis of efficient causality and the future on the same basis. Whenever there is not efficient causality leading to future events, they cannot be predicted.

[Marginalia:] Hence the Academy cannot defend prophecy, which assumes necessary causation.

XV. Hence if, while it is consistent for the Stoics, who say that all things happen by fate, to accept oracles of this sort and all the other things connected with divination, yet the same position cannot be held by those who say that the things which are going to happen in the future have been true from all eternity, observe that their case is not the same as | that of the Stoics; for their position is more limited and narrow, whereas the Stoic theory is untrammelled and free.

(Cicero 1968: 229-231, copied from The Information Philosopher)

I do not follow the syntax here. The main idea might be that the Stoics say that things can be fated without all things being determined by efficient causal necessity. Thus we can accept oracles without also thinking that everything in the future is determined, or at least that every one of our present actions is determined. I am guessing.

[Marginalia:] Distinction between circumstances and efficient causes.

33. Even if it be admitted that nothing can happen without an antecedent cause, what good would that be unless it be maintained that the cause in question is a link in an eternal chain of causation? But a cause is that which makes the thing of which it is the cause come about — as a wound is the cause of death, failure to digest one’s food of illness, fire of heat. Accordingly ‘cause’ is not to be understood in such a way as to make what precedes a thing the cause of that thing, but what precedes it effectively: the cause of my playing tennis was not my going down into the Campus, nor did Hecuba’s giving birth to Alexander make her the cause of the death of Trojans, nor was Tyndareus the cause of Agamemnon’s death because he was the father of Clytemnestra. For on those lines a well-dressed traveller also will be said to have been the cause of the highwayman’s robbing him of his clothes.

(Cicero 1968: 231, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Here we make a distinction between a necessary cause and an auxiliary cause. Some causes are not enough by themselves to have the efficient causality to bring about what happens next.

35. To this class of expression belongs the phrase of Ennius –

Would that in Pelius’ glade the pine-tree beams

Had never fallen to earth by axes hewn!

He might have gone even further back, ‘Would that no tree had ever grown on Pelius!’ and even further, ‘Would that no Mount Pelius existed!’ and similarly one may go on recalling preceding events in infinite regress.

Nor thence had made inception of the task

Of laying down a ship.

What is the point of recounting these past events? because what follows is this: |

For were it so, my roving royal mistress,

Medea, from her home had ne’er set forth,

Heartsick and by love’s cruel weapon wounded.

It was not the case that those events brought the cause of love.

(Cicero 1968: 231-233, copied from The Information Philosopher, italics added)

I am not familiar with this text or the mythology/history, and I cannot figure it out from what is written, so I cannot comment on it at the moment.

36. XVI. “But they declare that there is a difference whether a thing is of such a kind that something cannot be effected without it, or such that something must necessarily be effected by it. None of the causes mentioned therefore is really a cause, since none by its own force effects the thing of which it is said to be the cause; nor is that which is a condition of a thing’s being effected a cause, but that of which the access necessarily produces the thing of which it is the cause. For at the time when the snake-bite had not yet caused Philoctetes to be afflicted with a sore, what cause was contained in the nature of things that would bring it to pass that he would be marooned on the Isle of Lemnos? whereas afterwards the cause was nearer and more closely connected with his death.

(Cicero 1968: 233, copied from The Information Philosopher)

For similar reasons, I again cannot follow here. The idea seems to be still that certain antecedent conditions are not by themselves sufficient to necessarily cause what follows. I cannot follow this really, but I will propose something for now. Suppose we have situation B. We say that it only could have come about had A preceded it. So we have, “a thing is of such a kind that something cannot be effected without it.” But suppose we have A. We say that either B or C can result from it. Then we have that it is not the case that “something must necessarily be effected by it.” So suppose C happens instead of B. We can also say that C could only have happened if A happened. That means A is a prerequisite cause for B and for C each, but it is not a necessary cause for either. But I am guessing here.

37. Therefore it was the principle underlying the result that revealed the cause; but the proposition ‘Philoctetes will be marooned on an island’ had been true from all eternity, and this could not be turned from a truth into a falsehood. For it is necessary that of two contrary propositions — by contrary I here mean propositions one of which affirms something and the other denies it — of these two propositions therefore it is necessary, pace Epicurus, that one should be true and the other false; for example, ‘Philoctetes will be wounded’ was true, and Philoctetes will not be wounded’ false, for the whole of the ages of the past; unless perhaps we choose to follow the opinion of the Epi- | cureans, who say that propositions of this sort are neither true nor false, or else, when ashamed of that, they nevertheless make the still more impudent assertion that disjunction consisting of contrary propositions are true, but that the statements contained in the propositions are neither of them true. 38. What marvellous effrontery and pitiable ignorance of logical method! For if anything propounded is neither true nor false, it certainly is not true; but how can something that is not true not be false, or how can something that is not false not be true? We shall therefore hold to the position maintained by Chrysippus, that every proposition is either true or false; reason itself will insist both that certain things are true from all eternity and that they are not involved in a nexus of eternal causes but are free from the necessity of fate.

(Cicero 1968: 233-235, copied from The Information Philosopher)

I have to guess here, but the idea might be the following. Let us continue with the forking possibility above. A does not causally determine by necessity B or C, but it is required for either to happen. Suppose B happens. That means we find ourselves along a time-line where B is the case and not C. But that does not mean that back before B happened that the efficient causality would determine it as such. So we seem to need to distinguish two ways of seeing causality. One way gets its fatality by what in fact happened, is in fact happening, and will in fact happen. The other is fatal by determinate efficient causal relations, like those of physics. The Stoic view might be that the fatality of fate can exist without the necessity of all things being efficiently caused like in physics. The only way I can conceive this right now is with the forking situation. The present is a causal situation where the given conditions alone are insufficient to determine everything about the future. But, we accept that one thing will in fact happen instead of another. And from the perspective of eternity or at least of the end of time, all things that happened could not have been otherwise, because the choices have been made.

[Marginalia:] Chrysippus’ view half-way between necessity of fate and freedom of will.

39. XVII. “And my own view at all events is that, as between the two opinions held by the old philosophers, on the one hand the opinion of those who deemed that everything takes place by fate in the sense that this fate exercises the force of necessity — the opinion to which Democritus, Heraclitus, Empedocles and Aristotle adhered — and on the other hand the opinion of those who held that the movements of the mind are voluntary and not at all controlled by fate, Chrysippus stood as unofficial umpire and wished to strike a compromise, — though as a matter of fact he inclines to adhere to those who hold that the mind is released from all necessity of motion; but in employing formulae peculiar to himself he slips into such difficulties that against his will he lends support to the necessity of fate.

(Cicero 1968: 235, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Chrysippus then looks for a position between strict determinism and the freedom at least of the mind, but given Chrysippus’ manner of articulating his view, he sides with the determinists after all.

[Marginalia:] Psychology of volition

[40] And let us if you please examine the nature of this doctrine in | connexion with the topic of assent, which I treated in my first discourse. Those old philosophers who held that everything takes place by fate used to say that assent is given perforce as the result of necessity. On the other hand those who disagreed with them released assent from bondage to fate, and maintained that if assent were made subject to fate it would be impossible to dissociate it from necessity. They argued as follows: ‘If all things take place by fate, all things take place with an antecedent cause; and if desire is caused, those things which follow desire are also caused; therefore assent is also caused. But if the cause of desire is not situated within us, even desire itself is also not in our power; and if this is so, those things which are caused by desire also do not rest with us. It follows therefore that neither assent nor action is in our power. From this it results that there is no justice in either praise or blame, either honours or punishments.’ But as this is erroneous, they hold that it is a valid inference that not everything that takes place takes place by fate.

(Cicero 1968: 235-237, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Here above we have the following interesting idea. Suppose something external to us makes us have a certain desire. And suppose the desire necessarily determines we commit a certain action. That means nothing is in our power, and that no action is worthy of praise or blame. That means our act of assent to the desire is determined. But some say that since there can be justice, blame, etc, it must be that our assent is not bound by causal necessity to our affective states.

[Marginalia:] His distinction of causes as (1) principal, (2) auxiliary leaves desire in power

41. XVIII. “But Chrysippus, since he refused on the one hand to accept necessity and held on the other hand that nothing happens without fore-ordained causes, distinguishes different kinds of causation, to enable himself at the same time to escape necessity and to retain fate. ‘Some causes,’ he says, ‘are perfect and principal, others auxiliary and proximate. Hence when we say that everything takes place by fate owing to antecedent causes, what we wish to be understood is not perfect and principal causes but auxiliary and proximate causes.’ Accordingly he counters the argument that I set out a little time ago by saying that, if everything takes place by fate, it does indeed follow that everything takes | place from antecedent causes, but not from principal and perfect but auxiliary and proximate causes. And if these causes themselves are not in our power, it does not follow that desire also is not in our power. On the other hand if we were to say that all things happen from perfect and principal causes, it would then follow that, as those causes are not in our power, desire would not be in our power either.

(Cicero 1968: 237-239, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Cicero claims that Chrysippus refused the notion of causal necessity, but claims that whatever does happen must have come about through fore-ordained causes. This seems to be a contradiction. But he distinguished different kinds of causation, which make it all consistent. In the end Chrysippus will escape necessity and yet still have fate. The first kind of cause are perfect and principle causes. These are causes that by themselves necessitate the outcome. The other kind of causes are auxiliary and proximate causes. These are not by themselves sufficient to necessitate some outcome. Chrysippus argues that all things come about by auxiliary and proximate causes, but not by principal and perfect causes. Using my forking idea, we would say that all things happen for some reason, but not every reason necessitates one rather than another outcome. So suppose in the previous moment we had a desire, and in the present moment is our response, that we resisted that desire. In other words, we do not give into the desire, meaning that what followed from it was our non-assenting to it. But we also know that we could have given into it. Now, that means that what we did has a cause, namely the desire, but it was not a primary and perfect cause, because it could have caused us to act in accordance with the desire. Now, how is this all fate? It would only make sense to be fate by looking backward and saying that it could not have been otherwise. So I am still not really following the idea here yet.

42. Hence the train of argument in question will be valid against those who introduce fate in such a manner as to make it involve necessity; but it will have no validity against those who do not allege perfect and principal causes as antecedent. For they think that they can easily explain the meaning of the statement that assent takes place from pre-ordained causes; for although assent cannot take place unless prompted by a sense-presentation, nevertheless since that presentation supplies a proximate and not a principal cause, this, according to Chrysippus, is explained by the theory which we stated just now, not indeed proving that assent can take place without being aroused by any external force (for assent must necessarily be actuated by our seeing an object), but Chrysippus goes back to his roller and spinning-top, which cannot begin to move unless they are pushed or struck, but which when this has happened, he thinks, continue to move of their own nature, the roller rolling forward and the top spinning round.

[Marginalia: His distinction of causes as (1) principal, (2) auxiliary leaves desire in power …] and also ‘assent’ to sense-presentation as representing the objects.

[43] XIX. ‘In the same way therefore,’ he says, ‘as a person who has pushed a roller forward has given it a beginning of motion, but has not given it the capacity to roll, so a sense-presentation when it impinges will it is true impress and as it were seal its appearance | on the mind, but the act of assent will be in our power, and as we said in the case of the roller, though given a push from without, as to the rest will move by its own force and nature. If some event were produced without antecedent cause, it would not be true that all things take place by fate; but if it is probable that with all things whatever that take place there is an antecedent cause, what reason will it be possible to adduce why we should not have to admit that all things take place by fate? — only provided that the nature of the distinction and difference between causes is understood.’

(Cicero 1968: 239-241, copied from The Information Philosopher)

So here fate is understood not as forward-determining efficient causal necessity but as what in fact happens always having an antecedent cause. But still this is not so straightforward, because on the one hand we are saying that what happens next could be otherwise, but when that happens, it never could have been otherwise. Cicero might be saying that we are just changing the definition of fate, and watering it down to mean that it is simply the fact that whatever happens had a cause, even though that cause did not determine what happened. So again, it is not obvious to me what this idea is here, because neither interpretation I can think for it really makes sense to me. One way that I would reinforce the second interpretation is that it would only be by means of rational thinking that we would choose not to assent to an impression/passion. In other words, if the impression drives our behavior, there is a physiological explanation, and if we go against physical causality, there is still an explanation, namely, the reasoning behind our decision. So regardless, there is always a causal reason  for what happens, and nothing is random or irrational. Nonetheless, we seem to have still a watered down notion of fate, because presumably whether or not we use our rational faculty is not predetermined and thus not fated, and since future outcomes depend on how we react, it would seem that statements about what decision we make are neither true nor false before we make them. We also here have the illustration of the cylinder/roller, but it is not entirely obvious to me how to use it in this context. We push the roller. Are we the primary and perfect cause of its (continuous) motion? No, because its roundness is what sustains the motion. But then it is not clear what we do with this. Do we say there is no primary and perfect causality? Or do we say it is the roundness? And, the roller does not have the option to assent or not assent to the impulse, so it is not entirely obvious to me how it illustrates the idea here. The fact that it rolls when being pushed is something that can be calculated and that would happen by causal necessity.

[Marginalia:] This theory defended.

44. As this is the form in which these doctrines are set out by Chrysippus, if the people who deny that acts of assent take place by fate nevertheless would admit that those acts take place without an antecedent sense-presentation, it is a different theory; but if they allow that sense-presentations come first, yet nevertheless acts of assent do not take place by fate, because assent is not prompted by the proximate and contiguous cause stated, surely this comes to the same thing. For Chrysippus, while admitting that the proximate and contiguous cause of assent is situated in a perceived object, will not admit that this cause is necessary for the act of assenting, so that if all things take place by fate all things take place from antecedent and necessary causes; and also the thinkers who disagree with him in admitting that assent does not take place without the previous passage of sensory images will similarly say that, if everything were caused by fate in such a manner that nothing did take place without the precedent occurrence of a cause, it would have to be admitted that all things take place by fate; and from this it is easy to understand that | since both parties, when their opinion has been developed and unfolded, come to the same ultimate position, the difference between them is one of words and not of fact. 45. And putting it broadly, inasmuch as the distinction can be made that whereas in some things it can truly be said that when certain antecedent causes have occurred it is not in our power to prevent certain results of which they were the causes from happening, yet in some things, although antecedent causes have occurred, it is nevertheless within our power to make the event turn out otherwise, — this distinction is approved by both sides; but one of the two schools holds that although fate does govern those matters in which when antecedent causes have occurred it is not in our power to make the results turn out otherwise, yet fate is not present in the case of matters which are in our power. . . . .

(Cicero 1968: 241-243, copied from The Information Philosopher)

Thus, whether or not we assent is not something that can be explained as being entirely determined by prior causes. (We cannot even say that it is the force of the impression/passion, because under weak desires we can assent to them and under strong desires we can refrain from assenting to them). Chrysippus is still a fatalist. We distinguish the positions as follows: {1} whatever happens does so by necessary causation, {2} whatever happens happens by non-necessary causation. In both cases, we define fate by something happening on account of some cause. But the second view seems still to make divination impossible. That leaves the following possibilities for interpretation, that I can think of now. {a} Chrysippus says that some particular events are fated to happen (in the sense that one of two possible outcomes can be foreseen) but not others (in the sense that certain other things are only determinable by ((chance or)) willful decision when they do in fact happen and thus cannot be prefigured, which also suggests that the whole of the future is not yet decided). In this case, the future is not entirely decided. {b} Chrysippus says that all things that happen and will happen are fated to happen, but that determination can only be made after they happen. In other words, we see forking roads ahead of us, and we are on one of them now, and so the future is decided depending on which road we are on, but we just do not know yet which road that is. In this case, the future is decided, only we cannot know it. Or {c} Chrysippus has a view of fate that is only concerned with whether or not there are antecedent causes and not whether or not events in the future can be foreseen now. In this case the future might be very undecided. I do not find any of these interpretations satisfactory, so I do not understand yet the main idea here. But with this text in mind, let us continue with the Goldschmidt material. I will first work through what is written, and then I will comment] The distinction between proximate and perfect causes is a relative distinction. The impulse that I give to the cylinder is external to it and does not constrain it. [It seems we are supposing the cylinder can choose what to do or something like that, or at least we can say, for the cylinder, the impulse it receives is not the main reason it moves but only part of the reason.] So from the cylinder’s perspective, the impulse we give it is an antecedent and proximate cause, and, as such, is subject to destiny. But, in being subject to destiny, the impulse depends still on me who impresses it. Thus I am the principles and perfect cause, supposing that this movement of my hand conforms to my nature. It is my movement, my way of being relative. Our soul is a pneuma, which is capable of transmitting the tension to the periphery [of our body], thereby corporealizing the incorporeal effects that I cause. The walk, we have seen, is incorporeal in its manner of being, becomes corporeal under the effect of the leading part of the soul that constitutes it: “Cleanthes and Chrysippus did not agree about what walking is. Cleanthes says that it is the vital breath stretching from the directive faculty all the way to the feet, whereas Chrysippus says that it is the directive faculty itself” (Seneca, Letter 113, line 23, Seneca 2015: 448). In other words, each event that is determined by the law of destiny is the effect of a particular perfect cause. If God is the cause of the series of events, it is because as pneuma he traverses all these corporeal perfect causes. [This is all not so clear to me, but I will give my best account. And this is a guess. Suppose we take the whole cosmos at some moment. We thus have a sum of all proximate and auxiliary causes, which only as this entire sum can be said to be the primary and perfect cause of what comes next. However, we are just a small part of it. We get some impulse, like a visual image that gives us a desire. Now, insofar as we receive the impulse, our reception came about by a perfect and primary cause of the giver of it. They, extending out from themselves, are sources of primary and perfect causes of whatever is affected by that cause. In other words, by us hitting the cylinder, it cannot be otherwise that the cylinder is hit. But, our deciding to hit the cylinder had an antecedent cause, namely, our getting angry at it for some reason, or our wanting it to roll for some reason. Those do not determine our behavior by necessity. However, whatever it was that caused us to have these impressions was a perfect and primary cause. So, by us having our eyes pointed toward it, it could not be otherwise that we see it and react affectively to it. In other words, we do not control how our pneuma/psyche is impressed upon. But we do control how the impulses are channeled. Nonetheless, the last idea might be that our psyche is just one small part of the whole pneuma, and so our decision is really just an extension of God’s decision. I am not sure. You must read this for yourself. But at any rate, the overall idea here might be simply that what we receive is by perfect and necessary causality, but how we react is by auxiliary and proximate causality, even though the effect of what we choose to do will itself be a primary and perfect causality upon something else.]

49. 1. La distinction entre causes prochaines et causes parfaites1 est toute relative. L’impulsion que je donne au cylindre lui demeure extérieure et ne le contraint pas ; elle n’est, à son égard, qu’une cause antécédente et prochaine et, en tant que telle, soumise au destin. Mais, soumise au destin, cette impulsion n’en dépend pas moins de moi qui l’imprime ; je suis, à son égard, cause principale et parfaite, à supposer que ce mouvement de ma main soit conforme à ma nature. C’est mon mouvement, ma « manière d’être relative »2. Or je suis, moi aussi, un pneuma, capable de transmettre la tension à la périphérie et, par là, de corporaliser les effets incorporels dont je suis cause ; la promenade, on l’a vu, incorporelle en tant que manière d’être, prend corps sous l’effet du principe hégémonique qui s’y manifeste3. Autrement dit, chaque événement déterminé par la loi du destin est, en même temps, l’effet d’une cause parfaite (particulière). Si Dieu est cause de la série des événements, c'est parce que, pneuma, il parcourt l’ensemble de ces causes parfaites, que sont les corps.


1. P. 95, n. 2 ; p. 96 n. 1.

2. P. 22-23 ; 40-41.

3. P. 23, n. 2.





[The Leading Part of the Soul as like God]


(p.107-108: “2. La psychologie, sur ce point, confirme la cosmologie …”)


[In sum: The way the body works is just like how the cosmos and God work. God’s own actions determine the series of events by means of the perfect corporeal causality. Likewise, the leading part of our soul is a perfect cause of how it transfers its pneumatic impulses and thereby affects other corporeals, and thereby, it causes incorporeal effects, like walking, sitting, or being angry, etc..]


The psychology here confirms the cosmology. The leading part of the soul is in us like God being in the body of the universe. Like God is, the leading part of our souls is a cause of two different series of effects, all while the cause, the leading part of our soul, remains unitary. On the one hand, our souls is a natural and continuous breath that traverses our whole body. The leading part of the soul, which is located in the heart, extends through seven other parts of the body, like the tentacles of an octopus (to the five sense organs, to the genitals, and to the speaking organs). Thus we have a unified series of the eight parts of the soul (the leading part and the seven extensions). [The next idea here is tricky. We will say there are two series of effects, and thus we will say that these are causes in two senses. One of them is their being a series of perfect causes. I am not sure what they are causes of, exactly. Given what is said later, they might simply be corporeal causes as simply conveyers of impulses, putting aside what overall effects these communications of impulse have. They are also causes of incorporeal effects inside the soul (like thought, desire, anger, etc.) and outside it, (like walking, sitting, etc.) So the idea might be that the leading part of the soul causes transfers of tension through the pneuma of the body and to the pneuma of the surrounding world, while at the same time, it thereby causes the incorporeal effects that result from those corporeal changes. Your psyche causes the tensions in your body to vary in a certain way, making it move a certain way, and this generates the event, “walking”. But the series of events-effects are subject to the law of destiny. The events that arouse the soul (or maybe, aroused by the soul) cannot be considered outside of the universal chain of causes. The activaties of the soul in turn have their own events as their proximate and antecedent causes. These antecedents, given to the soul in the form of impressions, are assimilated by the soul and are assented (or not assented) to. This is from Seneca, Letter 113, line 18:

No animate creature endowed with reason does anything unless, first, it has been prompted by the impression of some particu- | lar thing; next, it has entertained an impulse; and finally, assent has confirmed this impulse. Let me tell you what assent is. “It is fitting for me to walk”: I walk only after I have told myself this and have approved my judgment. “It is fitting for me to sit”: then only do I sit.

(Seneca 2015: 447-448)

The soul will be the perfect cause of the act that follows. The act will itself be the “manner of being” where the soul will be fully present as it is in any of the seven parts of the body through which the leading pneuma travels.]

2. La psychologie, sur ce point, confirme la cosmologie. Le principe hégémonique est en nous comme Dieu dans le corps de l’univers4. Comme Dieu, il est cause, tout en restant lui-même, de deux séries d’effets différentes. D’une part, « notre âme est un souffle naturel et continu, parcourant le corps tout entier ». Localisé dans le cœur, le principe hégémonique s’étend à travers les sept autres parties du corps5, comme à travers autant « d’organes naturels, comparables aux tentacules du polype »6. Cette série unifiée des huit « parties » de l’âme, de ses «puissances et facultés »7, corres- | pond, dans l’univers, à la série des causes parfaites. Ces causes, d’autre part, vont agir et produire des effets, non seulement dans l’âme même (pensée, désir, colère)1, mais encore en dehors d’elle, jusqu’aux actes les plus extérieurs (se promener, s’asseoir)2. Voilà la série des événements. Mais dire cela, c’est dépasser l’analogie, instituée entre la psychologie et la physique, vers une participation. La série des événements est soumise à la loi du destin. Les événements que suscite l’âme ne peuvent se considérer en dehors de l’enchaînement universel des causes. A leur tour les activités de l’âme ont elles-mêmes d’autres événements pour causes prochaines et antécédentes. Ces antécédents, donnés à l’âme sous forme de représentations, sont assimilés par elle et reçus dans son intimité par l’assentiment3. De l’acte qui s’ensuit, l’âme sera cause parfaite ; l’acte sera sa « manière d’être » où l’âme sera aussi totalement présente qu’elle l’est dans l’une quelconque des sept « parties » que parcourt le pneuma hégémonique.


4. L’analogie est constante; p. ex. Sext., math., IX, 104 (S.V.F., I, III), Cie., de nat. deor., II; VIII, 21-22; Aëtius, IV, 21, 4 (Dox. Gr., p. 411 = S.V.F., II, 836) : Αὑτὸ δὲ τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν ὥσπερ ἐν κόσμῳ < ἥλιος > κατοικεῖ ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ σφαιροειδεῖ κεφαλῇ (cette localisation même appartient à Cléanthe et est combattue par Chrysippe ; cf. R. Hirzel, Unters. zu Cic.s philos. Schriften, Leipzig, 1877-83, t. II, p. 152).

5 .Chrysippe, ap. Galien, Hipp. et Plat., III, I (S.V.F., II, 885).

6. Aët., IV, 21, 2, 4 (Dox. Gr., p. 410, 30-33 ; p. 411, 14-21) ; cf. Sext., math., IX, 102.

7. Tertull., de anima, XIV: « Huiusmodi autem non tam partes animae habebuntur quam uires et efficaciae et operae ... non enim membra sunt substantiae animalis, sed ingenia ( = dispositions », « Anlagen », selon l’interprétation de Zeller, loc. cit., p. 202, n. 3).


1. Chrysippe, ap. Alex. Aphr., de anima libri mant., 118, 6 (S.V.F., II, 823).

2. Sén., Ep., 113, 18. – Pour une coordination des deux séries, cf. Jamblique ap. Stob., Ecl., I, 367-9 (S.V.F., II, 826, 831): Les δυνάμεις psychiques par rapport à la ψυχή sont comme des qualités par rapport à leur substance ; l’unique différence est que : 1) d’une part, les πνεύματα (qui constituent ces δυνάμεις se déversent dans des parties différentes du corps ; 2) d’autre part, il peut y avoir plusieurs qualités dans un seul sujet : ainsi quand l’ἡγεμονικόν « se comporte » comme φαντασία, συγκατάθεσις, ὁρμή et et ..

3. Sén., Ep., 113, 18 : « Omne rationale animal nihil agit, nisi primum specie alicuins rei inritaturit est, deinde impetum cepit, deinde adsensio confirmauit hunc impetum. Quid sit adsensio, dicam : oportet me ambulare : tunc demum ambulo, cum hoc mihi dixi et adprobaui hanc opinionem meam. »












Goldschmidt, Victor. 1953. Le système stoïcien et l'idée de temps. Paris: Vrin.






Cicero. 1968. Cicero, De oratore, in Two Volumes, vol.2.3., together with De Fato, Paradoxa Stoicorum, De partitione oratoria. With English translation by H. Rackham. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University / London: Heinemann.

PDF available at:


De fato Latin online text:


De fato English online text:



Seneca. 2015. Letters on Ethics. To Lucilius. Translated by Margaret Graver and A.A. Long. Chicago and London: University of Chicago.








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