The stoics on nature and truth
First, this thesis outhnes part of the thought of some pre-Socratic thinkers, particularly Heraclitus. In doing this, I explore the historical provenance of certain ideas which came to be important in Stoicism. It then moves on to look at the Stoic view of 'physics', including some comparison with Epicurus and Aristotle, and with a focus on the concept of the continuum. The third chapter attempts to synthesise a common problem arising from a belief in the continuum, namely a problem of indeterminacy. In the fourth chapter, certain characterisations of Stoic epistemology are considered, along with an overview of recent interpretations of the Stoic theory of impressions. It concludes with the thought that at certain crucial points - such as whether impressions themselves are to be thought of as true and false - the Stoic position is underdetermined with respect to the evidence. Pursuing this thought into the fifth chapter, we see the evidence as being equivalently consistent with a 'two-tier’ theory of perception, where impressions themselves are understood as neither true nor false in any sense, but iu which 'the true' arises as a result of the transformative effect of reason. This theory is shown to connect with verbalisation through the 'rational impression'. This leads to the suggestion that the Stoics had a linguistic diagnosis for some problems in philosophy, arrived at by their reflections on ambiguity and etymology. In the final chapter, an account of intersubjectivity is explored, which preserves for the Stoics the claim that their truth has an objective character and is thus appropriate for a 'dogmatic' philosophy.