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Title: The aim and composition of Plutarch's de Stoicorum repugnantiis
Author: Boys-Stones, George
ISNI:       0000 0001 3474 3150
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1995
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The purpose of this thesis is largely to consider the de Stoicorum repugnantiis in sympathetic terms as part of Plutarch's wider philosophical output. It argues that Plutarch's approach in the work could not be that of a negative Sceptic, since Plutarch held his own positive beliefs (a form of Platonism) and, although he draws heavily on the arguments of the Sceptical Academy, he saw Scepticism itself as a positive tool. Section II of the thesis traces the history of the polemical motif of self-contradiction, which turns out to be based on a specific argument used by the Academy against Stoic ethics. Plutarch adopts this argument as it stands and uses it extensively; but he also identifies the Stoic inconsistencies he uncovers as symptomatic of the Stoics' doctrinal diversion from Plato, and on this basis he sets out to show that when the Stoics diverge from Plato in any area of doctrine (logical or physical as well as ethical) they likewise fall into self-contradiction. If it is right to think that Plutarch has not chosen his arguments randomly, it becomes increasingly unlikely that he has presented them randomly. So section III considers the idea that Plutarch might have organised his arguments following a standard Academic pattern. Section IV presents a study of each of Plutarch's arguments in the de Stoic, rep. not only to confirm his Platonising interests, but also to demonstrate that the contradictions fall into 'sections', each of which deals with topics drawn from a common area in standard Academic polemic. Section V considers the conclusions that can be drawn from the themes that underlie each section: in fact, it happens that a structure emerges which presupposes a distinctive outlook within Academic literature, and so suggests that Plutarch has made use of a particular work to guide his process of composition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Stoicism