From ancient to new Stoicism: II — Stoic logic

Figs in Winter
8 min readApr 26, 2024

A conceptual map of where Stoicism came from and where it may be going

Image from philosophy.institute, CC license.

We are in need of updating Stoicism for the 21st century and beyond. But in order to do that, we want a clear sense of what ancient Stoicism was about. In the first entry in this series we have looked at Stoic physics, one of the three areas of study in classical Stoic philosophy. This time we examine (briefly!) The second area: Stoic logic.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a boring, heavily technical treatment. Then again, logic is fundamental not just for the Stoics, but for every thinking person. Here is how Epictetus explained why:

“Someone in the audience said, ‘Convince me of the usefulness of logic.’ ‘Shall I prove it to you?’ ‘Yes, please.’ ‘Then I’d better use a demonstrative argument, hadn’t I?’ His interlocutor agreed, and Epictetus went on, ‘So how will you know if my argument is fallacious?’ The man said nothing. ‘Do you see,’ Epictetus said, ‘that you are yourself admitting that logic is necessary, since without it you can’t even find out whether or not it’s necessary?’” (Discourses, 2.25)

Right? Okay, then, let us proceed, like last time, using as a guide the excellent article on Stoicism by Marion Durand and Simon Shogry, published in the Stanford

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Figs in Winter

by Massimo Pigliucci. New Stoicism and Beyond. Entirely AI free.