NDWAP Talk: Jacob Klein, "Original Sins: Chrysippus on Command and Prohibition"


Location: 214 O'Shaughnessy Hall


Please join the Notre Dame Workshop on Ancient Philosophy and the History of Philosophy Forum in welcoming visiting scholar Jacob Klein (Colgate/University of Michigan). His talk is entitled "Original Sins: Chrysippus on Command and Prohibition."

Abstract: I argue against the prevailing view, taken by recent commentators (including Long and Sedley), that the Stoics classify every token action of the non-wise—of the agent who lacks virtue—as a hamartêma, an error or mistake. This is a serious misreading of the evidence and distorts the Stoic account of mesa kathêkonta/media officia, the intermediate or middle duties that figure in a range of Greek sources, are the explicit subject of Cicero’s De officiis, and arguably provided a conceptual basis for modern notions of duty. Although the non-sage, being vicious, cannot satisfy the positive requirements of orthos logos, she may observe its prohibitions through the performance of mesa kathêkonta, which the Stoics classify as neither good nor bad but indifferent. This is an important element in the Stoic conception of the progress available to the non-sage.

Speaker bio: Jacob Klein is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colgate University (visiting this fall at the University of Michigan). His research focuses on ancient ethics and moral psychology. He is a co-editor, with Nathan Powers, of The Oxford Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy. 

We hope to see you there!