‘Right reason’ and the Stoic Sage


I’m reading the Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes, and I’ve come across a phrase that either I didn’t register before, I’d forgotten, or I skipped somehow. That is ‘right reason’ (Gr: ὀρθὸς λόγος).

One of the binary distinctions that exist in Stoicism is between the actions of the Sage versus that of the the layman or ‘untrained person’ (Gr: ἰδιώτης):

The layman’s actions (even when appropriate) are always insane or mistakes. When they are according to his nature, they are kathēkonta (Gr: καθήκοντα), ‘appropriate actions.’

The Sage’s actions (even if outwardly the same as the above, are katorthōmata (Gr: κατόρθωματα), or ‘perfect actions.’ Only the Sage has ‘perfect actions.’

The Sage comes about this distinction, the ability to make perfect actions, because her actions are focused to the good, and that comes about through ‘right reason’ (Gr: ὀρθὸς λόγος). This concept of ‘right reason’ is interesting to me, and I was wondering if anyone had seen any longer, more in-depth studies on that?

Logos can be a tricky term in Stoic jargon, but in my reading, it’s being used here in the common understanding of “logic, or reason,” and not the capital-L Logos type.

If anyone has any resources on ὀρθὸς λόγος, shoot them my way in the comments, please.

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