SLRP: LXXXIX. On The Parts Of Philosophy (Part 1: 1-8)

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Seneca,

“I shall therefore comply with your demand, and shall divide philosophy into parts, but not into scraps. For it is useful that philosophy should be divided, but not chopped into bits.”

I foresee some umbrage to be taken with some moderns who are ready to toss out even the learning of Stoic physics. As a gestalt system, it seems self-evident to me that one would learn the whole thing, even if one later decided parts were incorrect. Some moderns do not take this stance, however, and see no use in learning something which science disagrees with.

“Certain persons have defined wisdom as the knowledge of things divine and things human.”

A concise definition, to be sure.  Yet I’m not sure it’s overly helpful at first glance.  Upon a more in depth reading, we can see it reflected in the motto, “Live in accordance with the nature of things,” and with a hearty dose of Stoic teachings, we have something to work with, I think.

Certain of our school, however, although philosophy meant to them “the study of virtue,” and though virtue was the object sought and philosophy the seeker, have maintained nevertheless that the two cannot be sundered. For philosophy cannot exist without virtue, nor virtue without philosophy.

This seems to have some more meat on it, for the newcomer.  I look forward to the rest of the discussion, now that we have some definitions to share and upon which to build the rest.

Farewell.


Part of Michel Daw’s Reading Plan of Seneca’s Letters.

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