SLRP: XC. On The Part Played By Philosophy (Part 1: 1-6)



“[The Gods] have given the knowledge thereof to none, but the faculty of acquiring it they have given to all”

It’s sentiments such as this which highlight the distinction between the revealed faith of many religious, and the rational discovery in a religious philosophy such as Stoicism.


Posidonius holds that the government was under the jurisdiction of the wise. They kept their hands under control, and protected the weaker from the stronger. They gave advice, both to do and not to do; they showed what was useful and what was useless. Their forethought provided that their subjects should lack nothing; their bravery warded off dangers; their kindness enriched and adorned their subjects.

In the ancient texts, there is a sort of presumed rightness for the law. I wonder if this letter had been penned after the reign of Nero, if your perspective would be different.

Many of us live in countries where the laws are poorly written, arbitrarily interpreted, and randomly enforced. The Venn Diagrams of “that which is right” and “that which is legal” along with “that which is wrong” and “that which is illegal” doesn’t look like you might think it does.

Philosophy offers a test for these things.

I see all points on the political compass in Stoicism, but I think libertarians slash classically liberal slash whatever the term du jour is, can benefit from it the most. Classical liberalism takes a minimalist stance on government, but it does not posit a system of ethics, it only circumscribes the negative space.

Libertarianism needs philosophy.


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

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