Volume 12, 2014
La Causalité Platonicienne, Stoïcienne, Cynique et Médiévale
Distinctions causales stoiciennes et academiciennes dans le De fato de Ciceron
The stoic fragments about the notion of cause describe general determinations of what a cause is, without distinguishing kinds of causes. This, for instance, is the case with Zeno’s and Chrysippus’ definitions conveyed by Stobaeus. On the other hand, many testimonies mention causal distinctions, but only related to the Stoics in general, or even without indicating any school. The interest of Cicero’s De fato is that this treatise refers precisely to some causal distinctions presented by Chrysippus and points out the context in which they are developed, i.e the defence of human responsibility. The present study first analyses these causal distinctions linked to Chrysippus at the end of the preserved part of Cicero’s treatise. Secondly, it studies the academic reactions to these distinctions, which are carefully described by Cicero. Finally, these debates between Stoics and Academics are considered from the standpoint of the contrasting positions found in Plato’s dialogues, about the proper or improper usage of the word a‡tion. There are good reasons to think that Plato’s positions underlie the discussions presented by Cicero.