published on January 22, 2016
God or Atoms
Stoic Counsel With or Without Zeus
In this paper, I make the case that metaphysical doctrines about the nature and existence of God, and a rationally governed cosmos, are rather cleanly separable from Stoic practical counsel, and its conductivity to a well-lived, eudaimonistic life. Stoicism may have developed within a worldview infused with presuppositions of a divinely-ordered universe, and, indeed, there may be a Creator or Designer of some type (I take no position, in this paper, regarding the existence of God), but the efficacy of Stoic counsel is not dependent upon creation, design, or any form of intelligent cosmological guidance. The Stoic practitioner does not require a divine stamp of approval to legitimize his pursuit of equanimity, excellence, and wise self-governance.