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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 2008

Ancient Philosophy

Andree Hahmann
Pages 249-256

Die Stoische Kritik an der Aristotelischen Ursachenlehre

Already in antiquity the Aristotelian Philosophy was under attack by its philosophical opponents. The Stoics can surely be counted to the most important ones. Furthermore they can be regarded as one of the most influential philosophy schools of the Hellenistic time and in the early Roman Empire and their influence even on modern thinkers must not be neglected. It is well known that the Stoics not only advocated a physical monism but can also be described as determinists or, from a modern point of view, even as compatibilists because they were the first who tried to harmonize moral responsibility with the thesis of a causal determinism. Therefore, the stoic concept of causality is of vast importance. In one of Seneca’s books a discussion of the Aristotelian theory of causality has come down to us. Although it is a quite short passage it proves itself to be very illuminating. This paper wants to shed light on the differences between the Aristotelian and the Stoic theory of causality and therefore help to clarify the historical background of the modern concept of causality which is of intense importance for the actual discussion about free will and determinism.

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