Secundum Naturam Vivere : the stoic telos and practical guidance for the attainment of a happy life in Seneca’s epistulae morales

Raal, Eva-Melitta (2011-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Stoic philosophy taught along with the other prominent philosophical schools of the Hellenistic Era (i.e. the Academics, the Peripatetics and the Epicureans) that the goal or final end (telos) of human existence is our well-being or happiness (eudaimonia). The Stoics provided various definitions of this telos, the most famous being “living in agreement with nature” (ηὸ ὁκνινγνπκέλσο ηῇ θύζεη δῆλ) or “living according to nature” (secundum naturam vivere) and this goal essentially comes down to living according to perfect reason and virtue. The purpose of this study is to investigate how Seneca presents the Stoic doctrines regarding this topic in his Epistulae Morales (“Letters on Morality”) and to determine whether he managed to make the theoretical framework, proposed by the Stoics for the attainment of a happy life, more easily applicable in practice without compromising orthodox Stoic teachings. The orthodoxy of Seneca‟s philosophy may be judged by comparison with the doctrines of the early Stoic teachers, which is why this study will first look at the traditional Stoic teachings concerning the definition of the telos as well as the theory behind the attainment thereof. Thereafter it will be investigated how true Seneca stayed to these traditional teachings and whether he managed to make the Stoic telos more realistically attainable by the practical advice he offers in his letters.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Stoïsynse filosofie voer aan soos die ander prominente filosofiese skole van die Hellenistiese era (d.w.s. die Akademie, die Peripatetiese skool, en die Epikureërs) dat die einddoel (telos) van die mensdom welsyn of geluk (eudaimonia) is. Die Stoïsyne het verskillende definisies van die telos verskaf; die mees bekende is “om in ooreenkoms met die natuur te leef” (ηὸ ὁκνινγνπκέλσο ηῇ θύζεη δῆλ) of “om volgens die natuur te leef” (secundum naturam vivere) en hierdie einddoel kom in wese daarop neer om volgens volmaakte rede of deug te leef. Die doel van hierdie studie is om te ondersoek hoe Seneca die Stoïsynse leerstellings oor hierdie onderwerp in sy Epistulae Morales (“Briewe oor Moraliteit”) behandel en om te bepaal of hy dit makliker gemaak het om die teoretiese raamwerk, wat deur die Stoïsyne vir die bereiking van 'n gelukkige lewe voorgestel is, in die praktyk toe te pas sonder om die ortodokse Stoïsynse leerstellings te kompromitteer. Die ortodoksie van Seneca se filosofie kan beoordeel word deur dit met die leerstellings van die vroeë Stoïsyne te vergelyk. Hierdie studie begin dus met „n ondersoek na die tradisionele Stoïsynse leerstellings aangaande die definisie van die telos, sowel as die teorie oor die bereiking daarvan. Daarna word ondersoek hoe getrou Seneca was aan die tradisionele leerstellings en of hy deur die praktiese raad in sy briewe dit makliker gemaak het om die Stoïsynse telos te bereik.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18005
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