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Book Sections Year : 2011

« Le destin et “ce qui dépend de nous” : sur les causes de lʼimpulsion » (p. 367-449)

Isabelle Koch


That “everything happens by fate” is a principle that was rejected, in the name of its incompatibility with the moral and juridical evaluations of human behavior, by a great many of the Stoa’s opponents, who considered as vain the Stoic attempts to distinguish their fatalism from pure and simple necessitarianism. Faced by these objections, the ancient Stoics developed a number of answers, some of which are attributed by name to Chrysippus in his works On providence and On fate. It seems that one of Chrysippus’ specific contributions to the question was to propose a solution based on a distinction between the causes mobilized in the context of an analysis of the sequence φαντασία, συγκατάθεσις and ὁρμή. The main testimony in this matter is that of Cicero (De fato 39-45) ; this is why the argument of the anonymous objectors (De fato 40), Chrysippus’ answer by means of the analogy with a cylinder (41-43), and the Ciceronian presentation of the meaning of this debate (De fato 39 and 44-45) form an argumentative unit that seems central for the understanding of what modern commentators call the compatibilism of Chrysippus, and it has been the subject of abundant commentaries. However, this argumentative unit is most often read independently of the other chapters of the treatise, which nevertheless prepare it. The identity of the anonymous objectors, the exact contents of the objection they address to the Stoic, the identity of the Stoics aimed at by this objection : these are questions that have inspired a great many analyses, which have arrived at diverse conclusions on the basis of a relatively similar approach, consisting in treating the end of Cicero’s De fato as a fragment, no 974 of book II of von Arnim’s Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta. The ambition of this chapter is to provide an explanation of this testimony by adopting a different method, that is, by taking it as the culminating point of the De fato. The discussion on causes reported in chapters 39-45 thus takes its place in a more general debate on the nature of the causal distinctions most apt to give a solid foundation to human responsibility. This is why one may hope to shed light on the obscure points of Cicero’s testimony by placing this important passage in perspective with the whole of the treatise.
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hal-02080399 , version 1 (26-03-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02080399 , version 1


Isabelle Koch. « Le destin et “ce qui dépend de nous” : sur les causes de lʼimpulsion » (p. 367-449). M.-O. Goulet-Cazé (dir.), Études sur la théorie stoïcienne de lʼaction, Paris, Vrin, « Textes et traditions », 2011. ⟨hal-02080399⟩


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