Epictetus
Epictetus


Why Stoics Learn to Argue

What, then, is proposed in reasoning? "That you should accept what follows from that which you have properly granted." Well, is it then enough in this case also to know this? I tell you, "It is not enough." A man must learn how one thing is a consequence of other things, and when one thing follows from another, and when it follows from several things collectively. It is necessary that this power should be acquired by him who wishes to argue skillfully. He must be able to demonstrate the several things he has proposed. He must have the power of understanding the demonstrations of others, including of not being deceived by Sophists. Therefore there has arisen among Stoics the practice and exercise of conclusive arguments and figures, and it has been shown to be necessary.

We must understand cause and effect. We must be able to support our beliefs with reasoned argument. We must be able to understand the arguments of others. We must NOT be confounded by Sophists. This is why we must study the art of debate and logical inquiry.

Chapter 7:

  1. On Sophistry
  2. The End Proposed in Reasoning (7a)
  3. Why Stoics Learn to Argue (7b)
  4. Granting Premises (7c)
  5. Inferences (7d)
  6. Wise Men Should Argue (7e)
  7. A Syllogistic Crime (7f)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus


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