Epictetus
Epictetus


Logic and Philosophy

The objection arises, "Yes, but isn't it more important to improve our character?" Will you then hear about such things? Then hear. But if you should say, "I know not whether you are arguing truly or falsely," and if I should express myself in any way ambiguously, and you should say to me, "Distinguish," I will bear with you no longer, and I shall say "It is more urgent to improve your character." This is the reason you must learn logic first. As in the measuring of grain for sale we first decide how we are to measure. But if we do not determine first what constitutes a scale and what system we shall use, how shall we be able to measure or weigh anything?

The students of Epictetus are impatient. They want to get ahead with life and learning how to live it. Epictetus tells them that in order to progress in philosophy, they must first understand its basics, and one of the basics is understanding how their minds work and the use of logic. If they do not understand this, how then can they ever expect to improve?

Chapter 17:

  1. The Logical Art is Necessary
  2. Logic and Philosophy (17a)
  3. The Logical Yardstick (17b)
  4. The Role of Authority (17c)
  5. Reason, Faith, and Understanding (17d)
  6. Reason Coupled with Faith (17e)
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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