The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 30 May 2020 - Page 35

inspiration and the entering of these spirits into their bodies, humans lead an animal-like existence steered solely by their appetites and their senses. Brett claims that the Stoics have influenced Philo but the influence is probably more complex than Brett envisages in the following quote: "From this point, Philo develops the Stoic aspect of his doctrine. All things that exist have power of some kind: at its lowest level there is the power of self- conservation called Habit, which is found in motionless objects such as stones. The next degree is the power of growth, which is a higher form of self- conservation, found in plants, for example. The third level is that of soul-life where we find perception, representation of ideas and impulse. The common element in this scale is spirit, in the sense of air... Man, as last created, sums up all these forms--he has the various forms in his bones(analogous to the rocks of the earth) his hair and nails (analogous to the plants) and in the sensitive soul. Man is thus a microcosm: he has a material organism illuminated by the mind just as the macrocosm is a vast organism illuminated by the sun. The study of man and the study of the universe can be conducted on parallel lines, and to some extent, the knowledge of man is a knowledge of God" Brett had earlier pointed out that the Stoics had simplified Aristotle's 4 cause schema of explanation into two and reduced the idea of the actualisation process( a process of development) to a kind of monism (reminiscent of Spinoza's Substantialism). We can also see in the above quote an echo of Spinoza's conatus, a power that things possess to preserve themselves in their existence. The thoughts of the Stoics, characterising the Platonic dualism of thought and extension as aspects of an infinite substance from which everything originates is a position that is only distantly related to the thought of Aristotle. The Stoic system of classification is not that of Cartesian thought and extension but rather a dualistic system of action and passion which in its turn indicates an ontological commitment that everything that is real is so in virtue of either being capable of action or capable of being acted upon. We can already see that, in this transformation of the thought of Aristotle, the idea of form or principle has disappeared as has the idea of chance. The Stoic substance, even if it includes the will as part of a deterministic substance leaves no space for free choice in human voluntary action. Mental activity, as we know from the Stoics is also reduced to knowing and feeling and the Aristotelian notion of deliberation connected to phronesis(the power of reasoning practically) is also conspicuous by its absence. In the Stoic investigation of the powers of the mind, we encounter a confusion of the power of the imagination with passive sensation. We also find "principles" or regularities such as the association of ideas masquerading as principles of reason. The positive result of this opening up of gaps between perception, imagination, and reason, is that we encounter in this account the first indications of a concept of self-consciousness. This concept was a bridge between experience and reason. There is an argument for regarding this moment as one of the moments of a beginning of our modern "cognitive