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  • 1 Professor, Department of Philosophy, Columbia UniversityNew York, NYUSA
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Abstract

The Stoics identify the law with the active principle, which is corporeal, pervades the universe, individuates each part of the world, and causes all its movements. At the same time, the law is normative for all reasoners. The very same law shapes the movements of the cosmos and governs our actions. With this reconstruction of Stoic law, I depart from existing scholarship on whether Stoic law is a set of rules. The question of whether ethics involves a set of rules is rich and fascinating. In the 1970s and 80s, the observation that ancient ethics might do without rules was part of philosophy’s rediscovery of virtue ethics. This debate, however, neglects that Stoic law is a corporeal principle pervading the world. The key puzzle regarding Stoic law, I argue, is how it is possible that the very same law is a corporeal principle in the world and normative for us.

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