Researcher ORCID Identifier
Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2023 Mustafa Hourani
After exploring Stoicism through the works of Epictetus, I was particularly intrigued by its implications on the role of emotions in human life. Although I saw benefits to living a Stoic life, I was concerned about how the Stoic theory of emotions could potentially cause negative effects on the wellness of humans. The purpose of my thesis was to conduct a study of this theory and explore the objections against it, evaluating if they are able to successfully demonstrate the contradictions in Stoicism. I do this by arguing and paraphrasing various credible primary and secondary sources which I cite in my bibliography.
I begin my thesis by contextualizing Stoicism, describing the Hellenistic age, and introducing renowned philosophers such as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Then, I introduce the core doctrines that govern Stoicism such as the notion of separating objects into externals vs. internals, and establishing reason as the governing faculty of the soul. This allows me to introduce impulses and why the Stoics believe that they necessarily invoke truth values. In my section on passions, I introduce false impulses and their properties. Afterwards, in my section on good feelings, I present true impulses and their properties . The first objection I raise about Stoicism is its potential for ostracizing followers by restricting good feelings only to sages. The Stoics respond that a consistent set of beliefs is necessary in order to experience good feelings. The second objection raised is the claim that certain good feelings contradict core Stoic doctrine by inciting passion. The Stoics handle this claim by introducing selections which are reserved impulses guiding action. The final objection against Stoicism is that it fails to account for irrational behavior in the soul. However, the Stoics respond to this claim by suggesting that such behavior occurs only in the body and not the soul. I conclude by determining that these objections ultimately fail to present unaddressable contradictions against Stoicism.
Hourani, Mustafa, "Implications of the Stoic Theory of Emotions" (2023). CMC Senior Theses. 3389.