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Chrysippus (c.280-c.206 BC )
The Greek philosopher Chrysippus of Soli was the third and greatest head of the Stoic school in Athens.
He wrote voluminously, and in particular developed Stoic logic into a truly formidable system.
His philosophy is effectively identical with 'early Stoicism'. Chrysippus was born at Soli in Cilicia (southern Turkey).
He came to Athens to study philosophy, initially with the Academic sceptic Arcesilaus.
By the time he transferred his allegiance to the Stoic school, its founder Zeno of Citium was dead and had been succeeded by Cleanthes, who became Chrysippus' teacher.
For a while he taught philosophy outside the Stoa, but in 232 BC Cleanthes died and Chrysippus succeeded him, holding the office till his own death. Chrysippus may well have been relatively poor.
In his work On Livelihoods he tackled the question of how a philosopher might appropriately earn a living.
The only three acceptable means, he concluded, were serving a king (if one could not oneself be a king), reliance on friends, and teaching.
There is no evidence that Chrysippus, like some other Stoics, adopted the first of these practices. From the long excerpts of his writings which have survived in other authors, it seems that his Greek was clumsy and often obscure.
(The people of his native Soli were so notorious for their poor Greek as to have given the 'solecism' its name.) Nevertheless, he wrote prolifically, his works totalling at least 705 rolls of papyrus, and what he wrote was widely read.
Often he returned to the same topic several times in different treatises.
were also accused of beng padded out with endless quotations.
Not all were doctrinal expositions - some were investigative and open-ended. 'If there had been no Chryippus', it was said, 'there would have been no Stoa'.
Chrysippus is generally regarded as the person who built the full Stoic system.
(The entry Stoicism is therefore in effect an account of his philosophy.) Whether Chrysippean Stoicism should be, as it often is, called 'orthodox' Stoicism is less clear.
Later Stoics did not treat him as altogether authoritative: some, including his successor Antipater as well as Posidonius, were openly critical of him.
On the other hand, his writings became and remained the classic Stoic texts to cite and analyse.
Exegesis of passages from Chrysippus was a later Stoic teaching method, for example in the school of Epictetus, and conversely his writings were the primary target of anti-Stoic polemicists such as Plutarch and Galen.
But Chrysippus presented Zeno rather than himself as the voice of authority, and many of his ideas were developed as defences and interpretations of Zeno's pronouncements, often against the rival interpretations of Cleanthes and others. Chrysippus contributed extensively to every area of Stoic thought, with the possible exception of epistemology. Above all, he was the school's master logician, and the list of his writings partially preserved by Diogenes Laertius includes an astonishing 118 titles of logical treatises.
They include at least seven works, filling fifteen rolls, on the Liar Paradox alone.. »
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