Philosophical Studies

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 79–89 | Cite as

Contemplative withdrawal in the Hellenistic age

  • Eric Brown


I reject the traditional picture of philosophical withdrawal in the Hellenistic Age by showing how both Epicureans and Stoics oppose, in different ways, the Platonic and Aristotelian assumption that contemplative activity is the greatest good for a human being. Chrysippus the Stoic agrees with Plato and Aristotle that the greatest good for a human being is virtuous activity, but he denies that contemplation exercises virtue. Epicurus more thoroughly rejects the assumption that the greatest good for a human being is virtuous activity. He maintains that the greatest good for a human being is the tranquility that virtuous activity always and contemplative activity sometimes brings about.


Stoicism Epicureanism Chrysippus Epicurus Contemplation Happiness Virtue 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWashington University in St. LouisSaint LouisUSA

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