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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
John Herschel
Werner Heisenberg
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Chrysippus

Chrysippus was the most prolific of all the Stoic philosophers. Sadly, only a few fragments of his over 700 works survive today. His philosophical style was to summarize the arguments of his opponents, usually quite fairly, and then provide his own position in a reply.

He was third to head the Stoa, after the founder, Zeno of Citium, and Cleanthes, both of whom were his teachers. He may also have studied with Arcesilaus, head of the (Platonic) Middle Academy. Chrysippus not only synthesized earlier Stoic thought into a philosophical system, but also integrated his great understanding of Hellenistic physics and formal logic, including propositional logic.

Many of the classical unsolved problems in philosophy are the direct result of thinking that they could be solved by logic, reason, and a deterministic physics. Although Chrysippus helped to establish deterministic physics, he challenged the idea that logical truths necessitate physical events (logical determinism). He said that an event is only necessitated if the physical causes for that event exist in the present.

Chrysippus opposed the atomists and Epicurus' idea of irreducible chance in the universe. Stoic physics had no room for discrete entities like atoms. It was a continuum theory perhaps inspired by Parmenides, a plenum of material infinitesimals in contact everywhere, although Chrysippus admitted an external void (κενόν) surrounding the cosmos (ὅλον κοσμος).

David Marans' Logic Gallery
See more philosopher profiles at the Logic Gallery by David Marans

In early Stoic philosophy, every event has a cause, and causes necessitate their effects.

Stoics, including Chrysippus, thought they could prove the existence of causes from a logical analysis of statements about the future. This problem of future contingents was dealt with by Aristotle (de Interpretatione, IX), who denied the present truth or falsity of statements about the future. As Cicero describes it:

Chrysippus argues thus: If uncaused motion exists, it will not be the case that every proposition (termed by the logicians an axioma) is either true or false, for a thing not possessing efficient causes will be neither true nor false; but every proposition is either true or false; therefore uncaused motion does not exist.
(Cicero, De Fato X, 20)

Chrysippus claimed that a single uncaused cause could destroy the universe (cosmos), a concern shared by some modern philosophers, for whom reason itself would fail.

Everything that happens is followed by something else which depends on it by causal necessity. Likewise, everything that happens is preceded by something with which it is causally connected. For nothing exists or has come into being in the cosmos without a cause. The universe will be disrupted and disintegrate into pieces and cease to be a unity functioning as a single system, if any uncaused movement is introduced into it.

Despite his fear of chance, Chrysippus later loosened the strictness of determinism by separating logical necessity from causal determinism and the idea of fate. He argued that all things are fated, including human decisions. But although the past is fixed and unchangeable, and all the antecedent events fated, future events are not necessitated logically unless the causes for the future event exist at the present time.

Chrysippus thus eliminated the non-causal and arbitrary fatalism which maintains that a future event will happen no matter what we do in the meantime. This gave him room for his subtle compatibility between free will and determinism. Our fated actions are a necessary part of the causal chain that brings about the future which Chrysippus needed to establish moral responsibility.

Since future events are not necessary (though they are fated), human decisions are not constrained or forced by antecedent events or anything external to the mind. This lack of coercion, including one's heredity and environment, was critical for Chrysippus' idea that we have a freedom to assent (or not to assent) that made our decisions "depend on us." He called this πάρ’ ἡμᾶς or ἐξ ἡμῶν, depending on us, similar to Aristotle's ἐφ ἡμῖν.

This is the core idea of modern compatibilism. Chrysippus was thus the first compatibilist.

Although on the surface, being able to act (assent) or not act in a given circumstance seems inconsistent with causal determinism and the Stoic belief in an "eternal return" or "great cycle" in which the world would repeat everything exactly as they occurred in the past, modern philosophers (e.g., G.E.Moore) take this to mean "could have acted differently if one had chosen to do so."

Notice that in Chrysippus' compatibilist freedom our decisions are determined by our character and values, which were partially determined by factors beyond our control like heredity and environment. But they also include factors that we acquired freely in learning and training by our parents and educators.

Thus our character in not necessitated, though it is fated by the Stoic dogma of universal reason and lawful causal nature. Since the Stoics saw God as Nature, Chryssipus' idea of a fate compatible with freedom seems parallel to the religious idea of divine foreknowledge of our decisions that is compatible with our free will.

In this respect, Stoic determinism is less a physical determinism than a teleological or theological determinism. (See our dogmas of determinism.)

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