Tag Archives: Stoicism

Shaftesbury’s Pathologia. In two parts

Ch. Maurer & L. Jaffro (2013). Reading Shaftesbury’s Pathologia: An Illustration and Defence of the Stoic Account of the Emotions. History of European Ideas, 39(2), 207-220. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01916599.2012.679795

L. Jaffro, Ch. Maurer & A. Petit (2013). Pathologia, A Theory of the Passions. History of European Ideas, 39(2), 221-240. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01916599.2012.679796

The present article is an edition of the Pathologia (1706), a Latin manuscript on the passions by Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713). There are two parts, i) an introduction with commentary (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679795), and ii) an edition of the Latin text with an English translation (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679796) . The Pathologia treats of a series of topics concerning moral psychology, ethics and philology, presenting a reconstruction of the Stoic theory of the emotions that is closely modelled on Cicero and Diogenes Lærtius. It contains a most detailed typology of the passions and affections as well as an analysis of a series of psychological connections, for example between admiration and pride. On the basis of his reconstruction of Stoic moral psychology and ethics, Shaftesbury argues that in one of his phases, Horace should be interpreted as a Stoic rather than as an Epicurean. The translation and the commentary draw attention to the relations between the Pathologia and Shaftesbury’s English writings, most importantly Miscellaneous Reflections and the Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit, which sheds light on several features of Shaftesbury’s relation to Stoicism.

Shaftesbury on the ‘Natural Secretion’ and Philosophical Personae

L. Jaffro (2008). Shaftesbury on the ‘Natural Secretion’ and Philosophical Personae. Intellectual History Review, 18(3), 349-359.

The third Earl of Shaftesbury devoted a great deal of effort, both theoretical and practical, to improving and controlling his personae, whether philosophical, literary or social. Far from being only a matter of rhetorical strategy, the meticulous care with which he made use of those masks makes sense within a conception of philosophy in the ancient fashion that includes the cultivation of oneself at its core. According to the perfectionist ethics of which Shaftesbury found a paradigm in the Roman Stoics, the task of self-fashioning was an essential ingredient of the education of the philosopher. Following Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, Shaftesbury referred to it as prokopê (self-improvement). Shaping a philosophical self necessarily involves creating personae, at least two: one that suits the needs of the apprentice and is fitted for keeping the askêsis away from prying eyes, and another one (or possibly a full set of personae, in accordance with the various literary genres that may be adopted to that end) to which the mature philosopher – the writer – has recourse when he teaches or, as Shaftesbury puts it, ‘gives advice’ to the reader.

Which Platonism for Which Modernity? Shaftesbury’s Socratic ‘Sea-Cards’

L. Jaffro (2008). Which Platonism for Which Modernity? Shaftesbury’s Socratic ‘Sea-Cards’. In S. Hutton and D. Hedley (eds), Platonism at the Origins of Modernity : Studies on Platonism and Early Modern Philosophy. International Archives in the History of Ideas, Dordrecht: Springer, 255-267.

The so-called Platonism of Shaftesbury is mainly a reconstruction through which commentators claim to understand Shaftesbury better than he understood himself. For he used to view himself as a disciple of Socrates; in his opinion being a disciple of Socrates meant that he was not a Platonist but a Stoic, insofar as the Stoics drew the ultimate consequences of the Socratic idea of virtue as knowledge. The chapter reconsiders Shaftesbury’s relationship to ancient philosophy by drawing unpublished manuscripts, especially his Design of a Socratic History.