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406 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY to pounce on such a doctrine to show how it issues in scepticism (after all, Kant was the first to admit that an idealistic doctrine of perception of the sort described by Voelke here has the consequence that one cannot know things as they are in themselves). But among all the attacks of the Sceptics on Stoic epistemology one finds none charging the Stoics with making the mind active in the structuring of the representation, with the consequence that the representation cannot be of things as they are in themselves. (iii) Finally, it is not at all clear, as Voelke supposes (pp. 44--45), that the antinomy between the idea of an assent freely given to the representation and that of an assent which necessarily follows upon it vanishes once one assumes that the agent himself is "cause of his knowledge or of his ignorance" (p. 44). As Voelke, giving a stronger version of his conclusion, puts the matter: "On the contrary from the moment at which the representation is characterized as an act, the conceptions combating one another come into agreement on the essential point, namely, the affirmation of the autonomy of the subject as over against the external world" (pp. 44-45). But to get this conclusion Voelke would need a proposition which, as has been noted, is inconsistent with the basic monism of Stoic philosophy, viz., that there are autonomous subjects having some degree of spontaneity. For these reasons Voelke's interpretation does not resolve the disagreement between Zeno and Chrysippus over whether or not one necessarily assents (or refrains from assenting) to propositions. In the second part of his book Voelke discusses defections away from what he views as the Chrysippean doctrine of the will, beginning with the Middle Stoa. Of particular interest here, of course, is the dualistic psychology of Posidonius to which, in Voelke's view, Marcus Aurelius falls heir. Epictetus is much closer to the monistic intellectualistic psychology of Chrysippus. For Epictetus the domain of the will, or "choice" (prohairesis) as he calls it, is all those things which are in one's power; and in the main these are things of the inner life. For example, one may not have the power to dodge the slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune but one has the power to determine the quality of one's reactions to such upheavals in one's life. According to Voelke, it is in Seneca that one finds the concept of will, voluntas, as it is explicitly named by Seneca, coming onto the center of the stage in Stoic philosophy. In what is surely the best-evidenced, best-argued, and most interesting chapter (the concluding one) of his work Voelke shows that for Seneca the whole of morality hinges upon the will; it is through a good will that happiness is secured, and an evil will is the essence of vice. All of this of course calls Kant to mind. Voelke is quite aware of the similarity in the views of Seneca and Kant, for he very carefully sets out the respects in which they agree and differ about the place of the human will in morality and in nature. In the introduction to his book Voelke called attention to two opposed theses about the origin of the idea of the will: the thesis that the idea of the will had its origin in the Roman mind and the Christian message and the thesis that the will often plays an important role in Greek thought. Though it was not the intent of Voelke's interesting study to produce this result, his work in fact left me persuaded that those who uphold the former thesis are right. JOSXAHB. GOULD SUNY, Albany L'tEuvre de Descartes. By Genevi6ve Rodis-Lewis. A la recherche de la v6rit6. (Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1971. Tome I, pp. 415; Tome II, pp. 160. Paper) Professor Rodis-Lewis' study of Descartes is valuable for numerous reasons. She has read the bulk of the literature on Descartes and brings to it the order of a unified interpretation . Thus in her text, and particularly in the "Notes Biographiques, Historiques, et Critiques " constituting...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 406-407
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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