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Eric 'Siggy' Scott
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Eric 'Siggy' Scott commented on a post on Blogger.
I was right with you up to and through the Archer metaphor.

But I have to say, I think you are entirely incorrect on your interpretation of Fate in sections VI and VII. It's let you to what seems to me to be a very inaccurate interpretation of the dichotomy.

You've basically presented what the Stoics called the "lazy argument" against determinism. Massimo did a post on this recently: https://howtobeastoic.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/the-lazy-argument-determinism-and-the-concept-of-fate/

AFAIK, there is no evidence at all that the Stoics believed that the gods had fixed the future, and that our choices could have no effect on it. At best it's an idea that their opponents accused them of, but that was sounded refuted as early as Chrysippus.

As to the trichotomy vs. the dichotomy, I've enjoyed Mountain Stoic's criticism of Irvine on the matter—but to me it still all comes down to semantics.

As best I can understand, Mountain Stoic is basically concerned that the trichotomy might lead us to change the Stoic value system, and to say that things we have partial control over are only "partially indifferent." That is, he is concerned that followers of Irvine will start to view externals as first-class goods.

I understand what he's saying: if the trichotomy is supposed to summarize all of Stoicism in one sentence, then it could be misleading. But his argument kind of surprised me, because I never thought of interpreting the trichotomy as a modern modification of the basic division between virtue and indifferents. To me it's clear that the trichotomy is just another way of summarizing what Epictetus et al. already clearly taught: that we have a responsibility to choose well with regard to externals, just like the archer/pilot/ball-player, etc. Externals are indifferent to virtue, but virtue is not indifferent to externals.

Your own analogy is a case in point. You use practicing for a tennis match to illustrate the trichotomy. Epictetus, however, talks repeatedly about the important of practicing skills—whether it's rhetoric, music, or our power of choice. Therefore, practicing diligently is part of the dichotomy of control, not just the trichotomy. Epictetus would be on your side in this debate. Which begs the question: who are you criticizing?

Moral choice is still the only thing that has first-class value.
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