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Posidonius (c.135–c.50 BC)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A094-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Posidonius of Apamea (Syria) was a Stoic philosopher and student of Panaetius. He taught in Rhodes. He combined a passion for detailed empirical research with a general commitment to the basic systematics of Stoic philosophy (which, however, he was willing to revise where necessary). As such he was probably the most ‘scientific’ of the Stoics. His wide-ranging investigations of all kinds of physical phenomena (especially in the areas of physical astronomy and meteorology) became particularly renowned, the best known case being his explanation of Atlantic tides as connected with the motions of the moon.

His most original philosophical contributions are to be located in the connected areas of psychology and ethics. Posidonius appears to have been committed to a slightly Platonizing version of Stoic psychology, according to which the passions are no longer regarded as a malfunctioning of the rational faculty, but as motions of the soul which take their origin in two separate irrational faculties (anger and appetite). This revised moral psychology is accompanied by some corresponding revisions in ethics such as the conception of moral education as the blunting of the motions of the irrational faculties.

Citing this article:
Algra, Keimpe A.. Posidonius (c.135–c.50 BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A094-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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