In Letters 94 and 95, Seneca discusses two notions,praecepta and decreta, usually translated as‘precepts’ and ‘principles’. The topic ofSeneca's discussion is this. If we seek a good life by studyingphilosophy, do we need to study only decreta, or alsopraecepta? According to the first position, the only thingneeded to achieve virtue is to immerse oneself in the core tenets ofStoic philosophy. It is these that Seneca calls decreta;decreta thus are not practical principles or rules. They areprinciples of philosophy, in the sense of being the most abstract andfundamental teachings of the Stoics.
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It has often been noted that later Stoics, including Seneca, seem tolose interest in the ideal agent—the sage or wiseperson—who figures so prominently in early Stoic ethics. Ratherthan assume that the later Stoics are disillusioned ormore realistic, we should note that Seneca's focuson the progressor (proficiens)—the person who isseriously trying their best to move forward in their way of lifetoward that ideal—is part and parcel of his own, specific way ofdoing philosophy. The early Stoics' sage may, first andforemost, be a tool for developing theories. The early Stoicsspell out what knowledge or wisdom is by explaining what aknowledgeable or wise person would do (how she assents, how she acts,etc.). But Seneca's philosophy is a practice of trainingourselves to appreciate to the fullest the truths of Stoicism. In thispractice, accounts of, for example, the wise person's assent,can only play a limited role. We need precisely what Seneca offers:someone who takes us through the various situations in lifein which we tend to lose sight of our own insights, and fall victim tothe allurements of money and fame, or to the violence of emotionsevoked by the adversities of life. We need to learn how to overcomeour own residual tendencies, despite our better intentions, to suffersuch failures.
A beautiful introduction to the great philosophy of Stoicism ..
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Questions relating to Stoic psychological monism have been mostwidely discussed with a view to the theory of the emotions—here,it makes a great difference whether we think that irrational desirescan overcome reason, or are irrational acts of the rationalsoul. Seneca's treatment of the emotions has been scrutinized forindications of both points of view. Sorabji interprets Seneca assituating his account of the emotions vis-à-vis early and middleStoic theories that differ from his own (1989); Fillon-Lahille studiesOn Anger with source-critical methods (1984). According toothers, On Anger can be studied as a treatise on emotion thatis basically in agreement with Stoic psychological monism, andappreciated for the detailed treatment that Seneca devotes to this, ashe sees it, particularly violent emotion (Cooper 1999; Vogt 2006).
Stoicism | Definition of Stoicism by Merriam-Webster
Clearly, philosophy of nature is not in competition with the empiricalnatural sciences; it takes as its subject matter the results of thosesciences in order to discover within them the particular ways in whichthe necessary categorial structures deduced in the logic areexpressed.
What is Stoicism and How Can it Turn your Life to Solid Gold?
The Seele of Anthropology should therefore not beconfused with the modern subjective conception of mind, as exemplifiedby Descartes and other early modern philosophers. Aristotle hadconceived of the soul as the form of the body, not as asubstance separate from that of the body, and had attributed lessersouls to animals and even plants. (Again, Aristotle’s notion ofsubstantial form comes into view.) Concomitantly, inthis section Hegel describes spirit as sunk in nature,and treats consciousness as largely limited to what now might bedescribed as sentient or phenomenal consciousnessalone—the feeling soul. Consciousness inthe sense of the modern subject–object opposition only makes itsappearance in the following second section, Phenomenology ofSpirit, which, reprising key moments from the earlier book ofthat name, raises a problem for how we are to understand the relationof phenomenology and systematic philosophy: is ita path to it or part of it? Given that therecognitive approach to self-consciousness presupposes thatpotential self-consciousnesses are in fact embodied andlocated in the world, we would expect the mind as treatedin Psychology to be no less embodied as the way in which itis conceived in Anthropology. What in fact distinguishes themind of Psychology from that of Anthropology is itsrational capacities, considered in terms that would now be describedas normative rather than simply naturalistic, and thisfor Hegel clearly signals a difference in the way in which an actualpsychological subject relates to his or her own body. Thetype of abstractive thinking found in Psychologydoes not, of course, as in mythical images of metempsychosis—afavorite trope of Platonists—involve the mind leavingthe body. This would count for Hegel as a piece of mythicalpicture thinking—a Vorstellung. Rather,it involves a certain capacity of the psychological subject to suspendunreflected-upon endorsement of the claims made on behalf ofhis or her body, for example, to subject the evidencegiven by the senses to rational scrutiny.