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Divination and Human NatureA Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity$
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Peter T. Struck

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169392

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169392.001.0001

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Posidonius and Other Stoics on Extra-Sensory Knowledge

Posidonius and Other Stoics on Extra-Sensory Knowledge

(p.171) Chapter 3 Posidonius and Other Stoics on Extra-Sensory Knowledge
Divination and Human Nature

Peter T. Struck

Princeton University Press

This chapter suggestes that Stoic conceptions of divinatory knowing promote the idea that the cosmos itself is a single unified animal. This notion is somewhat familiar, given the parallel conception in the Timaeus, a text that the Stoics use to build some of their own core views, but it will require a substantial amount of unpacking to see all the ways it is pertinent to the Stoics' thinking on divination. When approaching the topic, their main unit of analysis is no longer the discrete individual human being, with this or that hidden process humming away, but rather the cosmos as a whole, which has its own internal activities that result in surplus knowledge for the human individuals embedded in it. In the Stoic view, the human creature amounts to a tiny corpuscle moving about inside a vast intelligent creature. Human sentience is embedded in the sentience of the larger whole, and in some circumstances the lines between the two are not meaningfully distinct.

Keywords:   Stoics, ancient divination, Stoicism, cosmos, unified animal

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