The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Presentation and Assent: a Physical and Cognitive Problem in Early Stoicism*

Anna-Maria Ioppoloa1

a1 University of Bari

The Stoic theory of knowledge was founded by Zeno on a perceptual and crudely materialistic base, but subsequently developed into an elaborate theory involving λεκτxs22EF which has proved difficult to reconstruct. The evolution of the school, influenced not only by internal differences but also by interaction with the Platonic Academy, certainly contributed to this development. Hence any adequate reconstruction of the Stoic theory of knowledge must take account of the differences among the positions of the different representatives of the school with respect to the criticism put foward by the Academics. I propose here to clarify Zeno's position, showing how Arcesilaus' criticism helped to expose certain lacunae and thus to bring about changes in doctrine on the part both of Zeno himself and of his immediate successors.


* This paper is the result of two lectures delivered at Balliol College, Oxford in May 1989, as part of the Erasmus Project. I would like especially to thank Jonathan Barnes for his help in making the English version of this text more intelligible, and the editors for their detailed suggestions for improvements. They are not, of course, responsible for any mistakes which the paper may still contain.