? ?While Aristotle attributed to the State a more complete personality than it really possessed, he did not grasp the depth and meaning of the personality of the individual.? A.H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 289 ? Aristotle had no conception of the unity of humanity. His doctrine of unity did not extend beyond the State. ?He said that ?the whole is before the parts,? but he meant by ?the whole? only the pan-Hellenic world, the commonwealth of Greeks; he never thought of humanity, and the word ?mankind? never fell from his lips. He could not understand the unity of humanity, because he knew nothing of Christ, its organizing principle.? On Aristotle?s conception of God, see James Ten Broeke, in flap. Quar. Rev., Jan. 1892 ? God is recognized as personal, yet he is only the Greek Reason, and not the living, loving, providential Father of the Hebrew revelation. Aristotle substitutes the logical for the dynamical in his dealing with the divine causality. God is thought, not power.
Epicurus (342-270) regarded happiness, the subjective feeling of pleasure, as the highest criterion of truth and good. A prudent calculating for prolonged pleasure is the highest wisdom. He regards only this life. Concern for retribution and for a future existence is folly. If there are gods, they have no concern for men. ?Epicurus, on pretense of consulting for their ease, complimented the gods, and bowed them out of existence.? Death is the falling apart of material atoms and the eternal cessation of consciousness. The miseries of this life are due to imperfection in the fortuitously constructed universe. The more numerous these undeserved miseries, the greater our right to seek pleasure. Alexander, Theories of the Will, 55-75 ? The Epicureans held that the soul is composed of atoms, yet that the will is free. The atoms of the soul are excepted from the law of cause and effect. An atom may decline or deviate in the universal descent, and this is the Epicurean idea of freedom. This indeterminism was held by all the Greek skeptics, materialists though they were.
Zeno, the founder of the Stoic philosophy ( 340-264), regarded virtue as the only good. Thought is to subdue nature. The free spirit is self- legislating, self- dependent, self-sufficient. Thinking, not feeling, is the criterion of the true and the good. Pleasure is the consequence, not the end of moral action. There is an irreconcilable antagonism of existence. Man cannot reform the world, but he can make himself perfect. Hence an unbounded pride in virtue. The sage never repents. There is not the least recognition of the moral corruption of mankind. There is no objective divine ideal, or revealed divine will. The Stoic discovers moral law only within and never suspects his own moral perversion. Hence he shows self-control and justice, but never humility or love. He needs no compassion or forgiveness, and he grants none to others. Virtue is not an actively
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