Apatheia


Apatheia

Apatheia ( _el. ἀπάθεια) in Stoic philosophy refers to a state of mind where one is free from emotion disturbance.

Whereas Aristotle had claimed that virtue was to be found in the golden mean between excess and deficiency of emotion ("metriopatheia"), the Stoics sought freedom from all passions ("apatheia"). It meant eradicating the emotional response to external events - the things we can not control. For the Stoics, it was the optimum rational response to the world, for we can not control things that are caused by the will of others or by Nature, we can only control our own will. This did not mean a loss of all feeling, or total disengagement from the world, the Stoic who performs correct (virtuous) judgments and actions as part of the world-order experiences contentment ("eudaimonia") and good feelings ("eupatheia").

The Pyrrhonian skeptics also sought the eradication of feelings when disturbance depends on belief, but allowed for only a moderation of feeling when based on sensations such as pain. The term was later adopted by Plotinus in his development of Neoplatonism, for whom "apatheia" was the soul's freedom from emotion achieved when it reaches its purified state. The term passed into early Christian teaching, whereby "apatheia" meant freedom from unruly urges or compulsions.

References

*Richard Sorabji, (2002), "Emotion and Peace of Mind: From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation", Oxford University Press


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