The Stoics and the Animals: Eating Meat or Vegetarianism? Cover Image
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A sztoikusok és az állatok: Húsevés vagy vegetarianizmus?
The Stoics and the Animals: Eating Meat or Vegetarianism?

Author(s): Balázs Gaál
Subject(s): Epistemology, Ancient World, Ancient Philosphy
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: Stoic philosophy; animal and human soul; anthropocentric teleology; justice towards animals; eating meat; vegetarianism;

Summary/Abstract: On the views of Stoic philosophers on animals and vegetarianism no specific study has been written so far. Th e reason for this may be the fact that the Stoics had not paid much attention to animals in themselves. In the center of Stoic philosophy we find man and his intimate relationship to the gods. However, man himself belongs to the class of beings “endowed with soul”, like animals, and shares a common starting point with animals, but when “reason” comes to be developed in his soul, man’s aim is shifted to a higher level: from seeking the fulfillment of the first requirements of nature to virtue. In this study, I wish to have a closer look at the Stoics’ attitude to animals on the basis of ancient Greek and Roman sources, with special regard to eating meat and vegetarianism. In the first part, I shall discuss the epistemological distinction of the Stoics between animal and human soul. In the second part, I shall treat such subjects as the ontological status of animals, providence and teleology. Throughout my analysis, I hope it will become clear that behind the admirable efforts of the Stoics to create a perfect unity in their system, there are grave contradictions which are characteristic of all systems that try to give a single and uniform explanation to the world’s phenomena.

  • Issue Year: 58/2014
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 201-233
  • Page Count: 33
  • Language: Hungarian