Socratic Dialogue -- A genre of prose invented in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BC by Socrates and later developed by Roman philosophers like Cicero, Socratic Dialogue is a dramatic narrative in which characters discuss moral and philosophical problems. Plato's Symposium and Allegory of the Cave are two of the first examples of the genre.
Philosophy: Stoicism vs. Epicureanism
Stoicism embraces Platonic Idealism
Stoicism explores the question "What is Good?"
Whatever is good leads to happiness.
Whatever is good always benefits a man in all contexts.
Goodness is only found in virtuous things, people, and behaviors.
Virtue is all that is noble, fine, moral, or ethical.
Virtue is both necessary and sufficient for happiness.
Epicureanism rejects Platonic Idealism and embraces Atomic Materialism (all things and phenomena are the result of the interaction of atoms).
There is no such thing as an immortal soul or an afterlife.
Knowledge is obtained only through sensual perception (i.e. through the body).
Fear of death and punishment causes anxiety.
Anxiety is the source of irrational thoughts, desires, and behaviors.
The lack of fear and desire frees people to pursue pleasure, which is a natural goal.
"VIRTUS, for the Roman, does not carry the same overtones as the Christian 'virtue'. But like the Greek andreia, VIRTUS has a primary meaning of 'acting like a man' (vir) [cf. the Renaissance virtù ), and for the Romans this meant first and foremost 'acting like a brave man in military matters'. virtus was to be found in the context of 'outstanding deeds' (egregia facinora), and brave deeds were the accomplishments which brought GLORIA ('a reputation'). This GLORIA was attached to two ideas: fama ('what people think of you') and dignitas ('one's standing in the community'). The struggle for VIRTUS at Rome was above all a struggle for public office (honor), since it was through high office, to which one was elected by the People, that a man could best show his manliness which led to military achievement--which would lead in turn to a reputation and votes. It was the duty of every aristocrat (and would-be aristocrat) to maintain the dignitas which his family had already achieved and to extend it to the greatest possible degree (through higher political office and military victories). This system resulted in a strong built-in impetus in Roman society to engage in military expansion and conquest at all times." (Adams)
The 4 Cardinal Virtues:
Courage (moral, physical, emotional)
Gaius Laelius Sapiens: Roman statesman, friend to Scipio the Younger (AKA Scipio Africanus Minor)
Quintus Mucius Scaevola the Augur: Laelius' son-in-law, Cicero's mentor
Gaius Fannius Strabo: Laelius' son-in-law
Adam, John Paul, "Virtus," <http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/fides.html>.
Baltzly, Dirk, "Stoicism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/stoicism/>.
Konstan, David, "Epicurus", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/epicurus/>.