A Concept Anticipating Gravitation in the Early Stoic Doctrine

Grishin Аlexey Yu.

The author explores the roots of the Stoic concept which anticipated Newton’s gravitation law. The central problem of the paper was outlined but not solved in previous studies on Stoic physics. To solve it one has to explain the contradicting data of Stoic physics, partly ascribing to the light elements the primary movement downwards and partly upwards. It is argued that the concept of the light elements’ moving upwards could have developed in the Stoic philosophy not only under Aristotle’s infl uence, because centrifugal tendencies of fi re and air (with commentators could easily reinterpret as movement upwards) were necessary for the functioning of the so-called pneuma. The results achieved are extrapolated by the author to the ethic and logic parts of the doctrine: primary movements stay mostly unrealized, but the very tendency of elements to realize them is necessary for the integrity of the world (on the logical level for sustaining cause-andeffect chains). That is why a man has to aim at what he is inclined to by nature, whatever the possibility of achieving his aims.

Keywords: philosophy, science, Stoicism, Stoics, physics, gravitation, elements, cosmology, world order.
  1. Aristotel' 1981: Sochineniya v chetyrekh tomakh. T. 3. M.
  2. Gadzhikurbanova P.A. 2012: Etika Ranney Stoi: uchenie o dolzhnom. M.
  3. Grishin A.Yu. 2000: «Estestvennoe» i «nadlezhashchee»: fizicheskoe i logicheskoe obosnovanie nekotorykh aspektov rannestoicheskoy etiki // VDI. 4, 21–40.
  4. Sekst Empirik 1976: Sochineniya v dvukh tomakh. T. 1. M.
  5. Stepanova A.S. 2004: Mir i chelovek v filosofii Stoi. SPb.
  6. Stolyarov A.A. 1995: Stoya i stoitsizm. M.
  7. Hahm D.E. 1977: The Origins of Stoic Cosmology. Columbus (Ohio).
  8. Hunt H.A.K. 1976: A Physical Interpretation of the Universe. The Doctrines of Zeno the Stoic. Melbourne.
  9. de Lacy Ph. 1945: Stoic Categories as Methodological Principals // TAPhA. Vol. 76, 246–263.
  10. Inwood B. 1985: Ethics and Human Action in early Stoicism. Oxf.
  11. Inwood В. 1991: Chrysippus on Extension and the Void // Revue Internationale de Philosophie. 45, 245–266.
  12. Lapidge M. 1973: Ἀρχαί and στοιχεῖα: a Problem in Stoic Cosmology // Phronesis. 18, 240–278.
  13. Longrigg J. 1975: Elementary Physics in the Lyceum and Stoa // Isis. 66, 211–229.
  14. Rist J.M. 1969: Stoic Philosophy. Cambr.
  15. Sambursky S. 1959: Physics of the Stoics. L.
  16. Solmsen F. 1961: Cleanthes or Posidonius? The Basis of stoic physics. Amsterdam.
  17. White M.J. 2003: Stoic Natural Philosophy (Physics and Cosmology) // Cambridge Companion to the Stoics / B. Inwood (ed.). Toronto, 134–153.
  18. Wolff M. 1988: Hipparchus and the Stoic theory of motion // Matter and Metaphysic: Fourth Symposium Hellenisticum / J. Barnes and M. Mignucci (eds.). Napoli, 471–547.