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This webpage reproduces the essay
De fato


as published in Vol. VII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1959

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

(Vol. VII) Plutarch, Moralia

 p301  On Fate


The work appears in pp301‑359 of Vol. VII of the Loeb Classical Library's edition of the Moralia, first published in 1959. The Greek text and the English translation (by Phillip H. De Lacy and Benedict Einarson) are now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1987 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

 p303  Loeb Edition Introduction

It has long been recognized that the manuscripts are mistaken in ascribing the treatise On Fate to Plutarch.​1 There is no need to repeat here all the arguments that have been adduced against its authenticity; it is enough to point out that incidence of hiatus is far greater than in passages of comparable length in the works admittedly genuine.

The writer, evidently a Platonist, is apparently either a teacher or fellow student of the unknown Piso to whom the treatise is addressed.​2 Doctrine very similar to his own, and doubtless derived from a common source, is found in Nemesius and in the commentary of Chalcidius on the Timaeus;​3 echoes  p304 of this doctrine appear in Albinus​4 and Apuleius.​5 Nemesius​6 alludes to the work of a certain Philopator On Fate and couples him with Chrysippus. The formulation of the doctrine presented in Nemesius can, then, be traced with some probability to the time of Philopator, and as the doctrine in Chalcidius and in the treatise On Fate is of the same origin as that of Nemesius' Platonists, we may conjecture that it was formulated in the early part of the second century A.D.,​7 possibly by Gaius, the teacher of Albinus and the most celebrated Platonist of the day. Our treatise, then, was probably not written before the first decades of the second century.

Our author's aim is to construct a theory of fate compatible with providence in god and free will in man. His view is opposed to the Stoic view that "everything conforms to fate," and a polemic against Stoicism is implicit in the treatise. Yet in several respects the argument reveals the influence of Stoic doctrines.

Chrysippus and the Stoics maintained that the  p305 universe is governed by an immanent divine power, variously called God, providence, fate, or nature. They explained the continual change that occurs in the universe as a "chain" of causes, a series of situations in which an antecedent leads to a consequent, the consequent in its turn becoming the antecedent of the next consequent. In such a series, however, different kinds of causes were distinguished. In the sphere of human conduct, for example, the impression that a person receives from an external object often initiates a course of action, but the exact character of that action is in large part determined by the nature of the person, as revealed in his assent and impulse. A cause which initiates a sequence but does not determine its course is called by the Stoics a procatarctic ("initiatory") cause,​8 whereas causes that determine completely the character of their effects are called autotelê ("complete in themselves").​9 In such an analysis the continuity of fate is provided by the procatarctic causes, whereas the determination of particular events depends on the nature of the objects involved. It is in some such way as this that the Stoics reconciled fate and free will.10

The Stoics used the relation of antecedent to consequent to refute the "indolent" argument, which  p306 maintained that what is fated to occur cannot be altered by any acts of ours. To this the Stoics replied that a consequent is "co‑fated" with its antecedent, and that the one will not occur without the other.​11 It is not fated simply that the patient shall recover whether he calls a physician or no; rather, his calling a physician is co‑fated with his recovery.

Our author accepts the Stoic formulation of fate as a relation of antecedent to consequent, but rejects the view that the antecedent is in conformity with fate. He considers fate to be a law which states that a certain consequent will follow upon a certain antecedent, but which does not thereby determine the antecedent. He says further that fate, like human law, is hypothetical​12 and universal, the particular being co‑fated​13 with the universal in the sense that it is an instance of the universal law.

The antecedents, which are free, include "what is in our power," chance, the possible and the contingent (570E). Our author proceeds to define them and describe their relations to one and to the spontaneous (which is not expressly mentioned here, but dealt with later). As human law "includes" our acts, but legislates their consequences only, the acts themselves not being "lawful" or "in conformity with law," so fate "includes" the possible,  p307 the contingent, what is in our power, chance, and the spontaneous, and is in its turn included in providence.14

Providence is defined as the intellection or will or both of the primary God; fate is the rule or law proclaimed by him to the gods who are his offspring. These gods in turn have their own intellection and will, which singly or in combination constitute secondary providence; while the intellection and will of daemons, who are guardians of the acts of men, constitute, singly or in combination, a third kind of providence. While primary providence includes fate, tertiary providence is included in fate, and secondary providence and fate exist side by side, neither including the other. The author, however, does not insist upon this view of the relation of secondary providence to fate, but countenances another view, that secondary providence is contained in fate.15

The author's distinction between fate and providence, his interruption of the "chain" of causes by the introduction of antecedents that are not fated, and his assertion that fate is primarily universal serve to differentiate his view from that of the Stoics. In the final chapter he makes this difference explicit by  p308 contrasting the Stoic view with his own and listing the arguments for each in their proper order. He nevertheless shares with the Stoics the doctrine that the universe passes through recurrent cycles, the events of each cycle being repeated in all the rest; he concedes that the argument of the "chain" may correctly apply to celestial phenomena; and he uses in his discussion a number of Stoic terms (though often with altered meanings). He agrees with the Stoics that fate is "not transgressed" (aparabatos) and that it "determines the course" (diexagetai) of everything that comes to be. Yet he gives alternate interpretations to the Stoic view that "everything conforms to fate," and in calling fate a logos he is using the term in a sense quite different from that intended by the Stoics. The latter meant by logos the "reason" of the supreme God, whom they identified with providence, nature, necessity, and the rationale of the universe; our author, to judge by the passages he cites from Plato, takes logos to mean "statement," "formula," or "proposition." This recasting of Stoic language and doctrine into a form acceptable to a Platonist is one of the many causes of the notorious obscurity of the treatise. Others are the condensations and omissions inevitable in an epitome, our imperfect knowledge of the views which the author is attacking, modifying, or defending, the abstruse nature of the subject, and the corruptions and lacunas in the text.16

 p309  There are translations by Adrian Turnebus​17 and Hugo Grotius.18

The treatise does not appear in the catalogue of Lamprias, which mentions instead a lost work On Fate, in two books (No. 58).

The text is based on α and X. Conjectures are occasionally quoted from descendants of α: AγβmμσEnς, and from αep, an epitome, breaking off at 569E, on folios 273v and 275r of α.

 p311  (568) 1 1 I shall endeavour to send you my views on fate in as clear and concise a form as possible,
dear Piso, since you have asked this of me although not unaware of my scruple about writing.

The two senses of fate

1 1 You must know, then, to begin with, that the term "fate" is used and understood in two senses: one fate is an activity, the other, a substance.19

Active fate: its substance

In the first place, Plato has roughly indicated an activity (a) in the Phaedrus20 with these words: "This is the ordinance of Adrasteia: if a soul have accompanied a god . . ." and (b) in the Timaeus,​21 when he speaks of the "laws," applying to the nature of the universe, which God proclaimed to the immortal soul; Dwhile (c) in the Republic22 he calls fate the "word23 of Lachesis, maiden daughter of Necessity," expressing his view not in high tragic style, but in the language of theology.​24 Should one wish to recast these descriptions and phrase them in more ordinary language, fate as described in the Phaedrus might  p313 be called "a divine formula​25 which, owing to a cause from which there is no escape, is not transgressed"; as described in the Timaeus it would be a "law conforming to the nature of the universe, determining the course of everything that comes to pass"; while as described in the Republic it is a "divine law determining the linking of future events to events past and present."​26 For this is what Lachesis, in very truth​27 the "daughter of Necessity," performs, as we learned before, and as later, in the lectures in the school, we shall know yet better. This, then, is fate in the sense of activity.28

Substantial fate

2 1 EFate as a substance appears to be the entire soul of the universe in all three of its subdivisions, the fixed portion,​29 the portion supposed to wander, and third, the portion below the heavens in the region  p315 of the earth;​30 of these the highest is called Clotho, the next Atropos, and the lowest Lachesis, who is receptive to the celestial activities of her sisters,​31 and combines and transmits them to the terrestrial regions subject to her authority.32

What needs to be said, then, about substantial fate has been implicitly stated, Fas an abridged account has been given of its substance, quantity, quality, order, and relation both to itself and to us;​33 the full account of these matters is well presented in the imagery of the second myth, that of the Republic,​34 and I have done my best to give you an exposition of that account.35

Active fate

3 1 But let us once more turn our attention to active fate, as the greater number of problems — physical, ethical, and dialectical — are concerned with it.​36 Its substance has been adequately defined;​37 we must next tell its quality, strange though it may appear to many.

 p317  Its quality

569Although events are infinite, extending infinitely into the past and future,​38 fate, which encloses them all in a cycle, is nevertheless not infinite but finite, as neither a law nor a formula​39 nor anything divine can be infinite.​40 Further, you would understand what is meant if you should apprehend the entire revolution and the complete sum of time, "when," as Timaeus says, "the speeds of the eight revolutions, completing their courses relatively to one another, are measured by the circuit of the Same and Uniformly moving and come to a head."​41 For in this time, which is definite and knowable,​42 everything in the heavens and everything on earth Bwhose production is necessary and due to celestial influences, will once again be restored to the same state and once more be produced anew in the same way and manner.​43 Then the arrangement of the heavenly bodies, the only one in all respects ordered both in relation to itself and to the earth and all things terrestrial, will eventually return, at intervals composed of long  p319 revolutions; and those arrangements that come after it in a series and are contiguous to one another, will occur in contiguous fashion, each bringing with itself of necessity its own set of events.​44 (Be it noted, however, to make our present situation clear, Cthat my writing these words at this moment as I write them, and your doing what you happen to be doing as you happen to be doing it are not events brought about by the agency of the heavenly bodies alone as causes of everything.)​45 And so, when the same cause returns again, we shall, once more becoming the same persons, do the same things and in the same way, and so will all men besides; and what comes next in order will come into existence and be done in accordance with the cause that comes next in order, and everything that is found in a single entire revolution will be repeated in a similar fashion in each of the entire revolutions as well.​46 And so it is now plain what we meant by our statement that fate, although in a way infinite, is not infinite; and our remark​47 that it is a sort of cycle has, I take it, been adequately understood; for just as the movement of a cycle and the time which measures that movement of a cycle and the time which measures that movement are cycles, so too the formula​48 of cyclical events would be considered a cycle.49

4 1 DEven this treatment, then, I venture to say, shows the quality of fate, except that it does not tell  p321 of that fate which is particular or individual. What, then, is the quality of this fate, considered in turn as this kind of formula? It is, we may conjecture, of the quality of the law of a state, which in the first place promulgates most, if not all, of its commands as consequents of hypotheses,​50 and secondly, so far as it can, embraces all the concerns of a state in the form of universal statements.

Let us go on to examine in turn the meaning of these two points.

The universality of fate

The law of a state uses the form of a supposition and its conclusion​51 to speak of a "soldier distinguishing himself in action" and of a "deserter," and so with the rest; it does not lay down the law for this or that individual, Ebut speaks primarily of the general case, and only secondarily of what comes under it.​52 Thus we should say that it is lawful to honour this particular man who has distinguished himself in action, and to punish this other who has deserted the post, on the ground that the law has potentially provided for them, just as the "law" (if one may use the expression) of medicine and of gymnastics​53 embraces the particular cases potentially in its general provisions; so also the law of nature, while dealing with universals primarily, deals secondarily with particulars. FThe latter too are all fated after a fashion, since they are co‑fated with the former. Perhaps a  p323 stickler for precision in such matters might insist that on the contrary it is the particulars that have priority,​54 and that the universal exists for their sake — the end being prior to what serves it. But these questions have their place elsewhere, whereas the statement that fate does not contain everything plainly or expressly, but only universals, when made at this point, is properly placed both in respect of the point made shortly before​55 and of the one that is now to be made: 570 the determinate, which is appropriate to divine wisdom, is seen rather in the universal — and the divine law and the political are of this description — while the unlimited is seen in the particular.

The hypothetical character of fate

Let us next determine the character of what is "consequent of an hypothesis," and show that fate is of that character.56

We meant by "consequent of an hypothesis" that which is not laid down independently, but in some fashion is really "subjoined"​57 to something else, wherever there is an expression implying that if one thing is true, another follows: "this is the ordinance of Adrasteia: if a soul have accompanied a god and  p325 beheld aught of reality, it shall suffer nought until the next revolution, and if able to do so ever, it shall ever go unscathed."​58 BWhat is both consequent upon an hypothesis and universal is, then, of the description given above. That fate is actually of this description is evident from its substance alone and from its name: it is called fate (heimarmenê) as being a thing concatenated (eiromenê);​59 and it is an ordinance and a law because it has laid down the consequences which follow upon occurrences, as in the legislation of a state.

The relations of active fate

5 1 We must next examine what comes under the heading of relation — how fate stands in relation to providence on the one hand, and on the other to chance, to what is in our power and the contingent, and to the like; we must moreover distinguish in what way the dictum "everything conforms to fate" is true, and in what way false.60

Examination of the dictum "Everything conforms to fate"

CNow (a) if the statement means that everything is contained in fate, we must grant that it is true (whether it is in all human events, or all terrestrial or all celestial events one wishes to place in fate, let us for the present​61 grant these points too); but (b) if the expression "conforming to fate," as would rather seem to be its implication, designates not everything,  p327 but only the consequences of fate, we must not say that everything conforms to fate, even if "everything conforms to fate."​62 For neither is everything included in law "lawful" or "in conformity with law"; for law includes treason, desertion, adultery, and a good many other things of the sort, Dnone of which one would term lawful; indeed I should not even call an act of valour, the slaying of a tyrant, or the performance of any other right action lawful. For the lawful is what the law enjoins; but if the law enjoins such conduct, how then can we deny that persons who display no valour, slay no tyrant, and perform no such right action, disobey and violate it? Or how, if such persons are lawbreakers, is it not right to punish them? If, however, all this is unreasonable, we must call "lawful" and "in conformity with law" only what the law determines as applicable to any action performed, whatever its character; and we must call "fated" and "in conformity with fate" Eonly the consequents of antecedents in the divine appointment of things.​63 Fate, then, includes everything that occurs, but much of what is thus included, and I might say all antecedents, could not rightly be said to be in conformity with fate.64

6 1 Such being the case with these matters, we must next discuss how it is that what is in our power and chance, the possible and the contingent, and what is akin to these, by being classed among antecedents, might find a place themselves and leave a place in  p329 turn for fate. For fate contains them all, as indeed it is held to do; yet these things will not occur necessarily, Fbut each will follow its own nature in its manner of occurrence.65

The possible

It is the nature of the possible, as genus, to be prior in reality​66 to the contingent;​67 of the contingent, as matter, to be prior as substrate to the things which are in our power; of what lies in our power, as sovereign, to make use of the contingent; and chance is incidental to what is in our power because of the variation of the contingent in either direction.​68 You will apprehend my meaning clearly if you reflect that everything that comes to pass, as well as the process itself of coming to pass, is always accompanied with potency,​69 and potency with a substance. 571For example, what comes about through the agency of man, whether we take the process or the thing which has been brought to pass, is never found without the potency which produces it; this is found in man; and man is a substance. It is owing to the potency, which is intermediate,​70 that the substance is potent, and the process of coming to pass and the thing which comes to pass are both possible. Of these three, then,  p331 potency, the potent, and the possible, the potent, in its quality of substance,​71 is prior as substrate to potency, while potency is prior in reality to the possible. It is plain, then, even from this statement, what the possible is; it might, however, be roughly defined in two ways: in a looser fashion as that whose nature it is to occur in conformity with potency,​72 while we might define it more strictly by adding the clause "when there is nothing outside it Binterfering with its occurrence."73

The contingent

Of things possible some can never be prevented, as celestial phenomena — risings and settings and the like — whereas others are preventible, as for example much of what pertains to man and many meteorological phenomena​74 as well. The former sort, as occurring necessarily, are termed necessary; while those things which in addition allow (epidechetai) their contrary are contingent (endechomena).​75 They might also be defined as follows: the necessary is the possible whose opposite is impossible; whereas the contingent is the possible whose opposite is also possible. CThus, that the sun should set is necessary as well as possible — it has an opposite, its not setting,  p333 which is impossible; whereas the falling and not falling of rain after sunset are both of them possible and contingent.

What is in our power

Again, in the case of the contingent, one form occurs usually, another is unusual, and another is as usual as its opposite and an "even chance."​76 This last is evidently opposed to itself, whereas the usual and the unusual are for the most part determined by nature, while the form which is as usual as its opposite is in our power.​77 Thus, that during the dog days there should be hot weather or cold weather,​78 the former of which is usual, the latter, unusual, is in both cases under the control of nature; whereas walking and not walking and the like, Deither of which is as usual as its opposite, are under the control of human impulse, and what is under its control is said to lie in our power and be a matter of choice.​79 Of these what is in our power is the more general, as it has two species, the one comprising actions proceeding from passion — anger or desire, the other, actions that proceed from calculation or thought, in which last case we may now speak of "a matter of choice." It is reasonable that the form of the "possible and contingent" which has been said to conform to our impulse and lie in our power should, in a different  p335 connexion, be spoken of under a different name; for in connexion with the future it is called "possible and contingent," in connexion with the present, "in our power" and "in conformity with our impulse."​80 They might be defined as follows: the contingent is that which is both possible itself and has a possible opposite, whereas what is in our power is one of the two parts of the contingent, Enamely, the one that is already occurring in conformity with our impulse.

Our discussion of the natural priority​81 of the possible to the contingent, of the real priority​82 of the contingent to what is in our power, of their respective characters, of the sources of their names, and of related matters, is now, I trust, complete.

7 1 We must now speak of chance and the spontaneous and matters the theory of which depends on these.83


Chance is a kind of cause.​84 Of causes some are essential,​85 some accidental; thus skill in housebuilding and skill in shipbuilding are essential causes of a house or of a ship, Fwhereas skill in music or in geometry, and everything accidental, whether in the body, in the soul, or in externals, to the housebuilding  p337 or shipbuilding form,​86 is an accidental cause.​87 Hence it is evident that the essential is determinate and one, whereas the accidental is not one and is indeterminate; 572 for a single thing has a multiplicity, indeed an infinity, of attributes that are quite different from one another.​88 The accidental, however, when found not simply in things directed toward an end, but further in those among them in which choice is found, is then called "by chance" as well; examples are: discovering a sum of gold when one is digging for the purpose of planting,​89 or doing or undergoing something unusual when one is pursuing or being pursued​90 or proceeding on foot​91 in some other way, or merely turning around with some other end in view than the actual result. Hence some of the ancients described chance as a cause unforeseen and not evident to human calculation.​92 But according to the Platonists, Bwho formulate it yet more closely, chance is defined as follows: "chance is an accidental cause found in the class of things directed toward an end which take place in conformity with choice,"​93 and only then do they add "unforeseen" and "not evident to human calculation." (For that matter, "rare" and "unexpected" are also similarly implied in the term "accidental.")​94 What sort of thing chance is, if not  p339 evident from the preceding remarks, is to be seen very clearly in the words of the Phaedo.​95 The passage runs as follows: "— And did you not hear of the course of the trial either? — Yes; a report came to us about that; and we were astonished that he was evidently put to death long after the trial had taken place. What was the reason, Phaedo? — CThere was a certain chance coincidence,​96 Echecrates; the stern of the ship which the Athenians send to Delos chanced to have been garlanded on the day before the trial." In this passage we are not to take "coincidence" as equivalent to "occurrence"; the meaning is rather that the outcome resulted from a concourse of causes,​97 each of them having a different end. Thus the priest placed a garland on the ship for some other purpose, and not for Socrates' sake; and the court condemned him with a different end in view; while the actual outcome was unexpected and fell out as if it had occurred as a result of forethought,​98 whether human or that of some still higher power. DSo much, then, will suffice for our discussion of chance.

The spontaneous

We must next speak of the things with which it necessarily co-exists. The contingent, we said,​99 is  p341 the pre-existent substrate of what, by an expression derived from "chance," is said to be "by chance," and of what is in our power, whereas the spontaneous has a greater extension than chance,​100 since it comprises both the latter and moreover many of the things whose nature it is to fall out differently at different times. What is meant by the term "spontaneous" (automaton), as the very name shows,​101 is that which has a certain natural end when it does not accomplish that natural end.​102 An example is held to be cold weather during the dog days;​103 for at some times cold weather is not purposeless (matên), and does not occur in isolation (auto) from its end.​104 To put the matter generally, Eas what is in our power is a part of the contingent, so chance is a part of the spontaneous. Taken two by two, the one set is identical to the other, the spontaneous to the contingent, and chance to what is in our power — not to all of the latter, but to that part of it which is also a matter of choice, as has been previously stated.​105 Hence the spontaneous is common both to living things and things without life, whereas chance is peculiar to a man who has reached the stage of being able to act.​106 A sign of this is the belief that enjoying good fortune​107 and enjoying happiness are the same;  p343 now happiness is a kind of doing well, and doing well is found in man alone when he has reached his full development.108

8 1 What is included in fate — the contingent and the possible, choice and what is in our power, chance and the spontaneous, as well as matters associated with these, Fsuch as what is designated by the words "perhaps" and "peradventure"​109 — is of the description we have given above; and fate contains them all, although none of them conforms to fate. It remains to speak of providence, as it in turn includes fate.

Primary providence

9 1 The highest and primary providence is the intellection or will, beneficent to all things, of the primary God;​110 and in conformity with it all things divine are primordially arranged throughout, each as is best and most excellent. Secondary providence belongs to secondary gods, who move in heaven, 573 and in conformity with it all mortal things come into being in orderly fashion, together with all that is requisite to the survival and preservation of the several genera. The providence and forethought which belongs to the daemons stationed in the terrestrial regions as watchers and overseers of the actions of man would reasonably be called tertiary.​111 As providence, then, is seen to be threefold, and as primary providence is providence in the strictest sense and to the highest degree,​112 I should not hesitate to say, even at the cost of appearing to contradict certain philosophers, that while all that conforms to fate  p345 conforms to providence (though not to nature as well),​113 Byet some things conform to providence (some to one, some to another), some to fate. And whereas fate most certainly conforms to providence,​114 providence most certainly does not conform to fate (here it is to be understood that we are speaking of the primary and highest providence): for what is said to "conform to" a thing is posterior to that, whatever it may be, to which it is said to conform (for example, "what conforms to law" is posterior to law and "what conforms to nature" to nature); thus "what conforms to fate" is younger than fate, while the highest providence is eldest of all, save the one whose will or intellection or both it is, and it is that, as has been previously stated,​115 of the Father and Artisan of all things. CTimaeus says: "Let us state for what reason the realm of events and this universe were framed by him who framed them. He was good; and in the good no grudging ever arises about aught; and being exempt from this, he wished all things to become as similar as might be to himself. To accept from men of wisdom this, rather than any other, as the foremost principle of  p347 Coming into being and of Order, is to accept most rightly. For God, wishing that all things should be good, and naught, so far as possible, evil, took over all that was visible, which was in no state of rest, but in discordant and disordered motion, and brought it into order out of its disorder, deeming the former in all ways better than the latter. It neither was nor is right for him who is best to do aught Dsave that which is most excellent.​116 These matters and what is mentioned after them, as far as and including the souls of men, we must take to have been framed in conformity with providence — primary providence; but the words that follow ("and when he had compounded the whole, he divided it into souls equal in number to the stars and assigned to every star a soul, and mounting them thereon as on a vehicle, showed them the nature of the universe and proclaimed to them the laws of fate"),​117 who would not suppose to indicate fate, explicitly and in the plainest of terms, as a sort of foundation​118 and political legislation appropriate to the souls of men, the very legislation for which he next proceeds to state the reason?119

Secondary providence

He indicates secondary providence in the following words: E"Having prescribed all these ordinances to them, to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be  p349 severally guilty, he sowed some on the earth, some on the moon, and others on the remaining instruments of time. After the sowing he delegated to the new-made gods the task of modelling mortal bodies, and, when they had completed all the rest of the human soul that it was necessary to add and all that this involved, of ruling and guiding the mortal animal, so far as lay within their powers, Fin the fairest and best fashion possible, except for those evils which it should incur from its own guilt."​120 In this passage the phrase "to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty" indicates in the plainest language the reason for fate, while the government and creation which is in the hands of the new-made gods refers to secondary providence.

Tertiary providence

He appears, moreover, to allude to a third providence as well, inasmuch as the enactment of ordinances is "to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty"; a god, having no part in evil, can stand in no need of either laws or fate, but each of them​121 fulfils his own office​122 as the providence of his begetter draws him along in its train.​123 574 The words  p351 of the Lawgiver in the Laws124 are, I think, clear testimony that this is true and the doctrine held by Plato. They are to this effect: "Since if ever any man, gifted by nature, born under a divine dispensation, should be capable of apprehending this, he would need no laws to govern him, for no law or ordinance is mightier than understanding, nor is it permitted that intelligence should be subject or slave to aught; it must rather be ruler in all things, if it be genuine and really free in conformity with its nature."

The three providences and fate

10 1 Now I take Plato's meaning to be as described or very near it: Bas providence is threefold, the first, since it has begotten fate, includes it in a sense; the second, having been begotten together with fate, is most certainly included together with it;​125 and the third, since it is begotten later than fate, is contained in it in the same way as what is in our power and chance were said​126 to be contained in fate.​127 For, "those persons with whom the daemonic power encourages me to associate," as Socrates says in recounting to Theages what is all but an ordinance, although not that of Adrasteia, "are the ones you have remarked; for their progress is immediate and  p353 rapid."​128 CIn this passage we must posit that the encouragement given to association with certain persons by the daemonic power conforms to tertiary providence, while their immediate and rapid progress conforms to fate; and the whole complex is plainly enough none other than a form of fate.129

On this view, however, it might appear much more credible that secondary providence also, and indeed all things, without any limitation, that come to pass, are contained in fate, if we were right​130 in dividing substantial fate into the three portions and if the argument of the "chain"​131 brings the revolutions in heaven​132 into the class of consequences of an hypothesis. Yet with regard to this question DI for one would not pursue the quarrel further whether these matters are to be termed consequences of an hypothesis, the initiatory cause of fate itself being fated,​133 or, as I rather take to be the case, they exist side by side with fate.

 p355  The order of points in the present argument

11 1 Our argument, then, presented under its main heads, would be as described; the contrary argument,​134 on the other hand, posits that everything is not only in fate but also conforms to it. But everything is consistent with the former contention, and what is consistent with the latter is evidently consistent with the former as well.

In our argument the contingent is placed first; what is in our power, second; third come chance and the spontaneous and all that conforms to them; fourth, praise and blame and whatever is related to them;​135 while the fifth and final place must be given to prayers to the gods and worship of them. EBut the "indolent argument,"​136 that of the "reaper,"​137 and  p357 that termed "contrary to fate"​138 turn out on this view to be sophisms indeed.139

The order of points in the Stoic argument

According to the opposing argument the chief and first point would appear to be that nothing occurs without cause, and that instead everything occurs in conformity with antecedent causes;​140 the second, that this universe, at one with itself in spirit and in affections,​141 is governed by nature; and in the third place comes what would rather seem to be evidence added to these points in contention: the good repute in which the art of divination is held by all mankind, in the belief that its existence and that of God are in fact involved in one another;​142 Fthe acquiescence of the wise​143 in whatever befalls, in the belief that everything that occurs is in order,​144 in the second place; and third, that oft repeated dictum, that every proposition is either true or false.145

I have dealt with these matters thus briefly in order  p359 to present the main headings of the topic of fate in a compendious form; these we must investigate when we subject the two arguments to exact scrutiny. The details that come under these headings we shall enter into at some later time.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cf. K. Ziegler in Pauly-Wissowa, vol. XXI, col. 726. O. Apelt, however, accepts the work as genuine, and seems to be unaware that its authenticity has even been called in question: cf. the introduction and notes to his translation (Plutarch Moralische Schriften, Zweites Büchen, Leipzig, 1926, pp133 ff.). It is also accepted without comment by P. Duhem, Le Système du monde (Paris, 1913‑1914), vol. I, p288; vol. II, pp398 ff.

2 A. Gercke, Rheinisches Museum, XLI (1886), p277, feels that the words "as we learned before, and as later, in the lectures in the school, we shall know yet better" (568D) are those of a fellow student and not of a teacher. Other passages, however, point rather to a teacher: thus, the author speaks of his reluctance to write as well known to Piso, refers to a previous exposition (568F) and to a subsequent detailed examination (574F), and throughout the treatise is quite free with the use of the first person.

3 Cf. A. Gercke, "Eine Platonische Quelle des Neuplatonismus" in Rheinisches Museum, XLI (1886), pp266‑291.

4 Cf. Epitome, chap. xxvi.

5 Cf. De Platone, I.12.

6 Chap. xxxv, pp291.9 and 293.14 (ed. Matthaei).

7 Galen attended the lectures of Albinus at Smyrna in 151 or 152 (cf. De Libris Propriis, chap. ii, vol. XIX, p16 Kühn); he heard a Stoic, pupil of Philopator, and a Platonist, pupil of Gaius, at Pergamum in 143 or 144 (cf. De Cognoscendis Curandisque Animi Morbis, chap. viii, vol. V, p41 Kühn). Thus both Philopator and Gaius would belong to the first half of the second century. Alexander (De Anima Libri Mantissa, p186.30 f. Bruns) mentions a book On Fate by Polyzelus, presumably a Peripatetic, but otherwise unknown. It may well belong to this period. Cf. W. Theiler, "Tacitus und die antike Schicksalslehre" in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll (Basle, 1946), pp71, 81 f.

8 On the procatarctic cause cf. 574D, infra.

9 For the meaning of the term cf. W. Theiler, "Tacitus und die antike Schicksalslehre" in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll, p62.

10 The views of Chrysippus are most conveniently consulted in A. Gercke, "Chrysippea," in Jahrbücher für class. Philol., Vierzehnter Supplementbd. (Leipzig, 1885), pp689‑779. Cf. also M. Pohlenz, "Grundfragen der stoischen Philosophie," in Abh. d. Ges. d. Wiss. zu Göttlingen, Philol.-Hist. Klasse, Dritte Folge, Nr. 26 (1940), pp104‑112, and W. Theiler, op. cit. pp61‑66.

11 For the "co‑fated" cf. Cicero, De Fato, 13 (30); Seneca, Nat. Quaest. III.37.1; Diogenianus quoted in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. VI.8.16‑24.

12 The Stoic doctrine of fate could have been formulated hypothetically ("if the physician is called the patient will recover"), but there is evidence that Chrysippus did not so formulate it; cf. Cicero, De Fato, 6 (12) and 8 (15), and Zeller, Die Philos. d. Gr. III.15, p108, note 5.

13 569F, infra. Here the Stoic term is used with altered meaning.

14 We have here, it seems, two different sorts of inclusion: the inclusion of the possible and the rest in fate, and of our good and evil acts in the law is of one kind, whereas the inclusion of fate in providence is of another. In the former kind, the thing included is not determined or brought about by what includes it; in the latter, the thing included is so determined and brought about.

15 In the definition of providence as "intellection" or "will" or both, and in the inclusion in it of fate, we observe the influence of the Stoic psychology which attempted to preserve free will: as our intellection and will is free, but is the antecedent cause of fated actions, so here the intellection and will of God is free and leads to fate itself.

16 Our author appears to have used the Peripatetics as he used the Stoics: although he borrowed much from them, yet he differed from them on some points. But in general his views are less at variance with the Peripatetics than with the Stoics. His debt to Aristotle is especially great in his discussion of chance and the spontaneous (571E to 572E). Possible allusions to differences with the Peripatetics have been indicated in notes to 568D, 569F, and 573A.

17 Adriani Turnebi . . . Opera . . ., Argentorati . . . M.DC, vol. II, pp48‑57.

18 Philosophorum Sententiae De Fato . . . Collectae partim, & de Graeco versae, per Hugonem Grotium. Amsterodami . . . MDCXLVIII, pp42‑61.

19 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxliii, p203.9‑13 (ed. Wrobel), and Nemesius, chap. xxxviii, p303.9 f. (ed. Matthaei).

20 248C, quoted more fully 570A, infra.

21 41E, quoted more fully 573D, infra.

22 617D.

23 "Word" translates logos, which is used by our author in the sense of "statement" or "proposition."

24 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxliii, p203.13‑16 (ed. Wrobel).

25 "Formula" translates logos.

26 The words "while . . . present" translate a conjectural supplement. Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxliv, p203.17‑23 (ed. Wrobel): "Possumus ergo inevitabile quidem scitum interpretari legem minime mutabilem ex inevitabili causa; leges vero quas de universae rei natura dixit animis deus, legem quae mundi sequitur naturam et qua reguntur mundana omnia: Lacheseos vero, hoc est necessitatis, orationem, divinam legem qua praeteritis et item praesentibus conectuntur futura."

27 Perhaps a glance at the Peripatetics: cf. Anon. In Eth. Nic. Comm. p150.2‑4 (ed. Heylbut): εἴη δὲ ἂν καὶ ἡ εἱμαρμένη λεγομένη κατὰ τούσδε τοὺς ἄνδρας [that is, the Peripatetics] ὑπὸ τὴν φύσιν. οὐ γὰρ ἀπαράβατον τὸ εἱμαρμένον οὐδ’ ἀναγκαῖον. "According to these philosophers fate would be classed under nature; for what is fated is not incapable of being transgressed and not necessary."

28 Cf. the three definitions of Chrysippus in Aëtius, I.28.3, p323 (ed. Diels): Χρύσιππος . . . πολυτρόπως ἀποφαίνεται λέγων εἱμαρμένη ἐστὶν ὁ τοῦ κόσμου λόγος, ἢ νόμος [νόμος Plutarch: λόγος Stobaeus] τῶν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ προνοίᾳ διοικουμένων, ἢ λόγος καθ’ ὃν τὰ μὲν γεγονότα γέγονε, τὰ δὲ γινόμενα γίνεται, τὰ δὲ γενησόμενα γενήσεται. The terms aparabatos and diexagein both appear in Stoic accounts of fate: for the former cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.917 f. pp265 f. and 1000, pp293 f. (ed. von Arnim); for the latter, Diogenes Laert. VII.149.

29 Moira ("portion") can also mean "Fate."

30 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxliv, p203.23‑25 (ed. Wrobel).

31 Literally, "receiving the celestial activities of her sisters." Mr. Post suggests that the figure is that of a reservoir (dechomenê in Greek).

32 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxliv, pp203.26‑204.4 (ed. Wrobel), who assigns Atropos to the sphere of the fixed stars (cf. the etymologies of Chrysippus as given by Diogenianus, quoted in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. VI.8.9 f.). The order of Clotho and Atropos in our treatise depends on Plato, Republic, 617C.

33 Its substance is the soul of the universe; its quantity the triad of portions into which that soul is divided; its quality the characters of these portions; its order their sequence from highest to lowest; and its relation the dependence of Lachesis on her sisters and her authority over the earth.

34 The first is that of the Phaedrus (245C‑256E).

35 Apparently a reference to a previous book or lecture on the myth of the Republic. Proclus (In Plat. Re Pub. Comm. II p96.11‑13 Kroll) mentions Numenius, Albinus, Gaius, Maximus of Nicaea, Harpocration, Eucleides, and Porphyry as expounders of this myth.

36 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clxviii, p206.4‑6 (ed. Wrobel).

37 568D, supra.

38 The phrase is Stoic, doubtless from Chrysippus, as Gercke (Chrysippea, Index, s.v. ἄπειρος) points out; cf. Alexander, De Fato, chap. xxii, p192.15‑17 (ed. Bruns).

39 "Formula" translates logos.

40 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxlviii, p206.7‑11 and chap. cxlix, pp206.25‑207.3 (ed. Wrobel).

41 Plato, Timaeus, 39D; cf. also Chalcidius, chap. cxlviii, p206.12‑18 (ed. Wrobel). Plato means that the "Complete Year" has elapsed when the eight bodies — the moon, sun, Venus and Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the sphere of the fixed stars — all return to the same relative position. This "great year" could be discovered by finding the least common multiple of the eight revolutions. The words "are measured by the circuit of the Same and Uniformly moving" mean that the great year must contain an integral number of sidereal days.

42 Cf. Cicero, De Nat. Deor. II.20 (52).

43 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxlviii, p206.18‑22 (ed. Wrobel). This is the Stoic apokatastasis, or return of the cosmos to its former state; cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.599, p184.25 (ed. von Arnim), and Nemesius, chap. xxxviii, pp309.4‑310.3 (ed. Matthaei).

44 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxlviii, p206.22‑24 (ed. Wrobel).

45 That is, the heavenly bodies influence us, but we are also causes in our right. This statement excludes astrological determinism.

46 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxviii p310.3‑10 (ed. Matthaei).

47 569A, supra.

48 "Formula" translates logos.

49 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cxlix, pp206.25‑207.6 (ed. Wrobel).

50 Cf. Albinus, Epitome, chap. xxvi.1‑2; Porphyry, On the Things in Our Power, quoted in Stobaeus, vol. II, p169.3‑20 (ed. Wachsmuth); Oenomaüs, The Charlatans Detected, quoted in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. VI.7.32 f.; Aristeides Quintilianus, On Music, III.26, p96.8‑12 (ed. Jahn).

51 That is, it uses a statement of the form: if p, then q: cf. akolouthia, 570A, infra.

52 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clxxix, p228.20 f. (ed. Wrobel).

53 For the relation of statesman­ship and legislation to medicine and gymnastics cf. Plato, Gorgias, 464B‑C.

54 Such a view is attributed to Boëthus and Alexander the Peripatetics; cf. Dexippus, In Aristot. Cat. Comm. II.12, p45.12‑31 (ed. Busse), and Simplicius, In Aristot. Cat. Comm. chap. v, p82.22 f. (ed. Kalbfleisch).

55 569A, supra.

56 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxviii, pp304.7‑305.1 (ed. Matthaei). Chalcidius (chaps. cl‑clii, pp207‑210 Wrobel) uses ex praecessione for the καθ’ ὑπόθεσιν of Nemesius, and secundum praecessionem or iuxta praecessionem (in chap. cl, p208.1‑6 Wrobel the MSS. appear to vary between secundum praecessionem and secundum concessionem) for his ἐξ ὑποθέσεως. Cf. Willy Theiler in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll, pp72 f.

57 Hypothesis has the literal sense of "putting under" or "subjoin another."

58 Plato, Phaedrus, 248C. Chalcidius, chap. clii, pp209 f. (ed. Wrobel) makes a similar use of the same quotation.

59 This is Chrysippus' etymology: cf. Diogenianus, quoted in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. VI.8.8.

60 The topics are discussed in the reverse order of their listing here. This is a mannerism of our author.

61 The author has in mind his later discussion of the relation of the secondary providence of the astral gods to fate (574B‑D, infra).

62 That is, in the sense given to the dictum in (a).

63 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clxxix, p228.9‑25 (ed. Wrobel).

64 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cli, p209.5‑8 (ed. Wrobel).

65 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clxxvii, pp226.23‑227.1 (ed. Wrobel).

66 "Prior in reality" (prohyphestanai) implies the terms "subsist" (hyphestanai) and "subsistence" (hypostasis). Galen (Instit. Logica, p7.19‑22 Kalbfleisch) asserts that in his day "subsist," "exist" (hyparchein), and "be" were synonymous; other writers observe a difference, as Chrysippus, who said (Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.509, 518, pp164.27, 165.35) that present time "exists" while time past and future merely "subsist." Our author seems to use the word in the sense of real existence (cf. Porphyry, Isagogê, p1.9‑13 Busse), implying thereby that what is universal and what is intangible has a higher reality than what is particular or concrete.

67 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clv, p211.12‑14 (ed. Wrobel).

68 Cf. 572E, infra; Chalcidius, chap. clxii, p217.24 f. (ed. Wrobel); Albinus, Epitome, chap. xxvi.3.

69 Dynamis ("potency") can also be translated "capacity" or "capability."

70 Between the substance on the one hand and the process of coming to pass and the thing that comes to pass on the other.

71 The potent and potency are apparently regarded as relatives, and as such neither is prior to the other; but the potent, in its quality of substance, is prior to potency. Cf. Ammonius' discussion (In Porphyrii Isagogen, pp47.6‑48.10 Busse) of the priority of genus to species, where, as relatives the two are "simultaneous," while as substances, the genus is prior to the species.

72 With the preceding discussion of potency cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxiv, p287.2‑10 (ed. Matthaei).

73 Cf. the Stoic view in Alexander, De Fato, chap. x, p176.15 f. (ed. Bruns): δυνατὸν μὲν εἶναι γενέσθαι τοῦτο ὃ ὑπ’ οὐδενὸς κωλύεται γενέσθαι, κἂν μὴ γένηται . . . "that thing is capable [literally "possible"] of occurring which nothing prevents from occurring, even if it does not occur."

74 For this use of metarsia cf. Achilles, Isagoga, chap. xxxii, p68.1‑6 (ed. Maass).

75 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxiv, pp287.14‑288.2 (ed. Matthaei).

76 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxiv, p288.2‑4 (ed. Matthaei). The same threefold division of the contingent is found in Ammonius, In Aristot. De Int. Comm. chap. ix, p142.1‑5 (ed. Busse); cf. also his remark (ibid. p143.3‑6) that only to the ἐπ’ ἴσης is the phrase ὁπότερον ἔτυχε applied.

77 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxiv, p286.13 f. and chap. xl, p318.4 f. (ed. Matthaei); Ammonius, ibid. chap. ix, p143.1 f. (ed. Busse).

78 The same example appears in Aristotle, Physics, II.8 (199 A2 f.), and Metaphysics, XI.8 (1064 B36 f.).

79 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxiv, p288.2‑11 (ed. Matthaei), and for the whole preceding discussion of the possible and the contingent Chalcidius, chap. clv‑clvi, pp211.11‑212.12 (ed. Wrobel).

80 This distinction is no doubt meant to answer the contention that the contingent is concerned exclusively with the future, for which cf. Alexander, De Fato, chap. xxvi, p197.12‑15 (ed. Bruns).

81 Natural priority appears here to refer to the priority of genus to species: cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, V.11 (1019 A2‑4); Alexander, In Aristot. Metaph. Comm. p384.35 (ed. Hayduck); Simplicius, In Aristot. Cat. Comm. chap. xii, pp421.12, 422.21‑24 (ed. Kalbfleisch); Dexippus, In Aristot. Cat. Comm. II.11, p45.5‑11 (ed. Busse).

82 For "real priority" cf. note on 570F, supra. The contingent appears to be prior in reality to free will (τὸ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν) and prior as substrate to the things which we are free to do (τὰ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν).

83 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clviii, p213.14‑18 (ed. Wrobel).

84 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.4 (195 B31); Aëtius, I.29.3, p326 B16 (ed. Diels).

85 Literally, per se.

86 The form is in the mind of the artisan: cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, VII.7 (1032 A32‑B1).

87 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.5 (196 B24‑27), and Chalcidius, chap. clviii, p213.24 f. (ed. Wrobel).

88 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.5 (196 B27‑29).

89 The example comes ultimately from Aristotle: cf. Eth. Nic. III.5 (1112 A27), Metaphysics, V.30 (1025 A15 f.).

90 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.5 (197 A17 f.).

91 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 B23 f.).

92 This view is mentioned by Aristotle, Physics, II.4 (196 B5‑7), who may be alluding to Democritus: cf. Diels and Kranz, Frag. d. Vorsokratiker6, II, p101, Democritus, A 70. It is also the Stoic definition: cf. Aëtius, I.29.7, p326.3‑4 (ed. Diels); Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.956 f., 970 f., pp280 f. (ed. von Arnim).

93 This is Aristotle's definition: cf. Physics, II.5 (197 A5 f.).

94 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clviii, p.214.4‑14 (ed. Wrobel); Nemesius, chap. xxxix, pp312.11‑313.1 (ed. Matthaei). Alexander (De Animi Libri Mantissa, p170.2‑9 Bruns) says that by the doctrine of accidental causes it is possible to hold that nothing happens without a cause and at the same time to save chance, the spontaneous, and what is in our power.

95 58A.

96 "Coincidence" translates the verb συνέβῃ, "fell out," which has the literal meaning "came together."

97 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxix, p313.1‑4 (ed. Matthaei), and Chalcidius, chap. clix, pp214.15‑215.3 (ed. Wrobel).

98 "Forethought" (pronoia) is also translated "providence."

99 570F, 571E, supra.

100 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 A36‑B1).

101 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 B29 f.).

102 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 B22‑27).

103 Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, X.8 (1064 B36).

104 The words "occur . . . end" translate a conjectural supplement.

105 572A‑B, supra.

106 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 B2‑6); Aëtius, I.29.3, p325 B16‑18 (ed. Diels); Chalcidius, chap. clviii, pp213.18‑24 and 214.10‑14, and chap. clix, p215.9‑11 (ed. Wrobel); Nemesius, chap. xxxix, p313.8 f. (ed. Matthaei).

107 Literally "good chance."

108 Cf. Aristotle, Physics, II.6 (197 B3‑5).

109 Literally "the perhaps and the peradventure." For the "perhaps" cf. note on 574D, infra.

110 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xliii, p343.11 f. (ed. Matthaei), and Chalcidius, chap. cxliv, p204.6 f. (ed. Wrobel).

111 Cf. Apuleius, De Platone, I.12, p96.2‑15 (ed. Thomas), and Nemesius, chap. xliv, pp345.2‑346.7 (ed. Matthaei).

112 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xliv, p346.7‑10 (ed. Matthaei).

113 Zeno called fate providence and nature (cf. Stoicorum Vet. frag. I.176, pp44.35 ff. von Arnim). The later Peripatetics held that the fated and the natural were the same (Alexander, De Fato, chap. vi, p169.18‑22 Bruns, De An. Libri Mant. p182, 4‑11 Bruns, and Aëtius, I.29.4, p325 B30‑32 Diels). The Peripatetics, however, were thought to leave no room for providence (Alexander, Quaest. II.21, pp70.33‑71.2 Bruns). Atticus (quoted by Eusebius, Praep. Evang. VI.12.1) ascribes to Plato the doctrine that since soul and nature are identical, and everything occurs in conformity with nature, everything occurs in conformity with providence. See also W. Theiler in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll, p46, note 2.

Cf. also Chalcidius, chap. cxlv, p204.19‑22 (ed. Wrobel): "Et divina quidem et intellegibilia quaeque his proxima sunt [scil. Platoni placet esse] secundum providentiam solam, naturalia vero et corporea iuxta fatum . . ."

114 Cf. Nemesius, chap. xxxviii, p304.5‑7 (ed. Matthaei); Chalcidius, chap. cxlvii, p206.2 f. and chap. cxliv, p204.9‑14 (ed. Wrobel); and Boëthius, Philos. Cons. IV.6.14.

115 572F, supra.

116 Plato, Timaeus, 29D‑30A.

117 Plato, Timaeus, 41D‑E.

118 Our author seems to have obtained this notion of foundation" (basis) by pressing Plato's words "mounting (embibasas) them thereon as on a vehicle." It is perhaps significant that the astrologers called the horoscope a basis, as foundation of a man's lot in life (cf. Cumont, "Ecrits hermétiques" in Rev. de Philol. XLII, p71, note 5).

119 Plato, Timaeus, 42D; cf. 573F, infra.

120 Plato, Timaeus, 42D‑E.

121 That is, each of the new-made gods.

122 Cf. Plato, Phaedrus, 247A.

123 Evil is found in daemons, mortal beings created by the secondary gods. The will or thought (or both) of these daemons constitutes tertiary providence. Hence our author finds an allusion to tertiary providence in the words "to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty."

124 Plato, Laws, 875C‑D. The argument implicit in our author is this: if a man should be gifted with understanding he would need no law to govern him; how much less, then, would a god have need of laws, and of fate, which is a kind of law!

125 That is, in the first or primary providence.

126 570E, supra.

127 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. clxxvii, pp226.18‑227.1 (ed. Wrobel).

128 Theages, 129E. In the context of the dialogue the "daemonic power" is of course the sign of Socrates.

129 That is, while primary providence includes fate, tertiary providence is included in fate, being the "hypothesis" which leads to a fated result.

130 568E, supra.

131 To the Stoics the "chain" — that is, the chain of causes — represents the whole course of cosmic change: cf. Cicero, De Div. I.56 (127); Alexander, De Fato, chap. xxiii, p193.6 and chap. xxiv, p194.3 (ed. Bruns); and Eustathius on Homer, Il. VIII.19. See also W. Theiler in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll, p44, note 5.

132 The author means the planetary movements. The planets constitute the second division of substantial fate.

133 The Stoics called a cause external to the thing affected "procatarctic" or "initiatory." Thus the man who starts a cylinder rolling down a slope is the procatarctic cause of the course of the cylinder. He does not determine what that course shall be; he merely sets the cylinder in motion. Cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.346, pp119 f. (ed. von Arnim); Cicero, De Fato, 19 (43); Galen, De Causis Pulsuum, I.1, vol. II, p261 (ed. Kühn); Proclus, In Plat. Rem P. Comm., II, p261 (ed. Kroll); M. Pohlenz, Die Stoa (Göttingen, 1948), vol. I, pp104 ff., vol. II, pp60 f. Our author's meaning appears to be that on the theory which presents secondary providence as included in fate, we shall find that secondary providence or the planets initiate certain terrestrial situations, which are fated, while the movements of the planets are themselves fated, inasmuch as they are the results of certain antecedent conditions.

134 The Stoic view.

135 That is, praise and blame are not made meaningless by the author's view of fate: cf. Cicero, De Fato, 17 (40); Albinus, Epitome, chap. xxvi.1; Chrysippus in Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.998, pp292 f. (ed. von Arnim); Alexander, De Fato, chap. xxxiv, p206.1 (ed. Bruns).

136 For the "indolent argument" cf. Cicero, De Fato, 12 f. (28 f.); Gellius, VII.2.4‑5; Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.957, p278.19‑26 (ed. von Arnim). Addressed to a sick man, it runs as follows: "If it is fated for you to recover from your illness, you will recover whether you call a physician or no; again, if it is fated for you not to recover, you will not recover, whether you call a physician or no; now it is fated for you either to recover or not recover: you therefore call a physician in vain."

137 For the argument of the reaper cf.  Diogenes Laert. VII.25 and Ammonius, In Aristot. De Int. Comm. chap. ix, p131.25‑32 (ed. Busse): ἐι θεριεῖς, φησίν [scil. ὁ λόγος] οὐχὶ τάχα μὲν θεριεῖς τάχα δὲ οὐ θεριεῖς, ἀλλὰ πάντως θεριεῖς, καὶ εἰ μὴ θεριεῖς, ὡσαύτως οὐχὶ τάχα μὲν θεριεῖς τάχα δὲ οὐ θεριεῖς, ἀλλὰ πάντως οὐ θεριεῖς· ἀλλὰ μὴν ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἤτοι θεριεῖς ἢ οὐ θεριεῖς· ἀνῄρηται ἄρα τὸ τάχα, εἴπερ μήτε κατὰ τὴν ἀντίθεσιν τοῦ θεριεῖν πρὸς τὸ μὴ θεριεῖν ἔχει χώραν, ἐξ ἀνάγκης τοῦ ἑτέρου τούτων ἐκβαίνοντος, μήτε κατὰ τὸ ἑπόμενον ὁποτερᾳοῦν τῶν ὑποθέσεων· τὸ δὲ τάχα ἦν τὸ εἰσφέρον τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον· οἴχεται ἄρα τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον. "If you are going to reap (the argument runs) it does not follow that you will perhaps reap, perhaps not, but you will certainly reap; and similarly if you are not going to reap: it does not follow that you will perhaps reap, perhaps not, but you will certainly not reap. But necessarily you are either going to reap or not going to reap. 'Perhaps' then is eliminated, since it has no place in the opposition between 'going to reap' and 'not going to reap' — as one of these two must necessarily occur — nor yet in what follows on either supposition. But 'perhaps' is what introduced the contingent. The contingent therefore disappears."

138 The argument "contrary to fate" is not mentioned elsewhere by name; for a conjecture cf. Zeller, Die Philos. der Griechen, III.15, p171, note 1.

139 Chrysippus had tried to show that the "indolent argument" was a fallacy; cf. Cicero, De Fato, 13 (30). Our author would regard all three arguments as valid against the Stoic position, while fallacious against his own.

140 Cf. Alexander, De Fato, chap. ix, p175.12 (ed. Bruns).

141 "Spirit" (pneuma) in Stoic theory is a corporeal substance pervading the whole universe and holding it together (cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.439‑444, pp144‑146 and 543, p172.19 von Arnim). Sympathes (here rendered "at one with itself . . . in affections") points to their theory of "sympathy": that the universe is so perfectly integrated a whole that when one part of it is affected all its other parts are affected as well.

142 For the proof of the existence of fate from that of divination cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.939‑944, pp270‑272 (ed. von Arnim); for the appeal to all mankind cf. Cicero, De Div. I.6 (11); for the involvement of the existence of God in that of divination cf. Cicero, ibid. I.5 (9) and I.38 (82‑83).

143 Cf. W. Theiler in Phyllobolia für Peter von der Mühll, p86, note 3.

144 The expression κατὰ μοῖραν ("in order") can mean "duly" or "in conformity with fate."

145 Cf. Stoicorum Vet. Frag. II.962, p275.23‑27 (ed. von Arnim).

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