Who is Gaius Musonius Rufus?

Who is Gaius Musonius Rufus?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Gaius Musonius Rufus, M.S. He is a Roman Stoic philosopher who lived in the 1st century. Seneca is one of the four great Stoic philosophers of the Roman empire along with Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius .

Known as a great Stoic teacher, Musonius emphasized that he thought of philosophy as nothing more than the practice of noble conduct. Virtue has defended the commitment to live for virtue, not pleasure, as it saves life from the mistakes that ruin life. “Although philosophy is more difficult than any other subject, it is more important; because it corrects errors in thinking.” has emphasized. He also argued that simple personal habits, including a simple diet and inexpensive clothes and shoes, were necessary to achieve a good and sound life in accordance with Stoic principles.

He believed that philosophy should be studied to develop good character, a sound mind, and a healthy body, not to increase clarity in arguments or develop excessive intelligence. Musonius excluded all luxuries and did not approve of extramarital sexual activity. He emphasized the importance of orderly life and family. He used to say that women should study philosophy because he thought that the virtues were the same for both sexes. Since Stoic Orthodoxy accepts concepts such as death, injury, pain, poverty or exile as destiny, it argues that these are not things to be afraid of.

Latin, philosopher, tried to develop Stoicism, defended that philosophy should aim virtue. Born circa 20 AD in Vulsinium (Etruria), died in Rome during the imperial reign of Titus (79-81). He started to deal with philosophy at a very young age, he was employed as a hard worker in the construction of the Roman walls on Nero’s order. He was expelled from Rome for a while, and returned when Nero died. He held Vitellus against Vespasian in an uprising, and when Dometianus, angry at this, seized power and expelled him from Rome for the second time, he went to Syria. He returned to Rome during the reign of Titus.

Musonius wanted to make the moral understanding of the Stoic doctrine the basis of philosophy by reinterpreting it. According to him, philosophy is a science that creates a rule of life and directs human behavior. What is important for human beings is not to think in terms of some abstract concepts, but to live. For this reason, philosophy is a moral doctrine with virtue in its focus. His main task is to teach to be content with little, to behave in moderation, to get rid of passions, to respect people, to love and to be virtuous. In terms of thinking, all people are restless, unhealthy. Philosophy will enlighten them, relieve them of anxiety, and restore them to health. In order to achieve these, it is necessary to adopt virtue as a life principle.

Virtue is achieved not by knowing or learning, but by willing. It is necessary to want virtue, to be moderate in all actions and behaviors, and to adopt an attitude stemming from respect and love. Because being virtuous is the only principle that brings happiness to a person. According to Musonius, marriage is natural, inevitable for the future, integrity and health of society. The institution of the family is the founding element of humanity, its downfall leads to the downfall of humanity. One should only eat food made from plants, stop shedding blood and eating meat. The virtuous person is benevolent, good, and refrains from killing other living things for food.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook