Cosmology and Theology

Philosophical Forum Natural Philosophy

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The Stoic world is a living creature with a fixed life cycle, ending in a total ‘conflagration’ (ekpyrōsis). Being the best possible world, it will then be succeeded by another identical world, since any variation on the formula would have to be for the worse. Thus the Stoics arrive at the astonishing conception of an endless series of identical worlds – the doctrine of cyclical recurrence, according to which history repeats itself in every minute detail. (For the leading Stoic dissenter on this, see Panaetius §1.)
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