[MUSIC] The Stoics illustrate the sort of attitude we are supposed to bring to the vicissitudes of life by invoking the analogy of an archer taking aim at a target. The target stands in for the sorts of objectives we pursue in life, health, life, family, financial security, friendship, respect, and so on. The archer who takes aim at the target and releases the arrow, stands in for us making appropriate decisions about when, how, and whether to aim at our objectives. To take proper aim at our objectives is to do what is appropriate kathekon in pursuit of them. The archer's skill of taking proper aim at the target is the analog of the art of living of the virtuous person. Now suppose the archer has aimed perfectly and expertly at the target, taking into account all the relevant conditions, like air pressure, wind speed, and direction, and so on. Is she guaranteed to hit the target? No, because something unforeseen can come up. A freak gust of wind for example, or an earth tremor if it moves the target. But does the archer have anything to feel bad about? To regret if that happens? Has she done anything inexpert? Has she made any mistakes? No, she is fully successful as an archer in so far as that involves exercising the skill of archery. And that is all that matters, according to the Stoics, in archery as well as in life. The goal of the archer is to aim well at the target, not to hit it. The archer who misses the target, through no defect in her archery, is like the wise and virtuous person who has taken all appropriate steps to protect her health, or promote the well being of her children, but still ends up ill or bereft due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond her control. So the virtuous person too, even though she fails to reach her objectives, is still fully succesful as a rational agent, and has nothing to regret or be distressed about. This is the sort of attitude we are supposed to bring to all our actions according to the Stoics. We are to care only about acting appropriately in pursuit of objective, such as health, wealth, and family. We are not to care about whether we actually achieve these objectives. It is the wisdom of the universe that decides whether we will hit the target. And so, to be completely attuned to that divine wisdom, we have to be prepared to accept it if our efforts fail to hit the target, if we lose our health or our livelihood or our loved ones. Upset or distress are appropriate attitudes to take when bad things happen to you. The Stoics agree with this. But they think that our good consists entirely in acting virtuously. This is the theory behind the stoic slogan, only the honorable is good. It is no dishonor to the archer to miss the target, due to a freak wind, nor for the virtuous to lose livelihood and loved ones due to factors beyond their control. And so, there is nothing bad in these outcomes either. Thus it is inappropriate to be distressed when they occur. Now the Epicureans too, advocated a life without distress. But the route by which they proposed to reach it is very different from the Stoic route. They counsel us to care only about a limited class of objectives. Those that we can be confident of obtaining. The Stoics take the more plausible position that we can't be confident of obtaining even the basic bodily satisfaction that Epicurus teaches is so easy to get. But since they also maintain that there's nothing bad in being hungry, thirsty, and cold, they can agree with the Epicurean that we have nothing to worry about on that front. The Stoics also have a deep disagreement with the followers of Aristotle. The Peripatetics insisted against the Stoics, that to be living well, that is to achieve the goal of life. You not only needed to be living virtuously, you also needed to acquire, or at least to keep, a sufficient number of the external objectives like health, financial security, and freedom from bodily pain. Although it is worth noting that in maintaining this, they are being explicit where Aristotle in not. Indeed, it is arguable that the Stoics, in insisting that our good consists entirely in the excellent exercise of our reason, are more faithful to the conclusion of the function argument articulated by Aristotle, himself. Now one point on which Stoics, Epicureans and Peripatetics agreed is that our actions are up to us. Their disagreement concerned whether any results beyond our actions were an essential feature of living well. We'll turn next to a dispute about whether the Stoics could consistently maintain that our actions are up to us. Their Peripatetic, Epicurean and Academic opponents insisted that this thesis, that our actions are up to us, is incompatible with another Stoic doctrine. The doctrine of fate.