This lecture primarily focuses on the great Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero.
The Stoics focus on the ideal of self-reliance and of living according to “right reason in accord with nature.” This latter idea articulates an important and foundational principle of natural law theory.
The idea of right reason is that humans can reason rightly or wrongly. Right reason is truthfully discerning the nature of things. We can go astray or be on target, but we should strive for discerning truth and reality.
The Stoics thought that by living in accordance with right reason and discovering their true nature, one can live in harmony and happiness. All humans have reason, and if all are self-reliant and practice right reason, society will be harmonious.
According to Koterski, the Stoics also sought to connect nature and law to God. God becomes more personal for the Stoics than with Aristotle or Plato. God also becomes the law-giver. This is important historically because it paves the way for Christian natural law and its notion of a personal God. It also puts ethics under the rubric of law instead of virtue.
In his expression of morality,
One can see in the Stoics and Cicero the groundwork for later Christian thinking on natural law and other issues. Naturally, that is the topic for subsequent lectures.