In the first part (4-6 pm), Prof. Powers will lead a close reading on the Stoic conception of the soul’s hegemonikon or ruling part. This concept has often been studied in the context of the Stoic account of human agency, but it also plays an important role more generally in their explanation of how the bodies and bodily activities of living things are related to those things’ souls or natures.
In the second part (6-8 pm) we will discuss a new paper by Prof. Powers (comment: Dorothea Prell) about the way in which the Stoics thought about the hegemonikon in the special case of the cosmos as a whole (“The Stoic Argument for the Rationality of the Cosmos”). One of the central lines of argument in Stoic theology runs as follows: given the way in which the cosmic body is organized, we may infer it is controlled by a hegemonikon that is rational. This paves the way for the identification of the cosmos as god.