On a Possible Critique of Stoicism as Utilitarian
Jean-Paul Sartre critiqued Stoicism in favor of Existentialism on — in essence — Stoicism’s impotent nature, however, I don’t agree with this interpretation. A possible critique I thought up is a much better methodology of refutation…
I follow this from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations:
Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people — unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind (Book 3, Paragraph 4).
As well as his quote,
Have I done something for the common good? Then I share in the benefits (Book 11, Paragraph 4).
We even see him take it as far as a pure Utilitarianism,
To undertake nothing:
i. at random or without a purpose;
ii. for any reason but the common good (Book 12, Paragraph 20).
From hereon you can apply typical Utilitarian critique, and Stoicism from here crumbles.