"THE ELDER PLINY ON PHILOSOPHERS." MIRIAM GRIFFIN. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Supplement. No. 100, VITA VIGILIA EST: ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF BARBARA LEVICK (2007), pp. 85-101 (17 pages)
Pliny 's philosophical stance
There is not need here to describe and analyze the philosophical or quasi-philosophical views of the Elder Pliny, since that difficult task has been done very well by Mary Beagon and others.28 There is a consensus that Pliny is not an adherent of any one philosophical doctrine, but that his mental landscape features strong Stoic elements, notably on cosmology, non-anthropomorphic conception of the divine (with HN 2.14, cf. Sen. Nat. 2.45), the existence of divine Providence, and man's centrality in the universe. There is also a clear debt to Epicureanism, notably in the rejection of belief in the after life (HN 7.5), belief in astrology and various forms of divination (2.23-24, 2.28, 11.273), and, at one point, belief in direct providential concern for individuals (2.20): superstitions from which the rational study of nature can free us (2.54).
(HN = Natural History)