Thoughts On PD 22

  • [Thanks to Matt for this post]

    “We must consider both the real purpose and all the evidence of direct perception, to which we always refer the conclusions of opinion; otherwise, all will be full of doubt and confusion.”

    -Principal Doctrine 22

    “τὸ ὑφεστηκὸς δεῖ τέλος ἐπιλογίζεσθαι καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἐνάργειαν, ἐφʼ ἣν τὰ δοξαζόμενα ἀνάγομεν· εἰ δὲ μὴ πάντα ἀκρισίας καὶ ταραχῆς ἔσται μεστά.”

  • A few thoughts:

    (1) I read "real purpose" and "all the evidence of direct perception" to be two different things, adding up to A: the ultimate goal of pleasure and B: the faculties of sense given to us by nature (as opposed to rationalism / idealism)

    (2) I read "to which we always refer the conclusions of opinion" to mean that we are to judge the correctness of our opinions according to both (a) our specific context as measured by our faculties, and (b) our continuing general assessment of the goal of life, which is generally pleasure and not any more specific goal of virtue or salvation or whatever.

    (3) And I read the ultimate point being that not only the best path toward our goal, but also the way to avoid fear, uncertainty, and doubt, is to keep this dual process constantly at work in our minds, meaning that we should constantly both (a) use our faculties to take stock of our immediate circumstances and(b) use that information to make decisions which are best suited to attain the ultimate goal (pleasure), even if for the moment we defer pleasure or even choose something painful.

    Anyone see things significantly differently?

  • Cassius I agree with a couple of minor deviations. I wouldn't contrast direct perceptions with reason/idealism by saying nature "gave" (metaphorically) one and not the other. Obviously our ability to reason and idealize is evolved naturally-- it sure isn't supernatural 😂. It's just that one involves contact with external reality and the other involves further neurological processing.

    And under your point 3, I would not say we only refer to immediate perceptions, which are fleeting-- it would be hard if not impossible to do that anyway. In a way, all our conscious perception is of events slightly preceding awareness anyway. So I would include memory, although the longer ago, the more we rewrite our memories. If we didn't include past perceptions at all, though, we wouldn't have any stable experience of reality.

  • I see Elli and Matt discussed this further:


    Αctually, in the greek text there are not the words "purpose", and the word "both". Instead for the word "purpose" is the greek word "telos" that means goal/end.

    transl. XXII. (22) We must consider in the real end of life and all its obvious truth (i.e the obvious truth of the end), on which we base these that we think are right. Otherwise, everything will be full of wrong judgments and turmoil.

    And more at this link -…ermalink/3628327833882817