Posts by Martin

    Elayne, after reading the second draft once, the content appears again fully agreeable to me.


    I found 2 mistakes in language:


    "I could say that I am honest to avoid the painful anxiety lies coming from lies ..."

    should be:

    "I could say that I am honest to avoid the painful anxiety coming from lies ..."


    "grabbing a hot pain on the stove"

    should be:

    "grabbing a hot pan on the stove"

    Elayne, after reading the draft once, the content appears already fully agreeable to me except that I think that it might be possible to meaningfully quantify feelings and hedonic calculus. (I may or may not get more into this after looking at Godek's/Cassius' spread sheet.)


    The major new thing for me is a clearer understanding where the limit of pleasure actually comes from. I always had problems with the cup analogy and may still have some but no more with respect to the limit. The optimum of stimulation based on the physiology of feeling pleasure explains the existence of the limit well. I was not consciously aware of that before.


    I found only one mistake in language:

    "The conditions for pleasure are not absence environmental input and action."

    should be:

    "The conditions for pleasure are not absence of environmental input and action."

    This podcast and the voice are excellent. The project is good.


    I am a visual learner, especially from diagrams and text, less from photos (unless they are evidence for my work in failure analysis), so I rather avoid listening to podcasts. Even video clips are usually rather a diluted distraction than useful for me. Nevertheless, I will be happy to occasionally contribute again a podcast to Epicurean Radio.

    1. The differences seem too small that I could find a short statement to characterize them.

    2. The Canon instead of just reason, which is "downgraded" to an essential tool for sanity checks, the hedonic calculus, work and communication

    3. Long-term pleasure, which includes action upon compassion for people and animals in the inner circles with disregard for self-interest

    4. Democracy with strongly regulated capitalism and influenced by regional culture (as exemplified in some European countries and Japan, whereby none of them is already close to an "ideal" state)

    Near-death experiences are often misrepresented as evidence for an afterlife or even an omnipotent and omnipresent god (e.g. https://www.yahoo.com/news/wom…tes-writes-161046083.html).

    They are the closest to evidence believers in an afterlife might have. So, it is important to nix the validity of the interpretation of near-death experiences as such evidence.

    I remember one article with a simple explanation by a medical researcher who attributed the symptoms to lack of oxygen in the brain. It seems I did not save that article because the phenomenon itself is not of much interest for me.

    We should have an easy to find position statement with a summary of and references to the research.

    That position statement could be the outcome of collaborative effort in this thread. If there is not much input, I would contribute to this thread from time to time to eventually create the position statement even though the topic is far outside my field of expertise.

    This is my position regarding the linked to articlele, of which the main point is that uncertainty of emergent properties or their relations assure non-determinism even if elementary particles are deterministic :

    In the past, theoretical chemistry dealt predominantly with emergent properties and was thereby clearly separated from physics.

    More and more of these emergent properties can be completely derived from first principles of physics by ab initio calculations. Thereby, hard determinism in the first principles translates into hard determinism of the derived emergent properties. Stochastics comes into play merely as a side effect of efficient expression of relationships between emergent properties at their higher level. Therefore, hard determinism would survive the stochastics in those relationships.

    There appears to be no principal boundary which would make it imposssible to extend this approach to higher level emergent properties. Therefore, it appears feasible to uphold determinism to higher level emergent properties, too, as long as the hard-line determinist makes the bold assumption that there is still hidden physics which upholds determinism.

    The Epicurean position correponds to non-deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics. Emergent properties and their relationships inherit this non-determinism from the first principles. The scale of the additional stochastic nature of these relationships may hide the atomic swerve but it really comes only on top of that atomic swerve and does not refute determinism without the atomic swerve.

    Typically, I access this homepage (and FB) between twice a day and once every 2 days on a laptop and usually not from a smartphone.

    I mostly go down straight to the bottom and click on "Unread Posts" but ignore many links because I feel that I spend too much time reading instead of producing something new.


    The only inconsistency of the interface is when I open the tab under "Notifications", "Moderation" or "Conversations" because a white on red number indicates how many new items there are, the links under the tabs usually do not lead me to anything which I did not yet read. Nevertheless, those numbers shrink and eventually diappear the more I go through the unread posts.

    Aurelius was apparently Marcus' family name and not an attribute given to him. I just read that Marcus Aurelius' father got this attribute and this apparently became then the family name but the reference gave no details.

    As mentioned on FB already, "golden" is much more fitting to Plato, in particular because Epicurus used "the golden" as reference to Plato.

    Marcus Aurelius' Meditations are rather eclectic than plainly stoic. So, using him as a representative for stoicism/virtue does not fit that well.

    Moreover, "golden" does not fit to an emperor who himself lead his army to battles and who died of typhoid on the way back from his last battle.

    Elayne : The outline looks fine to me.

    I guess that adolescence is no more part of childhood and therefore outside the scope of your book. During our son's adolescence, things got really painful and it was no more obvious what to do. I would have dearly needed guidance on how to deal with strong disagreements between the spouses and between spouse and son during that period. With one spouse strongly influenced by Confucius (i.e the East Asian predecessor and equivalent of Plato) and the other being (at that time implicitly) Epicurean, the conflict between spouses was impossible to hide from the son and certainly caused confusion and had negative effects. I am almost surprised that he has turned out just fine so far, has already earned his bachelor's degree and seems to be on track for a pleasant life.

    I feel the most in sympathy with the woman and almost as much with the husband. For the musician-lover, I have much less sympathy. The banker was the obvious villain, who ultimately turned what was already set to be a terminated, secret romance (at least secret to the unsuspecting husband) into a fatal tragedy.


    Whereas I agree broadly with Elli's analysis, here are some details which I see differently:


    "The husband replaced the feelings of love and pleasure with his wife, with the gamble of playing cards."

    No, he still loved his wife. He enjoyed both his marriage with her and playing cards. When she asked him to stay back one night, he accepted.

    His naive insisting on the morals of his time was a condition without which the tragedy would not have happened but he could not have known that beforehand.


    "We do not give gifts (external things) to gain the feelings of love and pleasure."

    Agreed. However, in such movies, giving gifts is a symbol to visualize the courting but it is not meant to tell that the love arises from the gifts. In this movie, the necklace itself and the repeated reference to giving gifts were excellent leitmotives. The skilled and persistent courting was what gained the woman's love, not the necklace or other material gifts.


    "..., for destroying his life, and for living as an outlaw."

    No. At that time, his life was not destroyed, and he was not an outlaw. He was at the apex of his career. He killed the banker to avenge his former lover.


    "The woman : the fatalist stoic who had the idea that her apathetic and miserable husband was her safety and convenience."

    No. Gratitude for some great help (for which no details were given by the movie) was her main motivation to marry her husband and to terminate the affair with the musician.

    Moreover, the husband was not apathetic and miserable. He obviously enjoyed his life.



    The English subtitles were almost always accurate translations. However, I noticed a few times that a statement with nuances was simplified into a plain stoic statement. So, in some sense, the English version is slightly more stoic than the German original.

    Both philosophy and theoretical physics are the kind of activities for which great pleasure comes after the pain of sorting things out. This is what I mean with preparations for future pleasure. Some of those preps are tough but the pleasure gained with each success or at least a lesson learned is worth the pain.