Don Level 03
  • from Ohio
  • Member since Feb 25th 2020

Posts by Don

    I didn't read any further than the abstract but that is one of the key issues that we answer philosophically rather than through science. What does "real" mean really mean?

    She defines two definitions of what she means by "real":

    Quote from Barrett

    Natural sciences like physics deal with scientific categories that are assumed to be observer independent (they are real in the natural sense and can be discovered by humans)

    Social sciences like sociology or economics deal with categories that are observer dependent (and are real because they are invented and shared by humans).

    I think those are good basic definitions of how we use "real" in conversation. And Epicurus advised using definitions that could be agreed on by the average person. Photosynthesis - a natural process discoverable by science - is "real" in the first sense. Money - a culturally agreed-upon system of commerce - is "real" in the second sense.

    I think your premise that philosophy is the arbiter of what's "real" is a tad restrictive unless you read her definitions as broadly "philosophical."

    It seems like Epicurus was sufficiently well-off financially

    Good point. It appears there is some economic self-sufficiency implied by autarkeia, but more to be satisfied with what you have as far as I can tell. Sort of like VS35

    In Epicurus' teachings I remember reading something about self-sufficiency

    I would be careful about ascribing the meaning of "economic" self-sufficiency to that word. From what I can find, autarkeia (the word in ancient Greek) had a self-sufficiency connotation of satisfied with yourself, content with yourself, etc. I see this as similar to the ideas of the Epicurean gods who are not affected by anger or gratitude, they are sufficient unto themselves.

    I'd also bring up that the Garden wasn't a commune. Epicurus specifically did not want the members of the Garden's assets to be held in common. People could come and go. I've often imagined the Garden as a retreat in the city of Athens or other cities that had Epicurean communities, not separate from the city but a place to rest, relax, and then re-engage.

    That's the point: We don't "think" about it. It's not "Well, I'm experiencing fear now." Your brain takes in all its sensory input, compares it to past experiences, and pairs this input with a "concept" of "fear." The process is entirely pre-rational. You can look at your fear post facto and realize that wasn't a snake, just a branch on the ground.

    This is how people become over sensitive to certain stimuli and jump at everything. Their brains become conditioned to see threats around every corner. Everything is paired with their "fear concept."

    Her and others' research showed that those photos of paradigmatic "emotions" we can "read on people's faces" are without merit. Those paradigms do not exist. So I would be careful with phrases like " all animals and all humans appear to share" especially when it comes to anthropomorphizing animals.

    Godfrey is welcomed to fact check me in my interpretation here! It's been awhile since I read the book now.

    Now fear is an emotion / feeling and a human would most certainly experience fear as a natural feeling before ever thinking and describing the experience in words, which seems to be a central part of concepts.

    Barrett's point is that a person, say in a dark forest at night, experiences a heightened heart rate, their pupils dilate, their hands may get sweaty, but the identification of these feelings as "fear" is culturally conditioned. Another person may experience those same biological cues in another context and identify it as anticipation, anxiety, excitement, etc. "Emotions" are entirely contextual and constructed in the moment as needed on the fly. There is no universal called Fear (in this example) that applies to all people in all places at all times.

    Ah!! I see now. Bailey's note to PD6 talks about that kinship line. I get where they're getting it now and why it shows up in some places and not others


    PS: I should have added - The αρχής και βασιλείας in the paragraph means "leadership and kingship" (arkkēs kai basileias) Related to the suffixes in monarchy, anarchy; or the word basilica in English.

    Godfrey may be able to add to this, but I can't shake thinking about Dr. Feldman Barrett's use of the word "concept" to denote mental images/memories against which your perceptions and interoceptions are compared. My understanding of her position is something like:

    You're brain attempts to keep you safe and balance your body's energy budget. You see a long skinny thing in the ground once, and recognize it as a snake. Danger. You encounter this a few more times and finally any long slender thing you encounter: twig, rope, snake - automatically registered as "snake." The false positives keep you safe even though they startle you for no practical reason. Now, I know that doesn't line up with prolepses exactly but I think there's a connection there.

    Quick post: The Greek is actually one of the shorter ones:


    Greek text: Usener edition: 6 Ἕνεκα τοῦ θαρρεῖν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἦν κατὰ φύσιν ἀγαθόν, ἐξ ὧν ἄν ποτε τοῦτο οἷός τ’ ᾖ παρασκευάζεσθαι.

    So, the translator is adding lots of commentary/explication in the translation itself, which I'm certainly not averse to. As to the content, I'll have to weigh in later.

    And Nate thank you again for having a better memory than I do, because this is another thread where we need to suit up Don on one side vs Norman DeWitt on the other (and apparently Archontia Liontaki too) as to whether to read sovereignty / kingship into Epicurus' writings on self-protection.

    (But we were talking earlier about PD14 there. RE: PD14 - Alternate Translations Nevertheless a related issue?)

    I see it's been upgraded to a "dispute" now ^^ Get ready to ruuummmble!!!

    This is also the trap when we're looking at translations. Prolepsis, hypolepsis, etc. are one word, different words, in Greek, whereas we have to translate them into English with a modifier + noun many times. An X concept, a Y opinion, and if the same noun just gets modified with a different adjective it starts to muddy the water.

    I don't have a better solution. But it's a consideration.

    beyond any need for seconds further data or reflection.

    This seems to be the sticking point. This goes against the "withhold judgement" ideas of Epicurus's philosophy.



    vs hypolepsis…%3Aentry%3Du%28po%2Flhyis

    PS: I should add that the "false assumptions" of the hoi polloi about the gods in the Letter to Menoikeus are specifically called hypolepses. As opposed to the true prolepses that Epicurus endorsed.

    No one has responded yet to my question in this post:. RE: PD14 - Alternate Translations

    Anyone? I Want to check my thinking in this issue.

    I'll take the bait.

    "All killing is wrong" is an opinion about justice. You say that you are "convinced" by " my faculties and life-long experiences." How are you convinced? What convinced you? You use words like convinced and persuaded.

    If an animal is trying to eat you, is it wrong to kill it to survive yourself or do you resign yourself to your fate?

    Is it okay to kill a virus? Bacteria? Cancer cells are alive. Do you kill them. What scale does your opinion hold? Is it okay to kill a virus but not a multicellular being? Can you kill plants to eat? Or did it just apply to humans? It's okay to kill non-human animals? How non-human?

    You can hold this opinion if you want, but it's not Epicurean. Sounds Pythagorean or Jain even. Epicurus talked about the contextual nature of living our lives and that Not killing principle sounds like a Platonic universal you want to apply to all time, all places, all situations.

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    An episode of It's Okay to be Smart.

    Gives a whole new shade of meaning to "Death is nothing to us." LOL :)

    Circumplex diagram

    It hit me recently that, in looking at the circumplex diagram, the "maximum" pleasure one can experience is at the intersection of the circle and the x axis to the right. Oddly enough, that's where one would be neutral on the arousal y axis. I'm not sure of all the implications of that but does that coincide with homeostasis, eudaimonia, equilibrium...? I *think* it's significant but I'm not sure what that significance is. So, I'm putting my thoughts here for other ideas.

    In many ways it is excellent; in some ways it is disappointing.

    As pertains to this idea, I have a whole different perspective on that work now that I know she wrote it when she was a teenager.

    Approaching it as "Epicurean fan fiction" written by a teenage fan of Epicurus might allow for some leniency with her writing. With that it mind, too, it's more sophisticated than what I would initially expect from a teenager.

    We are, indeed, evidently neither too young nor too old to love and study true philosophy!