Practical exercises: PD3

  • Quote

    PD3: "The removal of all pain is the limit of the magnitude of pleasures. Wherever pleasure is present, as long as it is there, pain or distress or their combination is absent." (Long and Sedley translation)

    Exercise: as you go about your day, focus on pleasurable sensations, thoughts, feelings and actions and, later, think about what happened to your mental and physical pains while you were focused on pleasure.

    Notes: Think about the difficulty of removing all pains, especially as you get older and physical pains increase! The mere act of focusing on pains increases them. Instead, focusing on pleasure can be a therapeutic practice when you are in times of pain and stress. Further, the choice and avoidance of pleasures and pains is the basis of Epicurean ethics.

    In this PD Epicurus is not only refuting the argument that pleasure is limitless and insatiable, but pointing the way to the best life.

    For additional discussion on PD3: Philebus - Plato's Arguments Against Pleasure and Epicurean Responses

  • The mere act of focusing on pains increases them.

    I would think the same thing could be said about pleasures?

    When we're talking about focusing on something, that's a mental choice to take over the role of deciding what is most important at the moment, and surely it makes sense whenever possible to focus on pleasures, since ultimately they are the reason we do everything else (even accept short-term pains).