Mike Anyayahan Level 03
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Posts by Mike Anyayahan

    Not sure either. So far, all suspected carriers here in the Philippines have been found negative. My wife just arrived from Cebu where a child having been suspected of carrying the virus has also just been found negative. Wew! Not sure in China.

    Just a quick question. Is EP monistic for holding the sole substance of matter and its absence: void? Or dualistic for recognizing matter and void? I feel like I knew the answer at one point but Im failing to recall it.

    Nice question. I'd like to add a question on top of it. If it's not monistic or dualist, is it pluralist?

    Philologists were one of the categories of members of the Epicurean community mentioned in Philodemus’ scroll on frank criticism, as attested by DeWitt in “Organization and procedures in Epicurean communities”.

    Just like my reply to Godfrey, I acknowledge that Philology is important not only in the study of Epicueanism but also in the study of everything. But my question is "Did Epicurus think of Philology whenever he mentioned philosophy? We know how Epicurus reiterates the importance of philosophy.

    The reason why I asked is because of my comment in the other thread that categorization, logic, and abstraction are indispensable especially when communicating with others our subjective experience and the knowledge we get out of it. Besides, Epicurean philosophy is also a knowledge that must be understood by us with similar precision. Therefore, the element of similitude and categorization can not be eliminated for the sake of relativism and indeterminacy which are the by-product of the atomic swerve.

    For instance, you perceive a "horse" or "horses" to be different from what I sense, but we understand each other when we communicate and talk that a "horse" is there at the ranch. For sure you wouldn't think of a dragon-like creature, and I wouldn't surely think of a cat. We abstract, categorize, and generalize it so we can convey to others our similar sense experience. And we can not deny the importance of communication since it is useful not only in friendship but also in being part of a larger society. This abstraction is impossible without philosophy.

    My point is that despite the precedence of sensation over rationality, reason and philosophy are still important for the purpose of grasping what is generally true., and I'd like to understand that abstraction is still necessary since Epicurus expressed that philosophy is also important.

    Therefore, my question is "Did Epicurus think of logic whenever he mentioned 'philosophy'?" I am curious, but I doubt he was thinking of Philology to mean philosophy.:)

    For better or for worse, there is a necessary philological component to this particular philosophy. In modern philosophy the complete original works of various philosophers can be read. Only a small fraction of Epicurus' original works survive. Much of what we have to work with are secondary sources and fragments, so it's important to understand the context of this and that in order to properly address the abstractions.

    Yes. But did Epicurus think of Philology whenever he mentioned philosophy? And if not, what do you think Epicurus would think of philosophy? Logos? Logic? Metaphysics? Or what?

    ADMIN EDIT BY CASSIUS 1/23/20:  Because Mike's comments here are pretty technical I have moved this part of the discussion to a new thread. It originally came from the thread: Feedback From A User

    Also: Epicureanfriends is primarily a forum for generalists, and I hesitate to let the public discussion go too deeply into highly technical issues that would leave the general reader behind. If someone wants to explore these issues more deeply, I would appreciate that person providing summary definitions of the terms rather than using them and expecting readers to know them already.

    Here is a list of terms that probably should be defined before going further. Rather than simply giving a link it would be preferable to be able to summarize what they mean in a couple of sentences. I don't have the time to do that right now myself but brief definitions of these would need to be provided for the conversation to be meaningful; otherwise it would be better if the people involved discussed them privately using the "conversation" feature: Cartesian dualism; Kantian idealism; Solipsism; Philology


    I have noticed that the discussion circled around "innate ideas" and "indeterminacy." All these sound like Cartesian dualism and Kantian idealism. I have not yet read DeWitt deeply so I don't know whether or not he had Cartesian and Kantian root. But even so, DeWitt might be right if he finds proper to resort to abstraction and similitude for the sake of categorization since our sensation must be expressed in words in order for our subjective sensation and experience to be communicated with others. Otherwise, Epicureanism is nothing but one form of Solipsism which I don't think to be the case. Besides, we can see across the works of Epicurus that the importance of reason and philosophy has been repeated and emphasized.

    And philosophy involves abstraction. It's not something like this philosopher said this, or this is said elsewhere in a particular passage of the text of this and that scholar or thinker with a particular quote of a context of this and that... That is not philosophy. That is Philology which is a study of what has been said of something. When Epicurus mentioned philosophy, I think he was referring to some sort of abstraction and not to an activity of sharing the ideas of philosophers.

    The indifference of Stoicism has a hard time keeping up with the Swerve of Epicurean Philosophy

    That's also what I told them, but they replied to me that they do not claim to be indifferent. They said that it is the surrounding that is indifferent, and they only have control of their mind whether to affirm an indifferent object as painful or annoying. They gave me an example that when a pen falls on the ground, I shouldn't get annoyed because it is indifferent and does not have any intention to annoy me. Or I can say that it is destined to annoy me so I better not be. This is why I asked them how we could control our mind and feelings toward something if the external world is highly deterministic and uncontrollable. It would be like fooling myself that I am in control of everything.

    Some people look at the pain of life, think that escaping pain is all that matters, develop a "gloomy" disposition, and even regularly question whether they would have been better off if they had never been born. It is probably fair to say that this typical of a personality that strongly embraces Stoicism, while the Epicurean personality affirms that the joy in life is well worth the pain.

    When I used to be active in one FB Stoicism group, I noticed that even stoics there are divided in this issue. Some are gloomy. Others are joyful amidst pain especially for those who incorporate stoicism into cognitive behavioral therapy.

    I just can't understand until now how pain and joy can exist at the same moment. I practiced it before, and it didn't work for me. When I was jobless for quite awhile, I suffered from depression. None of those stoic applications helped me. What cured me was the pleasure I got when landing a new job. This is what makes me believe that practical Epicureanism makes more sense than practical stoicism.;)

    I guess there is no need to debate on the exactness of the definition of pleasure since it's a straightforward term. The very word speaks for itself. What we had to was happiness. And based on the flow of our discussion, the best way to define happiness is through examples instead of through abstraction. Just like with the word pain, I don't think we have to be confused with pleasure. Again, Epicurus is not big on definitions the way Plato and Aristotle spend much energy with.

    I have the impression that Epicurus was right when he said : The removal of pain is an unsurpassed joy i.e. pleasure. :) if we read medical articles on molecules of bliss and happiness we realize that. So, when you have free time please read again the work that was done by Elayne who is a doctor ! On Pain, Pleasure, and Happiness (Version 2)

    I do not actually reject such fact that the removal of pain produces pleasure. In fact, my comment on this emphasizes it:

    "The production of pleasure by the removal of pain is not my personal opinion. It is how I understand what Torquatus said in the second paragraph of part XL of the Book 1 of On Ends. He said "For, as when hunger and thirst are driven away by meat and drink, the very removal of the annoyance brings with it the attainment of pleasure, so in every case, the removal of pain PRODUCES the succession of pleasure. And therefore Epicurus would not admit that there was any intermediate state between pleasure and pain;"

    As I understand it, painlessness does not necessarily mean pleasure because painlessness is the end process of the removal of pain that produces pleasure. Therefore, there is only either pain and pleasure (not either pain or the absence of pain)

    My point is that the absence or removal of pain does not define pleasure so it would be strange if I say that pleasure is the removal of pain. It says here that there is pleasure after the removal of pain. The process of removing pain is not a state but a process that turns pain into pleasure nor a state of painlessness that defines pleasure."

    My point is that painlessness does not necessarily mean pleasure. It is part or the end process of removing pain. What comes next is pleasure. What I'd like us to seek definition is for "pleasure" itself the way we can define "pain."

    As far as I understand, the removal of pain defines the highest pleasure, not pleasure alone.

    Like what I also commented previously:

    "The removal of pain comes in the way only because Torquatus describes the highest pleasure. He describes it by saying "when a man is free from every sort of pain, is not only pleasure, but the highest sort of pleasure." Therefore, let us not forget that what we define here is pleasure, not the highest pleasure."

    Because if we literally hold on to the very premise "That the removal of pain is pleasure," the idea would become abstract. It would mean that death, which removes all sorts of pain, is or produces pleasure.

    And of course, we do not define pain as "something that is removed in order to become pleasure. We define pain as annoyance, disturbance, and the like. That's also what I'd like us to define pleasure if there is any appropriate reference to it. :)

    I would not have believed in Epicurus if I hadn't put him in my scrutiny before. If had believed the false teachings of others about Epicurus without prudence and justice, I would have still been thinking of Epicurus to be either a hermit or a happy-go-lucky guy. Therefore, I think it proper to get rid of Ad Hominem so as not to be unfairly influenced by inauthentic teachings.

    I know I have seen one or more of the commentators suggest that Cicero really swung into anti-Epicurean mode after his daughter died, with the implication being that he just wasn't able to handle that.

    I know how hostile Cicero was to Epicureanism. But since I also know he was a skeptic, I'm confident he presented basic Epicurean philosophy using authority information from Epicureans represented by Torquatus. This is not different from the way we attack a particular philosophy today. Before we do the attack, we get information from authority sources so that our criticism is valid and not based on opinion or supposed understanding of that philosophy. But if Cicero were not a skeptic, it would be a different story. Like for instance, I would think twice if I should learn what Christianity is based on what Nietzsche was trying to tell the world.

    For instance, I did not believe Schopenhauer for asking us to live in solitude. Although he died being alone, that does not mean he practiced what he taught. I had no clue whether or not he was happy with his situation or he simply wanted us to be like him in similar misery. Meanwhile, Epicurus was very happy practicing what he was teaching. I shouldn't doubt when he talks about practicing something. Therefore, happiness is somehow a helpful measurement of an author's authenticity. I just don't know how happy or sad was Cicero

    I think it is generally admirable to take that attitude, but unfortunately a deadly mistake, because people DO twist and turn and misrepresent the "truth" to suit their own purposes. Many people are honestly mistaken, but many are not, and those seem to be the ones who exert the most energy in manipulating other people.

    This is the reason why I do not simply take or swallow the whole package of a philosopher's thought according to merit since it is difficult to trust his or her authenticity. What I do is to scrutinize the whole body and retain every good meat.