Mike Anyayahan Level 03
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Posts by Mike Anyayahan

    This issue (pleasure obtained by filling a need / healing a pain) is closely related to the "replenishment" theory of pleasure discussed at length in the Gosling and Taylor book as one of the theories of pleasure,

    That's pleasure.

    Yes Mike I think that removal of pain is one description of producing pleasure, but not the only way, as illustrated by the smelling of the rose example.

    Perhaps what you mean is a description of pleasure in relation to removal of pain. Actually, I do not see the removal of pain to be a description of pleasure as I expressed in my comments. Pain is pain. Pleasure is pleasure. Both words are straightforward.

    OK not to pick nits again but i think the "produced by" can be taken too far. Ultimately I don't think I would agree that pleasure is produced by absence of pain any more than it would be correct to say that atoms are produced by absence of void, would it? Yes the only way to remove a feeling of pain is to replace it with pleasure, because of the nature of the beast - if we feel anything, it is either pleasure or pain in the Epicurean scheme. But to say "produced by" adds another dimension with implications that cannot be sustained.

    When you derived pleasure from smelling a rose, what pain did you remove to achieve that pleasure? So I think it is important not to carry "produced by" too far.

    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.

    I think in part DeWitt is focusing on his observation that "pleasure has meaning only to the living" and to the resulting observation that unless we have life, no pleasure is possible, which makes life that without which there is no possibility of experiencing pleasure.

    Yes Cassius. I agree. This was my point I'd like to reiterate when I said that death can remove all our pains, but it won't make us happy nor live in pleasure since we are already dead. This is why I understand pleasure not literally to be the absence of pain but something that is produced by the absence of pain and that will exist as pleasure togetber with that absence of pain that has produced it.

    There are some persons that claim deviously accusing Epicurus of living in a cave with bread and water and they make the conclusion that in our era to have a car is unnatural and unnecessary. No, the desire for traveling and visiting other places, unknown and known persons as friends it is not unnatural and unnecessary desire. It is a must. It is the enrichment of memories and feelings. As it was the horse in the Epicurus era, now is the car and airplane for traveling. And if we are incapable yet to accumulate the power/energy from our star/sun or air, and we still are fighting each other for the oil for using the means of transportation and the means for cultivation of our food, we do not get under the economical/political orders to eliminate our desires and following the motto of "frugality" for living our life in a cave with bread and water and that's fine. No, we will try with all of our efforts to investigate Nature since the investigation is in our nature, for living like gods among gods. This is eudaemonia !

    BECAUSE we have to remember and to not forget (this is the word “a+litheia” (true) in greek that means “without oblivion”) this again and again: Every explanation without the core that exists in Epicurean philosophy is something just to talk about since every issue and every term in Epicurean philosophy has a fixed bond with pleasure. For EP every of our choice and avoidance, in our life, serves the pleasure, and it has the pleasure in its foundation i.e. inside its core. If you follow false philosophies, false religions with obsessions, false ideologies with -isms, false mainstreams, false economical, sociological, psychological theories, it is sure that you will end up compromised, subordinated and manipulated, so then the pleasure is lost, as well as your study in Nature and Epicurean Philosophy loses its core and disappears too. So, when someone confuses things and issues with the study of EP that is a whole, he has not to say for himself that is an epicurean, he is something else that pretends that he is an epicurean. :/

    I agree with this. A rich man who is grateful, happy, not anxious, appreciative, and prudent can become an Epicurean much more than a poor guy who is too anxious even with little things. It is not the amount of possession that counts but the attitude toward the possession.

    But for the sake of studying what Epicurus is teaching us about happiness and pleasure, it is clear that they are two different things that are similar. It is still important to determine the exactness of their differences so we can avoid some false interpretations of the real message of Epicurus. If happiness for Epicurus is Eudamonia, that doesn't mean pleasure is ataraxia the way the absence of pain doesn't necessarily mean pleasure. I guess there is nothing else to define pleasure since it's the ultimate definition of such feeling. It is happiness that needs refinement.

    Which is why practice and translating our words into living actions is of extreme importance ;)

    Gotcha! Action speaks louder than words. The application of Epicureanism in all aspects of our daily life will best define happiness and pleasure. Besides, Epicurean philosophy is straightforward and not as abstract as that of Plato, Kant, or Hegel. It's ethics is obviously practical, hence not complicated to practice.

    Right -- these babies are "happy" even though they do not know a single word, or a single point of logic, which shows that neither words nor logic are necessary for happiness at the earliest stages of life, to which we look as examples of those who are uncorrupted.

    This is interesting. If that is the case, no words or knowledge can explain well what happiness really is. So in order to tell the lay audience what it is, we have to explain it by making our words produce a picture that is easy to imagine. Using examples is a lot helpful.

    I see I have uncovered a major new problem: Mike and I are time zone incompatible, and he gets going right when I am about to fall asleep! I will see what I can do to fix that, but in the meantime I am afraid I am out for the night. Keep up the posting and I will catch up tomorrow! (And stay away from the Volcano!)

    Thanks Cassius. Anyways, I can be at any time zone depending on my daily chores. Ok, I think you are getting sleepy. Good night. See you here again tomorrow. :)

    Epicurus was focusing on definition by examples.

    You nailed it! In my language which is Filipino (Tagalog), We have the word "Maligaya" which is more like Eudaimonia and "Masaya" which is more like pleasure. We are not confused about the two especially if we use examples or say them with appropriate connotations. We translate "Are you happy with your work?" with "Maligaya ka ba sa trabaho mo?" or "Masaya ka ba sa trabaho mo?' interchangeably. Ordinary Filipinos would understand them to be the same thing. So when I tell them in Tagalog what Epicureanism is, they don't encounter any confusion about happiness and pleasure much the same as when I talk to a Filipino language teacher.

    I guess it's not wrong to believe that the word happiness that is repeatedly used across Epicurus works is Eudaimonia. I don't think of any problem with it so long as we understand that the highest good is pleasure and not happiness. The important thing is that we are aware that the relationship between the two makes each other like identical. Torquatus said that "to live happily is nothing except to live with pleasure."

    Even Aristotle said that happiness "...is some plain and obvious thing like pleasure."

    Our debate today is not new. It was already being debated in ancient Greece. Here is the full context from Nicomachean Ethics, "Verbally there is a very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it is [eudaimonia], and identify living well and faring well with being happy; but with regard to what [eudaimonia] is they differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing like pleasure, wealth or honour…"

    Aristotle and Torquatus consider happiness and pleasure to mean the same thing. Therefore, it must not be a big issue if we sometimes use them interchangeably as this is also used interchangeably in some of the texts we use such as the Letter to Menoeceus, PD, VS, and On Ends. Besides, Epicurus is not big on definitions or essences of things. Since the debate about this was already existing in ancient Greece, Epicurus would probably think of happiness and pleasure the way Aristotle and Torquatus would understand them. If not, where can we find a proof that Epicurus made any distinction much clearer than that of Torquatus?

    Whether one or more of them is a "state" however may be a different question ;)

    Again, like what I mentioned to you yesterday, I do not believe in anything static or a certain kind of state. We just can't help using the term for the sake of analysis. The fact that the absence of pain produces pleasure simply explains they are different from each other. When I produce a meal, the meal is not me. ;)

    Mike, I think you are spot on with differentiating the two. I would add that it is possible that we'll understand how the mind (our brain) undergoes pleasure and I think the absence of pain isn't the full story. We are hungry, so we eat, and then we are satiated. IMO, pleasure can start by thinking about what you want to eat and with whom you want to dine with.

    Yes. That's exactly the point. Like what I argued yesterday here, death will guarantee the removal of all pains, but it will never give us pleasure since the dead are already devoid of sensation, hence they could never want or be satisfied.

    I am beginning to see that pleasure and happiness are two different things, and it seems that happiness is a somewhat remote state as compared to mental pleasure. It appears to me that happiness is a circumstance while pleasure is a kind of feeling. Torquatus said that the greatest pleasure of the mind is a contributor to happiness. This implies a connection of two different things.

    In the last paragraph of part XVII of Book 1 of On Ends, Torquatus said "This is now entirely evident, that the very greatest pleasure or annoyance of the mind contributes more to making life happy or miserable..."

    And with regard to my previous comment that the absence of pain does not necessarily mean pleasure, Torquatus has the same explanation when he said in the same paragraph that "...we affirm that men do rejoice at getting rid of pain even if no pleasure, which can affect the senses, succeeds."

    In other words, pleasure and happiness are not the same thing while pleasure and the absence of pain are two different states as well.

    Cicero's comment presupposes that pleasure is irrational which is contrary to what Torquatus explains about the use of virtue for pleasure. I think it is just an argumentative device he made in order to insert the popular notion of pleasure as against that of Epicureans. Cicero loves teasing for an argument to come out as opposed to Socrates who loves interrogation.

    Yes I am convinced that is the main point Mike. I know we are hitting you with a lot of material in terms of the DeWitt book and now these other articles such as Nikolsky, and I presume you have a life outside this philosophy work, plus you have to worry about a volcano!

    But over time I hope you will keep an eye on this particular issue. It's something we are going to face with every new person who comes down the road, because the mainline summaries of Epicurus are so focused on this point -- it is the strategy they use to back up their argument that Epicurus was not REALLY a hedonist after all, because what he really advocated was this "fancy pleaure" which really isn't pleasure as ordinary people understand it at all.

    Lol. Volcano is nothing to fear. :) Yes. I know that Epicurus is hedonistic. I don't think he promotes Taoism or Zen Budhism. This is why my strong argument is that death will guarantee the removal of all pains, but it will never provide us any pleasure.