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  • Thank you both so far for posting. I will reply further to both but here is what I posted as preliminary thoughts: Thanks for all the work you put into this Hiram. I have been busy and even now have not been able to read closely through this or the associated article on the standard interpretation of static pleasure. I have skimmed but will do go over this in much more detail as soon as possible and comment further. However based on what I have read this is the expected framework of my reaction…
  • As for Maciej's posts, definitely those passages cited need to be considered in the analysis, and my view of them is the same as the rest. Epicurus has stated as a preliminary observation that death is absence of sensation, which means that all life - especially pleasure - comes through sensation. Given that there are only two "feelings" - pleasure and pain - then when we are not feeling pain we are necessarily feeling pleasures, and there is no neutral state. So under that analysis we are eithe…
  • (Quote from Maciej)Maciej: In my view the best way to advance this discussion is to address the contradiction that Cicero exploited from the point of view of those who he knows will agree with him - normal people who normally define pleasure in terms of feeling. If you contend that "freedom from pain and anxiety" is the full context of the description of the goal, please describe what you are **feeling** when you are free from pain.
  • Yes Maciej we continue to disagree on this and I expect we always will, but the discussion is helpful nevertheless. I certainly know what if feels like to have had a fever, and not to have it any more. Is that difference pleasurable? Certainly. Is that difference a complete description of what Epicurus meant by the greatest possible pleasure? Is that difference stated alone an example of the "full context" of pleasure given by Epicurus? I maintain it most certainly is not. So we will continue to…
  • LOL - Either will be interesting interactions Mostly because I do believe it is not just a matter of words. I believe it translations into a basic assessment of how we should be oriented to life - are we primarily reacting to outside impacts from pain? Clearly in many cases people find themselves in situation where that is and should be their primary goal, such as when they are sick, or oppressed from some force that demands their constant attention.But I do not consider that to be the primary …
  • I can assure you that this is not "evident to everybody" and that I am not alone, or Cicero would never have bothered to make the argument in the first place!
  • I don't quite understand that last comment Maciej, can you explain? Cicero (a very bright guy, though not Epicurean) believed that there was a contradiction in "absence of pain" and "the highest pleasure" despite his very thorough knowledge and background in Epicurean theory. Had he thought the answer was "evident" he would presumably have not bothered to make the argument. Within the context of the argument that Cicero presented, what is so clear to you that was not to Cicero?A subset of that q…
  • Ok well we will chalk that up to another disagreement. I think Cicero was a bright guy, and that his attack was chosen astutely to inflict maximum damage. You're essentially defending Torquatus' response, which Cicero knew would not make sense to the majority of people reading "On Ends." From here it's just up to each one of us to come to our own conclusion as to whether Torquatus' response is the one Epicurus would have given had he been there to reply to Cicero.
  • As I think about this further and compare positions I would predict that Hiram would not defend Torquatus' response as you do, Maciej. If I read Hiram's position correctly, Hiram is equating the 'absence of pain' position to an attitudinal emotional experience which Hiram would also consider to be a positive pleasurable feeling in the normal sense of those words, rather than follow Torquatus' line to leave the answer as something that can only be defined as the absence of some prior pain. I don…
  • Several comments, while keeping in mind that this is a translation so it's unclear how far precise word choice is correct:(1) "not that kind ALONE" of course endorses feelings of delight without giving any indication that Epicurus held this to be an inferior kind of pleasure. (2) Yes, that is where Torquatus (as written by Cicero) claims that "the greatest pleasure" is a result of the complete removal of pain. The rest of the statement is nothing more than a statement that removal of pain is a …
  • Also, I want to repeat the essence of my position, which is to accept as fundamental the statement that is given in PD3, here in the Bailey version:"The limit of quantity in pleasures is the removal of all that is painful. Wherever pleasure is present, as long as it is there, there is neither pain of body nor of mind, nor of both at once." "Absence of pain" is extremely significant for precisely the reason stated here: it is the "limit of quantity in pleasures." "Absence of pain" is a term that…
  • When you refer to "agreeable perception of the senses" you are apparently trying to limit the discussion to "the five senses."You do not seem to accept mental pleasures as agreeable perceptions of the senses at all. That would exclude all mental processes, including joy and delight, which are clearly considered to be "a delightful feeling—a positively agreeable perception of the senses."If you do not consider joy and delight to be mental processes, then we have a long way to backtrack, back to t…
  • As time permits I am going to supplement this thread with other references and arguments, including this one: ** That Cicero's argument about "absence of pain" being the "highest pleasure" is not supported, and by not being addressed is not seen to be significant, by contemporary sympathetic Epicureans who had access to proper sources and therefore spoke with authority. Examples which support this observation are:1 - The discussion of Epicurus and Pleasure in Lucian's "The Double Indictment," wh…
  • (Quote from Maciej)All mental and bodily pleasures - "feelings" that are understandable without need for explanation or logical explanation. Bodily: Good food, good wine, sex, music Mental: All consciousness activities of the mind, whether reading a book, thinking about philosophy, or having a confident and pleased attitude toward life. All of these and many more are "felt" - these are all mental and bodily feelings that are "felt" by any ordinary person without need for explanation. Recall tha…
  • Another way of stating this issue is this: Rather than suggesting that "absence of pain" is a complete description of the highest and best life, my contention is that the highest and best life pointed to by Epicurus was this, also from Torquatus, which is clear and needs no interpretation through logic:"The truth of the position that pleasure is the ultimate good will most readily appear from the following illustration. Let us imagine a man living in the continuous enjoyment of numerous and viv…
  • As for your contention about Torquatus implicitly being smarter than Epicurus and seeing a need to engage in "word-chopping" where Epicurus did not, I will simply reply that I consider Epicurus to have been much too smart than to go down the road of considering "absence of pain" to be a complete statement of the goal of his philosophy. By doing so, later Epicureans, if Cicero can be trusted on that point, fell into the trap that Epicurus himself did not and that has diverted us down this path to…
  • No, I am not ignoring that, I am simply emphasizing that before he said that, he said this:And for this cause we call pleasure the beginning and end of the blessed life. For we recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure we begin every act of choice and avoidance, and to pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard by which we judge every good. He is saying that we avoid pain and fear because we want pleasure, not because our primary overriding goal is to…
  • We can disagree on several of your points, especially as to Hermotimus, but in this context the only point in raising Lucian is that he was clearly familiar with the central contentions of the rival philosophies, and in presenting Epicurus' philosophy he makes no mention of absence of pain or a katastematic category of pleasure, which provides inferential evidence that those were not in fact central points of the philosophy.
  • (Quote from Maciej)And given tremendous evidence from the rest of the texts that passage clearly means one thing: We have no need of MORE pleasure when we are not in pain, because when we are not in pain our experience is full of the pleasures that have accumulated while we were in the process of eliminating pain. There is absolutely no inconsistency whatsoever between that passage and the many passages stating clearly that PLEASURE is the alpha and omega and the spring for all our actions. Eve…
  • I don't think there is any doubt but that the central formula is to avoid pleasures which will create more pain than the pleasures are worth. And as a result there is going to be a bias against pleasures that are bound to create huge problems, for example, the pleasure of becoming world dictator. The action of trying to become world dictator is pretty much bound to create so much negative reaction that the resulting pain is simply not going to be worth any exhilaration in trying, at least by th…