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Re: [stoics] Re: epicurean argument

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  • Keith Seddon
    ... Epicureanism? Epicurus asserts that one cannot live virtuously without living pleasantly.
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 1, 2002
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      levichi asked Jan:

      >>>What if living pleasantly helped you to live virtuously, would you study
      Epicureanism? Epicurus asserts that one cannot live virtuously without
      living pleasantly.<<<

      You are right: Epicurus says that living pleasantly is a necessary condition
      of happiness.

      Stoics deny this. Stoics say that living pleasantly is not a necessary
      condition of happiness (and it is certainly not sufficient).

      Since living pleasantly is either never within the agent's power to secure,
      or only sometimes within their power, it follows that happiness cannot
      always be within the agent's power to secure.

      This is precisely what Stoics deny. Stoics hold that happiness is always
      within the agent's power to secure, and if they are right, living pleasantly
      is completely beside the point -- even if living pleasantly is preferred. It
      is a preferred INDIFFERENT, precisely because having it or not having it
      makes no difference to the well-being of the Stoic.

      Live with honour,

      Keith
      Visit the Stoic Foundation
      http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
    • Jan E Garrett
      Dear Leo, I may be quite a bit older than you. Epicureanism was one of the earliest subjects of my philosophical study. Since then I have studied most of the
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 1, 2002
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        Dear Leo,
         
        I may be quite a bit older than you. Epicureanism was one of the earliest subjects of my philosophical study. Since then I have studied most of the major figures of Western philosophy. I am well aware that different psychological profiles generate an attraction to different philosophies. Epicureanism has an honorable place in the history of ancient philosophy, and you cannot understand Stoicism (or appreciate its attractions) without realizing that Epicureanism was for some time its major rival. But Epicureanism is to some extent a dead end in a way that Stoicism is not. Stoicism dialectically incorporates, while providing a way to criticize, aspects of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. In its mature form, it incorporates attempts to respond to epistemologically challenges of Skepticism, perhaps not always successfully. But in the hands of its most sophisticated exponents, it is a much more nuanced and powerful philosophy that Epicureanism in the hands of its most sophisticated exponents.
         
        Some psychological types may be attracted to simpler, more dogmatic philosophies. That does not mean that those philosophies are equally praiseworthy.
         
        Incidentally, your (Jungian) psychological type approach lends itself to relativism, which would be rejected by Epicurus himself, who surely thought that his description of reality was essentially the true one, while the reality descriptions of others would have been (in his view) emphatically false.
         
        JG
         
        On Mon, 01 Jul 2002 05:07:43 -0000 "levichi" <levichi@...> writes:
        Dear Jean E. Garrett

        Have you heard of the magic "What if"? Please suspend disbelief for a
        moment. What if living pleasantly helped you to live virtuously,
        would you study Epicureanism? Epicurus asserts that one cannot live
        virtuously without living pleasantly. I suspect this might be true
        for a certain personality type to which he belonged. Of course until
        recently we asserted the homogeny of human psychology. That's why the
        philosophical debates are so heated, we just can't understand why our
        interlocuters can not grasp what seems so elementary to ourself.

        We are not totally free agents, we are limited by certain
        psychological laws. But we also have a degree of free will, our
        consciousness. It would be more wise to use this free will to channel
        reality to our advantage, rather then go against reality. So it makes
        perfect sense to attain greater self knowledge.

        You belong to a different personality type, so for you there is a
        more effective way. But it does not mean the Epicurureans' way is
        inferior to yours. Their way works better for them, because they have
        to deal with different obstacles then you do. So now, if you believe
        me, and you can relate to them, that is already a virtuous act in
        itself. If not, I invite you to investigate more of Type theory,
        Analytical Psychology, and geather more imperical data about human
        nature. Wisdom is a virtue according to the Stoics, is it not?

        regards,

        Levichi

      • levichi
        J Dear Leo, Dear Jan. J J I may be quite a bit older than you. Epicureanism was one of the earliest J subjects of my philosophical study. Since then I have
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 1, 2002
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          J Dear Leo,

          Dear Jan.

          J
          J I may be quite a bit older than you. Epicureanism was one of the
          earliest
          J subjects of my philosophical study. Since then I have studied most
          of the
          J major figures of Western philosophy.

          If you insist on using age as an argument, I would refer you to
          Thomas Jefferson' letter to William short, as I do believe he is
          older then yours:

          http://www.atomic-swerve.net/tpg/Jefferson.html

          I do think the demiurg of the US constitution, knew something about
          moral philosophy. In the letter he declairs himself to be an
          Epicurean, and also gives a short summary of the philosophy. He also
          says about the stoics something very similar to what you say about
          the Epicureans.

          Nietzche who was one of Jung's favorite philosophers has said this
          about Epicurus:

          "Wisdom hasn't come a step further since Epicurus but has often gone
          many thousands of steps backwards."

          J I am well aware that different
          J psychological profiles generate an attraction to different
          philosophies.
          J Epicureanism has an honorable place in the history of ancient
          philosophy,
          J and you cannot understand Stoicism (or appreciate its attractions)
          J without realizing that Epicureanism was for some time its major
          rival.
          J But Epicureanism is to some extent a dead end in a way that
          Stoicism is
          J not.

          I agree, the way it is described by the ancient Stoics, and other
          critics of Epicureanism.

          Stoicism dialectically incorporates, while providing a way to
          J criticize, aspects of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. In its
          mature
          J form, it incorporates attempts to respond to epistemologically
          challenges
          J of Skepticism, perhaps not always successfully. But in the hands of
          its
          J most sophisticated exponents, it is a much more nuanced and powerful
          J philosophy that Epicureanism in the hands of its most sophisticated
          J exponents.

          In your judgement.

          J Some psychological types may be attracted to simpler, more dogmatic
          J philosophies. That does not mean that those philosophies are equally
          J praiseworthy.
          J
          J Incidentally, your (Jungian) psychological type approach lends
          itself to
          J relativism, which would be rejected by Epicurus himself, who surely
          J thought that his description of reality was essentially the true
          one,
          J while the reality descriptions of others would have been (in his
          view)
          J emphatically false.
          J
          J JG

          First of all I do not agree, I see rational hedonism as very similar
          to Jung's individuation. Secondly, all ancient philosophers believed
          in the homogeny of the human psyche. Objective psychology is only a
          recent development. Now that we have psychology, philosophy is more
          like a tool than an end in itself. Nevertheless I apologiza if I
          sounded condescending.

          Respectfuly

          Levichi
        • Keith Seddon
          ... This shows that at least some intellectually accomplished people have been Epicureans or have high praise for Epicurus. It does not in itself establish
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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            Levichi remarks:
             
            >>>In [his] letter [to William Short http://www.atomic-swerve.net/tpg/Jefferson.html, Thomas Jefferson] declairs himself to be an Epicurean.<<<
             
            >>>Nietzche [...] said this about Epicurus: "Wisdom hasn't come a step further since Epicurus but has often gone many thousands of steps backwards."<<<
             
            This shows that at least some intellectually accomplished people have been Epicureans or have high praise for Epicurus. It does not in itself establish that Epicurus is right, or that the Stoics are wrong.
             
            Altho Jefferson declares that he is an Epicurean, this must be tempered with his other remarks, which make it plain that he is first and foremost a Christian, tho certainly an eclectic one. His eclecticism is seen clearly when he says: "I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerably translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract form the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus."
             
            The ancient schools of philosophy, including the Stoics and the Epicureans, took themselves to be offering therapies for curing a range of problems to which people are prone (see especially Nussbaum, Therapy of Desire). Clearly many people thought that Epicurus could offer the treatment they needed, for otherwise his school would not have flourished as it did. The fact that we know of many life-long Epicureans means that these people at least thought that Epicurus' therapies worked.
             
            Obviously, the same can be said of the Stoic school.
             
            The differences between the schools, to my mind, centre on what is regarded as 'the end' and what is truly good. As I have come to understand it, the Stoic view, if correct, means that complete well-being is within the reach of any rational agent. But the Epicurean's enjoyment of complete well-being is dependent upon (at least some) factors outside their control, and this makes them vulnerable in a way that the (accomplished) Stoic is not.
             
            But I have every respect for dedicated Epicureans, and would hope for friendship from them, just as I would offer my own friendship.
             
            In the end, we have to make a choice as to which moral and religious path to take, and I am as happy to accept criticisms of my own  path as I am ready to point out the difficulties I see in other paths.
             
            Live with honour,
             
             
             
          • Keith Seddon
            Dear Friends, Levichi has mentioned PERSONALITY TYPES on several occasions. Here is one site that I have found that seems rather good at explaining it all:
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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              Dear Friends,

              Levichi has mentioned PERSONALITY TYPES on several occasions.

              Here is one site that I have found that seems rather good at explaining it
              all: http://www.friesian.com/types.htm

              Live with honour,

              Keith
              Visit the Stoic Foundation
              http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
            • ptypes
              Hello Keith, This is a personality types site which I haven t seen. It looks interesting and I ll be taking a closer look. I am a convert to Stoicism and wish
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                Hello Keith,

                This is a personality types site which I haven't seen. It looks
                interesting and I'll be taking a closer look.

                I am a convert to Stoicism and wish to learn Stoicism and live it. I
                am currently integrating Stoicism into my own amateur work on
                personality types.

                http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/

                Best wishes,
                Dave Kelly


                --- In stoics@y..., "Keith Seddon" <K.H.S@b...> wrote:
                > Dear Friends,
                >
                > Levichi has mentioned PERSONALITY TYPES on several occasions.
                >
                > Here is one site that I have found that seems rather good at
                explaining it
                > all: http://www.friesian.com/types.htm
                >
                > Live with honour,
                >
                > Keith
                > Visit the Stoic Foundation
                > http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
              • charlesbricebroadway
                Dr. Seddon, This site seems instructive and has a certain entertainment value, but it tends to overlook one major flaw of any sort of taxonomy. You can see
                Message 7 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                  Dr. Seddon,

                  This site seems instructive and has a certain entertainment value,
                  but it tends to overlook one major flaw of any sort of taxonomy. You
                  can see yourself in every category much as one sees himself in the
                  atrological signs of the horoscope.

                  Categories are useful in simplifying such as our own categories of
                  virtues and indifferents. When it comes to people though, I tend to
                  favor my own classification system that has two very specialized and
                  well studied categories- ME and EVERYONE ELSE.

                  Most of this stuff is harmless except in the hands of many
                  psychotherapists who by applying their taxonomies have done things
                  that have been contrary to reason. A classic example of this is the
                  recent book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I have never
                  read the book, but I am willing to bet that if I reversed the
                  categories people would still find it just as "helpful."

                  LWH,
                  CBB

                  --- In stoics@y..., "Keith Seddon" <K.H.S@b...> wrote:
                  > Dear Friends,
                  >
                  > Levichi has mentioned PERSONALITY TYPES on several occasions.
                  >
                  > Here is one site that I have found that seems rather good at
                  explaining it
                  > all: http://www.friesian.com/types.htm
                  >
                  > Live with honour,
                  >
                  > Keith
                  > Visit the Stoic Foundation
                  > http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
                • Keith Seddon
                  re: http://www.friesian.com/types.htm ... There are a few sentences near the top end that remark on this point. As I remember, they say that people fit the
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                    re: http://www.friesian.com/types.htm

                    > This site seems instructive and has a certain entertainment value,
                    > but it tends to overlook one major flaw of any sort of taxonomy. You
                    > can see yourself in every category much as one sees himself in the
                    > astrological signs of the horoscope.

                    There are a few sentences near the top end that remark on this point. As I
                    remember, they say that people fit the categories and types that they do to
                    a matter of degree, and not absolutely.

                    (As for horoscopes, I find that I don't fit the other signs at all well, but
                    only my own sign of Libra. I fit the Chinese Fire Monkey characteristics
                    even better.)

                    Live with honour,

                    Keith
                    Visit the Stoic Foundation
                    http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
                  • Keith Seddon
                    Hello Dave, ... Yours looks like a very interesting site. I immediately guessed my type from the homepage listing, and clicked on Solitary under Rationalist. I
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                      Hello Dave,

                      > I am a convert to Stoicism and wish to learn Stoicism and live it. I
                      > am currently integrating Stoicism into my own amateur work on
                      > personality types.
                      >
                      > http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/

                      Yours looks like a very interesting site.

                      I immediately guessed my type from the homepage listing, and clicked on
                      Solitary under Rationalist. I see you have a Stoicism link halfway down the
                      page which takes you to a Philosophy as Therapy section, where I see a link
                      to my own paper on the passions. I wonder if adding another link to my
                      article on Epictetus would make sense
                      http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/epictetu.htm as this aims to be a more
                      complete introduction to Stoic ethics. (Tho far be it from me to tell you
                      want links to put on your page!)

                      Live with honour,

                      Keith
                      Visit the Stoic Foundation
                      http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
                    • ptypes
                      Thanks Keith, Your article on Epictetus was the first work on Stoicism on the web that I read and linked to. Originally I linked to it under Stoicism on that
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                        Thanks Keith,

                        Your article on Epictetus was the first work on Stoicism on the web
                        that I read and linked to. Originally I linked to it under "Stoicism"
                        on that "Solitary" page. (My type is Solitary, also.) I have a link
                        to the article on my list of links "Philosophy as Therapy"

                        http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/overviews.html#philosophy

                        (I've moved it up)

                        I've been lurking this group for quite a while and I look forward to
                        learning more and contributing a little.

                        Dave


                        --- In stoics@y..., "Keith Seddon" <K.H.S@b...> wrote:
                        > Hello Dave,
                        >
                        > > I am a convert to Stoicism and wish to learn Stoicism and live
                        it. I
                        > > am currently integrating Stoicism into my own amateur work on
                        > > personality types.
                        > >
                        > > http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/
                        >
                        > Yours looks like a very interesting site.
                        >
                        > I immediately guessed my type from the homepage listing, and
                        clicked on
                        > Solitary under Rationalist. I see you have a Stoicism link halfway
                        down the
                        > page which takes you to a Philosophy as Therapy section, where I
                        see a link
                        > to my own paper on the passions. I wonder if adding another link to
                        my
                        > article on Epictetus would make sense
                        > http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/epictetu.htm as this aims to be a
                        more
                        > complete introduction to Stoic ethics. (Tho far be it from me to
                        tell you
                        > want links to put on your page!)
                        >
                        > Live with honour,
                        >
                        > Keith
                        > Visit the Stoic Foundation
                        > http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
                      • Keith Seddon
                        Hello Dave, Re: your site at http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/ ... I m sorry I didn t look down the page to find the Epictetus link
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jul 2, 2002
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                          Hello Dave,

                          Re: your site at http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/

                          > Your article on Epictetus was the first work on Stoicism on the web
                          > that I read and linked to. Originally I linked to it under "Stoicism"
                          > on that "Solitary" page. (My type is Solitary, also.) I have a link
                          > to the article on my list of links "Philosophy as Therapy"
                          > http://www.geocities.com/ptypes/overviews.html#philosophy
                          > (I've moved it up)

                          I'm sorry I didn't look down the page to find the Epictetus link
                          [http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/epictetu.htm%5d that was already there!

                          Thanks for moving it up.

                          You have some good links here.

                          One I haven't seen before is http://cgillin.web.wesleyan.edu/mypage.html,
                          and I can recommend a read of this paper for those interested in Epictetus'
                          Handbook.

                          Live with honour,

                          Keith
                          Visit the Stoic Foundation
                          http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/stoic-foundation.htm
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