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ta peri twn pragmatwn dogmata

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ta peri twn pragmatwn dogmata

Postby annis » Sun May 25, 2003 6:49 pm

Some hard-nosed thinking from a Hellenistic school, to balance the solipsism. :)

[face=SPIonic]tara/ssei tou\j a)nqrw/pouj ou) ta\ pra/gmata, a)lla\ ta\ peri\ tw=n pragma/twn do/gmata: oi(=on o( qa/natoj ou)de\n deino/n, e)pei\ kai\ Swkra/tei a)\n e)fai/neto, a)lla\ to\ do/gma to\ peri\ tou= qana/tou, dio/ti deino/n, e)kei=no to\ deino/n e)stin.<br /><br />o(/tan ou)=n e)mpodizw/meqa h)\ tarassw/meqa h)\ lupw/meqa, mhde/pote a)/llon ai)tiw/meqa, a)ll' e(autou/j, tou=t' e)/sti ta\ e(autw=n do/gmata. a)paideu/tou e)/rgon to\ a)/lloij e)gkalei=n, e)f' ou(=j au)to\j pra/ssei kakw=j: h)rgme/nou paideu/esqai to\ e(autw=|: pepaideume/nou to\ mh/te a)/llw| mh/te e(autw=|.[/face]

"It is not things that disturb humans, but their judgements about the things. Death is nothing dreadful, since it would have appeared (so) to Sokrates, but the judgement of death that it is dreadful, that is the dreadful thing.<br /><br />So when we are hindered, disturbed or grieved let us never blame another, but ourselves, that is, our own judgements. It is the deed of an uneducated person to blame another when he himself fares badly; of one starting to learn (to blame) oneself; of one educated ("who has learned") to blame neither another nor himself."<br /><br />
Last edited by annis on Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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what's *wrong* with solipsism?

Postby Raya » Mon May 26, 2003 3:46 pm

Oh yes, I agree! There's nothing wrong with the fact that I may not exist - nothing at all! - but if I *judge* that there is something wrong with my (possible) nonexistence, then that would be a deinon thing indeed... ;D<br /><br />(To those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, cf. The Doves-In-Cages Theory)<br /><br />On a more serious note:<br /><br />The ideas that William has shared with us especially come into play when you are dealing across cultures. Amazing how normal, everyday occurences in some cultures can be traumatic experiences to people of other cultures...<br /><br />I think of my time spent in the Middle East. The Western media likes to say how the women there live in such brutal conditions with few freedoms - but the Arab women themselves are happy with how they're living! As far as they're concerned, the joke is on 'liberated' women: "Why would we want the 'right' to do xxxxx when we can sit back and let the men to do it for us?"<br /><br />I admit that for myself I'd find that kind of existence stifling... but if they're happy to be waited on (and the men are happy to wait on them) - well, why not? And if I'd rather do things for myself than be waited on - nothing wrong with that either...
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Re:ta peri twn pragmatwn dogmata

Postby Milito » Mon May 26, 2003 3:53 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=13;threadid=129;start=0#603 date=1053888579]<br />Some hard-nosed thinking from a Hellenistic school, to balance the solipsism. :)<br />"It is not things that disturb humans, but their judgements about the things. Death is nothing dreadful, since it would have appeared (so) to Sokrates, but the judgement of death that it is dreadful, that is the dreadful thing.<br /><br />So when we are hindered, disturbed or grieved let us never blame another, but ourselves, that is, our own judgements. It is the deed of an uneducated person to blame another when he himself fares badly; of one starting to learn (to blame) oneself; of one educated ("who has learned") to blame neither another nor himself."<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />I'm only just beginning to get into classical philosophy, so I'm afraid I don't recognize the author. (Remedial reading required - aw, shucks....) But it smacks very strongly of something I read in Cicero, who speaks very highly of Plato, so I'll guess that the origin is either Plato or one of his students/associates.<br /><br />The point Cicero made was that (free translation by me, so by no means authoritative, follows) there are two faults to avoid in seeking knowledge, and the first is that of esteeming "new" or "unfamiliar" things as of greater value than "familiar", and so agreeing rashly with new ideas. The way to avoid this fault (and Cicero inserts the editorial comment that in his opinion, everyone ought to try to avoid it) is to apply both time and diligence toward considering matters before supporting something new over something old. In other words, spend the time and energy to become learned, as held up as an ideal of being educated above. (The second fault noted by Cicero is that of spending too much time and energy on obscure and difficult matters of no practical value.)<br /><br />So to tie this more neatly back to the original, it is an ideal to assess the decisions that one makes, rather than the people making the decisions, and furthermore, it is an ideal to put the time and energy into make good decisions, considering all evidence available first. It sounds like common sense, but in practise, is far easier said than done.<br /><br />Kilmeny<br /><br />
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Re:ta peri twn pragmatwn dogmata

Postby annis » Mon May 26, 2003 4:08 pm

[quote author=Milito link=board=13;threadid=129;start=0#610 date=1053964436]<br /><br />I'm only just beginning to get into classical philosophy, so I'm afraid I don't recognize the author. (Remedial reading required - aw, shucks....) But it smacks very strongly of something I read in Cicero, who speaks very highly of Plato, so I'll guess that the origin is either Plato or one of his students/associates.<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />Nope, this is quite remote from Plato, though everyone still makes nods at him and Socrates.<br /><br />The quote is from the Encheiridion of Epictetus. So, this is a particular branch of Stoic thought. I actually prefer the earlier Stoa, based on what info we have from that period, but there is much in the late Stoa to admire. In any case, Cicero knew both Stoic and Epicurean thought, and quotes both schools positively fairly often, though not uncritically. <br /><br />For modern interpretations of Hellenistic philosophy - most of which assert that all philosophy is useless that doesn't help people live better, more flourishing lives - see "The Therapy of Desire" by Martha Nussbaum. She best sums up why I loathe Plato the Philosopher (I know Greek too badly to judge his writing, though all say his Greek soars). She then goes on to quite sympathetic overviews of Epicureanism and Stoicism. I actually prefer Lawrence Becker's "A New Stoicism", but Nussbaum is a very readable intro. <br />
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Re:ta peri twn pragmatwn dogmata

Postby Milito » Mon May 26, 2003 4:24 pm

Much thanks for the info. I think I will go looking for those books. In the little bit of exposure I have had to ancient philosophy, I have become rather amused at the way modern interpretations of the terms "stoic" and "epicurean" have changed from the originals. <br /><br />Perhaps that relates back to the original subject, too - judgements are being made on other people (ie: the stoics and epicureans, and how they behaved) without knowledge of the facts!<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:47 am

"It is not things that disturb humans, but their judgements about the things. Death is nothing dreadful, since it would have appeared (so) to Sokrates, but the judgement of death that it is dreadful, that is the dreadful thing.

So when we are hindered, disturbed or grieved let us never blame another, but ourselves, that is, our own judgements. It is the deed of an uneducated person to blame another when he himself fares badly; of one starting to learn (to blame) oneself; of one educated ("who has learned") to blame neither another nor himself."

...

That sounds arguable, William. Since Mr. Epitectus is not here to defend his ideas, can I consider the English translation to be in your own words?
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:57 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:That sounds arguable, William. Since Mr. Epitectus is not here to defend his ideas, can I consider the English translation to be in your own words?


I'm not sure I understand your question.

That is my own translation of the Greek. While I think there is a great deal to be learned from Stoic and Epicurean philosophy, I probably don't qualify as a Stoic. I would in large part, however, agree with the quote I gave here.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:43 am

I'll rephrase the question: If I spend time arguing against Epitectus' ideas, will you pick up the rhetorical glove or say "Don't look at me, I didn't write it"?

My assumption is that you wouldn't have posted this here if it wasn't your intention to back it up. I asked in part because, being the translation literal, it is a bit cumbersome.

I'm not sure about the rules of this game, so I'll start by putting Epitectus' quote in my own (simpler) words, and if you agree that they are faithful to E's quote, we could start from there.

"STATEMENT: Humans are worried by their judgement of things, and not by those things themselves.
ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT: Death is not dreadful, what's dreadful is the judgement of death. If death was dreadful, it would have appeared so to Socrates.
CONCLUSION or COURSE OF ACTION: When something worries you don't blame someone else, but yourself (your judgements). Unwise people blame others when they fare badly; apprentices in wisdom blame themselves; and wise people blame neither."

(I changed 'disturb' for 'worry' to avoid nit-picking of the kind: "I find disturbing a lion (thing) actually eating my leg, judgement or no judgement".)
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:28 am

"(...) will you (...)?" (Me.)

Excuse my doubt. If it's any consolation: even Jesus, being the son of God Himself, and being his 12 apostles of his own choosing, had one forsake him, another one betray him and a third one deny him.

" tara/ssei tou\j a)nqrw/pouj ou) ta\ pra/gmata, a)lla\ ta\ peri\ tw=n pragma/twn do/gmata: "

I'll put my stamp on that.

What follows doesn't add much. The first statement cannot be proved true through logic, only through experience, which is by nature subjective.

"(...) ΣΩΚΡΑΤΕΙ (...)"

Socrates can kiss my a**, with all due respects.

"ΟΤΑΝ (...)"

Hallelujah! Pass the hat around!
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:00 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:What follows doesn't add much. The first statement cannot be proved true through logic, only through experience, which is by nature subjective.


All knowledge ultimately depends on experience. Are you saying the universe is subjective? Stoic philosophy rests on three areas of study: 1) physics, which in modern terms means "get the facts"; 2) logic, so you're sure your reasoning about the relationships between facts is sound, and 2) ethics, making the right decisions.

If you are unprepared to concede that experience can give us facts, then I can't defend Stoicism to you -- the evidential criteria is impossible for me to meet.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:35 pm

"[...]Knowledge [...] depends on experience." (Will.)

True. That's like saying that the flavor of pears depends on pears.

"Are you saying the universe is subjective?" (Will.)

Nice device! I say that experience is subjective. I'll add, to pick up your philosophical glove, that the universe is objective, but that human knowledge of the universe is subjective. We humans are so alike, that most of our individual subjectives are, for practical purposes, objective.

"Stoic philosophy rests on three areas of study: [...]" (Will.)

You can't go wrong with that.

"If you are unprepared to concede ..." (Will.)

Nice rhetorical fleurish.

"... that experience can give us facts, [...]" (Will.)

That's what I've been saying all along: "[...] proved true through [...] experience,[...]"

then I can't defend Stoicism to you [...]" (Will.)

I am prepared to concede that experience can give us knowledge, and since birds of a feather fly together, our flock will accept most of that knowledge as common knowledge, which is not (except for practical purposes) the same as fact.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:15 pm

1. PHYSICS

"Humans are worried by their judgement of things, and not by those things themselves."

True physics.

"Death is not dreadful, what's dreadful is the judgement of death."

Good example.

2. LOGIC

"If death was dreadful, it would have appeared so to Socrates."

Bad logic.

3. ETHICS

"When something worries you don't blame someone else, but yourself (your judgements). Unwise people blame others when they fare badly; apprentices in wisdom blame themselves; and wise people blame neither."

Unethical. Avoiding responsability is an instinct, not a decision.
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:10 pm

I have not done well by Stoicism by making this post two years ago. The Stoa was a widely followed school, and we have lists of works by Stoic philosophers now lost to us. We know that for a number of these Hellenistic schools people would have household objects made with mottos and reminders on them. The Encheiridion, from which this quote is taken, has much of the feel of a terse catachism. Clear understanding requires background instruction, if for no other purpose than to get the technical vocabulary (in this case, [face=spionic]tara/ssei[/face], which I gather is supposed to hint at a disturbed pond, muddied up).

So, I would agree with this:

Bardo de Saldo wrote:2. LOGIC

"If death was dreadful, it would have appeared so to Socrates."

Bad logic.


Certainly. This is more trouble:

3. ETHICS

"When something worries you don't blame someone else, but yourself (your judgements). Unwise people blame others when they fare badly; apprentices in wisdom blame themselves; and wise people blame neither."

Unethical. Avoiding responsability is an instinct, not a decision.


Epictetus would certainly agree that dodging responsibility is unethical. But I'm not sure how you are coming to the idea that this quote endorses avoiding responsibility.

Also, I'm having a lot of trouble understanding some of your other points. In particular:

"OTAN (...)"

Hallelujah! Pass the hat around!


Am I missing some idiom? Because I haven't the first clue what this means.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:09 am

"I have not done well by Stoicism by making this post two years ago." (Will.)

I disagree.

"Clear understanding requires background instruction, if for no other purpose than to get the technical vocabulary (in this case, tara/ssei, which I gather is supposed to hint at a disturbed pond, muddied up)." (Will.)

That's why I proposed a working version in modern English, something Oprah would say. I would probably accept any version you proposed, including the literal translation. Ideas like Epictetus' should be able to stand on their own. Though regrettable, the loss of lyrism shouldn't be too much of a concern in this forum.

"Epictetus would certainly agree that dodging responsibility is unethical." (Will.)

Are you Epictetus medium?

"But I'm not sure how you are coming to the idea that this quote endorses avoiding responsibility." (Will.)

You pulled that conclusion out of the hat. The quote is unethical because it is untrue. It is untrue because blame is an instinct, and instincts are impervious to learning and knowledge. Wise people deal better with blame, I'll grant you that. Fatalists deal pretty well with blame too, and you don't need to be wise to be a fatalist.

"Hallelujah! Pass the hat around!" (I.)

Cheap shots and irrelevant. (Mixed metaphors, change hat for collection plate.) (OTAN is 'όταν, not the Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte.)

Do you agree with my classification of E's quote according to the Stoics' 3 areas of study?
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:48 pm

Laconism has its drawbacks.
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Postby annis » Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:30 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Laconism has its drawbacks.


As does having too little time.
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