A Person Who Is Indifferent To Pleasure Or Pain


A Person Who Is Indifferent To Pleasure Or Pain
Stoic : One who is indifferent to pleasure or pain.

What is indifference to pleasure or pain called?

We call someone ‘ stoic ‘ when that person is indifferent to sensations like pleasure or pain.

Who is unaffected by pleasure or pain?

One who is indifferent to pleasure or pain : Stoic.

Is indifferent to pleasure and pain stoic?

Stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline. phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse. apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

What is stoical indifference?

15. The indifferents – Perhaps the most characteristic doctrine of Stoic ethics is that virtue alone is good, vice alone bad. Everything else traditionally assigned a positive or negative value – health or illness, wealth or poverty, sight or blindness, even life or death – is ‘indifferent’.

By making this move, the Stoics authorized the use of the word ‘good’ in a distinctly moral sense – a usage which is still with us, although they themselves bought it at the high price of simply denying that the word, properly understood, has any other sense. The inspiration of this doctrine is undoubtedly Socratic.

In various Platonic dialogues (see especially Euthydemus 278–81, Meno 86–9), Socrates argued that most things traditionally called good – typified with largely the same examples as the Stoic ‘indifferents’ – are in their own nature intermediate between good and bad.

If used wisely, they become good, if unwisely, bad. Hence wisdom is the only intrinsically or underivatively good thing (see Socrates §§4–6). This Socratic argument encouraged the Cynic idea that only wisdom – or more generally, virtue – is good, and that such coveted possessions as reputation, health and physical comfort are literally irrelevant to the goodness, and hence the happiness, of one’s life (see Cynics).

The Cynics acted on this by adopting a bohemian lifestyle, disdaining the values of society. And Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, had his first philosophical training from a Cynic. Zeno’s independent-minded colleague Ariston stuck close to the Cynic thesis (see Ariston of Chios §2).

Zeno, on the other hand, modified it in a way which does more than anything else to account for the widespread success of Stoicism; Zeno’s subtly revised position leaves wealth, fame, and so on morally indifferent, while explaining why we are nevertheless fully justified in pursuing them. Although being healthy does not make you happy, Zeno maintains, the natural thing to do in ordinary circumstances is nevertheless to stay healthy and avoid illness.

We should not try to suppress this natural instinct, because to be happy – the ultimate goal to which we all aspire – is to be totally in tune with nature. Therefore the proper way to start out is to respect the preferences which nature dictates, opting where possible for affluence, high civic status, family values and other ‘natural’ desiderata.

As you progress, you will learn when to vary the formula. It may be that in special circumstance the right way for you to fit in with nature’s plan is to be poor, or sick, or even to die. If you understand why one of these is the rational and natural thing for you, you will embrace it willingly, and thus further rather than hinder your project of perfect conformity with nature.

But barring such special circumstances, the natural values to adopt coincide on the whole with the ordinary values of society. This leads, in typical Stoic fashion, to a terminological jungle of epithets for the ‘indifferents’. The ‘things which accord with nature’ ( ta kata physin ), such as health, have a positive, albeit non-moral, ‘value’ ( axia ), and are therefore labelled ‘preferred’ ( proēgmena ), which means that in normal circumstances we should opt for them, they are ‘to be taken’ ( lēpta ).

  1. The ‘things which are contrary to nature’ ( ta para physin ), such as illness, earn a contrary set of technical terms: ‘disvalue’ ( apaxia ), ‘dispreferred’ ( apoproēgmena ), ‘not to be taken’ ( alēpta ).
  2. The linchpin of Stoic ethics is the way in which it legitimizes a familiar scale of personal and social values, while denying them any intrinsic worth.

Their value is purely instrumental, because they are the subject matter of the choices by means of which we progress towards true moral understanding. We might compare the relative ‘values’ of, say, illness, fame and eyesight, in Stoic eyes to the relative values of cards in a card game.

Learning how to choose between these, and even to sacrifice cards of higher value when the circumstances dictate, is an essential part of becoming a skilled player. But these choices matter only instrumentally: It would be absurd to compare the value of an ace to the value of being a good card-player.

In Stoic eyes it is an equally grave error – although unfortunately one of which most people are guilty – to rank wealth or power along with moral goodness on one and the same scale. The things which are naturally ‘preferred’ can be encapsulated in rules: honour your parents, take care of your health, cultivate friends, and so on.

  1. From the start – although again with the dissent of Ariston of Chios – the Stoics attached importance to rules or ‘precepts’ as the basis of moral progress.
  2. What a precept prescribes is a kathēkon (plural kathēkonta ), a ‘proper function’ or ‘duty’, and many Stoic treatises were devoted to working out detailed lists of kathēkonta,

A kathēkon is defined as ‘that which, when done, has a reasonable justification’: for a rational adult, what is reasonable and what is natural should coincide. There are two main types of kathēkonta : circumstantial and non-circumstantial. Circumstantial kathēkonta, that is, those prescribed only in very special circumstances, include such abnormal acts as self-mutilation, giving away your property, and even suicide (something of a Stoic obsession, inspired by Socrates’ willing death).

Can you have pleasure without pain?

The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular. The truth is, however, very different. Pleasure alone cannot not make us happy. Take Christina Onassis, the daughter of shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

  • She inherited wealth beyond imagination and spent it on extravagant pleasures in an attempt to alleviate her unhappiness.
  • She died at 37 and her biography, tellingly subtitled All the Pain Money Can Buy, recounts a life full of mind-boggling extravagance that contributed to her suffering.
  • Aldous Huxley recognised the possibility that endless pleasure may actually lead to dystopian societies in his 1932 novel Brave New World,

Although the idea of endless pleasure seems idyllic, the reality is often very different. We need pain to provide a contrast for pleasure; without pain life becomes dull, boring and downright undesirable. Like a chocoholic in a chocolate shop, we soon forget what it was that made our desires so desirable in the first place.

Why do men seek for pleasure and avoid pain?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the psychoanalytical term. For other uses, see Pleasure principle, In Freudian psychoanalysis, the pleasure principle ( German : Lustprinzip ) is the instinctive seeking of pleasure and avoiding of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs, Specifically, the pleasure principle is the animating force behind the id,

Is the absence of pain pleasure?

10. Hedonism – Another ‘innate’ human attitude, along with the prolēpsis of god, is the pursuit of pleasure as the only positive value, or ‘end’ (see Telos). Epicurus argues that the behaviour of the newborn, and even of non-human animals, confirms that to maximize pleasure and minimize pain is the natural and primal drive ( Cicero, On Ends I 30).

Just as physics began with the crude mapping out of per se existents into bodies and space (§2), so ethics starts with the mapping out of all intrinsic values into pleasure and pain. And again as in physics, the next move consists in showing these two items to be jointly exhaustive: the absence of pain is itself pleasure, and there is therefore no intermediate state ( Cicero, On Ends I 37–9).

This controversial thesis goes to the heart of Epicurus ‘ ethics. In his view, most human misery results from ignorance of how to quantify pleasure. Where some hedonists, especially the contemporary Cyrenaic School (see Cyrenaics §4), had recommended the constant renewal of pleasure through self-indulgence, Epicurus observes that this accumulation does not increase the total of pleasure beyond that achieved when all pain has gone, but only ‘varies’ it.

  1. Freedom from pain is itself already a supremely pleasant state.
  2. The pursuit of luxury, far from increasing pleasure, enlarges your desires and leaves you needlessly vulnerable to the whims of fortune.
  3. In his physics, Epicurus had completed the division of per se existents into bodies and void by showing that other claimants to per se existence, such as properties and time, are in fact parasitic on bodies for their existence.

Likewise in ethics, he now examines the non-hedonic values which others assert, such as virtue, and argues that they are in fact valued not for their own sake but as instrumental means to pleasure ( Cicero, On Ends I 42–54). It remains to fill out the prescription for the maximization of pleasure, that is, to sketch the ideal Epicurean life.

This involves calculating the relative roles of bodily and mental pleasures, and of static and ‘kinetic’ pleasures. Bodily feeling is in a way focal, since mental pleasure and pain consist ultimately in satisfaction and dissatisfaction, respectively, about bodily feeling. For instance, the greatest mental pain, namely fear, is primarily the expectation of future bodily pain (which is the main ground, and a mistaken one, for the fear of death).

But although mental feelings ultimately depend on bodily ones, and not vice versa, mental feelings are a more powerful ingredient in an overall good life. Someone in bodily pain – which may be unavoidable – can outweigh this by the mental act of reliving past pleasures and looking forward to future ones.

  1. It is this ability to range over past and future that gives mental feeling its greater power.
  2. But misused, especially when people fear everlasting torture after death, it can equally well become a greater evil than its bodily counterpart.
  3. Static pleasure is the absence of pain.
  4. The bodily version of it is called ‘painlessness’ ( aponia ), the mental version ‘tranquillity’ ( ataraxia, literally ‘non-disturbance’).

Tranquillity depends above all on an understanding of the universe, which will show that contrary to the beliefs of the ignorant it is unthreatening. (This is, strictly speaking, the sole justification for the study of physics.) Kinetic pleasure is the process of stimulation by which you either arrive at static pleasure (for example, drinking when thirsty) or ‘vary’ it (for example, drinking when not thirsty).

  1. There are mental as well as bodily kinetic pleasures, for example, (perhaps) the ‘joy’ of resolving a philosophical doubt or holding a fruitful discussion with friends.
  2. Although kinetic pleasures have no incremental value, Epicurus does apparently consider them an essential part of the good life.
  3. This is particularly because the mental pleasure which serves to outweigh present pain will inevitably consist in reliving past kinetic pleasures and anticipating future ones.
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So a successful Epicurean life cannot be monotonous, but must be textured by regular kinetic pleasures. In the letter written on his deathbed, Epicurus claimed that despite the intense bodily pains this was the happiest day of his life, because of all the past joys of philosophical discussion that he could relive.

At the same time, these kinetic pleasures must be carefully managed. Some desires are natural, others empty. The latter – for example, thirst for honours – should not be indulged, because their satisfaction will bring either no pleasure or a preponderance of pain over pleasure. Even of the natural ones, some are non-necessary.

For instance, the desire for food is necessary, but the desire for luxurious food is not. In order to be maximally independent of fortune, it is important to stick primarily to the satisfaction of natural and necessary desires. But occasional indulgence in those kinetic pleasures which are natural but non-necessary has a part to play, so long as you do not become dependent on them.

Is it healthy to be Stoic?

Academics have proven that taking part in the ancient philosophy of stoicism does reduce negative emotions, with 94% of participants who took part in the annual Stoic Week event, run by Royal Holloway, University of London, saying they feel better about their lives.

  • Dr John Sellars, from the Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy at Royal Holloway, has been running Stoic Week, a global online event to see if people can benefit from following the philosophy of Stoicism for a decade now.
  • Since the start in 2012, almost 40,000 people have participated and the results have been consistently positive.

On average, those who participated reported a 30% reduction in negative emotions, such as fear, anger, and anxiety, with an increase in their general sense of life satisfaction after following Stoic ideas for seven days. Previous participants of Stoic Week have said:

“I am calmer, I accept many disagreeable things with good spirits. Not so easily hurt” “It has made me think, question and discuss, until now, half-formed ideas” “The guidance of Stoicism makes me happy”

Dr Sellars has organized a number of public events on the benefits of adopting a Stoic life, offering training sessions aimed at showing ways in which people might use Stoic principles in their daily lives. It has been incredible to celebrate 10 years of Stoic Week knowing 94% of those who took part have said it has improved their lives.

Can a Stoic be depressed?

A Stoic is defined by how they deal with depression – What about depression itself then? The answer is simple. A Stoic isn’t defined by having or not having depression, just as he or she isn’t defined by a flu or a leg broken from a misstep. A Stoic is – as always – defined by one thing and one thing only: by how he or she deals with the given situation. Dr. Piotr Stankiewicz, Ph.D., is a writer and philosopher, promoter of reformed Stoicism. He authored Manual of Reformed Stoicism, and Does Happiness Write Blank Pages? : A depressed Stoic? – The Stoic Gym

Are Stoic people emotionless?

“Stoicism isn’t about being emotionless; in fact, it’s the opposite; you feel strong emotion, but you choose to be indifferent to it and act rationally.” – 
This is a common misconception when men try to apply the stoic philosophy to their lives. Men are not supposed to feel nothing in a moment of inspiration or anger or joy, but we are not to lose our wits in those moments, which is where the application of rational thought comes in.

A man in a spirited debate is not supposed to kill the other because he disagrees with the opposing viewpoint, which is irrational. Men who have been leaders of other men are quick to make decisions and make corrections in conversation and applications for work and training. Those constructive corrections are essential and are rational to lead and grow as men.

When the debate turns for the worse and becomes a slew of insults and no longer about the progress of conversation or the solution to whatever problem it was. Remember, not everyone is good at separating their personal feelings when speaking about something they have experienced or were a part of or feel somehow connected to it.

When the condescending and name-calling begins, do everything in your power not to grab them by the ears and headbutt their fucking teeth into the back of their throat. That would be irrational no matter how much pleasure you may receive from it. Suppose my mother hadn’t given me the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius straight after I got out of the Marines.

I may have had a few charges on the record. Now the point is you will feel emotions; however, reacting to them out of the instinct to destroy a man physically is not the move. The name-calling and the personal attacks signify the loser trying to drag you into some bullshit you have no time to waste on.

  • Use Tact; what does that mean? It is a Marine Corps leadership principle.
  • Tact is the ability to change how you communicate for a given situation.
  • You need to know when to prioritize efficiency above delicacy and vice versa.
  • There is a time and place for every manner of acting, and you should have the moral principles needed to distinguish how to approach any given situation.

To be tactful is to choose the best method of communication. Tact includes knowing when the conversation and or problem will not be solved between the two parties. Identify when to break contact and climb down from the stupidity tree in a calm manner. You are not to be men of apathy, feeling nothing and being void of all emotions like some damn living dead.

Are stoic people selfish?

Stoicism is a selfish philosophy, not caring about the common well-being. It is true that the Stoic’s first concern is his own balance, and that love of people does not occupy the philosophy’s first place. However, this selfishness is relative because the Stoic remains a Man, and the Man is sociable by nature.

What is the stoic personality disorder?

What Is a Stoic Personality? – A stoic personality is a type of temperament that exhibits composure and resilience in the face of any kind of adversity or challenge. It is characterized by outer calmness and inner strength, even when faced with difficult or unpleasant situations.

People with these personalities are not particularly emotional ; they do not express a wide range of emotions, and they tend to keep their feelings under wraps. This is because some stoic personalities believe that expressing too much emotion can lead to irrational or hasty decisions, The concept of stoicism dates back centuries and has its roots in ancient Greece and Rome.

It is derived from the school of thought known as Stoicism, which was founded by Zeno of Citium in the 3rd century BC. Stoics are independent thinkers who rely on their own judgment and ability to arrive at decisions. Stoics believe that people should strive to live a life of virtue and self-control, free from suffering and worry. The stoic personality type falls within the Myers-Brigg Personality Types, broadly under the ISTJ (introverted sensing thinking judging) type.

Is it possible for a woman to not feel pleasure?

Female sexual dysfunction can prevent a woman from experiencing satisfaction during sex. It may affect your ability to become aroused, have an orgasm or enjoy sex without pain. Causes can be physical or psychological.

What did Plato say about pleasure?

The Pleasures of Reason in Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Hedonists This book begins with a look at a passage in Plato’s Philebus that explores the contributions of reasoning and pleasure to a good life. Socrates and his interlocutor Protarchus agree that a good human life will involve both reasoning and pleasure.

But reasoning and pleasure are not just two separate components of a good life, with a bit of reasoning here followed by an episode of pleasure there. Instead, as Warren puts it, “human reasoning gives rise to pleasures and pains of its own: there are pleasures of thinking, believing, learning, remembering, and so on.” (2) Warren’s volume explores these pleasures of reason.

Just as Socrates does in the Philebus, Warren uses the term “reasoning” ( logismos ) broadly. It spans theoretical reasoning, such as learning about and contemplating the workings of the world and the forms, remembering your past, anticipating your future, and deliberating.

  • The first half of the book discusses the pleasures of theoretical reasoning in Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Plutarch.
  • The second half looks at deliberation and the pleasures of memory and anticipation in Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Cyrenaics.
  • The book has a thematic unity rather than an argumentative one.

Warren doesn’t attempt to establish an overall thesis; instead, he recounts what these philosophers say about various topics regarding the pleasures of reason. The chapters can mostly be read in isolation. Little of what Warren says in one place depends on what he says elsewhere, and he briefly recaps any needed context from previous chapters.

  • But the book is not merely a collection of independent papers, although some chapters draw heavily from previous publications.
  • Warren provides many cross-references to bind the chapters together, and reading the volume as a whole allows for fruitful comparisons among the figures he discusses.
  • The book is successful and should appeal to a wide readership.

Warren is a clear and pleasingly efficient writer; what he says is reasonable and well-grounded in the texts. Unlike his earlier book on the Epicurean arguments regarding death (2004), Warren does not spend much time relating the ancient material to contemporary discussions of reason and pleasure.

Nonetheless, what these philosophers say about reason and pleasure is not merely of historical interest, and the book would serve as a useful introduction to their theories for non-specialists. (Doubtful readers may look over the chapter summaries below and judge whether he is dealing with intriguing ancient insights or oddball antiquarian esoterica.) For specialists, although he doesn’t break major new ground, Warren advances a number of judicious original proposals.

Chapter 1 sets out the main topics. It also includes a brief discussion of the relationship between reason and emotion since emotions are accompanied by pleasures and pains. Warren closes the chapter by considering how human and animal memory and anticipation compare to one another, focusing on what Aristotle says.

  • Non-human animals have memory and anticipation of the future and thus pleasures and pains associated with these capacities.
  • A lion can deliberately pursue an ox and take pleasure in the prospect of devouring it, says Aristotle.) Nonetheless, humans remember the past and plan for and anticipate the future in qualitatively different ways.

Unlike humans, other animals don’t deliberate, their memories and anticipations of the future aren’t under their voluntary control, and they have no conception of why what they are pursuing is good for them. And so, there are distinctively human and rational forms of the pleasures of memory and anticipation.

  • Chapter 2 deals with puzzles raised by the claims in the Republic and the Philebus that learning is a “pure” pleasure unaccompanied by pain and that the philosopher’s life is the most pleasant.
  • For Plato, pleasures are associated with processes of replenishing some deficiency, whether bodily or psychic.
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Most pleasures are mixed with pain because you are aware of the painful deficiency being remedied; an example is eating when hungry. But some pleasures are “pure.” They are processes but aren’t preceded or accompanied by painful awareness of deficiency; an example is enjoying the smell of pine trees during a stroll.

  • The first puzzle is that learning is often painful.
  • Warren brings up Socratic cross-examination; having your beliefs tested can be unpleasant.
  • And he claims that the education of the philosopher-kings in the Republic will be accompanied “by pains, frustrations and the like which are essentially connected with the fact that there is a conscious desire to know or understand something as yet un-grasped.” (24) Warren resolves this puzzle by noting that ignorance and foolishness are psychic deficiencies but are not per se painful; they are painful only when you are aware of them.

More precisely, Warren gives two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for lack of knowledge to be painful: “(i) the lack of knowledge must be noticed or reflected upon and (ii) the knowledge that is lacking must be recognized as needed or necessary in some way.” (25) So the process of learning, of remedying your psychic deficiency, need not be mixed with pain.

(Warren’s solution has the consequence that learning is a “mixed” pleasure for self-aware philosophers and a pure pleasure only for those who do not know that they do not know or at least don’t know that their ignorance is bad.) The second puzzle concerns whether the life of a philosopher is pleasant.

According to Plato, pleasures are kinēseis, or changes – in particular, processes of replenishment. So, it looks like the philosopher who is still learning enjoys intellectual pleasures, but the philosopher in the state of having achieved wisdom doesn’t.

  1. Besides being an unwelcome consequence, Socrates suggests elsewhere that there are pleasures of knowing and of contemplating the forms.
  2. Warren devises a nifty solution.
  3. 46-51) Plato restricts pleasures to processes that involve changes in their subjects.
  4. But, says Warren, even knowledgeable philosophers undergo psychic changes.

In the Philebus, Socrates distinguishes between relearning something you’ve forgotten versus calling to mind something you hadn’t forgotten but weren’t focusing on. And even philosophers with knowledge of the forms aren’t constantly attending to this knowledge, e.g., when they’re sleeping, eating, engaging in the city’s business.

  1. But when they can, they’ll recall their knowledge.
  2. This shifting of attention is a process of change.
  3. Warren notes that God doesn’t change like this and so experiences no pleasure – a consequence Socrates avows in the Philebus,) Chapter 3 recaps the ways Aristotle modifies Plato’s position, but Warren stresses the continuity between the two, especially their joint commitment to “the value and importance of the pleasures that comes from rational activities and the close connection between the possession or active use of knowledge and the fulfillment of the best parts of our human nature.” (53) He summarizes Aristotle’s doctrine that pleasure is not a kinēsis but an activity ( energeia ) that doesn’t involve change or coming-to-be.

This allows God and the wise person engaging in contemplation to experience pleasure. He also notes Aristotle’s doctrine that the value of an activity depends on the value of its object, i.e., how noble or fine ( kalon ) it is. (61) This allows Aristotle to reaffirm Plato’s doctrine that intellectual activities and intellectual pleasures are the best.

The chapter includes a nice discussion of wonder and its connection with pleasure and the desire to learn in the Rhetoric, Poetics, and Metaphysics, Warren rightly notes that for Aristotle there are intellectual pleasures (including aesthetic pleasures) available to people who have not achieved theoretical wisdom.

As a hedonist, Epicurus denies that knowledge is valuable per se, Instead, it has value only insofar as it makes our lives pleasant. Chapter 4 explores how theoretical knowledge relates to pleasure for Epicurus. We can distinguish two ways. Knowledge may be merely instrumentally pleasant.

  1. For example, if I know that the gods have nothing to do with the workings of the world and that death is annihilation, this knowledge will help me shed my superstitious fears of the gods and death and thus attain peace of mind.
  2. Or knowledge may be intrinsically pleasant.
  3. I may find thinking about the atomic explanation for thunderbolts pleasant per se apart from how this knowledge helps me stop worrying that Zeus will zap me.

Warren acknowledges that for Epicurus theoretical knowledge promotes happiness primarily by its instrumental contribution to peace of mind. Nonetheless, he says, “there are also indications that Epicurus envisaged a more direct relationship between knowledge of the nature of things and pleasure.” (80) The Epicurean Lucretius says he feels awe and divine pleasure at beholding the wondrous workings of the universe, as revealed by Epicurus ( DRN 3 27 – 29), and Epicurus himself says that the process of learning is pleasurable, that “pleasure and learning are simultaneous.” ( SV 27) Warren claims that this simultaneity shows that “I do not need to wait for that knowledge to be useful or to lead to some later pleasure; it is pleasant all by itself” (81).

  1. Warren significantly understates the difficulties with thinking that for Epicurus knowledge is pleasurable per se,
  2. Texts like Principal Doctrines 11 and 12 do not state merely that knowledge of the world is necessary for dispelling superstition and that this function is the “principal contribution that these intellectual pursuits can make to the production of pleasure,” (80) as Warren puts it.

Instead, Principal Doctrine 11 says that if we were not troubled by our ignorance of the limits of our desires and by our suspicions regarding heavenly phenomena and death, then we’d have no need for natural science. This suggests that natural science has only instrumental value via dispelling these fears and limiting our desires and isn’t something we find immediately pleasant.

Likewise, Epicurus states that the only goal of achieving knowledge of physics and celestial phenomena is attaining freedom from disturbance. ( Letter to Pythocles 85) Warren claims that for Epicurus “knowing that the lightning is caused in such-and-so a way is just pleasant all by itself.” (82) But in his doctrine of multiple explanations, Epicurus states that we often cannot know the precise cause of some celestial phenomenon.

When this is the case, as long as we have a disjunction of possible naturalistic explanations that allow us to rule out the involvement of the gods, knowing which disjunct is the correct explanation is irrelevant as far as achieving peace of mind, and the person who has achieved only the disjunctive knowledge (“Lightning is caused by X, or Y, or Z,

  • Is just as free from disturbance as he would be if he knew it occurred in some particular way.
  • Letter to Herodotus 79-80) The latter part of chapter 4 ably recounts the polemic of the Platonist Plutarch against the Epicurean doctrines concerning pleasure and reason.
  • Warren draws connections between Plutarch and various passages in Plato’s dialogues, while noting that for Plutarch, intellectual pleasures are wider than merely those connected to knowledge of unchanging forms and include the pleasures of literature, history, and other social and cultural pursuits that deal with contingent particulars.

Chapters 5 and 6 look at what Plato says about pleasures of anticipation: in particular, Plato’s doctrine that there are “false pleasures.” Warren first presents the “measuring art” described in the Protagoras and notes some of its ambiguities. (For instance, its weighing procedure “does not amount to a full recipe for pleasure-maximization,” (111) the precise source of our bias toward temporally near pleasures isn’t specified, (113) and the account leaves open how often to employ the measuring art: for every choice or just some? (116)) In any case, correcting for our temporal biases and clearly weighing the pleasures and pains resulting from our actions is supposed to secure us happiness.

Warren then turns to the pleasures and pains of “the comparative procedure itself,” (120) e.g., the pleasure I now feel because I believe that I will receive great wealth and thereby experience great pleasure in the future, and the associated doctrine in the Philebus that some of these pleasures are based on mistakes and hence are “false pleasures.” He notes that the most plausible interpretation of the Philebus holds that pleasures themselves have some sort of propositional content, (130) so that my pleasure is partially constituted by a judgment about the future.

Warren says that Socrates’ claim that for the most part the false pleasures he is discussing aren’t experienced by just and pious people is key to understanding “false pleasures.” Consider the person who anticipates that he is going to get lots of wealth and thereby obtain many pleasures.

  • He pictures to himself both getting the wealth and enjoying getting it.
  • If he is experiencing a false pleasure, this picture is mistaken.
  • But, says Warren, it’s implausible to suppose that the mistakes vicious people make typically involve having false beliefs about what will occur (that he’ll get the wealth) as that mistake is not “a specifically ethical failure in the person’s character” (137).

Instead, because of their depravity, impious and unjust people make mistakes about what will please them. Warren aptly compares them to the tyrannical person depicted in the Republic, Like them, he is thoroughly unjust, impious, and miserable – not because his expectations about the future are constantly confounded but because he doesn’t find it satisfying to obtain the objects of his lawless appetites.

  1. 140) Warren then goes on to consider the role reason plays for Plato in making a human life unified, harmonious, and pleasant.
  2. In chapter 7 Warren shows how Aristotle appropriates the Philebus ‘ doctrines but modifies them in salutary ways.
  3. In Nicomachean Ethics 9.4, Aristotle echoes the Republic and the Philebus: the bad person is full of internal dissension and so hates spending time with himself.

Because of his regrets and poor prospects, both his memories and expectations of the future are painful. In these ways he is an enemy to himself. The good person, conversely, is his own best friend: he loves himself, is in harmony with himself, and both his memories and expectations of the future are pleasurable.

But Aristotle complicates the doctrine that memories and expectations of pain are painful, whereas memories and expectations of pleasure are pleasurable. This is generally true, but Aristotle holds that sometimes we recall with pleasure painful events that are followed by what is good. Warren notes that Aristotle doesn’t make entirely clear why this happens (168), so he considers at length the passage that Aristotle uses to illustrate his thesis: Eumaeus the swineherd recounting how he was taken from his birthplace and sold into slavery to Odysseus’ father.

Warren concludes that the most common explanation, though not the only one, for someone recalling a past pain with pleasure is that he “now sees and understands those events as being beneficial and good – hence pleasant – whereas he originally saw them as harmful and painful.” (174) In the final chapter – leaving aside a brief epilogue – Warren summarizes the Epicurean hedonic calculus, whereby a person prudently picks and chooses among pleasures and pains to make his life overall as pleasant as possible.

He also discusses the view of the Cyrenaics, fellow hedonists who eschew careful planning regarding the future and instead recommend concentrating on present pleasures. It’s sharply debated why the Cyrenaics make this recommendation. A related debate is whether the Cyrenaic break with eudaimonism, the view that eudaimonia (happiness) is the highest good.

(Among other texts, this is based on a report that the Cyrenaics claim that eudaimonia is just a collection of particular pleasures and that particular pleasure, not eudaimonia, is the goal ( telos ) and is worth choosing for its own sake. They also that say accumulating the pleasures that would produce happiness is most troublesome.

  1. DL 2.87-90)) Against interpreters like Terence Irwin and Tim O’Keefe, Warren thinks the Cyrenaics don’t sharply break with eudaimonism.
  2. According to Warren, the Cyrenaics oppose careful planning just because such planning is generally ineffective as the future is uncertain.
  3. Interestingly, he doesn’t connect this “uncertainty” to the Cyrenaics’ epistemological pessimism, their doctrine that we can know our own affections but not their causes in the world.
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Instead, he gives ethical reasons to explain the differing attitudes of the Epicureans and Cyrenaics about planning for the future and pleasures of anticipation. For Epicurus, tranquility is pleasurable and the main constituent of a happy life. He advocates limiting your desires so you can easily satisfy them and face the future with serene confidence.

So, given his limited desires, an Epicurean will be on firmer ground in having pleasurable expectations about the future and expecting that it will conform to his desires. The Cyrenaics, however, ridicule the state of being free from all bodily pain and mental turmoil as the condition of a corpse, not the height of pleasure, and they have little truck with reducing their desires to attain tranquility.

And so, they won’t be in a secure position to expect that their desires will be fulfilled. (209) In fact, the Cyrenaics advocate “prerehearsing” future suffering. While Epicurus thinks that anticipating future suffering is itself painful, the Cyrenaics think that unanticipated suffering is especially painful, and so reminding yourself that some future evil event will occur will make the event less painful when it arrives.

  1. 203) In Warren’s pithy summary of the Cyrenaics’ recommendations, “assume and expect that pain will come; enjoy the present while you can.” (204) Warren’s topic and the group of philosophers he focuses on are well chosen.
  2. The topic is distinctive and the philosophers help illuminate one another.
  3. The Pleasures of Reason deals skillfully with a wide range of material in a short span.

REFERENCES Irwin, T.1991. “Aristippus against happiness,” The Monist 74: 55-82. O’Keefe, T.2002. “The Cyrenaics on pleasure, happiness, and future-concern,” Phronesis 47: 395-416. Warren, J.2004. Facing Death: Epicurus and His Critics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

What did Plato think about pleasure?

Plato often assures us that it is pleasant to acquire knowledge. In the Republic a philosopher is said to live the most pleasant life because only a philosopher experiences the true and pure pleasures to be had from acquiring knowledge of the special intelligible objects that are the Forms.

How to turn pain into pleasure?

1. Pressure – Applying pressure can often distract the neural pathways conveying the pain, this could be applied to the area of pain or to any part of the body. Ways of doing this may be through a massage, being gripped or held tightly or being bound firmly with a restraint, rope, or clothing.

What is a pleasure ego?

In his work on instincts, Freud introduced a distinction between those whose sole aim is the search for pleasure and the avoidance of unpleasure and those that tend to adapt to the realities of life, which cannot be done without renouncing pleasure to some degree.

What is the super ego?

Sigmund Freud superego, in the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, the latest developing of three agencies (with the id and ego ) of the human personality, The superego is the ethical component of the personality and provides the moral standards by which the ego operates.

The superego’s criticisms, prohibitions, and inhibitions form a person’s conscience, and its positive aspirations and ideals represent one’s idealized self-image, or ” ego ideal.” (Read Sigmund Freud’s 1926 Britannica essay on psychoanalysis.) The superego develops during the first five years of life in response to parental punishment and approval.

This development occurs as a result of the child’s internalization of his parents’ moral standards, a process greatly aided by a tendency to identify with the parents. The developing superego absorbs the traditions of the family and the surrounding society and serves to control aggressive or other socially unacceptable impulses.

  1. Violation of the superego’s standards results in feelings of guilt or anxiety and a need to atone for one’s actions.
  2. The superego continues to develop into young adulthood as a person encounters other admired role models and copes with the rules and regulations of the larger society.
  3. See also Oedipus complex,

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn,

What is pain vs pleasure in psychology?

The pain pleasure principle, developed by Sigmund Freud, suggests that peo- ple make choices to avoid or decrease pain or make choices that create or increase pleasure. The pain pleasure principle is the core of all the decisions we make. Be- liefs, values, actions and decisions are built upon this principle.

What is a synonym for physical indifference?

Synonyms: apathy, numbness, spiritlessness.

What is the opposite of a masochist pleasure?

A sadist is the opposite of a masochist, who enjoys being in pain. A sadist is all about hurting others, usually to get off sexually.

What is indifference to suffering?

The Perils of Indifference Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy woke up, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. Liberated a day earlier by American soldiers, he remembers their rage at what they saw.

And even if he lives to be a very old man, he will always be grateful to them for that rage, and also for their compassion. Though he did not understand their language, their eyes told him what he needed to know—that they, too, would remember and bear witness. Gratitude is a word that I cherish. Gratitude is what defines the humanity of the human being.

We are on the threshold of a new century. What will the legacy of this vanishing century be? Surely it will be judged, and judged severely. These failures have cast a dark shadow over humanity: two World Wars, civil wars, senseless assassinations—Gandhi, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Sadat—bloodbaths in Cambodia and Nigeria, India and Pakistan, Ireland and Rwanda; the inhumanity in the gulag and Hiroshima.

And, on a different level, Auschwitz and Treblinka. So much violence, so much indifference. What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means ‘no difference’. An unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, cruelty and compassion, good and evil. What are its inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary at times to practice it to keep one’s sanity, live normally, as the world around us experiences harrowing upheavals? Of course, indifference can be tempting—seductive.

It is easier to look away. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person’s despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbour are of no consequence.

  • And, therefore, their lives are meaningless.
  • Their anguish is of no interest.
  • Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction.
  • In a way, to be indifferent to suffering is what makes the human being inhuman.
  • Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred.
  • Anger can at times be creative.

One writes a great poem, one does something special for the sake of humanity because one is angry at the injustice that one witnesses. But indifference is never creative. Even hatred at times may elicit a response. You fight it. You denounce it. Indifference elicits no response.

Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor—never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees—not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory.

And in denying their humanity we betray our own. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century’s wide-ranging experiments in good and evil. In the place that I come from, society was composed of three simple categories: the killers, the victims and the bystanders.

  • During the darkest of times, inside the ghettoes and death camps—we felt abandoned, forgotten.
  • All of us did.
  • And our only miserable consolation was that we believed that Auschwitz and Treblinka were closely guarded secrets; that the leaders of the free world did not know what was going on behind those black gates and barbed wire; that they had no knowledge of the war against the Jews that Hitler’s armies and their accomplices waged as part of the war against the Allies.If they knew, surely those leaders would have moved heaven and earth to intervene.

They would have spoken out with great outrage and conviction. And now we learnt, we discovered that the Pentagon knew, the State Department knew. What happened? I don’t understand. Why the indifference, on the highest level, to the suffering of the victims? There were human beings who were sensitive to our tragedy.

  • Why were they so few? Why did some of America’s largest corporations continue to do business with Hitler’s Germany until 1942? It has been suggested, and it was documented, that the Wehrmacht could not have conducted its invasion of France without oil obtained from American sources.
  • How is one to explain their indifference? And yet, good things have also happened in this traumatic century: the defeat of Nazism, the collapse of communism, the rebirth of Israel on its ancestral soil, the demise of apartheid, the peace accord in Ireland.

And then, of course, the joint decision of the United States and NATO to intervene in Kosovo and save those victims, those who were uprooted by a man whom I believe that because of his crimes, should be charged with crimes against humanity. But this time, the world was not silent.

  • This time, we do respond, we intervene.
  • Does it mean that we have learnt from the past? Has the human being become less indifferent and more human? Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far? What about the children? Oh, we see them on television, we read about them in the papers, and we do so with a broken heart.

Their fate is always the most tragic, inevitably. When adults wage war, children perish. And so, once again, I think of the young Jewish boy from the Carpathian Mountains. He has accompanied the old man I have become throughout these years of quest and struggle.