Human Overpopulation Desertification is caused by overpopulation. Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. As a partial evolutionary solution, human fetuses are born less developed and more vulnerable. Despite the objections to the generic use of man, a solid majority of the Usage Panel still approves of it. Prominent among them are the human rights movement, global environmental movement and the movement for abolition of nuclear weapons, which persist with increasing vigor even today.
Precision Nutrition’s Five S Formula
According to the modern views, the structure of protein is considered by several level of organization. Primary level - peptide bond is formed by the amino acids. Secondary level - peptide bonds are folded which indicates a coiled structure e. In this folding the carboxyl and amino groups of the peptide chains are linked by hydrogen and disulfided bonds. Such folding is known as the secondary structure of the protein. Tertiary structure - when the globular protein consists of a series of single helix.
These models will have elongated structures with a larger axial ratio length: The structure in their dimensions is maintained by covalent or other bonds and described as tertiary structure. Quaternary structure - In this structure, there are several monomer units, each with appropriate primary, secondary and tertiary structures may combine through non-covalent interactions e.
Vitamins may be defined as organic compounds occurring in small quantities in different natural foods and necessary for the growth and maintenance of good health in human beings and certain experimental animals.
They cannot be synthesized in the body but supplied by the diet to the human body. Plants produce all vitamins but animal human stores them. Some are produced in the body e. Provitamin carotene is converted into vitain A in the body and Vit. D is produced in the body in presence of ultraviolet radiation. Fat-soluble vitamins are soluble in fats and fat solvents.
They are insoluble in water. So these are utilized only if there is enough fat in the body e. Water-soluble vitamins are heterogeneous group soluble in water and so they cannot be stored in the body.
Liver, heart, kidney, milk, codliver oils, fishliver-oils, butter, eggs, carrots, cabbage, vegetables, green leaves, mangoes, potatoes tomatoes, spinach, papaya etc. Source Fish liver oils e. Butter, milk, eggs, liver. In sub coetaneous tissue, 7 dihydrocholesterol is conveted to vitamin D by UV light.
Causes Rickets directive bone growth in childless, osteomalacia in adults, disturbs calcium and phosphorous absorption. Guava, amla, green chilli, amaranth leaves, citrus fruits, green vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, milk etc. Rice polishing, dried yeast and wheat germ are rich sources of vit. Whole cereals like wheat, oats, legumes, oil seeds and nuts are good sources. First, it may be noted that there are very few human beings that are truly marginal.
For example, infants, although not currently rational, have the potential to become rational. Perhaps they should not be counted as marginal for that reason. Likewise, the senile may have a direct moral status due to the desires they had when they were younger and rational.
Once the actual number of marginal cases is appreciated, it is then claimed that it is not counter-intuitive to conclude that the remaining individuals do not have a direct moral status after all.
Once again, however, few are willing to accept that conclusion. The fact that a severely cognitively disabled infant can feel pain seems to most to be a reason to refrain from harming the infant. Another argument against indirect theories begins with the intuition that there are some things that simply cannot be done to animals. For example, I am not permitted to torture my own cat for fun, even if no one else finds out about it. This intuition is one that any acceptable moral theory must be able to accommodate.
The argument against indirect theories is that they cannot accommodate this intuition in a satisfying way. Both Kant and Carruthers agree that my torturing my own cat for fun would be wrong. However, they believe it is wrong not because of the harm to the cat, but rather because of the effect this act will have on me. Many people have found this to be a very unsatisfying account of the duty. If it is, in itself, perfectly all right to do anything at all to animals for any reason whatsoever, then provided a person realizes the clear line between animals and persons and keeps it in mind as he acts, why should killing animals brutalize him and make him more likely to harm or kill persons Nozick, In other words, unless it is wrong in itself to harm the animal, it is hard to see why such an act would lead people to do other acts that are likewise wrong.
If the indirect theorist does not have a better explanation for why it is wrong to torture a cat for fun, and as long as we firmly believe such actions are wrong, then we will be forced to admit that indirect theories are not acceptable. Indirect theorists can, and have, responded to this line of argument in three ways.
First, they could reject the claim that the indirect theorist's explanation of the duty is unsatisfactory. Second, they could offer an alternative explanation for why such actions as torturing a cat are wrong. Third, they could reject the claim that those sorts of acts are necessarily wrong. Most people accept an account of the proper moral status of animals according to which the interests of animals count directly in the assessment of actions that affect them, but do not count for as much as the interests of human beings.
Their defense requires two parts: The argument in support of the claim that animals have direct moral status is rather simple. It goes as follows:. Examples of positively valenced episodes of awareness are pleasure, joy, elation, and contentment.
Examples of negatively valenced episodes of awareness are pain, suffering, depression, and anxiety. In support of premise 1 , many argue that pain and pleasure are directly morally relevant, and that there is no reason to discount completely the pleasure or pain of any being. The argument from analogy is often used in support of premise 2 see the discussion of this argument in section I, part C above.
The argument from analogy is also used in answering the difficult question of exactly which animals are sentient. The general idea is that the justification for attributing sentience to a being grows stronger the more analogous it is to human beings. People also commonly use the flaws of indirect theories as a reason to support the claim that animals have direct moral status.
Those that believe both that the marginal cases have direct moral status and that indirect theories cannot answer the challenge of the Argument from Marginal Cases are led to support direct theories; those that believe both that such actions as the torture of one's own cat for fun are wrong and that indirect theories cannot explain why they are wrong are also led to direct theories.
The usual manner of justifying the claim that animals are not equal to human beings is to point out that only humans have some property, and then argue that that property is what confers a full and equal moral status to human beings. Some philosophers have used the following claims on this strategy: On one common understanding of rights, only human beings have rights. On this conception of rights, if a being has a right then others have a duty to refrain from infringing that right; rights entail duties.
An individual that has a right to something must be able to claim that thing for himself, where this entails being able to represent himself in his pursuit of the thing as a being that is legitimately pursuing the furtherance of his interests Cf.
Since animals are not capable of representing themselves in this way, they cannot have rights. However, lacking rights does not entail lacking direct moral status; although rights entail duties it does not follow that duties entail rights.
So although animals may have no rights, we may still have duties to them. The significance of having a right, however, is that rights act as "trumps" against the pursuit of utility.
In other words, if an individual has a right to something, we are not permitted to infringe on that right simply because doing so will have better overall results.
Our duties to those without rights can be trumped by considerations of the overall good. Although I have a duty to refrain from destroying your property, that duty can be trumped if I must destroy the property in order to save a life.
Likewise, I am not permitted to harm animals without good reason; however, if greater overall results will come about from such harm, then it is justified to harm animals. This sort of reasoning has been used to justify such practices as experimentation that uses animals, raising animals for food, and using animals for our entertainment in such places as rodeos and zoos. There are two points of contention with the above account of rights.
First, it has been claimed that if human beings have rights, then animals will likewise have rights. For example, Joel Feinberg has argued that all is required in order for a being to have a right is that the being be capable of being represented as legitimately pursuing the furtherance of its interests Feinberg, The claim that the being must be able to represent itself is too strong, thinks Feinberg, for such a requirement will exclude infants, the senile, and other marginal cases from the class of beings with rights.
In other words, Feinberg invokes yet another instance of the Argument from Marginal Cases in order to support his position. Second, it has been claimed that the very idea of rights needs to be jettisoned.
There are two reasons for this. First, philosophers such as R. Frey have questioned the legitimacy of the very idea of rights, echoing Bentham's famous claim that rights are "nonsense on stilts" Frey, Second, philosophers have argued that whether or not a being will have rights will depend essentially on whether or not it has some other lower-order property. For example, on the above conception of rights, whether a being will have a right or not will depend on whether it is able to represent itself as a being that is legitimately pursuing the furtherance of its interests.
If that is what grounds rights, then what is needed is a discussion of the moral importance of that ability, along with a defense of the claim that it is an ability that animals lack. More generally, it has been argued that if we wish to deny animals rights and claim that only human beings have them, then we must focus not so much on rights, but rather on what grounds them.
For this reason, much of the recent literature concerning animals and ethics focuses not so much on rights, but rather on whether or not animals have certain other properties, and whether the possession of those properties is a necessary condition for equal consideration Cf. Some people argue that only rational, autonomous, and self-conscious beings deserve full and equal moral status; since only human beings are rational, autonomous, and self-conscious, it follows that only human beings deserve full and equal moral status.
Once again, it is not claimed that we can do whatever we like to animals; rather, the fact that animals are sentient gives us reason to avoid causing them unnecessary pain and suffering. However, when the interests of animals and human beings conflict we are required to give greater weight to the interests of human beings.
This also has been used to justify such practices as experimentation on animals, raising animals for food, and using animals in such places as zoos and rodeos. The attributes of rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness confer a full and equal moral status to those that possess them because these beings are the only ones capable of attaining certain values and goods; these values and goods are of a kind that outweigh the kinds of values and goods that non-rational, non-autonomous, and non-self-conscious beings are capable of attaining.
For example, in order to achieve the kind of dignity and self-respect that human beings have, a being must be able to conceive of itself as one among many, and must be able to choose his actions rather than be led by blind instinct Cf.
Francis and Norman, ; Steinbock, Furthermore, the values of appreciating art, literature, and the goods that come with deep personal relationships all require one to be rational, autonomous, and self-conscious. These values, and others like them, are the highest values to us; they are what make our lives worth living. As John Stuart Mill wrote, "Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures" Mill, We find the lives of beings that can experience these goods to be more valuable, and hence deserving of more protection, than the lives of beings that cannot.
Another reason for giving stronger preference to the interests of human beings is that only human beings can act morally. This is considered to be important because beings that can act morally are required to sacrifice their interests for the sake of others. It follows that those that do sacrifice their good for the sake of others are owed greater concern from those that benefit from such sacrifices. Since animals cannot act morally, they will not sacrifice their own good for the sake of others, but will rather pursue their good even at the expense of others.
That is why human beings should give the interests of other human beings greater weight than they do the interests of animals. Finally, some claim that membership in the moral community is necessary for full and equal moral status.
The moral community is not defined in terms of the intrinsic properties that beings have, but is defined rather in terms of the important social relations that exist between beings. For example, human beings can communicate with each other in meaningful ways, can engage in economic, political, and familial relationships with each other, and can also develop deep personal relationships with each other. These kinds of relationships require the members of such relationships to extend greater concern to other members of these relationships than they do to others in order for the relationships to continue.
Since these relationships are what constitute our lives and the value contained in them, we are required to give greater weight to the interests of human beings than we do to animals. The final theories to discuss are the moral equality theories.
On these theories, not only do animals have direct moral status, but they also have the same moral status as human beings. According to theorists of this kind, there can be no legitimate reason to place human beings and animals in different moral categories, and so whatever grounds our duties to human beings will likewise ground duties to animals.
Peter Singer has been very influential in the debate concerning animals and ethics. Singer attacks the views of those who wish to give the interests of animals less weight than the interests of human beings. He argues that if we attempt to extend such unequal consideration to the interests of animals, we will be forced to give unequal consideration to the interests of different human beings.
However, doing this goes against the intuitively plausible and commonly accepted claim that all human beings are equal. Singer concludes that we must instead extend a principle of equal consideration of interests to animals as well. Singer describes that principle as follows:. The essence of the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests is that we give equal weight in our moral deliberations to the like interests of all those affected by our actions Singer, Singer defends this principle with two arguments.
Singer's version of the Argument from Marginal Cases is slightly different from the version listed above. It runs as follows:. Singer does not defend his first premise, but does not need to; the proponents of the view that all and only humans deserve a full and equal moral status rely on it themselves see the discussion of Direct but Unequal Theories above. In support of the second premise, Singer asks us to consider exactly what properties only humans have that can ground such a strong moral status.
Certain properties, such as being human, having human DNA, or walking upright do not seem to be the kind of properties that can ground this kind of status. For example, if we were to encounter alien life forms that did not have human DNA, but lived lives much like our own, we would not be justified in according these beings a weaker moral status simply because they were not human. However, there are some properties which only human beings have which have seemed to many to be able to ground a full and equal moral status; for example, being rational, autonomous, or able to act morally have all been used to justify giving a stronger status to human beings than we do to animals.
The problem with such a suggestion is that not all human beings have these properties. So if this is what grounds a full and equal moral status, it follows that not all human beings are equal after all. If we try to ensure that we choose a property that all human beings do have that will be sufficient to ground a full and equal moral status, we seemed to be pushed towards choosing something such as being sentient, or being capable of experiencing pleasure and pain.
Since the marginal cases have this property, they would be granted a full and equal moral status on this suggestion. However, if we choose a property of this kind, animals will likewise have a full and equal moral status since they too are sentient. The attempt to grant all and only human beings a full and equal moral status does not work according to Singer. We must either conclude that not all human beings are equal, or we must conclude that not only human beings are equal.
Singer suggests that the first option is too counter-intuitive to be acceptable; so we are forced to conclude that all animals are equal, human or otherwise. Another argument Singer employs to refute the claim that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status focuses on the supposed moral relevance of such properties as rationality, autonomy, the ability to act morally, etc.
Singer argues that if we were to rely on these sorts of properties as the basis of determining moral status, then we would justify a kind of discrimination against certain human beings that is structurally analogous to such practices as racism and sexism.
For example, the racist believes that all members of his race are more intelligent and rational than all of the members of other races, and thus assigns a greater moral status to the members of his race than he does do the members of other races. However, the racist is wrong in this factual judgment; it is not true that all members of any one race are smarter than all members of any other. Notice, however, that the mistake the racist is making is merely a factual mistake.
His moral principle that assigns moral status on the basis of intelligence or rationality is not what has led him astray.
Rather, it is simply his assessment of how intelligence or rationality is distributed among human beings that is mistaken. If that were all that is wrong with racism and sexism, then a moral theory according to which we give extra consideration to the very smart and rational would be justified.
In other words, we would be justified in becoming, not racists, but sophisticated inegalitarians. However, the sophisticated inegalitarian is just as morally suspect as the racist is. Therefore, it follows that the racist is not morally objectionable merely because of his views on how rationality and intelligence are distributed among human beings; rather he is morally objectionable because of the basis he uses to weigh the interests of different individuals.
How intelligent, rational, etc. Notice that in order for this argument to succeed, it must target properties that admit of degrees. If someone argued that the basis of human equality rested on the possession of a property that did not admit of degrees, it would not follow that some human beings have that property to a stronger degree than others, and the sophisticated inegalitarian would not be justified. However, most of the properties that are used in order to support the claim that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status are properties that do admit of degrees.
Such properties as being human or having human DNA do not admit of degrees, but, as already mentioned, these properties do not seem to be capable of supporting such a moral status. In order to implement the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests in the practical sphere, we must be able to determine the interests of the beings that will be affected by our actions, and we must give similar interests similar weight.
Singer concludes that animals can experience pain and suffering by relying on the argument from analogy see the discussion of Cartesian Theories above. Since animals can experience pain and suffering, they have an interest in avoiding pain. These facts require the immediate end to many of our practices according to Singer.
For example, animals that are raised for food in factory farms live lives that are full of unimaginable pain and suffering Singer devotes an entire chapter of his book to documenting these facts.
He relies mainly on magazines published by the factory farm business for these facts. Although human beings do satisfy their interests by eating meat, Singer argues that the interests the animals have in avoiding this unimaginable pain and suffering is greater than the interests we have in eating food that tastes good. To know something is most properly to know its form, and mind in some way becomes the form of what it thinks.
Just how this happens is unclear. So, mind is not a thing, but is only the activity of thinking, and is particularly whatever it thinks at any given time. This work is an inquiry into the best life for human beings to live. The life of human flourishing or happiness eudaimonia is the best life. Thus, it is possible for one to have an overall happy life, even if that life has its moments of sadness and pain. Happiness is the practice of virtue or excellence arete , and so it is important to know the two types of virtue: Character excellence comes about through habit—one habituates oneself to character excellence by knowingly practicing virtues.
To be clear, it is possible to perform an excellent action accidentally or without knowledge, but doing so would not make for an excellent person, just as accidentally writing in a grammatically correct way does not make for a grammarian a One must be aware that one is practicing the life of virtue.
If, says Aristotle, human beings have a function or work ergon to perform, then we can know that performing that function well will result in the best sort of life b The work or function of an eye is to see and to see well. Just as each part of the body has a function, says Aristotle, so too must the human being as a whole have a function b This is an argument by analogy.
So, the happiest life is a practice of virtue, and this is practiced under the guidance of reason. Examples of character virtues would be courage, temperance, liberality, and magnanimity.
One must habitually practice these virtues in order to be courageous, temperate, and so forth. For example, the courageous person knows when to be courageous, and acts on that knowledge whenever it is appropriate to do so a Each activity of any particular character virtue has a related excessive or deficient action a The excess related to courage, for example, is rashness, and the deficiency is cowardice. Since excellence is rare, most people will tend more towards an excess or deficiency than towards the excellent action.
For example, if one tends towards the excess of self-indulgence, it might be best to aim for insensibility, which will eventually lead the agent closer to temperance. Friendship is also a necessary part of the happy life. There are three types of friendship, none of which is exclusive of the other: Likewise, the friendship of excellence is the least changeable and most lasting form of friendship b The friendships of pleasure and use are the most changeable forms of friendship since the things we find pleasurable or useful tend to change over a lifetime a For example, if a friendship forms out of a mutual love for beer, but the interest of one of the friends later turns towards wine, the friendship would likely dissolve.
Again, if a friend is merely one of utility, then that friendship will likely dissolve when it is no longer useful. Since the best life is a life of virtue or excellence, and since we are closer to excellence the more thoroughly we fulfill our function, the best life is the life of theoria or contemplation a This is the most divine life, since one comes closest to the pure activity of thought b It is the most self-sufficient life since one can think even when one is alone.
What does one contemplate or theorize about? Some have criticized Aristotle saying that this sort of life seem uninteresting, since we seem to enjoy the pursuit of knowledge more than just having knowledge. For Aristotle, however, the contemplation of unchanging things is an activity full of wonder.
Seeking knowledge might be good, but it is done for the sake of a greater end, namely having knowledge and contemplating what one knows. For example, Aristotle considered the cosmos to be eternal and unchanging. So, one might have knowledge of astronomy, but it is the contemplation of what this knowledge is about that is most wonderful. The end for any individual human being is happiness, but human beings are naturally political animals, and thus belong in the polis, or city-state.
Indeed, the inquiry into the good life ethics belongs in the province of politics. Since a nation or polis determines what ought to be studied, any practical science, which deals with everyday, practical human affairs, falls under the purview of politics ab The last chapter of Nicomachean Ethics is dedicated to politics. Aristotle emphasizes that the goal of learning about the good life is not knowledge, but to become good a5 , and he reiterates this in the final chapter b Since the practice of virtue is the goal for the individual, then ultimately we must turn our eyes to the arena in which this practice plays out—the polis.
A good individual makes for a good citizen, and a good polis helps to engender good individuals: Laws must be instituted in such a way as to make its citizens good, but the lawmakers must themselves be good in order to do this. Human beings are so naturally political that the relationship between the state and the individual is to some degree reciprocal, but without the state, the individual cannot be good.
In the Politics , Aristotle says that a man who is so self-sufficient as to live away from a polis is like a beast or a god a That is, such a being is not a human being at all. The three good constitutions are monarchy rule by one , aristocracy rule by the best, aristos , and polity rule by the many. These are good because each has the common good as its goal. The worst constitutions, which parallel the best, are tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy, with democracy being the best of the three evils.
These constitutions are bad because they have private interests in mind rather than the common good or the best interest of everyone.
The tyrant has only his own good in mind; the oligarchs, who happen to be rich, have their own interest in mind; and the people demos , who happen not to be rich, have only their own interest in mind.
Yet, Aristotle grants that there is a difference between an ideal and a practically plausible constitution, which depends upon how people actually are b The perfect state will be a monarchy or aristocracy since these will be ruled by the truly excellent. Since, however, such a situation is unlikely when we face the reality of our current world, we must look at the next best, and the next best after that, and so on. Aristotle seems to favor democracy, and after that oligarchy, but he spends the bulk of his time explaining that each of these constitutions actually takes many shapes.
For example, there are farmer-based democracies, democracies based upon birth status, democracies wherein all free men can participate in government, and so forth ba The male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind.
Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better , the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.
Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend reason; they obey their passions. For Aristotle, women are naturally inferior to men, and there are those who are natural slaves.
In both cases, it is a deficiency in reason that is the culprit. It is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret Aristotle charitably here. For slaves, one might suggest that Aristotle has in mind people who can do only menial tasks, and nothing more. Yet, there is a great danger even here. We cannot always trust the judgment of the master who says that this or that person is capable only of menial tasks, nor can we always know another person well enough to say what the scope of his or her capabilities for thought might be.
So even a charitable interpretation of his views of slavery and women is elusive. Motion is not merely a change of place. It can also include processes of change in quality and quantity a For example, the growth of a plant from rhizome to flower quantity is a process of motion, even though the flower does not have any obvious lateral change of place.
The change of a light skin-tone to bronze via sun tanning is a qualitative motion. In any case, the thing in motion is not yet what it is becoming, but it is becoming, and is thus actually a potentiality qua potentiality. The light skin is not yet sun tanned, but is becoming sun tanned.
This process of becoming is actual, that is that the body is potentially tanned, and is actually in the process of this potentiality. So, motion is the actuality of the potentiality of a being, in the very way that it is a potentiality. There could not have been a time with no motion, whatever is moved is moved by itself or by another.
Rest is simply a privation of motion. Thus, if there were a time without motion, then whatever existed—which had the power to cause motion in other beings—would have been at rest. If so, then it at some point had to have been in motion since rest is the privation of motion a Motion, then, is eternal.
What moves the cosmos? This must be the unmoved mover, or God, but God does not move the cosmos as an efficient cause, but as a final cause. That is, since all natural beings are telic, they must move toward perfection.
What is the perfection of the cosmos? It must be eternal, perfectly circular motion. It moves towards divinity. Thus, the unmoved mover causes the cosmos to move toward its own perfection. It is also arguably his most difficult work, which is due to its subject matter.
This work explores the question of what being as being is, and seeks knowledge of first causes aitiai and principles archai. First causes and principles are indemonstrable, but all demonstrations proceed from them. They are something like the foundation of a building. The foundation rests upon nothing else, but everything else rests upon it.
Likewise, we can reason our way up or down to the first principles and causes, but our reasoning and ability to know ends there. Thus, we are dealing with an inherently difficult and murky subject, but once knowledge of this subject is gained, there is wisdom Metaphysics a5. So, if philosophy is a constant pursuit of wisdom for Plato, Aristotle believed that the attainment of wisdom is possible.
Aristotle says that there are many ways in which something is said to be Meta. We can talk about the substance or being ousia of a thing what that thing essentially is , quality the shirt is red , quantity there are many people here , action he is walking , passion he is laughing , relation A is to B as B is to C , place she is in the room , time it is noon , and so on.
We notice in each of these categories that being is at play. Thus, being considered qua being cannot be restricted to any one of the categories but cuts across all of them. So what is being or substance? The form of a thing makes it intelligible, rather than its matter, since things with relatively the same form can have different matter metal baseball bats and wooden baseball bats are both baseball bats.
Here, we are really getting at the essence of something. Since nothing is what it is outside of matter—there is no form by itself, just as there is no pure matter by itself—the essence of anything, its very being, is its being as a whole. No particular being is identical with its quality, quantity, position in space, or any other incidental features. The Metaphysics then arrives at a similar end as does the Physics , with the first mover.
But, in the Metaphysics, we are not primarily concerned with the motion of physical beings but with the being of all beings. This being, God, is pure actuality, with no mixture of any potentiality at all. In short, it is pure being, and is always being itself in completion. Thinking is the purest of activities, according to Aristotle. God is always thinking. In fact, God cannot do otherwise than think.
God is literally thought thinking thought b Since God is thinking, and thinking is identical with its object, which is thought, God is the eternal activity of thinking. Although the Academy and the Lyceum could be considered in a thorough investigation into Hellenistic philosophy, scholars usually focus upon the Epicureans, Cynics, Stoics, and Skeptics.
Hellenistic philosophy is traditionally divided into three fields of study: Physics involved a study of nature while logic was broadly enough construed to include not only the rules of what we today consider to be logic but also epistemology and even linguistics. Otherwise, we depend in large part upon the Epicurean Lucretius and his work On the Nature of Things , especially in order to understand Epicurean physics, which was essentially materialistic.
The goal of all true understanding for Epicurus, which must involve an understanding of physics, was tranquility. Epicurus and his followers were thoroughgoing materialists.
Everything except the void, even the human soul, is composed of material bodies. Epicureans were atomists and accordingly thought that there is nothing but atoms and void. Moreover, these atoms are always in motion, and will remain in motion in the void until something can offer enough resistance to stop an atom in motion.
For Democritus, atoms move according to the laws of necessity, but for Epicurus, atoms sometimes swerve, or venture away from their typical course, and this is due to chance. Chance allows room for free will Lucretius 2. Epicureans seem to take for granted that there is freedom of the will, and then apply that assumption to their physics. That is, there seems to be free will, so Epicureans then posit a physical explanation for it.
The goal of the good life is tranquility ataraxia. One achieves tranquility by seeking pleasure hedone , but not just any pleasure will suffice. The primary sort of pleasure is the simplicity of being free from pain and fear, but even here, we should not seek to be free from every sort of pain. We should pursue some painful things if we know that doing so will render greater pleasure in the end DL X. Indeed, he recommends a plain life, saying that the most enjoyment of luxury comes to those who need luxury least DL X.
Once we habituate ourselves to eating plain foods, for example, we gradually eliminate the pain of missing fancy foods, and we can enjoy the simplicity of bread and water DL X. Epicurus explicitly denies that sensual pleasures constitute the best life and argues that the life of reason—which includes the removal of erroneous beliefs that cause us pain—will bring us peace and tranquility DL X.
The sorts of beliefs that produce pain and anxiety for us are primarily two: Most people, according to Epicurus, have mistaken conceptions about the gods, and are therefore impious DL X. Similar to Xenophanes, Epicurus would encourage us not to anthropomorphize the gods and to think only what is fitting for the most blessed and eternal beings. We are not thinking clearly when we think that the gods get angry with us or care at all about our personal affairs.
It is not befitting of an eternal and blessed being to become angry over or involved in the affairs of mortals. Yet, perhaps Epicurus is anthropomorphizing here.
The argument seems to rely upon his argument that tranquility is our greatest pleasure and upon the assumption that the gods must experience that pleasure. On the other hand, one could read Epicurus as a sort of proto-negative theologian who merely suggests that it is unreasonable to believe that gods, the best of beings, feel pain at all.
One might wonder whether anthropomorphizing is avoidable at all. The key here is the first premise that good and evil apply only to sentient beings. We recall that, for Epicurus, we are thoroughly material beings. Both mind and soul are part of the human body, and the human body is nothing if not sentient.
Therefore, when the body dies, so too does the mind and soul, and so too does sentience. This means that death is literally nothing to us.
The terror that we feel about death now will vanish once we die. Thus, it is better to be free from the fear of death now. When we rid ourselves of the fear of death, and the hope of immortality that accompanies that fear, we can enjoy the preciousness of our mortality DL X.
The Cynics , unlike the Epicureans, were not properly a philosophical school. While there are identifiable characteristics of cynical thought, they had no central doctrine or tenets. It was a disparate movement, with varying interpretations on what constituted a Cynic. This interpretative freedom accords well with one of the characteristics that typified ancient Cynicism—a radical freedom from societal and cultural standards. The Cynics favored instead a life lived according to nature.
The first of the Dogs, Antisthenes c. Yet, it was Diogenes of Sinope c. The cynic life referenced here consisted of a life lived in accordance with nature, a rebellion against and freedom from dominant Greek culture that lives contrary to nature, and happiness through askesis, or asceticism Branham and Goulet-Cazé 9.
Thus, Diogenes wore but a thin, rough cloak all year round, accustomed himself to withstand both heat and cold, ate but a meager diet, and most sensationally, openly mocked everyday Greek life. He was reportedly at a dinner party where the attendants were throwing bones at him as though he were a dog. One needs very little to be happy. This all seems a response to the cold fact that much of human life and circumstance is out of our control.
One might wonder what drives the ascetic practice for any sort of luck. Is it that we see that moving from one superficial pleasure to the next is ultimately unfulfilling?
Or, is the practice itself driven by a sort of fear, an emotion that the Cynic means to quell? That is, one might read the asceticism of the Cynic as a futile attempt to deny the truth of human fragility; for example, at any moment the things I enjoy can vanish, so I should avoid enjoying those things.
On the other hand, perhaps the asceticism of the Cynic is an affirmation of this fragility. Stoicism evolved from Cynicism, but was more doctrinally focused and organized.
While the Cynics largely ignored typical fields of study, the Stoics embraced physics, logic, and ethics, making strides especially in logic. Zeno of Citium c. This was the beginning of a long and powerful tradition, which lasted into the imperial era.
Indeed, one of the most famous of stoic ethicists was the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius C. As Pierre Hadot has shown, the Stoics studied physics in order better to understand their own lives, and to live better lives: Like the Cynics, the Stoics strove to live in accordance with nature, and so a rigorous study of nature allowed them to do so all the more effectively.
The Stoics were materialists, though not thoroughgoing materialists as the Epicureans were. Since we are part of this universe, our lives, too, are causally determined, and everything in the universe is teleologically oriented towards its rational fulfillment. Diogenes Laertius reports that the Stoics saw matter as passive and logos god as active, and that god runs through all of the matter as its organizing principle DL VII.
This divinity is most apparent in us via our ability to reason. At any rate, the universe is, as the name implies, a unity, and it is divine. The knowledge we have of the world comes to us directly through our senses and impresses itself upon the blank slate of our minds. The naked information that comes to us via the senses allows us to know objects, but our judgments of those objects can lead us into error.
If it is true that the correspondence of our descriptions of the object with the actual object can bring us knowledge, how can we ever be sure that our descriptions really match the object? After all, if it is not the bare sense impression that brings knowledge, but my correct description of the object, it seems that there is no standard by which I can ever be sure that my description is correct.
Stoic ethics urges us to be rid of our desires and aversions, especially where these desires and aversions are not in accord with nature. For instance, death is natural. To be averse to death will bring misery. Some things are up to us and some are not up to us.
Our opinions, and our impulses, desires, aversions—in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing. The things that are up to us are by nature free, unhindered, and unimpeded; the things that are not up to us are weak, enslaved, hindered, not our own…If you think that only what is yours is yours, and that what is not your own is…not your own, then no one will ever coerce you, no one will hinder you, you will blame no one, you will have no enemies, and no one will harm you, because you will not be harmed at all.
This passage might be shocking to us today when, especially in the United States, many of the things that Epictetus tells us to avoid are what we are told to pursue. We therefore might wonder why our bodies, possessions, reputations, wealth, or jobs are not in our control.
For Epictetus, it is simple. Possessions come and go—they can be destroyed, lost, stolen, and so forth. Reputations are determined by others, and it is reasonable to believe that even the best people will be hated by some, and even the worst people will be loved by some. Try as we might, we might never gain wealth, and even if we do, it can be lost, destroyed, or stolen. Again, public office, like reputation, is up to others to determine.
Just because, however, I live as Epictetus recommends, how can I be sure that I will never be harmed? Even if I fully grant that someone who, for instance, pushes me down a flight of stairs has committed his own wrong, and that his wrong actions are not in my control, will I not still feel pain?
Physical pain, for a Stoic, is not harm. The only real harm is when one harms oneself by doing evil, just as the only real good is living excellently and in accordance with reason. In this example, I would harm myself with the judgment that what happened to me was bad. One might object here, as one might object to Cynicism, that stoic ethics ultimately demands a repression of what is most human about us. For the Stoic, being moved by others brings us away from tranquility.
Stoic ethics risks removing our humanity from us in favor of its own notion of divinity. Somewhat like the Cynics, each major Skeptic had his own take on Skepticism, and so it is difficult to lump them all under a tidy label. Also like the Cynics, however, there are certain characteristics that can be highlighted, despite differences between particular thinkers. Rather, the goal of their skepsis was tranquility and freedom from judgments, opinions, or absolute claims to knowledge.
Skepticism, broadly speaking, constituted a challenge to the possibility and nature of knowledge. Arcesilaus found the inspiration for his skepticism in the figure of Socrates. Arcesilaus would argue both for and against any given position, ultimately showing that neither side of the argument can be trusted. He directed his skepticism primarily toward the Stoics and the empirical basis of their claims to knowledge. We recall that, for the Stoics, a grasping of sense impressions in the proper way is the true foundation for knowledge.
The argument runs roughly as follows. For any given presentation of an object to the senses, we can imagine that something else could be presented to the senses in just the same way, such that the perceiver cannot distinguish between the two objects being presented, which Arcesilaus thought the Stoics would grant.
It is possible, then, that the perceiver thinks one presentation is true and the other is false, but he has no way of distinguishing between either. Again, like Arcesilaus, Carneades relied upon the typical skeptic tactic of presenting arguments both for and against the same thing and claiming that we cannot therefore claim that either side is correct. We know almost nothing for sure about Pyrrho of Elis B. He wrote nothing, which is perhaps a sign of his extreme skepticism, that is if we cannot know anything, or cannot be sure whether knowledge is possible, then nothing can definitively be said, especially in writing.
Perhaps what most differentiates Pyrrhonian Skepticism from Academic Skepticism is the profound indifference that Pyrrhonian Skepticism is meant to generate.
Diogenes Laertius relays the story that, when his master Anaxarchus had fallen into a swamp, Pyrrho simply passed him by, and was later praised by Anaxarchus for his supreme indifference DL IX. The first mode argues that other animals sense things differently from human beings, and that we cannot therefore pretend to place any absolute value on the things sensed.
In the quoted example, then, the hemlock is clearly not in itself evil, but neither is it in itself good, but it is a matter of indifference. The remaining modes follow a similar pattern, highlighting relativity—whether cultural, personal, sensory, qualitative or quantitative—as evidence that we ought to suspend judgment. That is, they do not adhere to any philosophical position, but use the tools of philosophy to gain a sense of simplicity and tranquility in life, thereby ridding themselves of the need for philosophy.
By using dialectic, and opposing one argument to another, the Skeptic suspends judgment, and is not committed to any particular position. In everything he did…was to limit himself to describing what he experienced, without adding anything about what things are or what they are worth. He was to be content to describe the sensory representations he had, and to enunciate the state of his sensory apparatus, without adding to it his opinion.
We might wonder just how practical such an approach to life would be. Can we flourish or thrive, effectively communicate, or find cures for diseases by merely describing our experience of the world?
For example, antibiotics can help, more often than not, to cure diseases born from certain bacteria. Could we not say, for practical purposes, that we know this to be the case? We are not, after all, ignorant of the fact that bacteria are becoming resistant to certain antibiotics, but this does not mean that they do not work, or that we cannot someday find alternative cures for bacterial infections.
The Skeptic could reply in several ways, but the most effective reply to the example provided might go something like this: Medicine does not bring us knowledge, if knowledge is certainty.
Medicine, and what it claims to know has, after all, changed significantly. The practice of medicine is just another way of describing the way certain bodies interact with other bodies in a given time and place. But the Skeptic would go further. The curing of a disease, he would say, is neither good nor bad.
Perhaps my disease is cured, and the next day, I am killed in some other way. If death is a matter of indifference, then the cure for illnesses must be, too. Again, we might wonder in this case how one is ever spurred to action. Platonic thought was the dominant philosophical force in the time period following Hellenistic thought proper.
In other words, Plotinus inherits concepts of unity, the forms, divine intellect, and soul, but makes these concepts his own. The result is a philosophy that comes close to a religious spiritual practice. The One is the ineffable center of all reality and the wellspring of all that is—more precisely, it is the condition of the possibility for all being, but is itself beyond all being. The One cannot be accurately accounted for in discourse. We can only contemplate it, and at most relay our own experience of this contemplation Corrigan We can speak negatively about the One VI, 9.
Thus, for example, we say that it is impassive. It does not create Intellect or Soul or anything else; rather, by its supreme nature, it merely emanates Intellect and Soul. Since being moves out from its source and returns to its source Corrigan 28 , the Intellect turns towards the One and contemplates it. The Intellect is other than the One, but united with it in contemplation. As other, it gives rise to multiplicity, namely the forms that it is and that it thinks it thus thinks itself.
The Intellect generates Soul, which shares in intellect, but also animates the material world. Thus, the material world is generated by Soul, and this includes every individual being. A particular human being, then, has its share of soul, and its highest part of the soul is intellect, where true selfhood is.
The best life for human beings necessitates that each human become his or her own true self, which is the intellect. That is, we must turn away, as much as is possible, from matter and the sensible world, which are distractions, and be intellect Enneads I.
Being oneself in this sense, however, is quite different from the individuality promoted in the Western world. If we are now accustomed to identify ourselves by our likes, dislikes, opinions, , then a true Plotinian self would not be a self at all.
For Plotinus, however, this is true selfhood since it is closest to the center of all life, the One. Plotinus set off a tradition of thought that had great influence in medieval philosophy. Neoplatonism also saw the rise of Christianity, and therefore saw itself to some degree in a confrontation with it Dillon and Gerson xix.