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1) “However, in the texts examined Sextus appears to theorize about the means for, and the hindrance to, the attainment of unperturbedness and happiness; he also appears to believe that some states are by nature good and others by nature bad. For, first, he seems to assert that the holding of beliefs directly or indirectly brings about perturbation and unhappiness, and that because of this it must be considered as something objectively bad. This idea appears to be explicitly stated in PH iii, at the end of the discussion of whether there is anything good, bad or indifferent by nature. After referring to the different troubles that arise from the belief in the existence of things good and bad, Sextus observes…”

2) “Another relevant text is the exposition of the Tenth Mode, which ‘depends upon ways of life, customs, laws, mythical beliefs, and dogmatic suppositions’, and is mainly concerned with ethics, that is, with the distinction among good, bad and indifferent things.”

3) “Whenever we say Skeptically ‘Of existing things some are good, some bad, and some between these’, we insert ‘is’ as indicative not of reality but of appearance. For concerning the existence relative to nature (peri tes pros ten physin hupostaseos) of the things good and bad and neither we have quite enough dispute with the Dogmatists; but we have the habit of calling each of them good or bad or indifferent according to what appears of them”.

In this case, I’m not sure about “relative to nature”, but I intend to retain the sense of the Greek as much as possible.

4) “Secondly, even if at first glance it may seem so, the texts quoted above do not license us to affirm that Sextus is adopting a type of relativism according to which things are good or bad only in relation to a particular person in certain circumstances. That is, I find no reason to affirm that he is adopting a kind of ethical realism. For we saw that at AD v 19–20 Sextus points out that whenever the Skeptic says that some things are good, some bad and some indifferent, he just means that they appear so to him. (…) The passage of AD v 89 already discussed is also of central importance to this question, since there Sextus says that that which each person regards as good is that which appears so to himself, and that what appears good to each person is not so by nature. Hence, when one refrains from affirming that one’s personal goods are by nature so, one is not left with real relative goods, but just with one’s own appearances of value.”

5) “But this would only be a part of his response, for we saw that at PH iii 280–281 Sextus tells us that the Skeptic will employ any argument that will make it possible to induce epoche in the Dogmatists. This shows that the Skeptic will not restrict himself to utilizing the arguments that have induced epoche in himself and his past patients, but also other arguments that have not had that effect. Or, to put it differently, it shows that the arguments that have been capable of inducing epoche in the Skeptic and his past patients may not be able to do the same in the case of his future patients. Hence, the very passage which presents the Skeptic’s philanthropic therapy makes it clear that he does not believe that there is a necessary logical connection between certain kinds of arguments and epoche.”

6) “Finally, as regards the fourth belief ascribed to the Skeptic, it is useful to refer to Sextus’ explanation of the way, which he explicitly says to be in line with the Skeptical attitude, that the Methodic doctor practices medicine.”

7) “It may be objected that the Pyrrhonist’s guiding his actions solely by his appearances, in the way that has just been suggested, would necessarily entail his adopting random courses of action. Therefore, if the Pyrrhonist acts in a no-random way, it is because his actions are based upon beliefs about matters of objective fact. Nevertheless, there are examples that show that this objection is not sound. Take the case of dogs, for instance: sometimes they seem to be perceptive of some of their owners’ moods, such as anger, fear, joy, and sadness, and they react accordingly. That is, they seem to have some kind of appearances of their owners’ states of mind, and these appearances trigger non-random reactions. Now, dogs do not seem to have beliefs, if we consider that having a belief implies having the concepts of truth and falsehood, and making an assertion about what is objectively the case (at least this is what is meant when examining at present whether the Skeptic has beliefs). Hence, the example just given seems to show that having beliefs about matters of objective fact is not a necessary condition for reacting non-randomly.”

8) “It seems plain that the full-fledged Pyrrhonist continues to be influenced by this old belief, so that one may say that he is inclined to believe that there are other human beings; but evidently this is not the same as actually believing it. For, even if the Pyrrhonist has that inclination, he nonetheless withholds his assent because he has not been able to find definitive arguments in favor of such a belief, there being other equally plausible arguments from which arises the contrary inclination. Thus, in the end the balance cannot be tipped in favor of either side.”

9) “This shows that, contrary to what we were inclined to believe at the beginning of the previous section, a person could perfectly well be a Pyrrhonist without having any concern for the welfare of others.”

10) “The reason is that, in my view, the Skeptic sees a crucial difference between the involuntary affections, on the one hand, and the laws and customs of his community and the skills he has gained, on the other.”

Should I say “on the other hand”?

11) “Secondly, there are lots of situations and states that can alter the way a person thinks, feels, or acts according to certain rules, traditions, and skills, such as war, imprisonment, mental illness, and senility.”

12) “It is likely that this betrayal as well as the harsh or traumatic experiences to which he will be subjected in prison will render him more individualistic, more unsympathetic, and colder. It seems plain that he may undergo such a transformation without it being necessary for him to find a rational justification for it; that is, he may just involuntarily experience those changes in his character.”

13) “As with the quest for ataraxia and the adoption of a philanthropic attitude, I have tried to show that the Skeptic does not regard the attainment of ataraxia as an essential part of his Skepticism.”

14) “Now, reason why the Skeptic will not stop being a Skeptic, even if he abandons his search for ataraxia or his philanthropia, or does not become unperturbed after suspending judgment, is that these facts do not entail the loss of his suspensive attitude and of his living by the appearances, aspects in which the distinctive character of his philosophy seems to lie. Indeed, if one had to determine what the essential traits of the Pyrrhonean outlook are, one should say that what characterizes it is, in the first place, the Pyrrhonist’s cautious, agnostic, and open-minded. In the second place, the Pyrrhonist’s guiding his actions by the appearances he has by virtue of a series of factors, because such appearances are forced upon him and are the only practical criterion with which he is left to cope with daily life after he has adopted total suspension of judgment."

15) “Before concluding, I wish to take account of two possible objections to my position.”

Is “to take account of” commonly used?

16) “The purpose of this section is to determine whether both the quest for and the attainment of ataraxia in matters of belief must be deemed essential to Pyrrhonism. These two aspects must be distinguished from one another for two reasons.”

In this case instead of saying whether both the quest for and the attainment of ataraxia...”, I’ve thought I could say: “whether both the quest for and the attainment of ataraxia...” I'm not sure if I should write a comma here.

17) “Second, to determine whether both the Pyrrhonist’s quest for, and attainment of, ataraxia and his philanthropia are, as has been generally thought, essential aspects of his stance.”

In this case, is it clear that ‘both’ goes with the second ‘and’?

Many thanks,

Sextus
1 2
Comments  
1) Ok.

2) I would probably say "distinction between" here.

3) “...according to what appears of them”. ] Would "according to how they appear" fit?

“Relative to nature” seems ok in a translation.

4) Only suggestions – not vital: “Secondly, even if at first glance it may seem so, the texts quoted above do not license us to affirm that Sextus is adopting a type of relativism according to which things are good or bad only in relation to a particular person in certain circumstances. That is, I find no reason to affirm that he is adopting a kind of ethical realism. For as we saw, in at AD v 19–20 Sextus points out that whenever the Skeptic says that some things are good, some bad and some indifferent, he merely means that they appear so to him. (…) The passage from AD v 89 already discussed is also of central importance to this question, since there Sextus says that that which each person regards as good is that which appears so to himself, and that that which appears good to each person is not so by nature. Hence, when one refrains from affirming that one’s personal goods are by nature so, one is not left with real relative goods, but just with one’s own appearances of value.”

5) “But this would only be a part of his response; for as we saw, in PH iii 280–281 Sextus tells us that the Skeptic will employ any argument that will make it possible to induce epoche in the Dogmatists. This shows that the Skeptic will not restrict himself to utilizing the arguments that have induced epoche in himself and his past patients, but will also use other arguments that have not had that effect. Or, to put it another way, it shows that the arguments that have been capable of inducing epoche in the Skeptic and his past patients may not be able to do the same in the case of his future patients. Hence, the very passage which presents the Skeptic’s philanthropic therapy makes it clear that he does not believe that there is a necessary logical connection between certain kinds of arguments and epoche.”

6) “Finally, as regards the fourth belief ascribed to the Skeptic, it is useful to refer to Sextus’ explanation of the way in which the Methodic doctor practices medicine. According to Sextus, this is wholly in line with the Skeptical attitude." (Have I changed that too much?)

MrP
7) “...Therefore, if the Pyrrhonist acts in a non-random way, it is because his actions are based upon beliefs about matters of objective fact. Nevertheless, there are examples that show that this objection is not sound. Take the case of dogs, for instance: sometimes they seem to be sensitive to some of their owners’ moods, such as anger, fear, joy, and sadness, and they react accordingly...”

8) “It seems plain that the full-fledged Pyrrhonist continues to be influenced by this old belief, so that one may say that he is inclined to believe that there are other human beings; but evidently this is not the same as actually believing it. For, even if the Pyrrhonist has that inclination, he nonetheless withholds his assent because he has not been able to find definitive arguments in favor of such a belief, there being other equally plausible arguments which give rise to the contrary inclination. Thus, in the end the balance cannot be tipped in favor of either side.”

Will return for the others...

MrP
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MrPedantic
6) “Finally, as regards the fourth belief ascribed to the Skeptic, it is useful to refer to Sextus’ explanation of the way in which the Methodic doctor practices medicine. According to Sextus, this is wholly in line with the Skeptical attitude." (Have I changed that too much?)

What about:

“Finally, as regards the fourth belief ascribed to the Skeptic, it is useful to refer to Sextus’ explanation of the way in which the Methodic doctor practices medicine, which he considers to be wholly in line with the Skeptical attitude." ?

I take this opportunity to say sth. about 10): I don't know if I should also eliminate the commas before "on the one hand" and "on the other".

And I change a little bit 13): "As these circumstantial factors do not exert an inescapable influence upon the Pyrrhonist, he can abandon both his search for unperturbedness and his concern for other people’s well-being. As with these two aspects, I have also tried to show that the Skeptic does not seem to regard the attainment of ataraxia as an essential part of his Skepticism". I'm not sure that it is clear that "these two aspects" refer to "his search...people's well-being".

All best,

Sextus
9) Fine!

10) No, "on the other" is fine.

11) “Secondly, there are lots of situations and states that can alter the way a person thinks, feels, or acts according to certain rules, traditions, and skills, such as war, imprisonment, mental illness, and senility.”

I'm not sure the part I've emboldened fits here: the context seems to require non-defined verbs (thinks/feels/acts).

12) Ok.

13) Fine!

MrP
14) “Now, the reason why the Skeptic will not stop being a Skeptic, even if he abandons his search for ataraxia or his philanthropia, or does not become unperturbed after suspending judgment, is that these facts do not entail the loss of his suspensive attitude and of his living by the appearances, aspects in which the distinctive character of his philosophy seems to lie. Indeed, if one had to determine what the essential traits of the Pyrrhonean outlook are, one should say that what characterizes it is, in the first place, the Pyrrhonist’s cautious, agnostic, and open-minded [noun missing?]. In the second place, the Pyrrhonist’s guiding his actions by the appearances he has by virtue of a series of factors, because such appearances are forced upon him and are the only practical criterion with which he is left to cope with daily life after he has adopted total suspension of judgment. [This last sentence seems to lack a main verb]"

15) Maybe "to take into account"? Or simply "look at"?

16) Maybe "should" instead of "must". Maybe commas should be inserted as in #17.

17) Yes, that seems fine.

Will return for the supplementaries...

MrP
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MrPedantic
14) “Now, the reason why the Skeptic will not stop being a Skeptic, even if he abandons his search for ataraxia or his philanthropia, or does not become unperturbed after suspending judgment, is that these facts do not entail the loss of his suspensive attitude and of his living by the appearances, aspects in which the distinctive character of his philosophy seems to lie. Indeed, if one had to determine what the essential traits of the Pyrrhonean outlook are, one should say that what characterizes it is, in the first place, the Pyrrhonist’s cautious, agnostic, and open-minded [noun missing?]. In the second place, the Pyrrhonist’s guiding his actions by the appearances he has by virtue of a series of factors, because such appearances are forced upon him and are the only practical criterion with which he is left to cope with daily life after he has adopted total suspension of judgment. [This last sentence seems to lack a main verb]"

Many thanks for your corrections, P. Regarding 14), perhaps:

“Now, reason why the Skeptic will not stop being a Skeptic, even if he abandons his search for ataraxia or his philanthropia, or does not become unperturbed after suspending judgment, is that these facts do not entail the loss of his suspensive attitude and of his living by the appearances, aspects in which the distinctive character of his philosophy seems to lie. Indeed, if one had to determine what the essential traits of the Pyrrhonean outlook are, one should say that what characterizes it is (a) the Pyrrhonist’s cautious, agnostic, and open-minded attitude attitude manifested in the adoption of a provisional epoche regarding the various first-order views he has hitherto examined, as well as of a provisional second-level epoche regarding the equipollence of those views and the undecidability of the disagreements to which they are parties; and (b) the Pyrrhonist’s guiding his actions by the appearances he has by virtue of a series of factors, because such appearances are forced upon him and are the only practical criterion with which he is left to cope with daily life after he has adopted total suspension of judgment."

See you,

Sextus
Hello Sextus

You need to say "the reason why", in the first sentence; and an extra "attitude" has slipped in. (Attitude with attidude, maybe.)

The paragraph does sound quite knotty and difficult, though. Will that be a problem? Or should it be broken down a little?

MrP
Thanks, MrP. I've been making typing mistakes when copying the questions. Yes, the paragraph is too long, and perhaps knotty. Do you have any suggestions? By the way, do you think you could take a look at Post: 169973 in the same thread? Thanks, Sextus
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