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By TheophileEscargot (Sun May 25, 2014 at 03:21:28 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Stoicism and Emotion". Watching. Links.

What I'm Reading
Stoicism and Emotion by Margaret Graver. Another pretty specialized book on Stoic philosophy, giving a comprehensive account of the Stoic model of emotion.

Very thorough, using not just the best known sources but also more obscure texts like fragments from Herculaneum.

Makes a persuasive case that the Sage was also believed to experience emotions, including particular affections for individuals, and that the "caution" experienced by the sage was also emotional.

Well worth reading if you're seriously interested in Stoicism, but won't be much use to others.

Some extracts:

What Cicero does not say is that eupathic responses are less intense than ordinary emotions in the sense of being flat or unable to generate vigorous action. There is no reason we should believe this about the eupatheiai. They are the corrected versions of human feelings, not diminished versions. We should think of them as being like the easy movements of a powerful athlete, forceful but without strain. (p77)
It may be significant, then, that the genus concerned with prospective goods includes some affective responses that are directly concerned with the goods of other people. Eunoia or "good intent" is "a wish for good things for another for that person's own sake", and eumeneia and aspasmos, "good will" and "welcoming" are subspecies of this... One cannot help but conclude that the rich affective life of the wise is being said to include some concern for other human beings that goes beyond disinterested service to the level of genuine affective involvement.(p88)
The sense of being carried forward even contrary to one's wishes is not, in fact, a feature of the initial impulse to run; rather, it comes in at some later point when one forms a second impulse telling oneself to stop. It is then that one finds oneself unable, for the moment, to act as one thinks appropriate, as the running impulse "oversteps", or overrides, the subsequent impulse to the contrary. So also with those impulses which are emotions: they are initiated in the same way as other impulses, and yet there is a kind of momentum to them that carries a person forward in time. (p105)
As quoted by Seneca in book 1 of On Anger, Zeno remarked "In the sage's mind also there remains a scar even after the wound has healed". In this "wound" must be some painful condition of mind, and the scar a painless indication that such a condition appeared in the past. That the "wound" must be specifically a capacity for emotion is not made clear by the fragment itself, but is strongly suggested by the context. (p149)
This insane form of crudelitas is perhaps not well described by our word "cruelty"... better rendering might be "bloodlust"... We might compare this behavioural disposition with the condition now usually called psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder... Both in the ancient and in the modern context there is some question whether persons who exhibit this unsophisticated kind of cruelty should be considered vicious or merely debilitated... Aristotle places brutish insanity "outside the bounds of vice" and Seneca could consistently hold the same view. But he does not bring out the implication... p216
What I'm Watching
Saw Blue is the Warmest Colour on disc. French movie about a love affair between a high school student and an older artist, got a lot of attention after winning the Palme d'Or. Pretty good movie, good observation of characters.


Socioeconomics. College awards majority of engineering degrees to women. Piketty criticisms and housing wealth.

Articles. Will Self reviews Rod Liddle book. Why men love war (1984).

Pics. Shoe endurance testing machine 1935. Famous paintings photoshopped to modern beauty standards.

Sci/Tech. Secrets, lies and Snowden's email: why I was forced to shut down Lavabit. Russia dominates ISS with launch monopoly.

Politics. Not two UKUPs, three UKIPs. Selfie militarism.

Random. Flexible rapier. The Overall Strike of 1920.

< The internet has everything. | Woman goes commando. Or does she? >
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Overalls by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun May 25, 2014 at 12:49:11 PM EST
I decided to jump on the bandwagon and read the Piketty book. It's very readable. The first bit is simply a quantitative history of modern wealth, which is rather good and I haven't seen elsewhere in this accessible but technical form. Maybe Niall Ferguson's Ascent of Money, before he started writing any old guff? That wasn't very data driven, from what I saw, though I only caught one or two episodes.

Anyway Piketty points out that for most of history inflation has been near zero. There were moments of aberration but hundred or two hundred year periods of essentially stable prices are not unusual. The twentieth century is the freakish outlier,. So genuine cultural shock at inflation - aka profiteers - is not surprising in 1920.

I can't help but cynically note the overalls movement can be seen as substitution of a cheaper input though.

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My prostate has yet to forgive me by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon May 26, 2014 at 01:52:40 AM EST
for Blue is the Warmest Colour.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Euroskeptic Tories by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:34:42 AM EST
... Getting publicly gloomy about the prospects of referendum success, basically because of the three UKIP thing

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