There is a set of texts in the history of ancient skepticism that have not been widely understood. Michael Frede has done much to set these texts in their proper context, but his work has not gotten the appreciation it deserves. Historians have tended to think that ancient skepticism in the Clitomachian-Pyrrhonian tradition is the suspension of belief on all matters and that Frede’s attempt to show otherwise is confused. This may turn out to be correct, but Frede’s interpretation, as (...) I think it should be understood, is more plausible and interesting than is usually thought. Frede has made it possible to see the skeptics in the Clitomachian-Pyrrhonian tradition as taking some of the first steps in working out the philosophical view that epistemic justification is a matter of whether a belief is the sustained outcome of a correct cognitive process and that correctness here need not and perhaps should not be understood in terms of modal reliability. (shrink)
Fred Feldman conceives of happiness in terms of the aggregation of attitudinal pleasure and displeasure, but he distinguishes intrinsic from extrinsic attitudinal pleasure and displeasure and excludes extrinsic attitudinal pleasure and displeasure from the aggregation that constitutes happiness. I argue that Feldman has not provided a strong reason for this exclusion.
According to the Stoics, human beings enslave themselves. When they change from nonrational children into rational adults, human beings form false beliefs about what is good and what is bad. These beliefs enslave them to things that are neither good nor bad. The author argues for an interpretation of how the Stoics understood the reasoning in terms of which human beings form these false beliefs. This interpretation helps makes sense of the argument against Chrysippus’s explanation of the origin of vice (...) that Galen attributes to Posidonius. It also helps explain how the Stoics could think that nature is provident and that nature constructs human beings so that they enslave themselves when they change from nonrational children into rational adults. (shrink)
I argue for an alternative interpretation of some of the examples Fred Feldman uses to establish his theory of happiness. According to Feldman, the examples show that certain utterances of the form S is pleased/glad that P and S is displeased/sad that P should be interpreted as expressions of extrinsic attitudinal pleasure and displeasure and hence must be excluded from the aggregative sum of attitudinal pleasure and displeasure that constitutes happiness. I develop a new interpretation of Feldman’s examples. My interpretation (...) is plausible in its own right. Moreover, it is significant within the context of the debate. It allows the attitudinal hedonist to preserve the initial understanding of happiness that Feldman believes is open to counterexample: that happiness is the sum of attitudinal pleasure minus attitudinal displeasure and that all attitudinal pleasure and displeasure counts equally in the aggregation that constitutes happiness. (shrink)