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  1. Listen Now
  2. Ancient Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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This means that some countries produce a lot more electricity with a lot fewer panels - which means that even though Germany has many more solar panels installed, some other places produce a greater proportion of their total energy from solar. In north west WA far fewer homes with solar, although on average the systems are bigger, although more regional homes have solar hot water than in the sw.

Adoption rates of successful technology is always rapid, and described by Roger's S Curve of diffusion of innovation. The adoption of clean tech and energy efficiency and renewable energy is proving to be no different. Adoption rates of renewables is following a predictable path of all successful technology. Australian solar data show the classic growth characteristics of a successful technology intrusion of both wind and solar, with solar showing signs of far greater disruption.

Combining contemporary data and my forecast trajectories for the Top 9 solar nations and adding India as it catches up to be in Top 10 by , China and Japan will dominate solar projects for the rest of the decade. Adding the most recent data, China is busy changing the world - building the new factories delivering the new 21 Century tech that changes everything. Thought bubble - if China is setting out to build new car factories, will they build new factories to pump out combustion engine cars or electric cars.

My pick is the second one. And global capacity growth and forecasts for wind, solar photovoltaics PV , concentrated solar power CSP - and batteries. The graph above includes my evolving forecasts - as momentum in cleantech has built, I have had to revise my forecasts of upward in , and again in Ever evolving, here is my version, discarding my previous projections which - despite being one of the highest projections of growth from any forecast on the planet including Greepeace - have all been too slow:.

And then no it doesn't - new update 25 Mar 17 of the graph only one year later - faster than almost anyone imagined, my new forecast:. Solar will become increasingly utilitarian. Solar is already matching wind in annual capacity additions in , and will overtake wind in total capacity as the renewable energy source of choice by This momentum will be enhanced as we move from Generation 1 of solar modules putting solar on top of things, like rooftops to Gen 2 building things like rooftops from solar to Gen 3 solar is a component of things - like roofing materials, paint, clothing.

When this is then introduced into the global market, the retreat of fossil fuel based energies follows a predictable exit that characterises all superseded and redundant technologies, and so impacts on global emissions. Note the curve below includes a factor for energy efficiency, with future growth tempered and then retreating as energy use becomes increasingly efficient.

NOTE: This is for electricity only - not 'total energ'y which includes non-electricity energy use too and is what the other 2 graphs above and below show. I am currently preparing a paper on renewable uptake rates as described above for submission to a peer reviewed journal. Renewable energy will be the most accessible and affordable energy and will break poverty by delivering to individuals and will be as effective as micro finance. Think of telecommunications - if you turned up in Africa 20 years ago and said the only way Africans could make phone calls was to build a copper network.

You may have also argued that it was inconceivable for Africans to afford the expensive new emerging technology of mobile phones. You would have been wrong.

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Update: Actually - in its already reached 1 billion. In if you turn up and say the only way that African's can have cheap energy is to build coal fired power stations connected through extensive and vulnerable infrastructure to distribute it to through monopoly power providers, you will end up being wrong. Distributed generation delivers at the point of need and as little as watts will make a difference to energy poverty. Relieving poverty doesn't need fossil fuels or coal - Peru in initiated a new program to provide electricity to more than two million of its poorest residents using solar panels.

Read more. Leadership can come from many quarters and it won't be just governments that bring on the change. Renewables commitment: News, public statements, and web search ProfRayWills. Owns 8GW. Member China Climate Group. Built totalGW renewables. Wind market leader Added 4 March - updated version here. My presentations on all of the above at many venues - here are some recent examples:. While all of the above forecasts and writings reveal both breadth and depth of the work I do, it is not the entirety of the work I do - that is reserved for clients.

If you need more, contact me at www. And here's a new way to look at that Added 7 Sep Prof Ray Wills on adopting clean tech My presentations on all of the above at many venues - here are some recent examples: Presentation to the Australian Mensa Conference available here - Powerpoint 18 MB added 25 November Adopting new tech and clean tech - how quickly will can the world change? Roger's S Curve describes how technology diffusion used to work But Accenture have described the big bang model - in the 21C technology is arriving faster and cheaper than ever before - change is inevitable, and it won't be slow.

More on cleantech - technology diffusion rates and adoption of new technology Globally electricity markets are in the process of rapid change, and this shouldn't surprise. Added 3 December Clean jobs will define successful 21st Century economies. Last century was command and control, this century is suggest and choose Clean jobs will define successful 21st Century economies. As far as efficiency is concerned, all that has been done to date hasn't scratched the surface. Added 3 December Wills R Smart, smarter, smartest - Zigbee preparing for the next wave of home innovation.

Added 3 December I need to update links above from mid-year Build rates of energy plant. Added 25 June Updated 2 Feb Adoption rates of technology in motor vehicles. Updated 23 March Global data on electric vehicle uptake. Added 4 April And faster than that too - hot off the press forecast: And to On electric vehicles, is it possible I'm too optimistic?

Added 8 Sep No one can predict the future And then there is the impact of new emerging technology on - well, new emerging technology. Added 5 June Added 5 June Naturally the updates on autonomy contributes to these updated electric vehicles projections And impact on global vehicle fleet and oil consumption through both reduced oil use from ICE fleet and oil displaced by electric vehicles.

Some advantages of autonomous vehicles Road congestion Self-driving cars will also communicate with one another - in the same way that some smartphone apps already do now - and ease congestion. Productivity Not only will eliminating losses associated with accidents save the public purse, it will also improve productivity beyond the removal of a burden on the economy, but also because those that might otherwise have been displaced by productive activity will continue to do so.

Insurance Even in the absence of government action, insurers will quickly move to increase premiums on human driven vehicles, while the cost of insurance for autonomous vehicles will likely prove very low. Efficiency With the virtual elimination of risk from crashes, cars will no longer require a significant amount of structural steel, roll cages or air bags, among other safety features, and therefore could be much lighter, improving energy efficiency and so operational costs.

Added 4 April - Thought bubble - why it will be even faster? Because of course the new cars are being built with the hardware included. Added 8 Sep NOTE - updated by graphs above 5 June Adding storage - the clean tech tsunami Storage is understandably seen as the keystone to renewable energy. Solar was the earthquake, storage will be the tsunami.

The energy market is changing forever. Added 13 May Updated forecast May Updated 6 Jul Not quite finished here - signficant updates before end of Clean tech just tech, expect faster adoption rates than telecom and internet. The first modern cellular mobile phone system was created by NTT in Tokyo in One of the things added along the way was internet and data.


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But the virtuous are self-sufficient, and the self-sufficient need friends least; so, the virtuous need friends least. In particular, the more godlike someone becomes, the less she needs friends at all. However, these two strands of Aristotle—one stressing the need for external goods and friends, the other stressing the need for independence from external goods and friends—remain in tension. Stoicism comprises a centuries-long tradition, involving considerable disagreement among its adherents. This article focuses mainly on early Stoicism as articulated by its first three scholarchs: Zeno, Cleanthes, and especially Chrysippus.

Some are rejected by an important early Stoic, Aristo, who lost a struggle to define the movement and so was retroactively deemed heterodox. There are disagreements among the earliest scholarchs as well, only a few of which are tracked here. But nature as a central organizing principle in ethical theory takes off in the Hellenistic period. The Stoics say that a newborn first finds herself and her constitution congenial oikeion. So, she has an impulse to preserve herself and her constitution. Thus, the newborn finds whatever preserves herself and her constitution congenial, and has an impulse toward them; she finds whatever destroys herself and her constitution uncongenial, and has an impulse away from them.

Our constitution includes bodily, psychological, and social abilities. At first, these are unsophisticated; the baby can flail her limbs, perceive her surroundings, and demand food from her caretakers. All these capacities are natural to her, congenial to her, and she has an impulse to exercise and preserve them. In short, the uncorrupted baby, her capacities, the exercise of those capacities, and whatever conduces to the preservation and exercise of herself and her capacities, have value for her.

The opposites all have disvalue. Next, the Stoics sketch the development of more bodily, psychological, and social abilities. We can stand, walk, and run; we can distance ourselves from appearances and assess whether things are as they seem; and we can engage in reciprocal relationships with others. These developments are natural to us. We continue to find ourselves and our developing constitutions congenial and have an impulse to exercise and preserve ourselves and our constitutions. Again, all these things have value for us and the opposites have disvalue.

Knowledge requires stability, even in the face of dialectical examination as it did for Plato. This sets a high bar for knowledge and for virtue, which, as we shall see, the Stoics identify with knowledge. Few humans, if any, ever attain knowledge. Still, grasps are a stepping stone; both the wise and the foolish have them, and they offer a path from foolishness to wisdom.

Even though few of us make it, wisdom is the natural end point of human development. This brings us back to value, which is distinct from goodness. Only what always benefits is good, just as only what always makes things hot is heat. That is, goodness is unconditional value. Most valuable things lack unconditional value are not good for familiar reasons: in special circumstances, things that are ordinarily valuable are disvaluable, and most valuable things can be misused. So, the Stoics call conditionally valuable things preferred indifferents , which should be selected ; conditionally disvaluable things are dispreferred indifferents , which should be rejected.

Things of no value or disvalue, or very little, are strictly indifferent and should be neither selected nor rejected. Only good and bad things should be chosen and avoided ; these unconditional impulses are only fittingly directed at good and bad objects. Importantly, the agent need not be able to provide such a defense to perform an appropriate action.

Even non-rational animals have and can perform their own appropriate actions. As the wise and foolish both have grasps, so both the virtuous and vicious can perform appropriate actions. However, only the wise person can defend her grasps and her actions in the face of all questioning. There are no action-types aside from virtuous actions that the sage always performs; occasionally, even cannibalism and incest are appropriate actions. If the sage appeals to the value and disvalue of indifferents to explain her actions, where do virtue and the good enter the picture?

Start from the developing agent who not only reacts immediately to particular valuable and disvaluable things, but who can compare value and disvalue and sometimes, at least, find the appropriate action. The next step in proper development is to perform appropriate actions regularly and reliably. Eventually, the agent appreciates how appropriate actions fit together into an orderly, harmonious life. At this point, the developing agent comes to see that the order and harmony of her life—made possible by reasoning about value and disvalue—has a value different in kind from the value of the things she reasons about.


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That order and harmony is, in a word, good. The primary good thing in Stoicism is virtue, or practical intelligence about comparative selection-value. Other goods include virtuous activity, the virtuous agent, and a friend—only the good are friends, because only they harmonize with themselves and each other.

Ancient Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The virtuous person appreciates the relevant values at stake in her circumstances and has a stable, coherent view about how to compare the values at stake. Unlike preferred and dispreferred indifferents, one would always rather have virtue so understood, and it cannot be misused. That is, virtue has unconditional value—it is good. Since happiness is the possession or possession and correct use of goods, and since the Stoics think virtue is the only good and cannot be misused, the virtuous person is happy.

Virtue is perfect psychological coherence, which does not come in degrees, so neither does happiness. Thus, the sage is fully happy even on the rack because she has and exercises virtue and she always acts virtuously.


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  4. Cicero illustrates this point with the example of Regulus, a Roman general who was captured by the Carthaginians. Regulus promised that he would carry terms of surrender back to Rome and then return. When he arrived in Rome, he argued against accepting the terms, returned to Carthage as promised, and was tortured and killed there. We are now in a position to understand the view most often associated with Stoic ethics: advocacy of freedom from passions apatheia. This does not mean that we should have no affective life at all.

    A judgment is fresh when it is newly assented to; a judgment is weak when it is unstable and so not known, even if it is true. The four highest species of passion are pleasure, pain, desire, and fear. Pleasure and desire represent their objects as good in the present and future, respectively, while pain and fear represent their objects as bad in the present and future. The sage has good versions of three of these four: joy reasonable elation , wish reasonable choice , and caution reasonable avoidance.

    The sage, being wise, will never judge that anything that is neither good nor bad—for example, any preferred or dispreferred indifferent—is either good or bad. Further, the sage never is bad, but may become bad again. So, she is fittingly cautious about future bads, but she will never experience a negative affect directed at her present badness. For as long as she is wise, she is virtuous, good, and happy, not vicious, bad, and miserable. So far we have focused on human nature, but we saw above that Cleanthes and Chrysippus both think our end involves living in accordance with cosmic nature.

    Accordingly, physics knowledge of nature in general is a virtue. But how more specifically does knowledge of the cosmos connect to ethics? In at least two ways. First, the Stoics are pantheists—the study of nature reveals that it is providentially ordered, and indeed that the cosmos simply is God.

    Given the paucity of human sages, physics is the study of the only virtuous, good thing we know. Second, the Stoics use the providential governance of the cosmos and our role as parts of it to argue for ethical conclusions—especially that we should value the common interest more than our own. Chrysippus uses a striking image: suppose our feet were rational. The rational foot would understand itself as part of a larger rational organism, and conduct itself accordingly.

    For example, given its understanding of what is valuable for the whole of which it is a part, the foot would sometimes want to be muddied. The foot might even desire to be amputated if amputation were the only way for the whole rational animal to carry on in the best way. But each human being is in fact a rational part of a rational whole, the cosmos. So, given our understanding of what is valuable for the cosmos as a whole, we should sometimes want to have dispreferred indifferents, and even sometimes to die, so that the whole cosmos can carry on in the best way.

    Arcesilaus was a head of the Academy who took the school back to what he thought were its skeptical roots. He could also appeal to Plato, who can be seen as distancing himself from any dogmatic views by writing dialogues, many of which end in puzzlement anyway. The Academics would argue on both sides of any question; in one famous case, Carneades —the greatest of the Academics—went to Rome and argued for justice on one day and against justice on the next. A favorite Academic target was the Stoic claim that cognitive impressions exist and can be distinguished from non-cognitive ones; debates between Academics and Stoics persisted for quite a long time.

    Like other global skeptics, Academics must explain how they can maintain their skepticism without walking off cliffs. They say that they do and maybe even believe what is reasonable or plausible. Plausibility comes in degrees, and Carneades suggests three important grades: initially plausible impressions, uncontroverted impressions which are not only plausible but also agree with related plausible impressions , and thoroughly tested impressions which require examining each of the related plausible impressions that agrees with an uncontroverted impression.

    One can rely on different grades of plausibility depending on the matter at hand. To jump away from something on the ground that may be a poisonous snake, the Academic only needs a plausible impression; to decide how to live, she will want thoroughly tested impressions. In the Academic—Stoic debate, both sides made accommodations under dialectical pressure. Eventually, one Academic, Antiochus of Ascalon, rejected skepticism and accepted views close to Stoicism in both epistemology and ethics.

    Antiochus claims to be recovering an ancient consensus among Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. In ethics, this putative consensus says that virtue suffices for happiness, but possession of external and bodily goods makes the happy person happier, while their lack makes her less happy. The Stoics says Antiochus just use new and misleading language to state this consensus view. The views canvassed above all accept that living well consists in virtue or virtuous activity.

    Though the Academics are skeptics, they reliably seem to find this sort of view more plausible than the alternatives. Another kind of ancient ethical theory says that living well consists in pleasure; the most important such view is Epicureanism. Although they are outliers in other ways, the Epicureans operate from standard constraints on our final end: we do everything else for its sake, and we do not seek it for the sake of anything else. They use several approaches to defend their claim that the final end of all our actions is pleasure.

    Second, like the Stoics, the Epicureans offer a version of the cradle argument. Finally, some Epicureans responded to arguments against hedonism. Sadly, no direct replies to the best anti-hedonist arguments of antiquity survive, but we do have some attempts to explain why many people deny the obvious truth of hedonism. The key claim is that all psychological pleasures and pains must ultimately be referred back to the body.

    In another way, though, psychological pleasures and pains have a special role: they have greater magnitude than bodily pleasures and pains. On this point, the Epicureans actually agree with Plato and others above. However, they explain the comparative magnitudes in a different way: the body only registers what is happening right now, while the soul ranges over past, present, and future. The soul thus represents to itself a much larger array of pleasures and pains, and can feel more pleasure and pain than the body can at a moment. Here the Epicureans disagree with their hedonist predecessors, the Cyrenaics, who say that bodily pain is used as punishment because its magnitude is greater than pain of the soul.

    The other most important Epicurean thesis about pleasure and pain is their denial that there is any neutral hedonic state in which one experiences neither pleasure nor pain. On this point, they disagree with both Plato and the Cyrenaics. If there is no neutral hedonic state, then complete removal of pain obviously cannot culminate in the neutral state; the condition in which one is completely free of pain must be pleasure. In fact, once pain is removed, they say, pleasure cannot be intensified, in either the body or the soul.

    Because psychological pleasures are greater than bodily pleasures, freedom from disturbance of the soul ataraxia is the key determinant of happiness, more important than freedom from bodily pain aponia. Thus, any bodily pain can be outweighed by the pleasure of freedom from disturbance, and the Epicurean sage can live well in any external circumstances, even on the rack.

    Epicurean arguments that death is not fearful continue to attract a great deal of attention from contemporary philosophers. The Epicureans argue that death is the end for us; we are not immortal. Then—and this is where contemporary discussion usually begins—being destroyed cannot harm us, for two reasons.

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    First, when we are dead, we perceive nothing, and only what we perceive can harm us. Some people object: things we do not perceive can harm us, as when a friend betrays us but we never find out. Second, when we exist, we are not yet dead, so death cannot harm us while we are alive. Once we are dead, we no longer exist, so death cannot harm us when we are dead either.

    The second argument can be developed in various ways. The Epicurean poet Lucretius asks whether we were harmed by our pre-natal non-existence, and argues that if we were not, then our post-mortem non-existence also will not harm us.

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    Some people object: we can be harmed when we do not exist, as when a project that we care about and work hard to support fails after our death. Eventually, one Academic, Antiochus of Ascalon, rejected skepticism and accepted views close to Stoicism in both epistemology and ethics. Antiochus claims to be recovering an ancient consensus among Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. In ethics, this putative consensus says that virtue suffices for happiness, but possession of external and bodily goods makes the happy person happier, while their lack makes her less happy.

    The Stoics says Antiochus just use new and misleading language to state this consensus view. The views canvassed above all accept that living well consists in virtue or virtuous activity. Though the Academics are skeptics, they reliably seem to find this sort of view more plausible than the alternatives. Another kind of ancient ethical theory says that living well consists in pleasure; the most important such view is Epicureanism. Although they are outliers in other ways, the Epicureans operate from standard constraints on our final end: we do everything else for its sake, and we do not seek it for the sake of anything else.

    They use several approaches to defend their claim that the final end of all our actions is pleasure. Second, like the Stoics, the Epicureans offer a version of the cradle argument. Finally, some Epicureans responded to arguments against hedonism. Sadly, no direct replies to the best anti-hedonist arguments of antiquity survive, but we do have some attempts to explain why many people deny the obvious truth of hedonism.

    The key claim is that all psychological pleasures and pains must ultimately be referred back to the body. In another way, though, psychological pleasures and pains have a special role: they have greater magnitude than bodily pleasures and pains. On this point, the Epicureans actually agree with Plato and others above. However, they explain the comparative magnitudes in a different way: the body only registers what is happening right now, while the soul ranges over past, present, and future. The soul thus represents to itself a much larger array of pleasures and pains, and can feel more pleasure and pain than the body can at a moment.

    Here the Epicureans disagree with their hedonist predecessors, the Cyrenaics, who say that bodily pain is used as punishment because its magnitude is greater than pain of the soul. The other most important Epicurean thesis about pleasure and pain is their denial that there is any neutral hedonic state in which one experiences neither pleasure nor pain.

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    On this point, they disagree with both Plato and the Cyrenaics. If there is no neutral hedonic state, then complete removal of pain obviously cannot culminate in the neutral state; the condition in which one is completely free of pain must be pleasure. In fact, once pain is removed, they say, pleasure cannot be intensified, in either the body or the soul. Because psychological pleasures are greater than bodily pleasures, freedom from disturbance of the soul ataraxia is the key determinant of happiness, more important than freedom from bodily pain aponia. Thus, any bodily pain can be outweighed by the pleasure of freedom from disturbance, and the Epicurean sage can live well in any external circumstances, even on the rack.

    Epicurean arguments that death is not fearful continue to attract a great deal of attention from contemporary philosophers. The Epicureans argue that death is the end for us; we are not immortal. Then—and this is where contemporary discussion usually begins—being destroyed cannot harm us, for two reasons. First, when we are dead, we perceive nothing, and only what we perceive can harm us. Some people object: things we do not perceive can harm us, as when a friend betrays us but we never find out. Second, when we exist, we are not yet dead, so death cannot harm us while we are alive.

    Once we are dead, we no longer exist, so death cannot harm us when we are dead either. The second argument can be developed in various ways. The Epicurean poet Lucretius asks whether we were harmed by our pre-natal non-existence, and argues that if we were not, then our post-mortem non-existence also will not harm us. Some people object: we can be harmed when we do not exist, as when a project that we care about and work hard to support fails after our death.

    Nothing pre-natal could harm us in this way. One important clarification: as we shall see, the Epicureans think it is usually natural to try to avoid death. However, trying to avoid death does not entail fearing it, any more than we must fear getting our shoes wet in order to avoid getting our shoes wet. The Epicureans try to remove fear of the gods by appealing to the concept of divinity: gods are immortal and blessed.

    But perfectly blessed gods can neither be benefited nor harmed by others including human beings. So, they will never be grateful to human beings for benefiting them or angry at human beings for harming them. Therefore, the phenomena popularly ascribed to divine agency—for example, thunderbolts, seen as expressions of divine anger—cannot be explained that way. To vindicate this claim, they offer scientific accounts of the world solely in terms of the basic principles of atoms and void.

    Finally, the Epicureans divide desires: some are natural and others are not. Among the natural desires, some are necessary and others are not. Unnecessary natural desires are grounded in actual human needs they are natural , but they aim to meet that need in a particular way, even though it could be met in many other ways.

    For example, caviar can meet the human need for food, so desire for caviar is natural. But our need for food can be met in many ways, so the desire for caviar is not a necessary desire. Natural and necessary desires are for the proper objects of genuine human needs. There are three kinds of natural and necessary desires, depending on what they are necessary for: happiness, freedom from bodily pain, and life. This division is fairly clear: we need some things to stay alive, and desires for those things are natural and necessary. But we could be alive and in severe bodily pain, which is naturally bad for us.

    So, desires for what we need to remove bodily pain are also necessary—for example, food and drink in general but not caviar and champagne specifically. Further, we can be alive and free from bodily pain but still miserable, because our minds are troubled. Thus, we also have natural and necessary desires for what can remove mental trouble: virtue and friendship. Several virtues can be treated fairly quickly. Courage is the state in which one is free from irrational fear of death and the gods which also requires piety.

    Temperance is the state in which one has natural desires and abandons unnecessary desires whenever circumstances make it difficult to eat say caviar instead of barley. Wisdom is knowledge of death, the gods, desires and pleasures, and the basic structure of the cosmos; it instills piety, courage, and temperance. That leaves the most interesting virtue for the Epicureans, justice, which has both social and personal aspects. Socially, justice is a useful agreement—in particular, an agreement to neither harm nor be harmed.

    For an agreement to be just, it must actually be useful. Which agreements are useful and so just varies, so different agreements are just in different circumstances. Still, the core concept of justice as a useful agreement does not change. Next, there are two accounts of why personal justice is important. First, even if one can get away with violating just social agreements, one cannot be sure that one will get away with it. So, violating just social agreements causes fear.

    Second, whatever one might hope to gain through injustice will not be necessary for life, health, or tranquility. Since the sage is temperate, she desires only what is necessary to life, health, and tranquility. Such limited goods are usually easily obtained. So, the sage has no incentive to violate just social agreements. Whenever extreme circumstances might seem to give an incentive, we should reconsider whether the original agreements are genuinely useful in those extreme circumstances, and so whether the agreements are still just.

    Lastly, Epicurus praises friendship for its ability to make us tranquil. It is tricky to say how friendship and justice differ. Epicurus says justice is an agreement neither to harm nor be harmed, which suggests a possibility: justice seeks mutual avoidance of harm—not only by not harming one another, but also by assisting each other in not being harmed. Friendship goes beyond that; it requires mutual benefit. But what kind of benefits? Friends help each other when necessary, and Epicurus agrees that this is one benefit of friendship.

    But more important for our tranquility is our confidence that we will have help from our friends in the future, if we need it. Thus, friends help each other to achieve the highest good tranquility by helping each other to achieve its necessary means virtue. The differences between Academics and Pyrrhonists are not always easy to discern.

    Our main source for Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus, says there are three kinds of philosophers: dogmatists who claim to have grasped the truth , Academics who say the truth cannot be grasped , and Pyrrhonists who are still inquiring. Thus, Sextus effectively characterizes Academics as dogmatists who claim to have grasped one truth.

    However, his classification does not withstand scrutiny. The Academics follow persuasive appearances, and any claim that the truth cannot be discovered may be understood as what is plausible after extensive inquiry not: what they claim to grasp as the truth. As we shall see, the Academics use of persuasive appearances is not far from what the Pyrrhonists say and do.

    Still, there is a clear difference in the ethical attitudes taken by Academics and Pyrrhonists. The Academics typically say that something like the Aristotelian or Stoic view—that virtue and virtuous activity are the highest or only goods—is plausible. The Pyrrhonists say that their end is tranquility again, ataraxia. This places their ethical attitude closer to the Epicureans, though their recipe for tranquility is rather different. Here it is worth noting that later Roman Stoics also emphasized tranquility in a way that the early Stoics did not.

    We must work up to that point by considering the development of a young Pyrrhonist. First, she notices that different appearances often make incompatible reports. The wind seems warm to her and cold to another; cremating the dead seems respectful to her and disrespectful to another. On topics that we care about, such puzzlement is painful and provokes attempts to remove it by vindicating some appearances over others. That is, puzzlement provokes inquiry into how things really are in themselves, as opposed to how they appear to various subjects. When the Pyrrhonist inquires, though, she discovers equally strong reasons on both sides of every question.

    Further, whatever considerations she might appeal to in trying to resolve the dispute are also matters of disagreement, requiring more inquiry, and so on. When she does so, the pain that she felt at being puzzled dissolves. In frustration, he threw his sponge at the canvas; fortuitously, it produced the desired effect. Likewise, the budding Pyrrhonist wants to rid herself of troubles about the real nature of things by discovering the truth.

    She never finds reasons for any particular view better than the reasons on the other side. So, she suspends judgment. But when she does, she fortuitously achieves the end she sought: tranquility. As mentioned above, though, she does not rest on her laurels at this point; rather, she keeps inquiring.

    Like Academics, Pyrrhonists must explain how they act. The Pyrrhonist criterion of action is the appearance. We can approach this through the examples of relativity above. When the wind seems warm to one person and cool to another, and they have equally strong reasons to trust each appearance, they might suspend judgment on the question whether the wind is really warm or cool. But this does not remove the appearances; the wind still seems cool to one and warm to the other. It also does not prevent either from acting on her appearance.

    One might put on another layer of clothing, while the other takes one off. Likewise when two people disagree whether it is respectful to cremate the dead. We might find equally good reasons to say that cremation is respectful and that it is disrespectful. But it may still seem respectful to one person and disrespectful to the other, and nothing prevents each person from acting on how things seem to them.

    It is an open question whether this will produce toleration of different opinions or simply make practical disputes irresolvable. It is unclear exactly how much the Pyrrhonist criterion of action, the appearance, differs from the Academic criterion, the plausible appearance. For example, both Pyrrhonists and Academics follow their traditional religious practices, which suggests some convergence in how ancient skeptics of different stripes deal with action.

    Again, their clearest difference concerns the final end. Naturally, the Pyrrhonists do not dogmatically assert that tranquility is the end; it simply seems to them to be the end, and they act based on that appearance. But they say more about why Pyrrhonism seems to be the best path to tranquility—better than Epicureanism, for example.

    Certain appearances and feelings are unavoidable for us: hunger seems painful and leads us to relieve it. There is no getting rid of these appearances and feelings.