ASSIGNMENT – IT’S JUST WRONGRead through Mode 10 by Sextus Empiricus. There is a long list of ethical beliefs and practices identified with the peoples of his time. Select three that you think are just wrong, morally/ethically objectionable — ones that you believe could never be justified. For each practice/belief you chose, write a paragraph of about 30 words giving your reason /s for judging the practice/belief to be wrong.
sextus__tenth_mode__line__s.doc

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THE TENTH MODE
There is a Tenth Mode, which is mainly concerned with Ethics, being based on rules of
conduct, habits, laws, legendary beliefs, and dogmatic conceptions. A rule of conduct is a
choice of a way of life, or of a particular action, adopted by one person or many — by
Diogenes, for instance, or the Laconians. A law is a written contract amongst the
members of a state, the transgressor of which is punished. A habit or custom (the terms
are equivalent) is the joint adoption of a certain kind of action by a number of men, the
transgressor of which is not actually punished; for example, the law proscribes adultery,
and custom with us forbids intercourse with a woman in public. Legendary belief is the
acceptance of unhistorical and fictitious events, such as, amongst others, the legends
about Cronos; for these stories win credence with many. Dogmatic conception is the
acceptance of a fact which seems to be established by analogy or some form of
demonstration, as, for example, that atoms are the elements of existing things, or
homoeomeries, or minima, or something else.
And each of these we oppose now to itself, and now to each of the others. For example,
we oppose habit to habit in this way: some of the Ethiopians tattoo their children, but we
do not; and while the Persians think it seemly to wear a brightly dyed dress reaching to
the feet, we think it unseemly; and whereas the Indians have intercourse with their
women in public, most other races regard this as shameful.
And law we oppose to law in this way: among the Romans the man who renounces his
father’s property does not pay his father’s debts, but among the Rhodians he always
pays them; and among the Scythian Tauri it was a law that strangers should be
sacrificed to Artemis, but with us it is forbidden to slay a human being at the altar. And
we oppose rule of conduct to rule of conduct, as when we oppose the rule of Diogenes to
that of Aristippus or that of the Laconians to that of the Italians.
And we oppose legendary belief to legendary belief when we say that whereas in one
story the father of men and gods is alleged to be Zeus, in another he is Oceanos -“Ocean sire of the gods, and Tethys the mother that bare them.”
And we oppose dogmatic conceptions to one another when we say that some declare that
there is one element only, others an infinite number; some that the soul is mortal, others
that it is immortal; and some that human affairs are controlled by divine Providence,
others without Providence.
And we oppose habit to the other things, as for instance to law when we say that
amongst the Persians it is the habit to indulge in intercourse with males, but amongst the
Romans it is forbidden by law to do so; and that, whereas with us adultery is forbidden,
amongst the Massagetae it is traditionally regarded as an indifferent custom, as
Eudoxus of Cnidos relates in the first book of his Travels; and that, whereas intercourse
with a mother is forbidden in our country, in Persia it is the general custom to form such
marriages; and also among the Egyptians men marry their sisters, a thing forbidden by
law amongst us. And habit is opposed to rule of conduct when, whereas most men have
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intercourse with their own wives in retirement, Crates did it in public with Hipparchia;
and Diogenes went about with one shoulder bare, whereas we dress in the customary
manner. It is opposed also to legendary belief, as when the legends say that Cronos
devoured his own children, though it is our habit to protect our children; and whereas it
is customary with us to revere the gods as being good and immune from evil, they are
presented by the poets as suffering wounds and envying one another. And habit is
opposed to dogmatic conception when, whereas it is our habit to pray to the gods for
good things, Epicurus declares that the Divinity pays no heed to us; and when
Aristippus considers the wearing of feminine attire a matter of indifference, though we
consider it a disgraceful thing.
And we oppose rule of conduct to law when, though there is a law which forbids the
striking of a free or well-born man, the pancratiasts strike one another because of the
rule of life they follow; and when, though homicide is forbidden, gladiators destroy one
another for the same reason. And we oppose legendary belief to rule of conduct when we
say that the legends relate that Heracles in the house of Omphale “toiled at the spinning
of wool, enduring slavery’s burden,” and did things which no one would have chosen to
do even in a moderate degree, whereas the rule of life of Heracles was a noble one. And
we oppose rule of conduct to dogmatic conception when, whereas athletes covet glory as
something good and for its sake undertake a toilsome rule of life, many of the
philosophers dogmatically assert that glory is a worthless thing.
And we oppose law to legendary belief when the poets represent the gods as committing
adultery and practicing intercourse with males, whereas the law with us forbids such
actions; and we oppose it to dogmatic conception when Chrysippus says that intercourse
with mothers or sisters is a thing indifferent, whereas the law forbids such things.
And we oppose legendary belief to dogmatic conception when the poets say that Zeus
came down and had intercourse with mortal women, but amongst the Dogmatists it is
held that such a thing is impossible; and again, when the poet relates that because of his
grief for Sarpedon Zeus “let fall upon the earth great gouts of blood,” whereas it is a
dogma of the philosophers that the Deity is impassive; and when these same
philosophers demolish the legend of the hippocentaurs, and offer us the hippocentaur as
a type of unreality.
We might indeed have taken many other examples in connection with each of the
antitheses above mentioned; but in a concise account like ours, these will be sufficient.
Only, since by means of this Mode also so much divergency is shown to exist in objects,
we shall not be able to state what character belongs to the object in respect of its real
essence, but only what belongs to it in respect of this particular rule of conduct, or law,
or habit, and so on with each of the rest. So because of this Mode also we are compelled
to suspend judgment regarding the real nature of external objects. And thus by means
of all the Ten Modes we are finally led to suspension of judgment.
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CHAPTER IV. — WHAT SCEPTICISM IS
Scepticism is an ability, or mental attitude, which opposes appearances to judgements in
any way whatsoever, with the result that, owing to the equipollence of the objects and
reasons thus opposed, we are brought firstly to a state of mental suspense and next to a
state of “unperturbedness” or quietude. Now we call it an “ability” not in any subtle
sense, but simply in respect of its “being able.” By “appearances” we now mean the
objects of sense-perception, whence we contrast them with the objects of thought or
“judgements.” The phrase “in any way whatsoever” can be connected either with the
word “ability,” to make us take the word “ability,” as we said, in its simple sense, or
with the phrase “opposing appearances to judgements”; for inasmuch as we oppose
these in a variety of ways – appearances to appearances, or judgements to judgements,
or alternando appearances to judgements, — in order to ensure the inclusion of all these
antitheses we employ the phrase “in any way whatsoever.” Or, again, we join “in any
way whatsoever” to “appearances and judgements” in order that we may not have to
inquire how the appearances appear or how the thought-objects are judged, but may
take these terms in the simple sense. The phrase “opposed judgements” we do not
employ in the sense of negations and affirmations only but simply as equivalent to
“conflicting judgements.” “Equipollence” we use of equality in respect of probability
and improbability, to indicate that no one of the conflicting judgements takes
precedence of any other as being more probable. “Suspense” is a state of mental rest
owing to which we neither deny nor affirm anything. “Quietude” is an untroubled and
tranquil condition of soul. And how quietude enters the soul along with suspension of
judgement we shall explain in our chapter (XII.) “Concerning the End.”

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