Good and Bad
Just as we practise answering sophistic questions, so should we train for impressions every day, as they implicitly pose their own questions.
‘So-and-so’s son died.’ (‘The question’).
Answer: ‘Since it’s nothing he can control, it isn’t bad.’
‘So and so’s father left his son nothing when he died.’
‘Not something the son can control, so not bad.’
‘Caesar condemned him.’
‘Outside his control – not bad.’
‘He lamented these events.’
‘That is in his control – and bad.’
‘He withstood it like a man.’
‘That is in his control – and good.’
If we make a habit of such analysis, we will make progress, because we will never assent to anything unless it involves a cognitive impression.
‘His son died.’
What happened? His son died.
‘Well, does that mean that if someone wrongs me I shouldn’t hurt them in return?’First of all, look at what wrongdoing is and remember what you have heard about it from philosophers. Because if ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’ really relate to our choices, then consider whether your position does not amount to saying something like, ‘Well, since that guy hurt himself with the injustice he did me, shouldn’t I wrong him in order to hurt myself in retaliation?’