Read: Stoic and Sceptics Selections
Some key notions for our discussion of stoic and sceptic views will be the notions of assent and impressions. While I am not in control of what impressions the world forces on me, I am in control of my ability to assent to that impression, or in the specific case of sensory experience, to accept a sense perception as true and as an accurate representation of the world. For example, I can’t decide to change my sensory impression that the chair is brown to a sensory impression that it is blue by my own will. In some sense that is beyond my power – no matter how hard I try, I cannot change the brown impression to a blue one.
The question will then be: when should I assent to the impressions I experience? We see lots of sort of answers in the reading, but I want you to think about this question on your own as well. Sometimes your experiences accurately represent the world, but sometimes they don’t (e.g. optical illusions, the way food tastes when sick). So for this post: give an example of one case where you couldn’t trust your sensory experience. How does that case differ from your normal sensory experiences, i.e. what sorts of criteria do your experiences have to meet (or do you have to meet while having the experience) in order for you to trust that sensory experience? Or is it that no matter how good the setting and your own health, you can never be confident that your experience is accurate?
If the former, is it always clear to you when you or the situation meet those criteria? If the latter, how do you explain your interactions in daily life where it appears you have to be confident in your impressions to get around most of the time?