Understanding Epicurus takes considerable effort, but not because the doctrines are difficult - they're not! The problem is that Epicurean philosophy has been heavily criticized for more than two thousand years, and most of the articles and commentary that have been produced over that time are by people who are critical of it and have no desire to present the philosophy clearly and fully. The only book-length work that even attempts to do so is Norman DeWitt's "Epicurus and His…
Welcome Friends of Epicurus! Please note two ongoing projects:
(1) For the last several months we have had on-line group discussions of Norman DeWitt's Epicurus and His Philosophy. Our last discussion was June 16th, and our next topic will be Chapter 10 - "The New Freedom." Please check this scheduling thread for the time and date, which is being postponed after being originally scheduled for July 7th. The link to the online chat forum is here. Discussion outlines are posted in this section of the forum, and the outline for Chapter 10 will be posted here.
(2) There is a great need for an authoritative online free edition of Lucretius' On The Nature of Things. At our Wiki page, we have two public domain versions (Munro and Bailey) and we are currently working on adding the 1743 Daniel Browne edition, which has the Latin text on the facing page of the original. In order to allow the reader to crosscheck the English translation, we are cross-referencing each translation the equivalent passage in the Latin text. Once we are complete we will have three good translations for passage-by-passage comparison, which is probably the most helpful way to tease the deeper meaning out of the more difficult sections. If you have time to help in this project by proofreading, transcribing, or any other way, please let us know by posting in the forum thread for this project.
is the place for friendly discussion of the philosophy of Epicurus. Our goal is to host a warm group of people who are studying and learning about Epicurean philosophy as a way of life, not as a matter of history or for purely academic reasons. EpicureanFriends
Navigate This Website In One Of Three Ways: (1) View detailed discussion in our Forums arranged by Topic, starting with our General Forum. (2) View our Dashboard, which is the best place to return on future visits for the latest postings. (3) View short comments by individual users in a Facebook-style Timeline.
If you have come across Epicurean philosophy in the past but been confused by commentators who assert - incorrectly - that Epicurus advocated an ascetic or passive lifestyle, you'll want to check out our table of Major Issues In Understanding Epicurean Philosophy. We're glad to help with your study of Epicurus - just ask in the forums! In the meantime, here is the advice of Thomas Jefferson on living an active Epicurean life:
A Feature of Our Forum - Follow The Advice Of Epicurus: Outline Your Understanding Of Philosophy
Epicurus' Letter to Herodotus: "Those who have made some advance in the survey of the entire system ought to fix in their minds under the principal headings an elementary outline of the whole treatment of the subject. For a comprehensive view is often required, the details but seldom. ... For it is impossible to gather up the results of continuous diligent study of the entirety of things unless we can embrace in short formulas and hold in mind all that might have been accurately expressed even to the minutest detail."
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter "I too am an Epicurean" and drafted his own outline of Epicurean philosophy. If you'd like to see what Jefferson wrote, and get help in drafting your own, click here.