Book: "Theory and Practice in Epicurean Political Philosophy" by Javier Aoiz & Marcelo Boeri

  • This year was published a new book on epicurean political philosophy: "Theory and Practice in Epicurean Political Philosophy. Security, justice and tranquility" by Javier Aoiz & Marcelo Boeri


    "The opponents of Epicureanism in antiquity, including Cicero, Plutarch and Lactantius, succeeded in establishing a famous cliché: the theoretical and practical disinterest of Epicurus and the Epicureans in political communities. However, this anti-Epicurean literature did not provide considerations of Epicurean political theory or the testimonies about Epicurean lifestyle. The purpose of this book is to shed light on the contribution of Epicurean thought to political life in the ancient world.

    Incorporating the most up-to-date material, including papyri which have been recovered from Herculaneum, documents of Greek epigraphy and the prosopography of the Roman Epicureans, this volume will bring to the foreground new testimonies surrounding the public activities of the Epicureans. In this way, the reader will learn that Epicurean political theory is, in fact, a crucial ingredient of its philosophy. As a result, this connection creates an ongoing dialogue with the Greek philosophical tradition, revealing the presence of Plato in the Epicurean philosophy."

    They are latin-american prominent researchers in Ancient philosophy. I think Aoiz has worked on Aristotle and Boeri on the Stoics (I suppose this fact suggests a possible bias, but it can be interesting to see what they have to say on this topic).

    Here's the Amazon link (but you can already find it in the web 8o…o+D.+Boeri&s=books&sr=1-4

  • More enticement to read this book, from the introduction:


    As aforementioned, chapters 4, 5 and 6 are more ‘informative’ and ‘doxographical’ in character, although, as will be seen, they provide historical and doctrinal data that help reinforce our view that the Epicureans were not indeed averse to political life. Chapter 4 faces a well-known subject: how Epicurus and Epicureanism were received already in antiquity. There we dispute the reading that three prominent ancient writers made of Epicurus and his followers. Our struggle is against the interpretive procedures employed by Cicero, Plutarch and Lactantius – who were very hostile to Epicureanism – while examining Epicurean views. Our purpose is to show how decisive these ancient writers were in forging the traditional negative image of Epicureanism, as well as how their version of Epicureanism contributed to demoting Epicurean political reflection. These writers share several characteristics that demonstrate clearly their destructive intentions as well as the harmfulness of their account of Epicurus: (i) the reconstruction of Epicurean views drawing from the absolutization of decontextualized or mutilated slogans, or through the omission of certain views; (ii) the consideration of Epicurean assertions based on the supposed ‘germs of danger’ they contain and their repercussions at the level of social practice; and (iii) the banalization of Epicurus’ hedonism. Indeed, these are the three interpretive resources most frequently used by Cicero, Plutarch and Lactantius when disparaging Epicureanism. At any rate, the important point in chapter 4 is that if our knowledge of Epicurean philosophy depended exclusively on people like Cicero or Plutarch, we would practically be unaware of the political component of the Epicurean study of nature, and of its contribution to the grounds of the Epicurean way of life.