Maciej Level 01
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Posts by Maciej

    Like Seneca in letters. Proper place of Lukian's relation to epicureanism is a secondary source and not what was proposed above - standard and point of reference for specific doctrine in epicurean philosophy.

    Lukian was eclectic freethinker. His views can be best described as skeptical cynicism or cynical skepticism. Many protagonists of his dialogues are named cyniskus or Diogenes if I remember correctly. Best example of his skepticism is dialogue Hermotimos where he uses several skeptical tropes against dogmatists, which is evident for anyone who has knowledge of greek philosophy at the level of Diogenes Laertius Lives. I remind you that some skeptical tropes were invented specifically to counter epicurean canonic. God momos is another example of his cynical skeptical inclination to mockery of established religion and astrology. Those are the issues where three schools overlap a bit so epicureanism could be Lukians third source of inspiration. distant third place. Very distant.

    Nevertheless Lukians dialogues and diatribes in themselves are great read and I recommend them strongly to anybody who accidentaly gets them in their hands. You can lick a little bit of philosophy from them.

    i am not implying this at all. What i said and let me be clear on this: maybe they have reacted to the change of philosophical discourse at their time.

    Or we can look at this in another way. Desire to engage in logical argument with opposing school and defend philosophy although unnecessary it is natural. As long as it is in reasonable limits it trains the mind and brings pleasure during reflection and debating itself.

    Well nevermind.

    And yes in letter of menoeceus epicurus states that


    Our every action is done so that we will not be in pain or fear.

    Either you consciously ignoring this fact or you have to admit that epicurus himself was a stoic. I will let you decide for yourself.

    Torquatus is not not agreeing with epicurus. He and other epicureans thought that philosophy should be elaborated and developed further. I have no opinion on this subject right now but it wery well maybe true that at time of epicurus there was no need for logical arguement and in time of philodemus and torquatus such arguement was needed.

    Evolution of doctrine is natural thing. And it was propably unavoidable since in hellenistic and roman times philosophy became part of education, there was more interaction between members of philosophical sects, so there was more opportunities to refine, precise and develop the doctrines.

    Btw Lukian was not epicurean himself and i do not know why all of you treating him like one. Because he spoke favorably about epicureanism three times in entire corpus of works? By the same standard seneca should be epicurean also and even bigger one since he spoke favourably about epicurus more than 20 times in one book.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. From absence of essential part of epicurean doctrine in Lucian you cannot infer the absence of that doctrine in whole epicureanism.

    And argument in cicero is supported by letter to menoeceus.

    First. I urge you not to forget what epicurus says explicitly about absence of pain (or fredom from pain or removal of pain or health of body since those expressions points to the same thing).


    Our every action is done so that we will not be in pain or fear. As soon as we achieve this, the soul is released from every storm, since an animal has no other need and must seek nothing else to complete the goodness of body and soul.

    Secondly. What do you mean by pleasure as is ordinary felt? Please give me examples.

    Ad1. It kind of does indicate this. We can paraphrase torquatus and say that a positively agreeable perception of the senses is not the kind of pleasure that we pursue alone. Epicurus warns about this in pd10. if we would pursue this kind of p!easures alone then we would not only loose the greatest pleasure but also those pleasures will be spoiled by fear that one day we will loose them and sickness or addiction or boredom caused by not knowing limits of our desires. Look at pd10 and menoceus again.

    Ad2. So you do not feel in torquatus words sensation of complete emancipation and relief from uneasiness? Is this what you are firmly convinced is false and you are rejecting it?

    Ad. Lawyers...

    I am not threatened by lawyers sophisms and tricks. I look at secondary source whitch is torquatus speach and compare it with primary source which is letter to menoeceus. Where torquatus confirms epicurus or elaborates on his basis then i have no reason to exlude him. There is no reason to fear torquatus or any souRce for that matter. Fear leads to overcriticism and overcriticism leads to misunderstanding.

    Ad. As cicero...

    There is nothing in this fragment about death so i do not know what you are talkin about. Of course there is another kind of pleasure than agreeable perception of the senses which epicurus endorses in quoted fragments in menoeceus and in pd.10 for example. I urge you not to forget about evidence that was presented already.

    Ad all the rest...

    Memory of past pleasures, hopes of future ones and meditations of philosophy are not felt by senses. When you are relieved from fear in what sense organ you feel positive agreement? In your eye or tongue?

    Quote from torquatus that corroborates Epicurus exposition in menoceus


    The pleasure we pursue is not that kind alone which directly affects our physical being with a delightful feeling—a positively agreeable perception of the senses; on the contrary, the greatest pleasure according to us is that which is experienced as a result of the complete removal of pain. When we are released from pain, the mere sensation of complete emancipation and relief from uneasiness is in itself a source of gratification. But everything that causes gratification is a pleasure (just as everything that causes annoyance is a pain). Therefore the complete removal of pain has correctly been termed a pleasure. For example, when hunger and thirst are banished by food and drink, the mere fact of getting rid of uneasiness brings a resultant pleasure in its train.

    Epicurus precisely say and let me quote


    The steady contemplation of these facts enables you to understand everything that you accept or reject in terms of the health of the body and the serenity of the soul — since that is the goal of a completely happy life.

    So please find and let us know those fragments that will enlighten us. Or let be enlighten by us by pointing to you what is evident to everybody.

    Absence of pain or freedom from pain or health of the body means what it sounds. The same thing in modern and ancient context. Who understands this is unimpressed by arguments in cicero.

    For epicurus it was full context. You can ask me to describe whiteness of the snow i can only point to something white and say: "like this". We had this discussion. Do you remember when you was in pain? I am assuming that you do. But now you are not? Ok then compare one state with the other and you find what you are looking for.

    It was great pleasure reading your exchange (all of you) but while you are focusing on ciceros interpretation and critique, which is in itself important, you fail to take into consideration central epicurean text about ethics. And in light of these passages katastematic\kinetic distinction should be debated. Even wenham seems to make the same mistake when he rushes to ciceros interpretation without introduction based on the letter.

    From letter to menoeceus:


    The steady contemplation of \different desires\ enables you to understand everything that you accept or reject in terms of the health of the body and the serenity of the soul — since that is the goal of a completely happy life. Our every action is done so that we will not be in pain or fear. As soon as we achieve this, the soul is released from every storm, since an animal has no other need and must seek nothing else to complete the goodness of body and soul. Thus we need pleasure only when we are in pain caused by its absence; but when we are not in pain then we have no need of pleasure.

    And later he adds:


    when we say that pleasure is the goal, \we mean\ to be free from bodily pain and mental disturbance. For a pleasant life is produced (...) by sober reasoning, searching out the cause of everything we accept or reject, and driving out opinions that cause the greatest trouble in the soul.

    Yes. Epicurus says this himself. When he says that pleasure is the goal he means freedom of pain and anxiety. All context is here. Period.

    There are no "epicurean" wars.

    I grant you this. Defensive war is usually necessary. But not always. Czechs surrendered to hitler immediately. Most of their people and their cities survived the war. Poles fought hitler fiercly and most of their cities were destroyed thousends of families perished.

    In case of pyrrhus lets do not allow ourselves to succumb to idealized history of greek hellenistic kings. Pyrrhus wanted to be next alexander like many others. Lifes and freedoms of italian greeks in tarentum, krotona and sybaris meant nothing to him. And his escapades brought after his death revenge of his enemies that falled upon the heads of his subjects.

    No in principle. We can imagine of course extreme circumstances that lead epicurean to war just like other extreme circumstances lead him to take his own life. But we do not praise the man who commits suicide even if he has good reasons for it therefore we will not praise man who goes to war even with good reasons.

    Little is known about epicurean philosopher and orator Cineas, who was advisor and diplomat to king Pyrrhus of Epirus. His diplomatic career is recorded by plutarch in Life of Pyrrhus…tarch/lives/pyrrhus*.html

    Parts interesting from epicurean perspective are 20.4 and 14.1-8 quoted below:


    Again, at supper, where all sorts of topics were discussed, and particularly that of Greece and her philosophers, Cineas happened somehow to mention Epicurus, and set forth the doctrines of that school concerning the gods, civil government, and the highest good, explaining that they made pleasure the highest good, but would have nothing to do with civil government on the ground that it was injurious and the ruin of felicity, and that they removed the Deity as far as possible from feelings of kindness or anger or concern for us, into a life that knew no care and was filled with ease and comfort.

    Cineas’s question is one we must all answer. Why are we doing what we are doing? We live such busy lives with so many pressing matters that we never pause to consider what the point of it all is. Might we not be like Pyrrhus, rushing to act before we know why we doing anything at all?

    This is the lesson of Cineas that is often either unknown or forgotten: Happy life is neither about conquering land under our feet nor sky above our heads. Happy life is about peace, safety and pleasure that grows from sober reasoning.