Discussion of the Society of Epicurus' 20 Tenets of 12/21/19

  • Of course it is "possible" for atheists to be called Epicureans. The question that has to be asked is "Is it proper to call them Epicureans?" And "In what context is it proper or improper to call them Epicureans."

    Ok. And what is the proper context to say that an atheist can become Epicurean? I'm an atheist and I don't know if it's proper that I am here. I'm curious.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • Unless and until someone starts "campaigning" against a core Epicurean position, as far as I am concerned there is definitely a place here for anyone who wants to discuss the study of Epicurus in good faith. What we frequently run into Mike are confirmed Stoics or others who are already set in their ways against some core Epicurean viewpoint, and all they want to do is argue against clear Epicurean positions for fun. Lots of people seem to have fun that way. Anyone who gets close to crossing that line would be warned by the moderators well in advance of taking any other action. At some point in the future we might also set up moderation rules to require pre-approval of posts from totally new people before they go "live," but we're not at that point yet. And you're not totally new, and all your posts are constructive, so you would already be elevated past "new user" level when we implement new categories. We'll deal with all these issues by moderation procedures that make clear to any offenders what the problem is before any removal action is taken.


    All of your posts have been very constructive and as far as I am concerned it is very proper that you are here. We aren't in the business of "judging" anyone as a person, we're just evaluating posts as they come in and trying to build a like-minded community.

  • All of your posts have been very constructive and as far as I am concerned it is very proper that you are here. We aren't in the business of "judging" anyone as a person, we're just evaluating posts as they come in and trying to build a like-minded community.

    Thanks Cassius When I came across Epicureanism, I took time studying the basic principles using all the available resources or references I could have such as the original texts, Wikipedia, blogs, social media conversations, and Youtube videos. Immediately, I fell in love with all the teachings of Epicurus...except only in the context of god.


    But that does not affect Epicurus' credibility to me since I never dogmatize any philosophical system. I hold on to a philosophical system through understanding of its coherence and not through blind faith.


    Therefore, it is not the whole package of the puzzle that I judge but every parts of the puzzle. If most parts of the puzzle are telling me the whole picture, I don't need the last few pieces just to make a judgement. If I make an analogy, I can say I am still a human being even if my hands and feet are cut off.


    This is why I did not hesitate to self-declare that I am an Epicurean even though I have doubts on one part which on the context of god.


    I'm curious if there is such a thing as conservative Epicureans who demand 100% fidelity to Epicurus, and I want to know whether or not they can consider me an Epicurean.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • Ok. And what is the proper context to say that an atheist can become Epicurean? I'm an atheist and I don't know if it's proper that I am here. I'm curious.

    I can't speak for the adherents of Epicurus-only-fundamentalism. But as far as I'm concerned if you think that we should live pleasantly following the guidelines in L Menoeceus, and if you agree with the basic scientific understanding of the nature of things and reject all supernatural "reality", you can proudly call yourself Epicurean because Epicurean teachings are guiding how you live your life.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • As far as I'm concerned if you think that we should live pleasantly following the guidelines in L Menoeceus, and if you agree with the basic scientific understanding of the nature of things and reject all supernatural "reality", you can proudly call yourself Epicurean because Epicurean teachings are guiding how you live your life.

    Hiram That is also how I think of it. Then, I'm an Epicurean. :)

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • I'm curious if there is such a thing as conservative Epicureans who demand 100% fidelity to Epicurus, and I want to know whether or not they can consider me an Epicurean.


    I can't speak for the adherents of Epicurus-only-fundamentalism.


    As far as I know there is no such thing as an organization of "conservative Epicureans who demand 100% fidelity to Epicurus" or "adherents of Epicurus-only-fundamentalism."


    However if any come to my attention, or I decide to start such an organization, you'll be among the first to know! :-)

  • However if any come to my attention, or I decide to start such an organization, you'll be among the first to know!

    And if that happens, what would you think of me who believes in all the teachings of Epicurus except in the context of god? :)

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • No, the Garden didn't continue uninterrupted and so there's no conservative framework that I'm aware of

    Yes. It makes sense, too. As far as I know, The Garden would accept people from different walks of life such as slaves and women. This attitude doesn't show any exclusivity and conservatism.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • It's a long long long way homo-sapiens to become as homo-deus that is a hope for the future as a probability. Oscar, sorry but Epicurus's philosophy is not incomplete. We humans/homo sapiens are still incomplete for reaching the goal (that is in the photo of the inscription by Diogenis of Oinoanda) , and that means that the majority of people did not yet overcome the fear of god, the fear of death, the fear of slavery, and all those desires that are unnatural and unnecessary. Do you think so, that all the survival sources including DRN by Lucretius are incomplete to the above main critical points that are mentioned by the past and present epicureans, and where are incomplete till our days?

  • And if that happens, what would you think of me who believes in all the teachings of Epicurus except in the context of god?

    I would think that you would be just like many people who went through the Epicurean school in the ancient world or just called themselves by that name, and were in the process of studying but maybe not accepting every doctrine. Really that is ultimately the point -- Epicurus had a "School," not a membership society where people were certified by the headquarters.


    The Garden would accept people from different walks of life such as slaves and women. This attitude doesn't show any exclusivity and conservatism.

    I think your conclusion in sentence two from the fact cited in sentence one probably does not follow -- unless you hold that slave status and sex and "walk of life" dictate that a person is going to think a certain way -- which you might as a holdover from Marxism ;-) but which I would say is not true, and Epicurus would say is not true, since he held that humans have at least some degree of free will.

    But as to ideas and doctrines, the entire written record of the school amounts to a set of teachings that they were spreading to others and expecting others to accept, so yes they were conservative and exclusive in terms of ideas. But people of any class who held those ideas were accepted as part of the school, and that's why their admission standards were wider than the other schools.

  • Mike, I am glad you are here and want you to stay. I have enjoyed your posts.

    I call myself an Epicurean and am atheist in the same sense Epicurus was, in that neither of us believed in supernatural gods.

    I am open to the possibility of the gods he talked about. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but I lack the confirmation of intuition and "images" that he experienced. I call myself an Epicurean in general, because I don't think that was the kind of atheism he was opposed to. I am not atheist in respect to his gods.

  • Mike, I am glad you are here and want you to stay. I have enjoyed your posts.

    I call myself an Epicurean and am atheist in the same sense Epicurus was, in that neither of us believed in supernatural gods.

    I am open to the possibility of the gods he talked about. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but I lack the confirmation of intuition and "images" that he experienced. I call myself an Epicurean in general, because I don't think that was the kind of atheism he was opposed to. I am not atheist in respect to his gods.

    Thanks Elayne! I'm also glad to know we have similar views on these issues. I'm atheist, but I do not put so much time and effort on atheism. The least I can do in dealing with Epicurean god is to become an apatheist. I don't think it would affect my belief in the rest of Epicurus' thoughts. Again, I'd like to give an analogy. I love eating chicken, but I do not eat the wing part. I remove it and give it away to anyone who likes it. Still, nobody tells that what I have eaten is no longer a chicken...unless I have turned it into a chicken hot dog. :)

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."

  • I'm atheist, but I do not put so much time and effort on atheism

    I think that's an important point. I understand why people do it when they live in a super-religious atmosphere, but "atheism" has always seemed to me the assertion of a negative, rather than the assertion of anything positive, and asserting a negative hardly seems like a unifying them. The Epicurean theology gave them a "positive" to assert, along with the rest of the philosophy, as points of like-mindedness between them.

  • I think that's an important point. I understand why people do it when they live in a super-religious atmosphere, but "atheism" has always seemed to me the assertion of a negative, rather than the assertion of anything positive, and asserting a negative hardly seems like a unifying them. The Epicurean theology gave them a "positive" to assert, along with the rest of the philosophy, as points of like-mindedness between them.

    Yes. Nothing is pleasurable in bothering myself whether or not god exists. It's enough I have figured out my take in this issue, and I move on to something more positive.

    "It is not the pretended but the real pursuit of philosophy that is needed; for we do not need the appearance of good health but to enjoy it in truth."