How do we feel about Peter Saint-Andre?

  • I'm referring to the translator.

    His work can be found here.

    I'd like to hear from elli on this matter, but if anyone else is familiar with him, please share.

    Are his words accurate and are his translations of any use? (Particularly the Selected Fragments)

    “If the joys found in nature are crimes, then man’s pleasure and happiness is to be criminal.”

  • This letter was published anonymously some years back by a disenchanted objectivist who converted to Epicureanism:

    I share it here because St Andre says he is inspired by both Epicurus and Ayn Rand, which has a few problems. He's therefore a bit too conservative for my taste, and I find that people who credit Ayn Rand for being a great philosopher tend to see the world in black and white and to ignore all the other colors :) But in spite of all that, I think he's made unique and valuable contributions to the teaching of Epicureanism. I'm just not sure how he solves the animosity against feeling and pleasure in Rand, and the tension between our ethics and Rand's reliance on logic. I've had good exchanges with him, but never addressed this with him.

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

  • Yes I would like to hear Elli too. My own impression is generally very favorable, but I do think he probably leans in some "traditional" directions as to absence of pain that I personally don't agree with. But I haven't read his pages in detail lately and my favorable impression is much the stronger.

  • If I recall correctly, in addition to Ayn Rand, he's very much into Nietzsche as well (maybe more so)

  • Hiram, it's clear that at least some people who really understand Epicurus can mature away from Rand. It seems to be harder for humanists who think in terms of black and white ethics and social determinism, generally without even being able to see what they are doing, to mature away from their thinking patterns. At least that is my observation. Rand's massive confusion over feeling always left me cold. But her fans don't have all that humanist baggage weighing them down.

    It would be interesting to study which ideologies are easiest to move to EP from.

  • Of course, I cannot tell how accurate his translations are, but I found some of them closer to how I understand Epicurus' philosophy and accept it as my own than any other of the readily available translations.

  • I have found Saint-Andre's pages invaluable for the reason that they include the original Ancient Greek text and that they're public domain. The translations are helpful as starting points, but I've only used them as suggested translations. I'm not willing to take anything at face value. His notes are also helpful in showing why he decided on one translation over another.

    In my own translation work, I've also found Wiktionary indispensable as well as the Perseus Project's Diogenes Laertius' Lives which provides both English and Greek with clickable links to Liddell & Scott's dictionary.