Welcome A_Gardner ! Thanks for signing up on the forums. It's great to have you here, and I hope that you'll find both great company and a plethora of knowledge & discussion here.
For those that don't know, Gardner is one of the mods (pretty much the only one) of the Epicurean Discord Server, and essentially the most reliable and knowledgeable user in there. I've urged him to sign up on here for a while and to become more involved within the wider EP community, for the other regulars here, you'll know him as very apt and genial.
But I'd like to give him the chance to properly introduce himself to everyone else below.
Hello all and thank you for the both the introduction and recommendation for the forum Charles .
I want to preface this introduction with saying that while I find the majority of my personal inclinations in line with the teachings of Epicurus, I am still always learning and am inclined to learning from many sources (both Epicurean and non), as well as constantly re-examining my beliefs and questioning sources of information. That being said, I always strive to do so in a manner of genuine curiosity and a want of learning, never to antagonize or call into question the validity of someone's personal experiences or beliefs. I have also read the rules and courtesies here, so I will keep any discussion of non Epicurean philosophy to a minimum and based on the topic at hand.
Charles recommended this forum as a great source of discussion, and from the browsing I have done before registering I wholeheartedly agree, so I look forward to learning even more on this philosophy and discussing both theories and practices with you all!
Welcome A_Gardener! I have heard Charles speak of you and I am glad that you decided to open an account here. None of us were born knowing about Epicurus so it is natural that we all go through a process of learning details that we were never taught when we were young, so it is only to be expected that people go through a process of weighing and judging. If we welcomed only people who were already fully "Epicurean" then we'd rarely if ever have any new people.
The rest below is the standard info that I post on every new user's welcome message, so I apologize for it being "boilerplate." However I think most of us here would agree that the sooner people read some of the material in the list, the sooner they will realize how deep their level of interest in Epicurus truly is.
Charles has probably already mentioned to you the DeWitt book, and I'll repeat that not out of slavish devotion to Dewitt, but because I really think that whether you end of agreeing with it or not, you'll find that DeWitt explains Epicurus in a way that is very different from standard modern presentations. DeWitt's qualifications were deep and he write's well, but the benefit of his approach is that he doesn't obsess on any detail (like absence of pain or atomism) but instead gives a very general overview of the wider scope of the philosophy and how it all fits together and compares with the other Greek alternatives. So if you have not read DeWitt's book you'll probably save yourself a lot of time in your formation of your opinions about Epicurus if you can read his book as soon as you have time.
Here's the boilerplate but again thanks for opening an account here!
Welcome A_Gardener! Thanks for joining us! When you get a chance, please tell us about yourself and your background in Epicurean philosophy.
It would be particularly helpful if you could tell us (1) how you found this forum, and (2) how much background reading you have done in Epicurus. As an aid in the latter, we have prepared the following list of core reading.
We look forward to talking with you!
----------------------- Epicurean Works I Have Read ---------------------------------
1 The Biography of Epicurus By Diogenes Laertius (Chapter 10). This includes all Epicurus' letters and the Authorized Doctrines. Supplement with the Vatican list of Sayings.
2 "Epicurus And His Philosophy" - Norman DeWitt
3 "On The Nature of Things"- Lucretius
4 Cicero's "On Ends" - Torquatus Section
5 Cicero's "On The Nature of the Gods" - Velleius Section
6 The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda - Martin Ferguson Smith translation
7 "A Few Days In Athens" - Frances Wright
8 Lucian Core Texts on Epicurus: (1) Alexander the Oracle-Monger, (2) Hermotimus (3) Others?
9 Plato's Philebus
10 Philodemus "On Methods of Inference" (De Lacy version, including his appendix on relationship of Epicurean canon to Aristotle and other Greeks)
11 "The Greeks on Pleasure" -Gosling & Taylor Sections on Epicurus, especially on katastematic and kinetic pleasure.