The Neglect of Metrodorus’ Economics

  • Pending further detail from clear texts of Metrodorus and/or Philodemus that says otherwise, my position is that what Elayne is stating IS the "natural measure of weath" and her reaction to the term is more evidence that people think that it implies an absolute.

    Her reaction has many problems :) and reveals what I see as a lack of process of correction on this forum, when even Elayne (who is an admin) say that Metrodorus was "wrong" and what he said was "silly", and even that Philodemus was not an Epicurean, and you do not correct her, and none of the other admins corrects her. If an admin says this and the other admins care about the credibility of the forum, they should apply parrhesia.


    Metrodorus was called "almost another Epicurus" by Cicero, there are busts with both their heads, and he spent DECADES discussing these matters with Epicurus and all his associates and developing the teachings together … but I guess he was just wrong and silly …


    I'm sorry, Elayne , but I hope you see the problem that explains the title of the thread.

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

  • The problem I see here is not that Elayne does not have proper respect for Metrodorus, but that you (Hiram) are submitting fragmentary / speculative texts in support of people like Metrodorus saying things that appear to be in contradiction to the core Epicurean texts which are themselves clear.


    Here, in this situation, we know from many many text references that there is NO "bright line test" on application of any tool because the end result is "does it bring pleasure?" and that given the nature of the universe there CAN BE no "one size fits all" answer.


    That's really the problem I have been trying to express here. Elayne (and anyone who builds from the ground up) is going to start with that premise, and they are not going to be tempted to look for a bright line test in anything, especially something as specific and contextual as "wealth."


    Discussing a "natural measure" of anything is always, in Epicurean terms, going to be contextual, but by implying otherwise (which you are doing in your writing about this subject, and which the article we are discussing otherwise, you are falsely suggesting that Metrodorus would have taken a position different from Epicrurus -- and I say falsely because the texts you are citing are fragmentary and speculatively reconstructed, and they could easily be read in a way that is totally harmonizable with Epicurus himself.


    This issue is very similar to the attempt to construe Lucretius in a way that differs from Epicurus, which I also gather from some of your past writings Hiram is an interest of yours,


    The pattern that I am seeing here is that you are looking for deviations among the Epicurean leaders, probably so as to support the contention that Epicurean philosophy needed to evolve in the past - and still needs to evolve - to meet needs which you personally feel need to be addressed, but either were not addressed, or more accurately, were addressed in ways that you disagree with personally.


    I would not be so blunt about this but for your stating that this is a continuing editorial problem for the leadership of this forum. I do not see it that way at all, and I think the problem is much more in your determination to "improve" Epicurean philosophy in a way that is not supported by the core reliable texts.

  • To follow up on Elayne's post, what is "natural" for a wealthy Roman is far different than what is "natural" for a bushman. So is there a "necessary" or a "cultural" measure of wealth? Metrodorus and Philodemus were operating in specific cultural contexts and it seems that they were describing what was "natural" to those contexts. In trying to get to the essence of their ideas, you need to find a description that is relative, in that it can be applied in any context. Or maybe define your context. I think you're correct in linking whatever it is to natural and necessary desires.


    But this is only the first principle. Some comments on the others....


    3) Personally, I don't consider toil to be evil and your statement is pretty absolute. Toil is of course beneath a wealthy Roman, but a fact of life for many people. If toil implies mental bondage then that can be addressed, otherwise I think that it can be a pain endured for greater future pleasure.


    6) and 7) While these may be true, I don't think I'd make them principles but put them lower in the hierarchy. Maybe have a discussion about revenue in principle 5 and list them there as possibilities.


    2) and 4) seem good as they are written.

  • To follow up on Elayne's post, what is "natural" for a wealthy Roman is far different than what is "natural" for a bushman.

    Yes -- this is an obvious point but one with overriding implications. There IS no "natural measure of wealth" other than that which is arrived at by applying the calculus of pleasure and pain to a particular context. We can call THAT the "natural measure" if we like, and if Metrodorus used the term then I feel sure that is what he meant. But to imply that there is a fixed amount that would apply to all turns Epicurean philosophy on its head.

  • 😂 Hiram. None of us has any duty to agree with everything a philosopher says, no matter who they are. If Epicurus had said something I found inconsistent with reality, I would tell him so, if he were alive today. I did not put words in anyone's mouth-- I spoke for myself.


    I do not consider saying someone would be wrong or that an idea is silly to be an attack on someone. I have myself said wrong or silly things-- this doesn't happen to be one of those times. Metrodorus isn't here, so he can't be insulted. But I have my doubts that he would have framed things as you are doing. That's why I said "if he said it." It should have been obvious that I don't think he would have agreed you've understood his economics.


    If all that is meant by "natural wealth" is "the amount of wealth that will facilitate your pleasure in your specific circumstances"-- which includes the reality of your culture and personal tastes-- then that's fine, but it's not how people today are using the word "natural", and it adds zero information to just using pleasure. Your repeated insistence on focusing on other measures of how to live than pleasure is a problem. It indicates to me that there's something about pleasure that bothers you.


    One cannot measure "natural" but one can easily and immediately know whether one is having pleasure or not.

  • This also happens to be a topic I've spent significant time thinking about over the years-- this whole obsession with "natural", which has acquired a bizarre mystique. People use it to mean "not manufactured" or "innate", and they equate it with being inevitably desirable. I see this in my medical practice. I'll be working this weekend seeing patients, and it's a given that several parents will say "we want to use something natural." Well, you know, arsenic is natural.


    Of course, I do not call them silly-- I actually feel sorry for them and for the kid. Because what the kid wants is to not be in pain.


    The same thing applies to economic decisions. We want to not be in pain-- we want to have pleasure. Sometimes that _requires_ manufactured items or non-innate behaviors, depending on the culture. There's no reason to give priority to any quality of a thing or action other than its relationship to pleasure.

  • From your article:

    "There is a natural measure of wealth (as opposed to the corrupt, cultural measure of wealth), which is tied to natural and necessary desires. Understanding this will provide us with serenity and indifference to profit and loss."


    I recommend wealth "necessary for pleasure" ... and I don't advise cultivating "indifference"-- that's Stoic. I prefer to retain my feelings as a guide. If I lose all my resources tomorrow, I'm not going to be indifferent.


    "2. There is social wealth in addition to the wealth of things and possessions."


    Social capital is well studied, and many of Epicurus' words refer to the same thing. I agree.


    "3. Philodemus plainly stated it: the philosopher does not toil. However, we must always remember that toil is evil, not productivity."


    You've said similar things in the past-- you like the idea of effortlessness. I enjoy a lot of activities involving toil. I toiled to give birth, twice, and it wasn't an evil to me. I will toil this weekend helping sick kids feel better, and that's not an evil to me. I find this idea unhelpful. There's no effort after death, nor pleasure. Put pleasure first and you can do effort when you want to.


    "4. Association is important in labor. We must choose our company prudently." I choose my company according to the hedonic calculus, yes.


    "5. Our revenue must more than meet our immediate needs: it must facilitate a dignified life of leisure." I advise deciding the type of life you enjoy most and then fund it, in addition to funding for emergencies.

    "6. It’s always prudent to cultivate multiple streams of income, among which deriving fees from the Garden’s teaching mission, rental property income and business ownership, which includes gainful employment of others, have special priority." I advise giving priority to the types of income stream best suited to give you personal pleasure. No need for someone who doesn't want to be a landlord or business owner to do that. We have NO idea what Metrodorus would advise in todays's economic climate. It's risky to extrapolate like that. If everyone in a group is Epicurean, and they are all advised to rent out property, who is going to be the renter, lol? Who is going to be the employee, if they are supposed to be employers? What if they don't enjoy managing employees? What if they enjoy a paycheck and want to unionize? There are multiple ways to arrange things.


    "7. It’s also prudent to have fruitful possessions. The various forms of ownership of means of production is another way to independence that can potentially relieve us of toil."


    I would advise just including that decision in one's hedonic calculus. If you've got an all-Epicurean group, and they all think they've got to each own their means of production and all be owners, they will either stick to very small businesses (because they'd all avoid being employees) or decide to co-own. And if none of them are going to do any work, eventually, then I'm not sure how you apply this on a large scale. This scheme requires a whole bunch of non Epicureans to do all the toiling, so you probably want to limit who you spread the philosophy to, if you want it to work. 😉

  • Did you know reading is not innate? Language is an innate skill, but learning to read requires using brain functions evolved for other purposes. It's likely why we have far more reading disabilities than we do language disabilities.


    Reading is a great pleasure to me. And writing. It's not "natural", though, so if I'm supposed to only value natural desires, I should not care if my library burns up-- I should not care about making enough money to buy books, which are manufactured and require unnatural activity, reading.


    This is the kind of thing obsession with natural leads to, and I picked a silly example to demonstrate the silliness of the whole idea as a criterion, instead of pleasure.

  • several parents will say "we want to use something natural." Well, you know, arsenic is natural.

    I had to quote so I could say "LOL" -- excellent illustration, and I do agree with Elayne's point that people today infer from the word "natural" some very strange things -- and that is the problem with referring to "natural measure of wealth" without explanation. In due respect and deference to Metrodorus and Philodemus, I think it highly likely that if we had more complete texts to show the full context, I would expect that they either (1) placed to term in clear context, or (2) were clearly speaking to Epicureans who were expected to know the context, or probably (3) both one and two.

  • Toil being evil is An instance where this mustve been submitted by them in the service of hedonic calculus. If we toil we have to consider what pleasures justify it. But I don’t think reasonable people would say that toil is pleasant when carrying out hedonic calculus.


    It has precisely been my intention to bring the conversations on economics into the modern reality. That requires an evolution of the discourse, obviously, but I think understanding what the ancients said about economics (rather than call them wrong or silly) is a good starting point because they were the first to use Epicurean methods in this. I do not believe Metrodorus would’ve contradicted epicurus, but if you think that’s what is happening or that’s what I said, then that may explain you’re categorization if these writings as “unclear”.


    Concerning the use of “natural”, Epicurus specifically used this word in LMenoeceus in the context of hedonic calculus and choices and avoidances, and a few of the Doctrines mention “natural” as a category, so if we approach the text on property management in good will we will see the connection.


    I care about the Herculaneum texts because I spent weeks at the University of Loyola library reading and taking notes to make this content available to everyday people in the form of modern commentaries. But if this is a subject that does not interest others we do not have to carry on with a study of economics. There will be another time and another audience for this.

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

  • Hiram I do not understand why you conclude that this subject is not of interest here. The SUBJECT is certainly of interest, but even in the title of this thread you are stating that the topic is "The NEGLECT of Metrodorus' Economics" and accusing me or others of "neglecting" it?


    We don't have a disagreement as to the importance of the subject, we have a disagreement as to your interpretation of what Metrodorus or Philodemus said and meant, and that's where we need to focus the discussion.


    So when you say:

    That requires an evolution of the discourse, obviously,

    I don't think it is obvious at all what you mean. What kind of "evolution of discourse" is necessary in order to find reliable quotes, post them publicly, and analyse what they say? That is what I am trying to do by pointing out the basic context of the hedonic calculus, and then applying that general rule to economics so that we can judge in context what these fragmentary remains appear to say.


    So when you say this:


    Concerning the use of “natural”, Epicurus specifically used this word in LMenoeceus in the context of hedonic calculus and choices and avoidances, and a few of the Doctrines mention “natural” as a category, so if we approach the text on property management in good will we will see the connection.

    .. I am 100% in favor of posting the original quotes and their context, and attempting to tease out of them any new meaning or examples which we can find in them. It may well be the case that Philodemus and others give us lots of specific examples that, if we understand them clearly, can be used as examples of good analysis based on Epicurean reasoning and their personal contexts.


    But in doing so I would expect the entire discussion to be held in the framework of understanding that there are no absolute rules of justice or any other type of virtue and morality, and that the overall goal and focus remains where it always is, in contextually pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. I cannot imagine that Metrodorus or Philodemus approached it any other way, and I say "cannot imagine" because I am aware of no evidence that they ever intentionally set out to deviate or reform Epicurus' own perspective.


    So to repeat, when you say this:


    But if this is a subject that does not interest others we do not have to carry on with a study of economics. There will be another time and another audience for this.

    I just think you are wrong to state that the subject "does not interest" me or others here. The SUBJECT is of great interest, but analyzing the subject in a framework that misses the ultimate context of the philosophy is something that I would expect us to have to debate with people Sergio Yona, who wrote that article referenced in this thread and concluded that the topic is about VIRTUOUS wealth administration:


    Quote

    "Despite the lack of detail regarding economics in Epicurus' extant remains, his followers especially Philodemus provide a rich and uniquely Epicurean account of virtuous wealth administration, and one that deserves much more than a simple acknowledgement of the hedonic calculus or a citation made in passing."


    I expect to have to debate the role of pleasure with academics who are set on interpreting Epicurus from a minimalist perspective, but I would not think it would be necessary for us to be debating that here -- and yet that is the clear implication of the way you are wording your approach - that you are looking for a "natural measure" framed in Stoic / absolute / virtue terms rather than in terms of pleasure always being the end goal.


    I know you and I disagree on the emphasis that should be placed on "pleasure as the goal" but THAT is really what we are going back and forth on here in this thread, not a question of whether others share your interest in the topic. If we could keep the focus on explaining things in a way that is consistent with Epicurus rather than crusading against consumerism in Alain De Botton style (such as this at the Daily Stoic) then I think we would be doing a lot more talking about what the texts actually say and less in describing them in language that obscures the main point. De Botton may be accomplishing great things in crusading against consumerism, but he is doing next to nothing to advance Epicurean philosophy, nor would he even seem to be embracing that as his goal. But promoting Epicurean philosophy IS our goal here, not picking and choosing some particular problem and presenting it in a way that can be read to undermine the core analysis.

  • Hiram I do not understand why you conclude that this subject is not of interest here. The SUBJECT is certainly of interest, but even in the title of this thread you are stating that the topic is "The NEGLECT of Metrodorus' Economics" and accusing me or others of "neglecting" it?

    I'm glad you're interested on the subject. As you know, the Philodeman translations on amazon sometimes go for over 200 dollars, so I felt that this was part of the work I wanted to do to make this available to modern people: comment on it, and comment from a MODERN perspective.


    I don't accuse you particularly of neglecting the subject of Oikonomias, but in general most Epicureans today, and this is in part because there hasn't been enough of an attempt to update those ancient conversations for a modern paradigm on our part.


    My first instinct when I read about a "doctrine of natural measure of wealth" was to use the canon, meaning empirical evidence. So I went after research associated with how happiness relates to wealth. That's when I found the study that claims that happiness correlates to wealth up to 60-75 K income, and beyond that other factors matter more.


    https://money.com/ideal-income-study/


    This allows us to begin to modernize those ancient conversations.


    But it also provides some evidence for what Metrodorus was arguing: if the studies showed that there is NO correlation between wealth and happiness, then this would have proven the Cynics' view that wealth doesn't matter, you can be fully destitute and be happy. But that's not the case. See? This is how I expect others to use the canon. If enough minds study these teachings in a focused manner, and with a modern outlook, rather than give up and say "oh that's silly", or "Metrodorus was wrong", then a modern version of the Oikonomias aspect of the doctrine can be articulated.



    Quote

    So when you say:

    I don't think it is obvious at all what you mean. What kind of "evolution of discourse" is necessary in order to find reliable quotes, post them publicly, and analyse what they say? That is what I am trying to do by pointing out the basic context of the hedonic calculus, and then applying that general rule to economics so that we can judge in context what these fragmentary remains appear to say.


    Yes, we all agree that there are no absolute rules of justice, but we also agree that we need to furnish our basic expenses and necessities no matter when and where we live, and that our philosophy IS useful and HAS concrete things to say about how we go about securing these basic goods.


    Evolution of discourse, one of the things that comes to mind is how Epicurus had slaves and the ancients saw nothing wrong with that. We can not enslave people today. Also, this brings up many questions (on the objectification of others and to what extent it's inevitable, for instance, even if we are pursuing mutual benefit) that we should as modern Epicureans be ready to discuss and handle meaningfully and intelligently, using the tools we've been given. They're not EASY issues to tackle, but they're there, and it's a good intellectual challenge for us. At some point I will have to tackle this maybe with other authors, or with economist-philosophers maybe, to bring the useful points from Philodemus' "On wealth" and "On property management" into a modern context.


    Another thing that comes to mind is how Philodemus considered "equestrian" a bad profession choice, but that does not exist today.


    or how I can't make a living as a non academic philosopher, unlike Philodemus. So that first, and ideal, way of making a living that he recommended is not available to us today.


    Our economics paradigm is completely different, but similar criteria to what they employed in antiquity can be employed to figure out a modern appreciation of the Oikonomias aspect of the teaching. So when I speak of evolution of our discourse, of our discussions about Epicurean economics, those are some of the issues.


    Quote

    I expect to have to debate the role of pleasure with academics who are set on interpreting Epicurus from a minimalist perspective, but I would not think it would be necessary for us to be debating that here -- and yet that is the clear implication of the way you are wording your approach - that you are looking for a "natural measure" framed in Stoic / absolute / virtue terms rather than in terms of pleasure always being the end goal.


    If what bothers you about the "natural measure of wealth" is that it's a minimalist doctrine, then I would challenge you to interpret is non-minimally. I would not say "discard it", because there are two main issues:


    1. On the lower end, there is the Cynical view that pleasure or happiness has nothing to do with wealth. This doctrine says that IT DOES, and that we do not recommend extreme poverty.
    2. On the upper end, it's limitless and empty desires, which is address again and again in the sources.


    And so it seems to me that the natural measure of wealth is meant to rectify both errors, and that we should be critical of both, not only of the minimalist one. It's not pleasant to be destitute, and it's also not pleasant to have endless cravings when so much of the banquet of life is already right under our noses.


    I do not think I need to even mention that our discussion must happen within an Epicurean context, and I should not have to repeat this every single time we investigate some philosophical issue.


    I believe that this natural measure of wealth was discussed in the context of choices and avoidances and of hedonic calculus, not in service of virtue. If you accuse me of that at this point after all these years, you're just talking past me and not with me. If I find a commentator like Yona who uses virtue as a referrent, then I'll switch the referrent to pleasure, but I won't dismiss the entire discussion for that reason, or the sources, or the moral questions being addressed which may be legitimate.


    I hope these issues become clearer. Epicurus says we should study alone and with others, and there are different benefits to both, and I'd like to be able to carry out focused study with knowledgeable people from time to time without so much unnecessary miscommunication, suspicion, and accusation.

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

  • If what bothers you about the "natural measure of wealth" is that it's a minimalist doctrine, then I would challenge you to interpret is non-minimally. I would not say "discard it", because there are two main issues:

    No, it doesn't bother me that "natural measure of wealth is a phrase that is necessarily minimalist, because it can be interpreted as "right-sizing" wealth to produce the greatest pleasure. What bothers me is that you seem to be interpreting it and preaching it as minimalist, when (1) it is not, and (2) minimalism is clearly non-Epicurean.

    If I find a commentator like Yona who uses virtue as a referrent, then I'll switch the referrent to pleasure, but I won't dismiss the entire discussion for that reason, or the sources, or the moral questions being addressed which may be legitimate.

    Well good luck on that, because in Yona using "virtue as a referrent" she is preaching virtue as the goal, so by accepting her premises as "legitimate" you are undermining the Epicurean view, which is the opposite of


    And so it seems to me that the natural measure of wealth is meant to rectify both errors, and that we should be critical of both, not only of the minimalist one.

    Yes I agree let's be critical of both minimalism and money/capitalism/whatever word fits here. But the problem that requires me to make these comments is that I don't see anyone here advocating maximization of money, or else I would call them out just as I am calling out minimalism, which is what your phrasing ends up advocating.


    As for the beneficial results of these discussions I agree they are definitely beneficial, because we are building a record where we can point others in the future who will then not have to start at the same point as we did in attempting to explore these issues.

  • Hiram, let me be more clear-- I don't believe Metrodorus was promoting a "natural measure" of anything, as different to or opposed to a "pleasurable measure." I said "if" he had done so, I would have told him he was wrong. I am not calling Metrodorus wrong or silly. I am calling the way this material is being interpreted wrong-- and the concept of "natural" as a goal for measurement in place of pleasure is absolutely silly. I doubt Metrodorus did it.


    You have a repeated tendency to glom onto words in the philosophy that are not pleasure and start elevating them as criteria instead of pleasure. Happiness, wellbeing, natural-- it goes on and on. I really think you should check yourself on this. Why, oh why, are you reluctant to stick to pleasure as your single goal? You are leading your readers in all kinds of unhelpful directions.


    When we point out what you are doing, you start prooftexting. But this invariably has been taking single phrases out of the context of the whole, which has made me think you don't understand the whole. You don't understand how differently you are using these words than how they are used by Epicurus.


    The income studies aren't measuring "natural"-- they are measuring pleasurable. And income and wealth are different anyway-- related, but different.


    Instead of the focus on natural, if you instead wrote about the economics of pleasure, directly, it would be both true to the ancient writings and applicable to modern life. It's a real shame that you are not being direct about pleasure and instead constantly reframe.

  • I agree with what Elayne is saying, but I would say that it is "possible" that Metrodorus or Philodemus would or did use the term "natural measure," because they have previously stated clearly that the only tool given by nature for our guidance is pleasure and pain, and in that sense feeling - pleasure and pain - ARE, or at least PROVIDE the tools for assessing, a "natural measure" of anything. But this is so obvious as to hardly need saying, and it does not lead in the direction of "happiness correlates to wealth up to 60-75 K income" except to state that such calculations are truly impossible either to expand to the world at large, or even to apply to any individuals within that statistical sample. This is nothing but Benthamite utilitarianism in action.


    Hiram, we cannot ourselves even agree what the definition of "happiness" is. How useful is a survey about "happiness" really going to be without giving some explanation of what that term means?


    But I really do not like continuing to debate issues like this without providing CLEAR references to the texts that are involved, and evaluating THEM for reliability, and that is as much my frustration with this discussion as anything else.


    It ought to be right at the top of our list of things to do to establish What exact text we are talking about and how reliable it is. It is not a violation of copyright to cut and past excerpts from passages from any of these books we are talking about, and whenever we introduce something controversial we ought to start with our documentation of it so we know exactly who and what we are relying on -- because in every case we are NOT relying on Philodemus or Metrodorus or even Epicurus themselves, we are relying on a 2000 year chain of copyists and interpreters and commentators, of which well over 90% - especially the moderns - are hostile to the core ideas of Epicurus.


    If indeed there is good documentation of the use of "natural measure of wealth" then lets by all means discuss it, along with all the details that go along with it, but Elayne's comments about the general situation are correct in my view.

  • Hiram, let me be more clear-- I don't believe Metrodorus was promoting a "natural measure" of anything, as different to or opposed to a "pleasurable measure." I said "if" he had done so, I would have told him he was wrong. I am not calling Metrodorus wrong or silly. I am calling the way this material is being interpreted wrong-- and the concept of "natural" as a goal for measurement in place of pleasure is absolutely silly. I doubt Metrodorus did it.

    Okay, here: without buying another Herculaneum book, I will cite to you that one of the main points in these texts are as follows (not my words, but of the publisher):


    Quote

    This article is a study and partial translation of two of Philodemus’ tractates, “On Wealth” and “On Household Management.” In both works, the Epicurean author mounts a polemic against the Cynics, and some of these arguments can be traced back two and a half centuries to Metrodorus, a founder of the Epicurean school. Philodemus argues for a mean of wealth, so that the extremes of both luxury and Cynic poverty (πτωχεíα) are vices. He argues for “natural wealth” and himself lived in the villa of his wealthy patron, while Cynics had nothing and were homeless.


    Here is the link:

    https://brill.com/view/book/ed…0240-s009.xml?language=en


    So again, Elayne, I'm neither making this up :) nor sharing this to confuse students, or anything of that sort. This is there, and I'm studying and trying to distill it for a modern audience of people that are committed to Epicurean teachings and who would find it useful.


    also, Cassius I'm glad you recognize both the lower and upper limit of the wealth that is necessary, because I was beginning to be under the impression that you always seem to recognize the lower but not the upper (you always argue against minimalism, but never against consumerism and limitless desire)--which I totally understand if you perceive that this is the main error you feel that you are trying to correct. But both limits must be acknowledged for different reasons, and the ancients (for whatever reason) had much more criticism for the upper than the lower limit (limitless desires, which Diogenes of Oenoanda counts among the three roots of all evils).

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

  • If he meant this as anything other than "pleasurable measure", he was wrong. IF, Hiram. IF. I do not think he meant it the way you are running with it.

    I do not think he was talking about some kind of Buddhist-like happy medium of wealth either. In many settings, extremes are unpleasant, but it is not because they are extreme that we avoid them, merely because they are unpleasant.


    I don't think you are deliberately leading readers away from pleasure. I just don't think you understand the big picture.

  • If he meant this as anything other than "pleasurable measure", he was wrong. IF, Hiram. IF. I do not think he meant it the way you are running with it.

    I do not think he was talking about some kind of Buddhist-like happy medium of wealth either. In many settings, extremes are unpleasant, but it is not because they are extreme that we avoid them, merely because they are unpleasant.


    I don't think you are deliberately leading readers away from pleasure. I just don't think you understand the big picture.

    I'm not "running with it" in any direction, Elayne. I'm reading what it says. This is one of the central points of the scroll Peri Oikonomias, and it's an Epicurean doctrine, a fact to which all the scholars who have worked with this text will attest to. You seem to agree with me, but you seem to attribute to me the view that these extremes are bad because of reasons other than they are unpleasant. Please cite where I have said that. I haven't.


    Again, this is from Column 12 of Peri Oinonomias (Philodemus' On property management)

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

  • This clip (also from Tsouna) seems to me to be good reason to remember that even where we have a passage that is well preserved, it is not necessarily clear that the passage refers to Epicurean views, because the writers are quoting extensively from adverse writers: