What A Mess This K / K Issue Is - Here is Someone Saying These are "The Most Dominant Terms In Epicurus' Theory of Pleasures"

  • If I'm not mistaken, they, meaning the words katastematic and kinetic show up in fragmentary form penned by Epicurus, the first compiled source I can think of is Epicurea (1887) http://www.attalus.org/translate/epicurus.html

    However, the concept definitely has some grounding, as "static pleasures" are given their own paragraph in Laertius. We can reason that this is merely a departure from the Cyrenaic tradition and conception of pleasure and the writing serves to distinct the two philosophies, not to encapsulate and reduce all of Epicurus' ideas of pleasure dyanamics (moving vs static).

    Whether or not the K / K Issue is strictly contemporary for us or not, I'm not sure of, but it definitely seems that way as throughout history Epicurus was more or less seen as the "lord of vice" or "master of pleasures" which leads to the modern definition of "Epicurean" or "Epicurious" and its relation to being a gourmand of culinary arts, as opposed to the bread and water depiction.

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

  • I thought it might be helpful for this discussion to put the major players into historical context. How far removed from Epicurus was Cicero? How about Diogenes Laertius? Who was a contemporary of who? Who had access to whom?

    Here's a little scorecard:

    Name, birth and death, Years +/- from Epicurus' birth

    • Socrates (470 – 399 BCE) (E -129)
    • Democritus (b. c.460 BCE) (E -119)
    • Plato (428-423 – 348/347 BCE) (E -87)
    • Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) (E -43)
    • Epicurus (341 – 270 BCE) (E 0)
    • Zeno of Citium (c. 334 – c. 262 BCE) (E +7)
    • Metrodorus of Lampsacus (331 – 277 BCE) (E +10)
    • Hermarchus (325 – 250 BCE) (E +16)
    • Zeno of Sidon (150 – 75 BCE) (E +191)
    • Philodemus (110 – 35 BCE) (E +231)
    • Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 BCR) (E +235)
    • Titus Lucretius Carus (b. 94 BCE) (E +247)
    • Quintus Horatius Flaccus ("Horace", 65 – 8 BCE) (E +276)
    • Epictetus (55 – 135 CE) (E +396)
    • Diogenes of Oenoanda (wall dated 117 – 138 CE) (E +458)
    • Diogenes Laërtius (b. 180 - 240 CE) (E +521)

    Edited 2 times, last by Don: added Democritus; corrected order ().

  • Your chart calls to mind a project that I'd like to see done, Eugenios. What I wanted to do was make a timeline of Epicurean influence similar to this chart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe;


    In my vision, the color lines would coordinate to different levels of agreement. There would be a golden line linking true 'canon' figures, and other colors radiating off of them to other prominent figures. We might start with purple, for example, to represent physics; red to represent the pleasure-principle; green to represent non-theism; black to represent antagonism; and so on.

    So we would start with a circle to the far left with a portrait (where possible) and name of, say, Democritus. A dotted purple line representing influence but not total agreement would surround Democritus and Leucippus and lead to Epicurus. Epicurus would be a larger circle with gold in the first ring and the other colors working toward the outside. This line would then connect all of the scholarchs; Philodemus; Diogenes of Oenoanda; Lucretius; Francis Wright; DeWitt.

    A separate line might then cut away, say from Lucretius' circle. A purple line running out toward Gassendi, indicating an agreement with physics. A dotted purple and red line toward Montaigne, indicating strong influence but not agreement. A purple, red, and green line running toward La Mettrie, indicating broad agreement to a greater or lesser degree with physics, pleasure, and non-theism. A line from Francis Wright to Thomas Jefferson indicating an agreement with physics and pleasure, but a dotted green line indicating his tendency toward Deism.

    And so forth! No doubt problems would emerge as it was drafted, and disagreements would arise over canon figures. But a chart like this would allow one at a glance to take in the whole sweep of Epicurean history.

    I'm certain I'll never get around to doing it, but if someone more gifted than myself with visual software had a mind I'd love to see the result!