Outline for book "Raising Children in the Epicurean Philosophy"

  • Speaking of education--I'm also curious to know how Elayne and others would interpret Vatican Saying 76


    76. As you grow old you are such as I urge you to be, and you have recognized the difference between studying philosophy for yourself and studying it for Greece. I rejoice with you.


    http://epicurus.net/en/vatican.html


    I read an anti-polis / anti-state, somewhat anarchic message into this, that must have repercussions in a philosophy education. I've written before about Epicurean 'cosmopolitanism' (in the blog "community versus polis") as an expression of a certain anarchic undercurrent that is more indifferent than hostile to the polis / state. But this has never been commented on or expanded upon by others.

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

  • @Brad - Whether Elayne interviews you or not, it would be interesting to have you post some of your own thoughts on how to do it, either in this thread or in another one.


    If you have a series of comments, or simply so lengthy that it would take this thread off topic, start a thread in THIS forum Childhood Education



    If it doesn't let you start a thread there please let me know - I think you can.

  • Quote

    I read an anti-polis / anti-state, somewhat anarchic message into this, that must have repercussions in a philosophy education.

    Hiram offers an interesting and subtle bit of textual criticism here, and I think it's worth exploring.


    It's a famously difficult maxim for several reasons. It is removed from its context; it doesn't adequately define or explore either of the two options presented; and, most curiously, it doesn't even make it obvious which of the two is preferable! This last challenge invites the reader to infer from it almost anything they like. I could, for example, infer and defend any of the following if I considered only this text in isolation:


    1.) The student will know the difference between studying philosophy for herself and studying philosophy for all of Greece, and will choose to study for herself.


    Or, 2.) The student will know the difference between studying philosophy for herself and studying philosophy for all of Greece, and will choose to study for all of Greece.


    Or, 3.) The student will know the difference between studying philosophy for herself and studying philosophy for all of Greece, but won't decide between them. Perhaps employing a bit of game theory, she'll choose to study philosophy for herself for all of Greece!


    When I first encountered it, it didn't even occur to me that there were multiple possible interpretations. "Well," I thought, "of course the Epicurean will study philosophy for herself. The point of philosophy is to cure the dis-ease of the soul." And despite the obvious example of Epicurus himself (who in a sense did study philosophy for Greece--see Lucretius' paean in Book 1), I still favor this reading; itself an indirect indictment of the nauseating proto-totalitarianism of the Platonic philosopher-king.

  • VS 76 sounds like one of those sayings where the specific context matters, so I would just be guessing. When I read DeWitt, I realized how important the contexts were. For myself personally, when I study for my own pleasure, that automatically includes wanting the pleasure of those I'm close to. Not a whole country. But on the other hand, I suspect that if a substantial number of citizens in my country decided to practice EP, the outcome would likely increase my freedom of choice and thus my options for pleasure.

  • Bradley, when I get farther along (which may be slow due to my other activities), I would be interested in interviewing you! I hope, as Cassius suggested, that you will also post on this forum how your philosophy affects your interactions with your children! I will not quote anything without permission.

  • When I read DeWitt, I realized how important the contexts were. For myself personally, when I study for my own pleasure, that automatically includes wanting the pleasure of those I'm close to. Not a whole country

    That is the impression I got from DeWitt too and I think it is persuasive. I have read many times in other places that Greek education was heavily oriented toward "producing good citizens." if so, that would make total sense with DeWitt's interpretation -- that we are educating ourselves (in philosophy and in most all else too) not "for Greece" but for ourselves. Which does not mean that Greece is not an important part of our world, but that ultimately Greece itself is not the highest value - especially if "Greece" is not the equivalent of "our friends." Under the right circumstances I could imagine that the two could be roughly equivalent, but the larger and more problematic the political situation the less equivalent that would be.

  • Just a quick note...EP is very kid friendly. We discussed death and dying last night at dinner. My 7 year old out of the blue says "people are worried more about being dead and what things are like after they die that they dont enjoy living!" "Just enjoy things dont be worried about dying because you won't feel nothing. Right Daddy?" Exactly son.

  • Brad do you have pets (cats, dogs or whatever)? I can only speak for myself but I know when I was a child and as I got older that the experience of having pets die on me became major events in my reconciling myself to death.

  • Cassius please we have to not forget that Epicurus on "wise man" said for Cynics that are the enemies of Hellas, because Cynics were antisocial. Epicurus here just reminds to a friend what is the philosophy that he studies for himself that is the Epicurean and totally different than the philosophy that is studied by the mob in Hellas. And which is this philosophy that is preferred for studies by the mob in Hellas and not only in Hellas ? Of course that was and still is the dialectics and the IDEALISM by Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics.



    The accurate translation on this ES76 from ancient greek text is :


    "As you grow old you are such as I urge you to be and you know well what is your philosophy and what is the philosophy in the rest of Hellas. That is why I congratulate you!"

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!

  • Epicurus that he was impious worshiping the gods of his polis/country... He does not accept an absolute justice the same for ALL, how would be an anarchist, a cosmopolitan, a globalist and ALL the mobs of the people of this world are one and the same under the rules of the same laws and justice ? No, these are ideas by Platonists and stoics !

    Beauty and virtue and such are worthy of honor, if they bring pleasure; but if not then bid them farewell!