Posts by Cassius

    Also that reminds me of this from Thomas Jefferson, which uses "ploughman" rather than "child" for the same point, from a letter to Peter Carr:


    Moral Philosophy. I think it lost time to attend lectures on this branch. He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality, therefore, was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong, merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his Nature, as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the [beautiful], truth, &c., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted, indeed, in some degree, to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, & often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. In this branch, therefore, read good books, because they will encourage, as well as direct your feelings.

    Yes I agree that it rings that way, although I think probably the deeper implications are buried under the words "know" and "knowledge" which are probably not the exact Epicurean framework.


    Possibly would be more accurate to say that children "feel" what is fair and unfair, or at the view stems from an "anticipation" that is there from the beginning rather than being something that is affirmatively "known" as if assembled from conscious thought or consideration.


    And then there would need to be a discussion of whether what is being dealt with here really constitutes "human rights" or something else....

    HMMM - Elli finds what appears to be a different version:


    Elli posted:


    The painting is beautiful. However, this morning and as I started to read this book by that British Walter Savage Landor entitled: "Imaginary conversations of Epicurus, Leontion and Ternissa"... frankly, it left me with a feeling of boredom.Here is this book:



    To this I (Cassius) responded:

    I only scanned the beginning and end passages, Elli, but that is also my immediate reaction. This is not at all like "A Few Days In Athens" where the dialog is clear and the points made spring clearly from the Epicurean texts. Maybe I will see differently when I read more but the paintings may be much better than the text that may be behind it.
    But this is definitely of interest so thanks Charles for finding it and posting!

    If anyone reads to the end of the "Imaginary conversation" let us know what you think. I find the beginning rather unimpressive.


    Is the beginning directed in some broad manner that "hate" should not exist? If so the only point I can imagine about it is some kind stoic-like aversion to emotion, because I see no justification for arguing based on Epicurus that we should take please in everything equally, or that we should ignore an unpleasant feeling. Is that the message put in Epicurus' mouth at the beginning?


    Presumably the focus changes as the dialog goes on but I did not get to read very far.

    i suppose I am not as much of a libertarian as you are Hiram. I am interested in people who see the same things that I do and form friendships on that basis. I recognize that everyone will not agree, and the problem is not lack of communication, nor will it be resolvable by communication.

    Welcome MWheeler and 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.

    12 Chance and Natural Law in Epicurean Philosophy - AA Long -

    13

    14

    15

    Another thing that I think is VERY important about the role of Epicurus. From Diogenes Laertius:


    "He [the wise man] will be more susceptible of emotion than other men: that will be no hindrance to his wisdom. However, not every bodily constitution nor every nationality would permit a man to become wise."


    Epicurus existed in a very specific society - ancient Greece, and his philosophy prospered in a very specific society - the ancient Greco-Roman world. It has never flourished in any other society other than that one.


    That's why Nate's observation is so important: YES, the ideas are available to everyone, in every society, and mixing them together is not so hard either -- but that manifestly has NOT been done by any other person, in any other society, than by Epicurus and the ancient Greco-Romans in their own circumstances. Nate's observation is proof of the statement made by Epicurus - not every nationality or "bodily constitution" is going to be fertile ground for the spread of numbers of people who follow Epicurean viewpoints.


    That's not to say that there can't be individuals who adopt for themselves a mix of ideas very similar to Epicurus, but that for an Epicurean "movement" to flourish is going to take a very particular mix of people with cultural, educational, religious, and other characteristics to allow the sum total to spread.

    I agree with Joshua and will add more:


    my assertion that Epicurus needs not to have existed for the canon of Epicurean philosophy to have been understood.

    I believe this is also a correct statement, and i don't think there is any contradiction between the two positions.


    As Joshua says, the combination of ideas could have been assembled by others at other times and places. But the personality of Epicurus is what allowed that combination to be assembled at the time and the place that it was, and but for the personality of Epicurus other separate and distinct combinations would have emerged, but probably not nearly as successfully.


    I think we regularly find ourselves realizing that Epicurean philosophy is a revolt against idealism and the suggestion that abstractions exist in the air without connection to reality. Epicurus was a real person with real friends, and real followers, and a philosophy that is devoted to reality has to have living breathing people involved in it. Epicurus' personality was such that it inspired devotion among his friends, and the way he conducted himself reinforced the movement.


    There are all sorts of other analogies with different leaders over history that could be used to argue that their personal presence was essential for the success of their movements, and i think those observations apply to Epicurus without there being a sinister aspect. I think Joshua is right that DeWitt was using the term "cult" in an academic sense, but I do wish he had used another word. I suspect this is another area where DeWitt slips due to his affection for Christianity. I suspect he would call Christianity a "cult" of Christ, and in his habit of analogizing the Epicurean movement with Christianity he applied the same word to Epicurus.

    Michael if you do buy and read the book I hope you will consider adding your comments in this subforum as you do. That would be a great help to everyone!


    I have been trying to read through it systematically but I find it very difficult to keep up my enthusiasm. She flips effortlessly between statements that adhere to the Epicurean texts and those that are clearly her own personal / political preference without any regard for consistency in doing so.


    There's very little doubt in my mind but that this book is going to be helpful for introducing more people to Epicurus, but at the same time it is going to perpetuate the "humanist" view of Epicurus that seeks to identify him with particular popular political positions that are not at all inherent in the Classical Epicurean position.

    Welcome Wes ! 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.


    Thanks for joining us and 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.

    12 Chance and Natural Law in Epicurean Philosophy - AA Long -

    13

    14

    15

    Comment by Elli:


    "Δύναμη" [dyname] is the Greek word for the english words as force, vigor, power, and strength. Νature is dynamic and not static.

    And as the ES 37 says : Nature is weak toward evil, not toward good: because it is saved by pleasures, but destroyed by pains.

    Our natural condition is strengthened and enhanced by the enjoyment of pleasures past, present and expectation of the future ones.

    Quote

    JJ WROTE:


    The use of that lone Greek word αιρεσει is notable. Implying choice among schools, it's the very word that Christians would later use to make a crime of choice—"heresy".


    Yes I thought the definition of that word was interesting too. Can you expand on your comment for the Christian heresy?

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    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/h…eus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0009


    Ad Familia 15.16


    Scr. Romae ante mcd. m. Ian. a. 709 (45).

    M. CICERO S. D. C. CASSIO

    puto te iam suppudere, quem haec tertia iam epistula ante oppressit quam tu scidam aut litteram. sed non urgeo ; longiores enim exspectabo vel potius exigam. ego si semper haberem cui darem, vel ternas in hora darem ; is fit enim nescio qui ut quasi coram adesse videare cum scribo aliquid ad te, neque id κατ᾽ εἰδώλων φαντασίας, ut dicunt tui amici novi, qui putant etiam διανοητικὰς φαντασίας spectris Catianis excitari ; nam ne te fugiat, Catius Insuber, Ἐπικούρειος, qui nuper est mortuus, quae ille Gargettius et iam ante Democritus εἴδωλα, hic 'spectra' nominat. [2] his autem spectris etiam si oculi possent feriri, quod quae velis ipsa incurrunt, animus qui possit ego non video. doceas tu me oportebit, cum salvus veneris, in meane potestate sit spectrum tuum, ut, simul ac mihi conlibitum sit de te cogitare, illud occurrat ; neque solum de te, qui mihi haeres in medullis, sed si insulam Britanniam coepero cogitare, eius εἴδωλον mihi advolabit ad pectus? [3] sed haec posterius ; tempto enim te quo animo accipias. si enim stomachabere et moleste feres, plura dicemus postulabimusque, ex qua αἱρέσει 'VI HOMINIBVS ARMATIS' deiectus sis, in eam restituare. in hoc interdicto non solet addi 'IN HOC ANNO.' qua re si iam biennium aut triennium est cum virtuti nuntium remisisti delenitus inlecebris voluptatis, in integro res nobis erit. quamquam quicum loquor? Cum uno fortissimo viro qui, postea quam forum attigisti, nihil fecisti nisi plenissimum amplissimae dignitatis. in ista ipsa αἱρέσει metuo ne plus nervorum sit quam ego putarim, si modo eam tu probas. 'qui id tibi in mentem venit?' inquies. quia nihil habebam aliud quod scriberem ; de re p. enim nihil scribere possum ; nec enim quod sentio is libet scribere.


    DXXX (F XV, 16)

    TO C. CASSIUS LONGINUS (AT BRUNDISIUM)

    ROME (JANUARY)

    I think you must be a little ashamed at this being the third letter inflicted on you before I have a page or a syllable from you. But I will not press you: I shall expect, or rather exact, a longer letter. For my part, if I had a messenger always at hand, I should write even three an hour. For somehow it makes you seem almost present when I write anything to you, and that not "by way of phantoms of images," as your new friends express it, 1 who hold that "mental pictures" are caused by what Catius called "spectres"—for I must remind you that Catius Insuber the Epicurean, lately dead, calls "spectres" what the famous Gargettius, and before him Democritus, used to call "images." Well, even if my eyes were capable of being struck by these "spectres," because they spontaneously run in upon them at your will, I do not see how the mind can be struck. You will be obliged to explain it to me, when you return safe and sound, whether the "spectre" of you is at my command, so as to occur to me as soon as I have taken the fancy to think about you; and not only about you, who are in my heart's core, but supposing I begin thinking about the island of Britain—will its image fly at once into my mind? But of this later on. I am just sounding you now to see how you take it. For if you are angry and annoyed, I shall say more and demand that you be restored to the sect from which you have been ejected by "violence and armed force." 2 In an injunction of this sort the words "within this year" are not usually added. Therefore, even if it is now two or three years since you divorced Virtue, 3 seduced by the charms of Pleasure, 4 it will still be open for me to do so. And yet to whom am I speaking? It is to you, the most gallant of men, who ever since you entered public life have done nothing that was not imbued to the utmost with the highest principle. In that very sect of yours I have a misgiving that there must be more stuff than I thought, if only because you accept it. "How did that come into your head?" you will say. Because I had nothing else to say. About politics I can write nothing: for I don't choose to write down my real opinions.



    αἵρεσις αἱρέω

    I.a taking especially, esp. of a town, Hdt., etc.; ἡ βασιλῆος αἵρ. the taking by the king, Hdt.

    2.means for taking a place, Thuc.

    II.(αἱρέομαι) a taking for oneself, a choosing, choice, νέμειν, προτιθέναι, προβάλλειν to give or offer choice, Hdt., attic; αἵρ. γίγνεταί τινι a choice is allowed one, Thuc.; αἵρεσιν λαμβάνειν to have choice given, Dem.

    2.choice or election of magistrates, Thuc., etc.

    3.a choice, deliberate plan, purpose, Plat., etc.

    4.a sect, school, etc.: esp. a religious sect, such as the Sadducees and Pharisees, NTest.

    5.a heresy, Eccl.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/h…2Fsei1&prior=ipsa#lexicon


    nervus , i, m. root snar-; Old Germ. snara, a snare; Gr. νεῦρον; cf. parvus and παῦρος,

    I.a sinew, tendon, nerve.

    II. Trop.

    A. Nerve, vigor, force, power, strength: “digna res est ubi tu nervos intendas tuos,” Ter. Eun. 2, 3, 20: “onus ... dignum, in quo omnes nervos aetatis industriaeque meae contenderem,” Cic. Verr. 1, 12, 35: “omnibus nervis mihi contendendum est, ut, etc.,” id. ib. 2, 3, 56, § “130: opibus ac nervis ad perniciem suam uti,” Caes. B. G. 1, 20; Cic. Phil. 5, 12, 32: “nervi belli pecunia,” id. ib. 5, 2, 5: “vectigalia nervos esse rei publicae,” id. Imp. Pomp. 7, 17: “legionum nervos incidere,” id. Phil. 12, 3, 8: “poëtae molliunt animos, nervos omnes virtutis elidunt,” id. Tusc. 2, 11, 27: “video, fore nervis opus sapientiāque tuā,” id. Fam. 3, 10, 1: “loci inhaerentes in nervis causarum,” intimately connected with them, id. de Or. 3, 27, 106: “nervi conjurationis,” the leaders, Liv. 7, 39, 6.—

    B. In partic., of expression, force, energy: “horum oratio neque nervos, neque aculeos oratorios ac forenses habet,” Cic. Or. 19, 62; cf. id. de Or. 3, 21, 80: “nervi in dicendo,” id. ib. 2, 22, 91: “sectantem levia nervi Deficiunt,” Hor. A. P. 26.

    Elli -- As quoted by Joshua above, DeWitt says that the letter to Menoeceus is composed in a different "style" of Greek writing than are the other two letters. Do you agree that the letter to Meneoceus seems more "elegant" or is written in a different style of grammar?


    Quote

    DeWitt on page 12 holds up the letter to Menoeceus as (alone of the extant letters) "composed according to the rules of rhythmical prose". Epicurus in this one letter is writing artfully.