Posts by Hiram

    And that's part of the same issue. The "mainstream" places of discussion aren't just unaware of the DeWitt / Alternate argument -- they DISAGREE with it -- and if they have their way, they will also SUPPRESS it, which is why it can only arise *outside* and not *within* or even *with the encouragement of* the "mainstream" circles.

    I think it's great that there's an open, wide market (agora?) of ideas out there and that people are openly disagreeing with us. That's not a reason not to engage people. I WANT to hear their disagreements. I've written for Partially Examined Life. I wrote a chapter for "How to Live a Good Life", together with 14 other people whose views are all at odds with mine. I've never experienced this exposure as scary in any way whatsoever, on the contrary. Philodemus, if you read most of his scrolls, was REACTING against the views and writings of others (Theophrastus, the mathematicians, etc.). This is how philosophy advances and grows and gains relevance and a wider audience.


    But if you do not participate in public discourse, you forfeit the right to lament that your views are excluded. So you SHOULD participate.

    I'm looking for clarification on the following quotation by De Witt:

    "...Epicureanism was primarily a cult of the founder..."

    To many followers, Epicurus was a salvific figure, a cultural hero of humanism and science. Plotina (stepmother of Emperor Hadrian, circa 120 of Common Era) called Epicurus her Savior, Lucian praised him as holy (in Alexander the Oracle Monger, also by the second century), and Lucretius refers to Epicurus also in soteriological / salvific language saying that he alone among men pierced the nature of things and elevating him to cosmological significance because of that. This was late, but even in the early Garden, Colotes revered Epicurus.


    One of the reviews of Catherine Wilson's books, or one of her articles (the Aeon one?) shows a depiction of Epicurus looking like a Savior figure and with the serpent of superstition / religion under his feet, which is reminiscent of how the Virgin is represented in Catholic imagery, but of course this derives from Lucretius' praise in DRN, and how he casts away the darkness of the mind. So this is how Epicureans referred to him. This imagery is positively religious-looking.


    And, of course, in "the Sculpted Word" there is a full study of the Epicurean sculptural tradition and how Epicureans used art in their missionary work. These sculptures invariably appealed to religious feelings by consciously and purposefully imitating Greek religious standards.

    That's an excellent idea, @Charles! Thank you – I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I'm questioning how effective Reddit is, as a whole, in promoting genuine Epicurean discussion. I'm sure, however, that you can guide the forum in a proper direction, and I'd be happy to support you in doing so.

    As for effectiveness, I put together from time to time a "State of the Garden" post looking at what has brought in the most traffic, and Reddit has consistently been a HUGE source of traffic. Perhaps the /Eism sub-reddit has not drawn as much as other ones like /atheism, but it doesn't work very well as a FORUM among friends. So it's useful, but it's best used as a source of traffic into our other content.

    You should pitch your own articles to publications like Partially Examined Life, etc. if you really want your own views and interpretations to be available.

    Do I take your meaning, Cassius, to be that Eudaimonia becomes a problem only when removed from the Greek and set into English? I can certainly understand how the following sentences might be construed to have different meanings;

    I don't think it does, but I believe Cassius does. Elli has also said eudaimonia is a perfectly good Greek word. But the bottom line is that Epicurus used the word, and we should apply the guidelines offered in his sermon against the use of empty words. This would not have been a frivolous choice, and we do not see a trace of anger or hostility against Aristotle in the Letter to Menoeceus. We see a formulation of Epicurus' and his friends' ideas. So eudaimonia / happiness is a legitimate Epicurean philosophical inquiry.

    This essay emerged as a result of controversies surrounding Alex’s expulsion from the EP group. It seemed from my conversation with him that this was a key issue. So it needs to be addressed.


    I do not believe that at any point I used the “Aristotelian definition”, in the essay I attempted to apply Epicurus’ criterion from his sermon against empty words of attaching the first meaning that the mind evokes. Since Greek is not my language I looked at the semantic roots Eu (good) and daimon (spirit) and worked from there to deconstruct the word, following the clarity and conciseness guidelines given by the founders.


    I’m happy Eudaimonia is being addressed. It’s in the sources.

    Did Epicurus recommend a certain lifestyle?


    Does Epicurus recommend eating simple food and growing one's food in a garden?

    Would living in a garden and harvesting one's food be a life to strive for as a student of Epicurus?

    Concerning should we have a Garden, we should go to the first elements of the teaching. Here, the issue is autarchy (self-sufficiency), which is probably the most long-term existential project that we have to work on. How do we engage productively in the world while still enjoying a life of pleasure?


    Philodemus of Gadara wrote a scroll "On the art of property management" which delves a bit into this. But these conversations must be rooted in modern reality. He does not even mention gardening, although it fits within the broader idea of having multiple streams of income in order to facilitate a life of leisure and pleasure. Instead he prioritizes:

    1. taking fees from the teaching of philosophy
    2. accepting rental income from our properties
    3. entrepreneurial income (employing others to work for us)

    in that order. He also recommends ownership of means of production, and mentions the importance of associating with good friends and of delegating tasks as means to secure pleasure while being productive. Here are some of my gleanings from the scroll on property management, which you can find on amazon (linked from the essay).


    http://societyofepicurus.com/o…operty-management-part-i/

    http://societyofepicurus.com/o…perty-management-part-ii/

    I know we were talking in your earlier thread about the issue of time, and I think that's a huge issue. It's clearly not appropriate to elevate "long-term pleasure" in every case over "short term pleasure" because time is no magical element that turns a long life of minimum pleasures into something that's intrinsically better than a life that is shorter but more filled with "stronger" pleasures.

    I don't think they're mutually contradictory.


    Yes VS 14 says we should not postpone our pleasure. But elsewhere, the founders also say that we should make what is ahead of us sweeter than what is behind us.

    Re: incorruptible versus immortal, the Monadnock translation contains both the original Greek and the English, and translates "That which is blissful and immortal" from:


    τὸ μακάριον καὶ ἄφθαρτον


    Which, if you pass it through google translate, refers to blessedness (makarion) and the other word has to do with death. Maybe a Native Greek can better translate ἄφθαρτον (autharton). My understanding is that "death" is Thanatos.

    I think the key problem I have with the theory of the Epicurean gods is their immortality. It doesn’t pass the test of conceivability that we find in Philodemus’ “Methods of Inference”.


    I can conceive of blissful, super-evolved beings, maybe ones who live for hundreds or for thousands of years.


    But No species has ever been observed to be immortal.


    And furthermore, no _habitat_ has been observed to be eternal. All the stars are suns that, like ours, will eventually explode as supernovas. There are rogue planets with no sun in between the galaxies that are not vulnerable to these and gamma rays and other outbursts, but beings there would have to get their nourishment from the heated core of their home planet, which would have to have a frozen crust. This heated core energy would eventually exhaust. And there is nothing keeping a rogue planet from being captured by a star eventually