Nate Garden Bard
  • Member since Jan 9th 2018

Posts by Nate

    The addition we see in the Germans' form of Idealism is their response as faithful Christians to the undeniable success of Empiricism during the Enlightenment period. German Idealism provided modern Christians with a narrative to protect their faith while also accepting the observations that came from a camp of thinkers who were deeply skeptical of religious narratives. It allowed Idealists to interface with the observations of science while simultaneously marginalizing those findings as mere "phenomena" which cannot speak to the "true nature" of reality. Platonism didn't provide them with the defenses they needed to reject materialism since science by the 18th-century had advanced significantly, so they had to adapt new ways of explaining how Jesus the Christ could still exist in a world of machines.


    As philosophical questions about the "Mind" were enthusiastically answered by materialists who grounded the unique, subjective experiences of life into universal, biological processes, Transcendental Idealists subsumed both "Mind" and "Matter" beneath the single banner of "Spirit". By the late 18th-century, Idealism was no longer adequate to explain the difference between air and oxygen, to explain how lightning was a discharge of electricity, to explain the similarities between fossils in the ground and living creatures: only chemistry, physics, and biology were robust enough for that. Kant (among others) saw the need to justify how God can still operate in a world of physical interactions. Like Gassendi with Epicurus, Kant stitched one philosophical world together with another, but, in this case, backwards.


    If we turn out attention from Europe to America, we observe a similar trend in Ralph Waldo Emerson, who eventually rejected the orthodox philosophy of Harvard's school of divinity and incorporated Vedantic philosophy to help explain his position: both the mind, full of religious sympathies, and matter, which constitutes the beautiful, beneficent world of nature, are facilitated by the Spirit. This can also explain why ancient Hindu philosophy was so well received by Emerson, Schopenhauer, and others: the primary focus of ancient Indian philosophers was to reconcile Dualism and Monism. They provided extensive arguments to explain how they interface with each other, and this is exactly the sort of philosophy needed during the modern debate between Descartes' Dualism and the Monism of both Idealists and Materialists.

    Quote

    In what "general" ways were the German idealists seeing themselves as different?

    Ultimately, their goal was to synthesize the the school of the Rationalists with the competing school of Empiricists, so Plato may have only been an influence through the reach of Descartes' Rationalism. That being said, Kant mentions Plato by name in his introduction to Critique of Pure Reason, so I think Plato is a major influence:


    “The light dove, cleaving the air of her free flight, and fleeing its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space. It was thus that Plato left the world of the senses, as setting too narrow limits to understanding, and ventured out beyond it on the wings of the ideas, in the empty space of the pure understanding.”


    I'd call German Idealism an extension or expansion of Plato, not a revival, but an addition.

    He would have utterly rejected the German Idealists.


    In general, they supported revelation over reason, faith over experience, and mind over matter. The school develops after Kant distinguishes "phenomena" from "noumena" or the "thing-in-itself" and postulates that we can never really know the "thing-in-itself", thus, faith and revelation become useful tools in a world that is completely mysterious. There's also a tinge of political Nationalism in the German Idealists that frequently see gets misdirected at Nietzsche.


    Then, right in the middle of their movement, the Indian Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita get translated into European languages and light the "noumena"-obsessed Germans on FIRE. To students of Vedanta, Kant's "noumena", the "thing-in-itself" sounds like the Hindu "atman" or "Self". These Idealists got prescribed a second dose of Idealism.

    Then Hegel comes along and places Plato's crown on himself as the new King of Idealism.


    German Idealism has a lot in common with Platonism, Pyrrhonism, and Academic Skepticism. This is particularly true when we consider that the agnostic Indian texts that influenced Pyrrho were, for the first time, being introduced to Europeans in their own language, so there's a common influence besides the obvious influence of Plato.

    elli, I'm curious what you think of this translation by Odysseus Makridis:


    6. “This <human ability to lead a good life> originally became possible by nature and for the sake of imparting courage in human beings <who were then living in a pre-social condition.> And this is the natural origin and principle on which all authority—be it even kingship—is based. And it is from the same <natural propensities> that a human being is able also to arrange a good and pleasant life.” (Letters and Sayings of Epicurus)

    XXIV (24)


    εἰ τινʼ ἐκβαλεῖς ἁπλῶς αἴσθησιν καὶ μὴ διαιρήσεις τὸ δοξαζόμενον καὶ τὸ προσμένον καὶ τὸ παρὸν ἤδη κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν καὶ τὰ πάθη καὶ πᾶσαν φανταστικὴν ἐπιβολὴν τῆς διανοίας, συνταράξεις καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς αἰσθήσεις τῇ ματαίῳ δόξῃ, ὥστε τὸ κριτήριον ἅπαν ἐκβαλεῖς· εἰ δὲ βεβαιώσεις καὶ τὸ προσμένον ἅπαν ἐν ταῖς δοξαστικαῖς ἐννοίαις καὶ τὸ μὴ τὴν ἐπιμαρτύρησιν <ἔχον>, οὐκ ἐκλείψεις τὸ διεψευσμένον, ὡς τετηρηκὼς ἔσῃ πᾶσαν ἀμφισβήτησιν κατὰ πᾶσαν κρίσιν τοῦ ὀρθῶς ἢ μὴ ὀρθῶς.



    If you simply discard a sense, and do not distinguish between the different elements of the judgment, so as to know on the one hand, the opinion which goes beyond the actual sensation, or, on the other, the actual and immediate notion, the affections, and all the conceptions of the mind which arise from the observable representation; you will be imputing trouble into the other senses, and destroying in that quarter every species of criterion. But if you allow equal authority to the ideas, which being only an opinion, require to be verified, and to those which bear about them an immediate certainty, you will not escape error; for you will be confounding doubtful opinions with those which are not doubtful, and true judgments with those of a different character.” Yonge (1853)


    If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to discriminate between that which is matter of opinion and awaits further confirmation and that which is already present, whether in sensation or in feeling or in any mental apprehension, you will throw into confusion even the rest of your sensations by your groundless belief, so as to reject the truth altogether. If you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation in ideas based on opinion, as well as that which does not, you will not escape error, as you will be taking sides in every question involving truth and error.” Hicks (1910)


    If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to discriminate with respect to that which awaits confirmation between matter of opinion and that which is already present, whether in sensation or in feelings or in any presentative perception of the mind, you will throw into confusion even the rest of your sensations by your groundless belief and so you will be rejecting the standard of truth altogether. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you will not escape error, as you will be maintaining complete ambiguity whenever it is a case of judging between right and wrong opinion.” Hicks (1925)


    If you reject any single sensation and fail to distinguish between the conclusion of opinion as to the appearance awaiting confirmation and that which is actually given by the sensation or feeling, or each intuitive apprehension of the mind, you will confound all other sensations as well with the same groundless opinion, so that you will reject every standard of judgments. And if among the mental images created by your opinions you affirm both that which awaits confirmation and that which does not, you will not escape error, since you will have preserved the whole cause of doubt in every judgment between what is right and what is wrong.” Bailey (1926)


    If you reject any sensations, and if you fail to distinguish between conjecture based upon that which awaits confirmation and evidence given by the senses, by the feelings, and by the mental examinations of confirmed concepts, you will confuse the other sensations with unfounded conjecture and thus destroy the whole basis for judgment. If among all opinions you accept as equally valid both those that await confirmation and those that have been confirmed, you will not free yourself from error, since you will have preserved all the uncertainty about every judgment of what is true and what is not true.” Geer (1964)


    “(1) If you are going to reject any sensation absolutely, and not distinguish opinions reliant on evidence yet awaited from what is already present through sensation, through feelings, and through every focusing of thought into an impression, you will confound all your other sensations with empty opinion and consequently reject the criterion in its entirety. (2) And if you are going to treat as established both all the evidence yet awaited in your conjectural conceptions, and that which has failed to <earn> attestation, you will not exclude falsehood, so that you will have removed all debate and all discrimination between correct and incorrect.” (Long, The Hellenistic Philosophers 87; 1987)


    If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to discriminate with respect to that which awaits confirmation between matter of opinion and that which is already present, whether in sensation or in feelings or in any immediate perception of the mind, you will throw into confusion even the rest of your sensations by your groundless belief and so you will be rejecting the standard of truth altogether. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you will not escape error, as you will be maintaining complete ambiguity whenever it is a case of judging between right and wrong opinion.” O'Connor (1993)


    If you reject unqualifiedly any sense-perception and do not distinguish the opinion about what awaits confirmation, and what is already present in the sense-perception, and the feelings, and every application of the intellect to presentations, you will also disturb the rest of your sense-perceptions with your pointless opinion; as a result you will reject every criterion. If, on the other hand, in your conceptions formed by opinion, you affirm everything that awaits confirmation as well as what does not, you will not avoid falsehood, so that you will be in the position of maintaining every disputable point in every decision about what is and is not correct.” Inwood & Gerson (1994)


    If you arbitrarily reject any one sensory experience and fail to differentiate between an opinion awaiting confirmation and what is already perceived by the senses, feelings, and every intuitive faculty of mind, you will impute trouble to all other sensory experiences, thereby rejecting every criterion. And if you concurrently affirm what awaits confirmation as well as actual sensory experience, you will still blunder, because you will foster equal reasons to doubt the truth and falsehood of everything.” Anderson (2004)


    If you expel each and every sensation without qualification, and fail to draw <fitting> distinctions applying to what is opined <about sensations> as between what is present already and what is anticipated; or if you fail to draw distinctions applying to what is opined <about sensations> as to whether such opinions are according to sense perception, the passions, or some other imaginary twist of mind: you will, then, confound also the rest of your sensations <in addition to the ones you are trying to expel directly> because of this ineffective way of judging, so that you will also have expelled all criteria for judging what is true and what is false.” Makridis (2005)


    If you reject a perception outright and do not distinguish between your opinion about what will happen after, what came before, your feelings, and all the layers of imagination involved in your thoughts, then you will throw your other perceptions into confusion because of your trifling opinions; as a result, you will reject the very criterion of truth. And if when forming concepts from your opinions you treat as confirmed everything that will happen and what you do not witness thereafter, then you will not avoid what is false, so that you will remove all argument and all judgment about what is and is not correct.” Saint-Andre (2008)


    If you summarily rule out any single sensation and do not make a distinction between the element of belief that is superimposed on a percept that awaits verification and what is actually present in sensation or in the feelings or some percept of the mind itself, you will cast doubt on all other sensations by your unfounded interpretation and consequently abandon all the criteria of truth. On the other hand, in cases of interpreted data, if you accept as true those that need verification as well as those that do not, you will still be in error, since the whole question at issue in every judgment of what is true or not true will be left intact.” Strodach (2012)


    If you reject any sensation absolutely, and do not distinguish be- tween an opinion that awaits confirmation and a present reality (whether of sensation, feeling, or perception), you will also throw your other sensations into confusion with your groundless belief, and in doing so will be rejecting altogether the criterion. But if, when assessing opinions, you affirm as true everything that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, <. . .> you will not escape error; for you will be preserving complete uncertainty in every judgment between right and wrong opinion.” Mensch (2018)

    I found his translation of PD6 interesting because it's significantly longer than other translations and seems to convey some of the points (specifically "kingship") that Elli contextualizes in a separate thread:

    Quote

    This <human ability to lead a good life> originally became possible by nature and for the sake of imparting courage in human beings <who were then living in a pre-social condition.> And this is the natural origin and principle on which all authority—be it even kingship—is based. And it is from the same <natural propensities> that a human being is able also to arrange a good and pleasant life.” Makridis (2005)

    Principal Doctrines

    Odysseus Makridis


    As presented in Letters and Sayings of Epicurus (2005)



    1. “That which is blessed and indestructible has no affairs of its own to attend to; nor does it inflict any trouble on others. So, it is agitated neither by ire nor by partiality. For all such are to be found in that which lacks power.”


    2. “Death is nothing to us. Because, what has been dissolved has no sense perception; and, according to us, what has no sense perception is nothing to worry about.”


    3. “Pleasure has its <upper> limit in the removal of everything that produces pain. For, wherever that which produces pleasure resides, for as long as it abides, there can be nothing that produces pain, grief, or both.”


    4. “What produces pain does not remain constantly in the body over a long period of time; it is rather that the maximal pain persists for the least span of time, and even that bodily pain which barely exceeds pleasure does not continue to happen for many days <in a row.> And, indeed, chronic illnesses themselves have an excess of what produces bodily pleasure over what is productive of pain.”


    5. “It is impossible to lead a pleasant life without leading a life that is prudent, proper, and just. Nor is it possible to live a life that is prudent, proper, and just without living a life that is pleasant. Whoever lacks <any one of> the above <elements of a good and pleasant life> cannot have a good life.”


    6. “This <human ability to lead a good life> originally became possible by nature and for the sake of imparting courage in human beings <who were then living in a pre-social condition.> And this is the natural origin and principle on which all authority—be it even kingship—is based. And it is from the same <natural propensities> that a human being is able also to arrange a good and pleasant life.”


    7. “Some have wished to become famous and enviable, thinking that they would in this way procure for themselves security from other human beings. In that case: if their life is secure, they have indeed enjoyed what is the good by nature; if, however, they are not safe, they still lack that naturally familiar good for the sake of which our appetites have striven from the very first stirrings of human nature and in accordance with natural principles.”


    8. “No pleasure is a morally bad thing in itself. But the agents that produce certain pleasures bring about vexations that outnumber the pleasures themselves.”


    9. “If all pleasures could be added together consecutively with respect to space and duration, and across the entire span over which they had all existed, or at least across the principal parts of human nature <which are naturally susceptible to pleasures:> then, pleasures would not be different from each other in any respect.”


    10. “If those elements that are productive of the pleasures of the debauched released them from the mental apprehensions aroused by natural phenomena, fear of death, and <obsessive anticipation of> pain; if, in addition, they formed their characters in such a way that they knew when to set a limit to their desires, we would then never have anything to censure them about: indeed, they would then be fully actualizing all the pleasures and in no way would they have either what is painful or what is productive of grief in them—and it is this latter condition <which they would be avoiding> that is morally bad.”


    11. “If we were never perturbed by frightful second-guessing of natural phenomena and death; if, adding to the above, we were never <beset by> failure to comprehend the proper limits of pains and pleasures: then, we would have no need of natural science.”


    12. It is impossible to be released from fear about the most important things for one who, not having adequate knowledge as to what the nature of the whole is, is trying to second-guess this or that in accordance with the <traditional> fairy tales. Hence, it is impossible to enjoy the pleasures in full unless one has studied natural science.”


    13. “There is generally no benefit in procuring safety and protection from other human beings when one lives constantly in frightful conjecture about what is over our heads and those that are under the earth and those that simply are, without qualification, in boundless space.”


    14. “Although safety from human beings may be secured, up to a point, by means of bountiful resources and power that can exempt one from <some risks;> yet, the most genuine safety comes from leading a tranquil private life and keeping aloof from the masses.”


    15. “The bounty of nature is not only easy to extract as a resource; it also has its own limits set <by nature> <so that one cannot run into excess insofar as he is attuned to nature;> but the opulence of hollow fancies plunges precipitously into a space that has no limits.”


    16. “The wise are rarely infringed by chance; the matters that are most significant and decisive have been, are, and always will be governed by reason throughout the entire span of a wise person’s life.”


    17. “The just person is the most imperturbable; but the unjust is filled with ample distress.”


    18. “Bodily pleasure cannot increase anymore once all the pain produced by need has been removed, even if this happened for the first time; <after that point, additional> pleasure can only <accrue from> variation. But the limit of the pleasure produced by mental pursuits is generally attained by means of reflecting on all those things, and on others kindred to the things, which furnish the mind with the greatest frights.”


    19. “Time without limit affords the same amount of pleasure as does limited time—if one measures the limits of pleasure precisely and by using reasoned judgment.”


    20. “The body picks out the end points of pleasure as lying beyond any limit, and marks the time needed to procure this <pleasure> as being unlimited. But the mind, grasping the final goal and terminating limits of the body by means of comprehending judgment, and obliterating the dread of an eternal afterlife, makes possible a life that reaches all goals “within itself and has no need whatever of infinite time. But it should not <be thought> that the mind flees from pleasure —not even at that moment when circumstances bring about the extraction from this life—or that it destroys the pleasures as if they were unworthy of the best life.”


    21. “He who knows well the limits of living also knows that to remove pain caused by need is easy—resources for that are not lacking—so that one’s entire life can be rendered complete and replete with all possible purposes. It follows that there is no need whatever of things unless they are won by noble struggle.”


    22. “When all is said and done, we need to take into account what kinds of things exist in the universe and every vivid and clear sense perception, to which we must refer opinions; if we fail to do so, everything will be full of gullibility and confusion.”


    23. “If you wage battle against all the sensations, <not only will you lose those you are directly fighting against but, also> you won’t even have those sensations left, by reference to which alone you could claim to have won your case.”


    24. “If you expel each and every sensation without qualification, and fail to draw <fitting> distinctions applying to what is opined <about sensations> as between what is present already and what is anticipated; or if you fail to draw distinctions applying to what is opined <about sensations> as to whether such opinions are according to sense perception, the passions, or some other imaginary twist of mind: you will, then, confound also the rest of your sensations <in addition to the ones you are trying to expel directly> because of this ineffective way of judging, so that you will also have expelled all criteria for judging what is true and what is false.”


    25. “If you don’t judge every one of your actions by reference to the end and goal dictated by nature, in accordance also with the proper natural timing for each action, but, instead, second guessing <nature,> you veer off ahead of time attempting either to pursue or to flee <goals,> then your acts will not be turning out to be consistent with your rationalizations.”



    26. “Of desires, those which do not bring one to pain if they remain unfulfilled are not necessary; such desires are actually accompanied by appetites that are easily defused: indeed, <this is evidently what happens> when it is thought difficult to find the means to satisfy <unnecessary desires> or when the desires themselves are thought to be productive of harm.”


    27. “Of all those things by means of which wisdom can procure blessed bliss to last for an entire life, by far the greatest is the acquisition of friends.”


    28. “The same (judgment) which enables us to wax confident in contemplating that no dreadful thing is eternal, or even of long duration, also knows well that, in these our constrained circumstances, security depends on having friends more than on anything else.”


    29. “Of desires, some are natural and (necessary; some are natural and) not necessary; some are neither natural nor necessary and are only created by empty belief.”


    30. ”Certain natural desires, which do not reduce one to pain if they are not satisfied, have, nevertheless, a commensurate inherent need for satisfaction. Such desires are born, indeed, of empty belief: the reason they are not defused is not to be traced to their intrinsic nature but to the person’s vacuity”.


    31. “Natural justice is an expression of the <natural> interest <everyone has> and consists in both: a) not causing harm to others, and b) not suffering harm for oneself.”


    32. “Some animals are incapable of entering into compacts that agree not to inflict harm in order to avoid suffering harm: in the cases of such animals neither moral right nor moral wrong can be said to apply. Similarly, there are communities which are either incapable or unwilling to make treaties that undertake not to inflict harm in order to avoid suffering harm: <in the cases of such communities, the concepts of moral right and moral wrong cannot be said to apply either.>”


    33. Abstract justice “in itself does not exist. Justice rather <comes into being only> in instances of reciprocal intercourse, applies specifically to this or that place <and time,> and consists in a covenanted agreement to refrain from inflicting harm for the sake of not having harm inflicted on oneself.”


    34. “Injustice is not a moral evil in itself: what is bad about injustice consists in the wearying apprehension that one might fail to escape detection by those who mete out punishments.”


    35. “And it is not possible for someone to be confident that he will not be detected if one has acted surreptitiously in violating any one of the provisions of the social contract, which consists in <an agreement> to refrain from harming for the sake of avoiding harm for oneself; not even if one has escaped detection a myriad times until the present: for even to the moment of one’s final demise, there can be no sure sign or assurance that one will continue to escape detection.”


    36. “Generally speaking, justice is one and the same for all: i.e., justice is something or other that is to one’s interest in mutual intercourse. But, speaking on a case-by-case basis, justice is not the same for all as it depends on <specific> regions and factors.”


    37. “Among those things that are conventionally accepted as just, whatever is universally acknowledged to be conducive to the purpose of maintaining civic society is necessarily adjudged to be a patently just thing, whether it is the same for all people or not. But if one stipulates something as the law even though it is at cross purposes with the interest of maintaining civic society—such an ordinance does not partake of natural justice in any way. In addition, if and to the extent that the interests which are in accordance with natural justice prove variable, so that concepts of justice can remain harmonious with natural interests only for a certain period of time: we must say that such concepts of justice <though short lived> are no less just within their corresponding frames of time.”


    38. <”This is what we must say> if we are not to perturb ourselves with hollow words but rather take our bearings from the truth about human affairs. In those instances, in which, without any new developments arising, it becomes evident that the accepted concepts of justice are not, after all, in harmony with concrete interests or exertions of human effort: we must, in such cases, admit that those concepts of justice have had nothing to do with justice to begin with. But, in those instances, in which novel developments make it disadvantageous to preserve the same <concepts of> justice: in such cases, we must say that the concepts of justice were true in the past, for as long as they were conducive to the mutual association of fellow citizens, but, subsequently, when they were no longer advantageous, they were no longer just to adhere to.”


    39. “He who was fittingly constituted in such a way that he could not face up to external dangers prepared a family made up of as many kindred beings as he was able to bring together; or, those he could not bring together, he related to as if they were not, at any rate, members of a different species. And with those beings, which he was altogether unable <either to bring into a family or to relate to in any way,> he did not mingle at all and, to the extent that it was to his benefit to do so, he had nothing to do with them.”


    40. “Those who had the greatest ability to prepare defenses against their neighbors, so they could face up to them, were the ones who lived with each most pleasantly—since they had the most certain guarantee <that they were in no danger in any respect.> And, given that they had once enjoyed the most complete intimacy, they would not lament or cry for mercy if one suffered a premature demise.”

    XIV (14)


    τῆς ἀσφαλείας τῆς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων γενομένης μέχρι τινὸς δυνάμει τε ἐξερειστικῇ καὶ εὐπορίᾳ, εἰλικρινεστάτη γίνεται ἡ ἐκ τῆς ἡσυχίας καὶ ἐκχωρήσεως τῶν πολλῶν ἀσφάλεια.



    Irresistible power and great wealth may, up to a certain point, give us security as far as men are concerned; but the security of men in general depends upon the tranquillity of their souls, and their freedom from ambition.” Yonge (1853)


    When tolerable security against our fellow-men is attained, then on a basis of power arises most genuine bliss, to wit, the security of a private life withdrawn from the multitude.” Hicks (1910)


    “When tolerable security against our fellow-men is attained, then on a basis of power sufficient to afford support and of material prosperity arises in most genuine form the security of a quiet private life withdrawn from the multitude.” Hicks (1925)


    The most unalloyed source of protection from men, which is secured to some extent by a certain force of expulsion, is in fact the immunity which results from a quiet life and the retirement from the world.” Bailey (1926)


    Although safety from the attacks of men has been secured to a certain degree by dynastic protection and abundance of means, that which comes of the retired life and withdrawal from the multitude is the most unalloyed.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 189; 1954)


    Even though security from the injuries of men may have been established to a certain degree by dynastic protection, the most unalloyed feeling of security is to be found in the retired life and withdrawal from the multitude." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 188; 1954)


    When reasonable security from men has been attained, then the security that comes from peace of mind and withdrawal from the crowd is present, sufficient in strength and most unmixed in well-being.” Geer (1964)


    When tolerable security against our fellow humans is attained, then on a basis of power sufficient to afford supports and of material prosperity arises in most genuine form the security of a quiet private life withdrawn from the multitude.” O'Connor (1993)


    The purest security is that which comes from a quiet life and withdrawal from the many, although a certain degree of security from other men does come by means of the power to repel [attacks] and by means of prosperity.” Inwood & Gerson (1994)


    Supreme power and great wealth may, to some degree, protect us from other men; but security in general depends upon peace of mind and social detachment.” Anderson (2004)


    Although some measure of safety from other people is based in the power to fight them off and in abundant wealth, the purest security comes from solitude and breaking away from the herd.” Saint-Andre (2008)


    The simplest means of procuring protection from other men (which is gained to a certain extent by deterrent force) is the security of quiet solitude and withdrawal from the mass of people. Strodach (2012)


    While some degree of security from other men can be attained on the basis of stable power and material prosperity, the purest security comes from tranquillity and from a life withdrawn from the many.” Mensch (2018)

    Key Doctrines

    A. A. Long and D. N. Sedley


    As the authors mention of Key Doctrine 2, some of the Kuriai Doxai

    are “not in our book” (The Hellenistic Philosophers 156). – Nate



    1. “That which is blessed and imperishable neither suffers nor inflicts trouble, and therefore is affected neither by anger nor by favour. For all such things are marks of weakness.” (140)


    2. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    3. “The removal of all pain is the limit of the magnitude of pleasures. Wherever pleasure is present, as long as it is there, pain or distress or their combination is absent.” (115)


    4. “Pain does not last continuously in the flesh: when acute it is there for a very short time, while the pain which just exceeds the pleasure in the flesh does not persist for many days; and chronic illnesses contain an excess of pleasure in the flesh over pain.” (115)


    5. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    6. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    7. “Certain people wanted to become famous and admired, thinking that they would thus acquire security from other men. Consequently, if such people's life was secure, they did obtain nature's good; but if it was not secure, they are not in possession of the objective which they originally sought after on the basis of nature's affinity.” (126)


    8. ”No pleasure is something bad per se: but the causes of some pleasures produce stresses many times greater than the pleasures” (115)


    9. “If every pleasure were condensed in <location> and duration and distributed all over the structure or the dominant parts of our nature, pleasures would never differ from one another,”


    10. “If the causes of the pleasures of the dissipated released mental fears concerning celestial phenomena and death and distress, and in addition taught the limit of desires, we should never have any reason to reproach them [i.e. the dissipated], since they would be satisfying themselves with pleasures from all directions and would never have pain or distress, which constitutes the bad” (115)


    11. “Were we not upset by the worries that celestial phenomena and death might matter to us, and also by failure to appreciate the limits of pains and desires, we would have no need for natural philosophy.” (155)


    12. “There is no way to dispel the fear about matters of supreme importance, for someone who does not know what the nature of the universe is but retains some of the fears based on mythology. Hence without natural philosophy there is no way of securing the purity of our pleasures.” (155)


    13. “There is no benefit in creating security with respect to men while retaining worries about things up above, things beneath the earth, and generally things in the infinite.” (155)


    14. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    15. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    16. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    17. “The just <life> is most free from disturbance, but the unjust life is full of the greatest disturbance.” (125)


    18. “The pleasure in the flesh does not increase when once the pain of need has been removed, but it is only varied. And the limit of pleasure in the mind is produced by rationalizing those very things and their congeners which used to present the mind with its greatest fears.” (115)


    19. “Infinite time and finite time contain equal pleasure, if one measures the limits of pleasure by reasoning.” (150)


    20. “The flesh places the limits of pleasure at infinity, and needs an infinite time to bring it about. But the intellect, by making a rational calculation of the end and the limit which govern the flesh, and by dispelling the fears about eternity, brings about the complete life, so that we no longer need the infinite time. But neither does it shun pleasure, nor even when circumstances bring about our departure from life does it suppose, as it perishes, that it has in any way fallen short of the best life.” (150)


    21. “He who knows the limits of life knows how easy it is to obtain that which removes pain caused by want and that which makes the whole of life complete. He therefore has no need for competitive involvements.” (150)


    22. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    23. “If you fight against all sensations, you will not have a standard against which to judge even those of them you say are mistaken.” (80)


    24. “(1) If you are going to reject any sensation absolutely, and not distinguish opinions reliant on evidence yet awaited from what is already present through sensation, through feelings, and through every focusing of thought into an impression, you will confound all your other sensations with empty opinion and consequently reject the criterion in its entirety. (2) And if you are going to treat as established both all the evidence yet awaited in your conjectural conceptions, and that which has failed to <earn> attestation, you will not exclude falsehood, so that you will have removed all debate and all discrimination between correct and incorrect.” (87)


    25. “If you fail to refer each of your actions on every occasion to nature's end, and stop short at something else in choosing or avoiding, your actions will not be consequential upon your theories.” (116)


    26. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    27. “Of the things wisdom acquires for the blessedness of life as a whole, far the greatest is the possession of friendship.” (126)


    28. “Confidence that nothing terrible lasts for ever or even for a long time is produced by the same judgement that also achieves the insight that friendship's security within those very limitations is perfectly complete.” (126)


    29. “Natural and necessary [desires], according to Epicurus, arc ones which bring relief from pain, such as drinking when thirsty; natural but non- necessary are ones which merely vary pleasure but do not remove pain, such as expensive foods; neither natural nor necessary are ones for things like crowns and erection of statues.” (116)


    30. “Whenever intense passion is present in natural desires which do not lead to pain if they are unfulfilled, these have their origin in empty opinion; and the reason for their persistence is not their own nature but the empty opinion of the

    person.” (115)


    31. “Nature's justice is a guarantee of utility with a view to not harming one another and not being harmed.” (125)


    32. “Nothing is just or unjust in relation to those creatures which were unable to make contracts over not harming one another and not being harmed: so too with all peoples which were unable or unwilling to make contracts over not harming and not being harmed. ” (125)


    33. Justice was never anything per se, but a contract, regularly arising at some place or other in people's dealings with one another, over not harming or being harmed. ” (125)


    34. “Injustice is something bad not per se in the fear that arises from the suspicion that one will not escape the notice of those who have the authority to punish such things.” (125)


    35. “No one who secretly infringes any of the terms of a mutual contract made with a view to not harming and not being harmed can be confident that he will escape detection even if he does so countless times. For right up to his death it is unclear whether he will actually escape.” (125)


    36. “Taken generally, justice is the same for all, since it is something useful in people's social relationships. But in the light of what is peculiar to a region and to the whole range of determinants, the same thing does not turn out to be just for all.” (125)


    37. What is legally deemed to be just has its existence in the domain of justice whenever it is attested to be useful in the requirements of social relationships, whether or not it turns out to be the same for all. But if someone makes a law and it does not happen to accord with the utility of social relationships, it no longer has the nature of justice. And even if what is useful in the sphere of justice changes but fits the preconception for some time, it was no less just throughout that time for those who do not confuse themselves with empty utterances but simply look at the facts.” (125)


    38. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    39. Undocumented by Long & Sedley


    40. “Those who had the power to eliminate all fear of their neighbours lived together accordingly in the most pleasurable way, through having the firmest pledge of security, and after enjoying the fullest intimacy, they did not grieve over someone's untimely death as if it called for commiseration.” (126)

    Authorized Doctrines

    Norman W. De Witt



    I was unable to identify Authorized Doctrines 11, 15, 17, 24, 25, 26, 30, 33, 37,

    and 38 in De Witt’s two works, Epicurus and His Philosophy (1954) and St. Paul

    and Epicurus (1954) from which I verified the below translations. — Nate



    PD01.a “The blissful and incorruptible being neither knows trouble itself nor occasions trouble to another, and is consequently immune to either anger or gratitude, for all such emotions reside in a weak creature.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 252)


    PD01.b “The blessed and incorruptible being neither knows tribulation itself nor occasions it to another; it is consequently immune to feelings of either anger or gratitude, for all such emotion signifies a weak creature." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 187)


    PD02. “Death is nothing to us, because dissolution means unconsciousness and unconsciousness is nothing to us.” (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 187)


    PD03. “The removal of all pain is the limit of the magnitude of pleasures. And wherever the experience of pleasure is present, so long as it prevails, there is no pain or distress or a combination of them.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 226, 241, 246)


    PD04. “Pain does not prevail continuously in the flesh but the peak of it is present for the briefest interval, and the pain that barely exceeds the pleasure in the flesh is not with us many days, while protracted illnesses have an excess of pleasure over pain in the flesh." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 244)


    PD05. “It is impossible to live pleasurably without living according to reason, honor and justice, nor to live according to reason, honor, and justice without living pleasurably.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 184, 246)


    PD06.a “As for the assurance of safety from the attacks of men, by virtue of the nature of political dominion and kingly power this is a good thing, no matter by whose aid one is able to procure it." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 79)


    PD06.b “Political rule and kingly power being what they are, it is a good thing to feel secure in human relations no matter through whose agency one is able to attain this." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 187)


    PD07.a “Some men have chosen to become celebrities and to be in the public eye, thinking thus to achieve security from the attacks of men. Consequently, if the lives of such men are safe, they have reaped the end of Nature, but if their lives are not safe, they lack that for the sake of which at the outset they reached out by the instinct of Nature.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 189)


    PD07.b Some men wish to gain reputation and to be in the public eye, thinking by this means to win security from the attacks of men. Consequently, if the lives of these men are safe they have achieved the end ordained by Nature; if, on the contrary, their lives are not safe they lack that for which at the outset they reached out in obedience to an instinct of Nature." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 187)


    PD08. ”No pleasure is evil in itself but the practices productive of certain pleasures bring troubles in their train that by many times outweigh the pleasures themselves.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 235)


    PD09. “If every pleasure were alike condensed in duration and associated with the whole organism or the dominant parts of it, pleasures would never differ from one another." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 235)


    PD10. “If the practices productive of the pleasures of profligates dispelled the fears of the mind about celestial things and death and pains and also taught the limit of the desires, we should never have fault to find with profligates, enjoying pleasures to the full from all quarters, and suffering neither pain nor distress from any quarter, wherein the evil lies." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 235)


    PD11. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD12. “It is impossible for men to dispel the fear concerning things of supreme importance not understanding the nature of the whole universe but suspecting there may be some truth in the stories related in the myths. Consequently it is impossible without the knowledge of Nature to enjoy the pleasures unalloyed.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 305)


    PD13.a “Nothing is gained by building up the feeling of security in our relations with men if the things above our heads and those beneath the earth and in general those in the unseen are matters of suspicion.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 305)


    PD13.b “It is of no avail to have established security in human relations if things above and in the earth beneath and those in the infinite universe in general.are viewed with uncertainty." (St. Paul 188)


    PD14.a “Although safety from the attacks of men has been secured to a certain degree by dynastic protection and abundance of means, that which comes of the retired life and withdrawal from the multitude is the most unalloyed” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 189)


    PD14.b “Even though security from the injuries of men may have been established to a certain degree by dynastic protection, the most unalloyed feeling of security is to be found in the retired life and withdrawal from the multitude." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 188)


    PD15. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD16. “Fortune plays but little part in the life of a wise man and the things that are of most value and consequence are subject to arrangement by rational planning, and throughout the whole extent of life are subject and will be subject to it.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 177-178)


    PD17. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD18. “The pleasure in the flesh is incapable of increase when once the pain arising from need has been removed but is merely embellished. As for the mind, its limit of pleasure is begotten by reasoning out these very problems and those akin to these, all that once created the worst fears for the mind.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 227-228)


    PD19. “Infinite time and finite time are characterized by equal pleasure, if one measures the limits of pleasure by reason.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 229)


    PD20. “It is the flesh that finds the limits of pleasure boundless and infinite time would have been required to furnish it, but the intelligence, taking into the calculation the end and limit of the flesh and dispelling the fears about eternity, renders the whole life is perfect.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 225)


    PD21.a “The man who has discerned the limited needs of life is aware how easy of procurement is that which removes the pain arising from want and renders the whole life perfect, so that he feels no need of adding things that involve competition.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 186)


    PD21.b “The man who discerns the narrow limits of life's needs will understand how easy it is to procure what removes the discomfort arising from want, so that he feels no necessity of engaging in activities that involve competition." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 72)


    PD22. “We must take into our reckoning the established telos of all manifest evidence, to which we refer our judgments; otherwise all life will be filled with indecision and unrest.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 152)


    PD23. “If you are going to make war on all the sensations, you will not even have a standard by reference to which you shall judge those of them which you say are deceptive.”(De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 140-141)


    PD24. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD25. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD26. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD27.a “Of all the preparations that wisdom makes for the blessedness of the perfect life by far the most precious is the acquisition of friendship.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 190)


    PD27.b “Of all the preparations which wisdom makes for the blessedness of the complete life by far the most important is the acquisition of friendship." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 308)


    PD27.c “Of all the preparations that wisdom makes for the blessedness of the perfect life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friendship." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 188)


    PD28.a “The same argument that assures us of nothing terrible lasting forever or even very long discerns the protection furnished by friendship in this brief life of ours as being the most dependable of all." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 293-294)


    PD28.b “The same conviction that makes us feel confident of nothing terrible being either eternal or even of long duration discerns the assurance of safety within the narrow limits of this life itself as being most perfectly effected by friendship." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 188)


    PD29. “Of the desires some are natural and necessary; some are natural but not necessary; and others are neither natural nor necessary.” (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 18)


    PD30. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD31. “The justice of Nature is a covenant of advantage to the end that men shall not injure one another nor be injured.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 147)


    PD32. “To all animate creatures that have been unable to make the covenants about not injuring one another or being injured nothing is just nor unjust either; this statement holds equally true for all human races that have been unable or unwilling to make the covenant about not injuring or being injured.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 295)


    PD33. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD34.a “Wrong-doing is not an evil in and by itself; the evil lies in the uneasy feeling, amounting to fear, that he will not escape detection by those appointed for the punishment of such offenses.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 153)


    PD34.b “Injustice is not an evil in and by itself but the evil lies in the fear arising out of the uncertainty that he will not escape detection by those appointed for the punishment of such offenses.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 296)


    PD34.c “Violating the law is not an evil in itself but the evil lies in the uneasy feeling, of the nature of fear, that he may not escape detection by those appointed for the punishment of such offenses.” (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus, 122)


    PD35. “It is impossible for the man who does one of those things which they have covenanted with one another not to do, in order to avoid injuring and being injured, to be confident he will escape, even though for the moment he shall escape numberless times, for till the end it will be uncertain if he will really escape." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 297)


    PD36. “So far as the universal concept is concerned, Justice is the same for all, for it is a kind of advantage int he life they share with one another, but in respect of the particulars of place and all affecting circumstances whatsoever it does not follow that the same thing is just for all.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 296)


    PD37. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD38. Undocumented in De Witt's works?


    PD39.a "That man has best forestalled the feeling of insecurity from outside who makes relations friendly where possible, where impossible, at least neutral, and where even this is impossible, avoids contacts, and in alt cases where it pays to do so arranges for dynastic support." (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 309)


    PD39.b “That man has best established the feeling of security from external hazards who has made his relationships friendly wherever possible; where this has been impossible has made them at least not unfriendly; and wherever even this has been impossible avoids contacts; and wherever it paid him to do so has arranged dynastic protection." (De Witt, St. Paul and Epicurus 188)


    PD40. “All those who have best succeeded in building up the ability to feel secure from the attacks of those around them have lived the happiest lives with one another, as having the firmest faith.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 304)

    This is a great find, Don, because – as I recall from the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook group – we've had numerous Stoic opponents rail against Epicureanism like it's a Gateway Drug to Hard Pleasures. This reinforces the centrality of stability in Epicurean philosophy and provides an obvious reason why not all pleasures are to be chosen.

    I came across Mandeville in my research and initially added him to my list. There are a few loose citations that tie him to the Epicurean philosophical tradition (and not just modern epicurean stereotypes). He seems to have been familiar with the specifics of the philosophy and made several observations about Christian neo-Epicureanism.

    Quote

    The controversial Epicurean moralist, Bernard Mandeville, makes a distinction between Christian Epicureans like Erasmus, Gassendi and Temple, who claim that piety and virtue are the only true sources of voluptas, and libertines such as Hobbes's follower Charles de Saint-Évremond, who associate it with more straightforwardly sensual pleasure.” (Bullard, Edmund Burke and the Art of Rhetoric 91)

    I caution against presenting Venus to non-Epicureans as our go-to expression of divinity. I don't think that Venus is a completely inappropriate teaching tool, but using Venus as our prototype will inevitably lead to misinterpretation.


    In accordance with Epicurus' insistence on frank speech, I think we should use materialistic language to express the notion of divinity as the gods. Philodemus' innumerable, extra-terrestrial animals who have cultivated an incorruptible state of pleasure seem more coherent with Epicurus' teachings than does Lucretius' symbolic hymn. Presenting any one personality as the Epicurean expression of divinity might lead to the common misconceptions of the masses that Epicurus warns against in his Letter To Menoeceus. For example, a Christian might assume that Epicureans either worship Venus as a personal savior, or assume that we see Venus the Creatrix as pre-dating the natural world.


    Invoking the gods instead of Venus serves to prevent a few common misconceptions.

    (1) While pleasure is universal, the means by which pleasure is realized is unique to each animal. This god may pursue a different path to pleasure than that god. No one God offers a path that can be prescribed as a universal panacea.

    (2) Students of our tradition do not need to rely on metaphors to understand divinity. Most forms of idealism tend to abuse the use of ambiguous metaphors to obscure their contradictions. Our philosophy is not limited to metaphors.


    (3) Venus is a culturally-contextualized personality from ancient Rome (or Aphrodite in Ancient Greece); therein, Venus isn't nearly as accessible to a contemporary audience as is Mother Nature, to exemplify a more viable metaphor.


    (4) Venus as a symbol of life and fertility invokes images of verdant field, succulent fruit, and life as it is on Earth. The gods may be silicon-based lifeforms who breathe methane, or something even more unexpected.


    (5) While Lucretius is one of our primary sources of information, he wrote exclusively in poetic verse, and we have an extra layer of interpretation to even understand what Venus symbolizes. That's a burden on new students.


    As a general expression of our philosophy, the use of mythic personification is an invitation to misinterpret a philosophy that has been radically misinterpreted throughout history, particularly by self-proclaimed Epicureans, like the Italian Humanists who synthesized Epicurean physics with faith in their Christ. If we are to invoke a primary divinity at all, I would suggest using the contemporary metaphor of Mother Nature. Even better, I think it best to avoid using metaphors as much as possible when referring to divinity, and, instead, privilege the phrase "the gods".

    [Epicurus'] philosophy rode this tide. It had reached Alexandria even before his arrival in Athens. By the second century it was flourishing in Antioch and Tarsus, had invaded Judaea, and was known in Babylon. Word of it had reached Rome while Epicurus was still living, and in the last century B.C. it swept over Italy.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 29)


    Both Thessalonica and Corinth must have been strongholds of Epicureanism.” (De Witt, Epicurus and His Philosophy 338)


    After the third century BCE there were Epicurean centres in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt: adherents, identified from their cities, came from Tyre, Sidon, Tarsus, and Alexandria. Epicureanism also expanded west. […] The existence of communities in the Naples region is attested by both Horace and Vergil. […] Epicureanism can be attested in a board variety of locations: Herculanem, Sorrento, Rhodes, Cos, Pergamon, Oenoanda (the Lycus valley), Apameia (Syria), Rhodiapolis, and Amastris (Bithynia). Locations like Athens and Oxyrhynchus provide evidence for the preservation fo Epicurean writing, as well as Herculaneum. […] Asia Minor (notably Ephesus, Alexandria, and Syria are all suggested as prime candidates for its location.” (King, Epicureanism and the Gospel of John: A Study of Their Compatibility 11-13)


    It will be worth our while to observe how admirably Epicureanism was equipped for the penetration fo Asia. As mentioned already, the branch school at Lampsacus was strategically situated for dissemination of the creed along the coast of the Black Sea. On the west coast of Asia there was another school at Mytilene […] Still further to the south was the original school at Colophon, close to Ephesus. […] The gateway to Asia, however, had been open to the cred of Epicurus for three centuries before Paul’s time and Tarsus was a center of Epicureanism. […] Epicureanism was the court philosophy of Antioch during the reigns of at least two kings of Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes and Demetrius Soter." (King, Epicureanism and the Gospel of John: A Study of Their Compatibility 62)


    In it he attests the widespread Epicurean communities of Athens, and Chalcis and Thebes in Boeotia.” (The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism 20)


    "We meet Epicureans not just in Athens, where they were amongst Paul's audiences, but we also come across Epicurean communities in the West, in Herculaneum or Sorrento, in the East, on Rhodes and Cos, in Pergamon, Lycian Oinoanda, Syrian Apameia, in remote southern Lycian Rhodiapolis or in Amastris in Bithynia on the Black Sea. (The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism 48)

    This immediately reminded me of something I came across in my research: an author's attempt to connect the dot of "Ram Dass" with the dot of "Epicurean Philosophy." I was nearly disturbed to have come across the following anecdote:

    Quote

    “Perhaps, like spiritual philosopher Ram Dass, a contemporary Epicurean would enjoin the truth-seeker to Be Here Now and Pay Attention.” (Mills, Epicurean Simplicity 22)

    "Epicurean" has meant so many things to so many people, from the materialist piety of the ancient Greeks, to the hyper-political sensualists of Rome, to heretical medieval scholars, to Gassendi's "Christian Epicureans", to French libertines, and English atomists who overwhelmingly rejected the title of "Epicurean" to distance themselves from accusations of atheism. Here, author Stephanie Mills is using an American Vedantist, steeped in Indian Idealism, as a doorway to understand Epicurean ethics.


    I do think that it is important to distinguish, as Cassius has pursued with commitment, "Epicureans" from "Neo-Epicureans" because there are so many heterodox interpretations that have obscured Epicurus' teachings. Gassendi saw Epicurus' atomist as being compatible with the revelation of Christ; the French libertines used "hedonism" as a justification for their lifestyle, but had little use for grounding their sense of morality in physics; the English materialists of the Reformation (who probably deserve the title of "Epicurean") did not want to associate themselves with atheism, which is antithetical to Epicurean philosophy, anyway.


    We're up against 1,700 years of misinterpretation, largely (and ironically) attributed to self-alleged "Epicureans", themselves. As soon as we begin correlating Epicurean philosophy with the revelation of Christ, unrestrained pleasure-seeking, or, in this case, Ram Dass' interpretation of Hindu Vedanta, the teachings of Epicurus become an accessory to the modern ego.

    Hmmm... After reading the ancient source text (Thanks, Cassius !!), Frischer seems to me to be going off on a DeWittean historical fiction flight of fancy. He wants to write a good story, but I don't see his conclusion supported by the ancient text itself.

    That said, I found the ancient text fascinating! Certainly sets up a contrast with the Stoics, and puts that "controversy" with the "4th leg of the Canon" into a different context, too.

    I've had a similar reaction to reading Frischer's literature. I'm finding a trend in modern scholarship of sympathetic authors and enthusiasts taking poetic licenses to adapt Epicurean philosophy to their social context. Many of their conclusions are based on tenuous links, and their descriptions take advantage of a historical gap due to a lack of source material. I don't necessarily think that their conclusions are incoherent with Epicurean philosophy, so I find them to be useful ways of engaging a contemporary audience; still, the authors seem to place low priority on acknowledging their personal fictions, and that can be problematic.