Posts by Godfrey

    I think I missed two of the "which of these is not X" questions. Most of the questions are pretty obvious, but a couple zeroed in on the text more than the general ideas and those got me. I could have reviewed the text, but didn't. :/

    The piglet at the Getty was part of an exhibition which has closed and isn't there any more. I believe it was lent from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples.

    Here's a link to the exhibit:

    They also had a little head of Epicurus, from the same museum in Naples. There's a great photo of it in the middle of this page (2D of course...):

    The best bet might be if someone can get to the Naples museum with a handheld scanner. They might not allow that in the best of times, let alone in our current pestilent state X/


    ...we need to extend the principles and do a lot more discussion on the emotions at a very basic level.

    Exactly. I think that it's ultimately of limited use to try to dissect an individual emotion but is of great value to understand the factors which contribute to various emotions. For example a proper understanding that death is nothing to us has an underlying relationship to particular instances of grief, among other things. Understanding the nature of desire has an underlying relationship to envy, among other things. And so on. It seems to me that examining the nature of things as contributing factors is where the useful discussion can occur. This discussion could be carried out with regard to factors underlying particular emotions in particular instances, however I've found that just increasing my understanding of nature, pleasure and desire has gone a long way toward making me a "happier" person.

    Returning to the initial post in this thread, I think it's instructive to compare EP to the Stoics. Stoicism involves (often miserable) mental training practices to prepare one for future adverse situations. In contrast, Epicurean practices involve training in understanding the underlying "nature of things": by having this understanding, the Epicurean removes some underlying causes of painful emotions and is therefore free to experience both painful and pleasurable emotions more fully.

    To my limited understanding, fear is an underlying contributor to anger. So removing fear where appropriate is much more therapeutic than trying to decipher whether a particular form or degree of anger is "okay" or not. Removing fear goes deeper in that it works to transform a person from an "angry person" to a "not so angry person". But anger is by no means the only emotion. We would also need to deal with sadness, grief, depression, longing, envy and on and on. And what about positive emotions?

    The primary fears are considered to be those of the gods and of death. Next comes a proper understanding of pleasure and pain. These are addressed in PD 1-4. We have the rather glib tetrapharmakos, but I'm speculating that the Epicurean theory of the emotions is based on these four doctrines and that they were further developed in writings lost to us and in life, with frank speech, in the Garden. A deep and voluminous subject on this forum is the proper understanding of pleasure which goes way beyond "pleasure is easy to obtain". I'm wondering if similar depth of study in all of PD 1-4 isn't where the Epicurean theory and therapy of the emotions lies.

    I totally agree: once one gets a proper understanding of the philosophy it makes the idealist viewpoint look silly.

    Have to point out though that one needn't be young and healthy and vibrant to benefit!

    Which leads me to the rumination that perhaps EP is a particularly nice fit for one who is older. Not only does life experience provide additional verification, but there's a certain joy in aging well which meshes nicely with EP. And as the end gets nearer it's nice to have your facts straight.


    If I'm not mistaken I originally found this essay on Peter Saint-Andres Monadnock page and therefore expected it to be in agreement with Epicurus/Lucretius (it's no longer there, not sure why). Imagine my surprise as I worked my way through it!

    I lump this essay with 1) Plato's Philebus and 2) the various statements condemning atomism as impossible and ridiculous. These belong to a group that is so obviously biased and mistaken that the only value in reading them is to strengthen, by contrast, one's conviction regarding feeling and science. Otherwise it's a waste of time (although Philebus does have value to the extent that it prompted a response from Epicurus).

    Yesterday I gave George Santayana's Lucretius essay a quick read. (

    It had a few good observations, but was quite hostile toward Epicurus. It occurs to me that it's a great example of the conclusions one might reach if considering EP to be "tranquilism". Maybe the most pertinent quote is:

    "Epicurus had been a pure and tender moralist, but pusillanimous. He was so afraid of hurting and of being hurt, so afraid of running risks or tempting fortune, that he wished to prove that human life was a brief business, not subject to any great transformations, nor capable of any great achievements".

    The essay is full of similar drivel. Reading the essay makes me suspect that Santayana hadn't the courage to live in the world which Epicurus so aptly described. But I know nothing more of Santayana.