I'm familiar with ClassicalWisdom, it's owned by a LC based in Ireland as well as by Anya Leonard. Though I don't really consume their content, as it's too entrenched within a Stoic and Aristotelian view, though I believe this is mainly due to the guest writers who subscribe to those philosophies (Donald Robertson & Stoicism for example).
They have very few articles on Epicurus, though mostly on Lucretius or by name-dropping Epicurus when it comes to Hellenistic (classical) ethics, I read them early on last year during my self-guided study prior to discovering the forums, even then I found it odd to sublimate ancient ethics into modern political ideas, like how Velleius calls out Chrysippus for claiming Homer & Hesiod were Stoics. Regardless, the dedicated articles to Epicurus at the time were disappointing.
I think what's notably significant here is Boyer's position and especially, his interpretation of Epicurus, simultaneously venerating him while Boyer himself wrote Libertine novels and was highly critical of the Church and of spirituality in general.
These letters with the following text from Ocellus Lucanus (Boyer came into contact with the Pseudo-Ocellus Lucanus) dates back to 1761 and yet his reading of Laertius seems to follow the absence of pain perspective that we have come to recognize as misleading. I'm not sure if Boyer was genuinely an Epicurean as determining his views is difficult enough as it is without looking past attacking La Mettrie to defend himself. It should be known however, that Epicurean Philosophy was thriving, more or less in France throughout the early to mid 1700s, though at the time of this writing Boyer was the Royal Chamberlain for Frederick's Court (In Berlin) and had been for quite some time for 19 years.
There's no question that this text contains an immense bias and Watson is quick to disclaim that there are plain contradictions within what Boyer wrote when sourced back to verifiable information about La Mettrie. But still, it remains an interesting read and proof of some of the accessibility of the Epicurean texts during the Enlightenment, having at least: Epicurus' Will, 4 Letters, The Principle Doctrines, the biography itself, and of course, Lucretius.
Despite the site at Herculaneum having been rediscovered in 1709, it wouldn't be until a year after La Mettrie's death in 1751 would the papyrus scrolls be recovered, and even then I doubt even the first models of the unraveling machines would've produced anything groundbreaking besides fragments of Philodemus.
Going off topic for a conclusion, when d"Argens was working on Ocellus Lucanus, its worth knowing that Charles Batteux also published a translation on the Pseudo-Ocellus Lucanus' On The Nature of the Universe. We know Charles Batteux as "Abbe Batteux" who Ive recorded on this forum for having written a moral defense of Epicurus and of Epicureanism from various attacks.
D’Argens “Sacrifices” La Mettrie
(Bold denotes Watson, Italics denote Boyer, Bold Italics denote La Mettrie)
Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d’Argens (1704-71) is possibly now best known as a possible author of the libertine novel Thérèse Philosophe, but he wrote a number of famous works, including the Letteres juives. As with Diderot, d’Argens crossed paths with La Mettrie in the game of attributing anonymous works (he is named in the first English version of La Mettrie’s Man a Machine as its author), and likewise seems to have felt a strong need to disassociate himself from him. As a courtesy to the late La Mettrie’s friend and protector (and his own patron), d’Argens detailed his reasons for so severely attacking La Mettrie in a letter to king Frederick dated 11/03/1761:
I have been busy translating the most ancient Greek philosopher still extant, called Ocellus Lucanus...Not a single month has gone by that hasn’t seen the publication, this year, of some libel against the philosophers...Their great war-horse is La Mettrie’s work; but, far from defending him, when I came to this point, I choice rather to prove that La Mettrie had never spoken or thought in line with the philosophers, but that, in many things, he made the same mistakes as the theologians…
And in a follow-up letter on 11/12/1761
I have been obliged to abandon La Mettrie; he is a lost child whom I have had to sacrifice in the war. But, if he became such a necessary victim, at least I have watered his tomb with the blood of the theologians, and I hope that in the future it will cease to be said, as the author of the Nouvelles ecclésiastiques has, that we may judge the manner of thought of the Philosopher of Sans-Souci and the men of letters who approach him, by the works of doctor La Mettrie.
And so, the piece that follows should, I think, be read as a hit piece, especially since some of what he says is plainly contradicted by the facts (for example, what he says about La Mettrie’s education and his language skills). Interestingly for so severe a critic, d’Argens was also an inheritor of part of La Mettrie’s royal pension (see his letter to King Frederick II, 10/21/1752 (in Oeuvres de Frédéric le Grand, Vol. 19.)
From Ocellus Lucanus (1761), pp. 236-62
...Here, then, is the morality of the philosophers who have denied Providence. It’s easy to judge that those who have known it have had principles no less useful for society: this can be seen with Cicero, Epictetus, and Seneca. As for the modern philosophers, they have lived in too enlightened an age to have failed to lay the foundations of the most rigid morality in all their writings. In order to be convinced, all it takes is to see what Spinoza, Hobbes, and Collins have written, when discussing virtue.
I will respond to the only objection that might be raised, and with one stroke I will destroy the bitter rebukes which certain a writer’s delirium has attracted for the past few years against the philosophers, and nullify all the slanders which have been spread, and which equal doses of dishonesty and ridiculous ostentation. By now it will be clear that I am referring to the Doctor La Mettrie. This man, as was wisely said by a philosopher who had been attacked on his account, composed many books during fits of madness, in which morals, probity and the most essential rules of morality were attacked. These works aroused the indignation of the public. Indeed, what good citizen would not shudder in horror while reading fearsome thoughts like these?
O you who are so often called “unhappy”, and who truly are unhappy vis-a-vis society, you may rest easy, when face to face with yourself. All you need to do is to stifle your remorse ny reflection (if you have the willpower), or by habits that are able to contravene and overpower it. If you had been raised without the ideas that form its basis, you wouldn’t have this enemy to contend with. That’s not all: you must despise life itself as much as you do public esteem. Then, truly I maintain: you parricides, incestuous, thieves, miscreants, notorious criminals; you who are righly despised by the good: you will be happy anyways. For, what unhappiness or sorrow can be caused by actions that, as black and horrible as they are thought to be, would not leave (in this hypothesis) any trace of crime in the soul of the criminal? But if you want to live, be careful: the law is less accommodating than my philosophy is. Justice is its daughter; the hangman and the gallows stand ready: you should really be more concerned about them than about your conscience or the gods. - La Mettrie, Discours sur le bonheur (Anti-Seneca)
Here are the false and baseless arguments of a man, whom the enemies of philosophy call an Epicurean philosopher. Let us destroy from bottom to top, the frightful views of this frenzied man, using those of Epicurus: after this, will they go on saying that he was the latter’s disciple? “The just man,” says this wise philosopher, “is the only man who can live without trouble and without disorder: the unjust on the other hand always lives in fear and agitation.” - (Diogenes Laertius, Book X)
Before I come to the personal side of this madman, who was set up as a philosopher by those who were delighted at the mortification which these views inspire, in those who detest them; let us compare his opinions with those of Lucretius on the subjects of voluptuousness and temperance; our frenzies author says:
And you, you voluptuary, since without pleasures you could never live a happy life, leave your soul behind and Seneca too; all the Stoic virtues are nothing to you? Think only about your body: what you have by way of soul does not really deserve to be distinguished from it. Prejudice, teachers, and fanatics will mobilize against you, but even if all the elements joined with them… What can rain, hail, and unbridled winds do to Tibullus when he’s in the arms of his Cloris? They add to his felicity, which can handle anything that comes. So enjoy the good times, whenever and wherever they come your way; enjoy the present; forget the past which is no more, and don’t worry about the future. Remember that the grains of wheat still land outside the field’s boundaries are still wheat; that nature is no more concerned about a lost grain than the sea is to lose a drop of water; that its whole delight is pleasure, and that n0thing is against it, except pain. May pollution and enjoyment, these lecherous rivals, take turns melting in voluptuous delight by day and night, making your soul, if possible, as greasy and lusty as your body is. Finally, since you have no other option, go ahead and revel in it: drink, eat, sleep, snort, dream; and if your brain flickers once in a while, let it be between two wines, and always keep it fixed on the pleasures of the moments, or on some desire you’re saving for the next hour. Or, if perfecting the great art of voluptuousness isn’t your thing, maybe villainy and debauchery are: stench and infamy will be your reward; wallow like a pig, then, you'll be happy like one. - La Mettrie, Discours sur le bonheur (Anti-Seneca)
Would a madman born and raised from infancy in the worst part of Paris, be able to speak any differently? O you who want to slander the philosophers, how can you base your critique on the writings of a man whose folly is visible in each of his thoughts, whose style shows how drunk his soul is? Now, listen to a real philosopher on the same subjects that you criticize. Epicurus says:
We must accustomed ourselves to eat soberly and simply without seeking out all these delicately preserved meats; health finds in this frugality its preservation, and man by this means becomes more robust, and much better suited for all the actions of life. That is the cause why by intervals a better meal is found, and is eaten with greater pleasure: but the principal thing is that by this aid we won’t fear the vicissitudes of fortune, because, being accustomed to content ourselves with little, whatever abundance it removes from us, it will only restore us to a state that it cannot take away, by the praiseworthy habits that we have adopted. Thus, when we assure ourselves that pleasure is the aim of the happiest life, we must not think that what is meant is the pleasures that are found in the enjoyments of love, or in lusts and excesses of feasts, as some ignoramuses have sought to insinuate, as well as the enemies of our sect, who have imposed in this way, by an ill-intentioned interpretation of our opinion. This pleasure, which is the center of our happiness, is nothing but having the mind without any agitation, and that the body be exempt from pain; drunkenness, excessive eating, that criminal commerce of women and boys, the delicacy of drinks, and all that seasons feasts, contain nothing that leads to a pleasant life, only the frugality and tranquility of the mind can produce this happy effect; it’s this calm that facilitates the enlightenment of things which must determine our choices, or thoise from which we should flee; and it is by this that do away with those opinions that trouble the disposition of this motor of our life. (Diogenes Laertius, Book X)
Here is another comparison between reason and madness; La Mettrie says:
All the wicked, can be happy, if they can be wicked without remorse. I also venture to say that he who feels no remorse, who has such familiarity with crime that vices are his virtues, he will be happier than anyone else, who after a fine deed will not repent of having done it.
This is vice, as explained by the voice of a twisted mind: here is virtue, will speak by the organ of wisdom. Epicurus says that:
Philosophy is the source of all the virtues, which teach us that life is unpleasant, if prudence and honesty and justice do not guide all our movements; but by always following the route they trace out for us, our days will flow with this satisfaction from which happiness is inseparable; for these virtues are part of a life full of happiness and pleasantness, which can never be without their excellent practice. (Diogenes Laertius Book X, Section 132)
La Mettrie is, therefore, no Epicurean. And it is wrong to rebuke him with such bitterness against the philosophers. This man resembles a disciple of Epicurus, as Father Malagrida resembles a Minister of State for the Court of Portugal.
... (Skipped 8 pages to bring discussion back to Epicurus - Charles)
...But the philosophers don’t need this argument, as convincing as it might be, since they rightly deny that La Mettrie ever possessed the least notion philosophy; they prove this by showing that his opinions are directly opposed to those of every philosopher, among whose number their enemies want to place him.
On the contrary, it is among certain theologians that La Mettrie must be ranked, it’s with writers like Samual Sa, Delrio, Aquapontanus, Bellarmine, Molina, Salmeron, Gregory of Valencia, Mariana, Scribiani, Juan azor, Gretzer, Vasquez, Suarez, Jean Lorin, Lessius, Tolet, Santarek, Tonner, Becan, Pirot, Escobar, Tirin, Busenbaum, Lacroix, the journalists de Trevoux, those apologists and panegyrists of Busenbaum and Lacroix: it’s with all these theologians who teach that a ruler may be killed, where La Mettrie should be placed; for, instead of speaking like the philosophers, whom he has maintained precisely the same view as the authors of these books, who have been convicted by an arrêt du Parlement of teaching that it is permissible to kill a king. On this subject La Mettrie explains himself as clearly as these Theologians. Listen to him speaking, one would think they were reading a passage from Mariana or Busenbaum.
Prince, I won’t take away the cursed impulses that drives you, how could I? They’re the source of all your wretched happiness. Bears, lions, and tigers love to devour other animals; since you’re ferocious like them, it is only right for you to indulge the drives that you share with them. I only feel sorry for you, the way you feast on public calamities; but who wouldn’t feel even sorrier for a state where no man could be found, a man with enough virtue to deliver it, even at the peril of his own life, from a monster like you? - La Mettrie, Discours sur le bonheur (Anti-Seneca)
Look who’s arguing as a Molinist theologian; but if La Mettrie had wanted to speak like an epicurean philosopher, he would have joined Epicurus in saying that the wise man should not mingle in state affairs, and that he should always obey his prince.
Neque accessurum ad rempublicam, neque tyrannidem quaesiturum. (Diogenes Laertius Book X, Section 119); Principem in tempor obsequio culturum. Section 121.
(Kirk Watson translations)
“Nor will he take part in politics, nor will he make himself a tyrant”
“He will pay court to a king, if need be”
- "A Hazardous Materialist: Le Mettrie's Life and Ideas", Kirk Watson
I'm not familiar with this. This might be a stupid question, but what is the letter to his mother and where is it found? Truthfulness or non-truthfulness of dreams is an intriguing topic to which I haven't given much thought; I'd like to follow this up.
If I'm not mistaken, its found within the Epicurean Inscription commissioned by Diogenes of Oenoanda. Vatican Saying 24 also gives some insight into this as well.
Charles, if you're listening, I've found a few names that are more in your line; Jacques Du Rondel; Valentin Phillipe Bertin du Rocheret; and Charles de Marguetel de Saint-Denis de Saint-Evremond, 1614(?)-1703. I'm on lunch right now, I don't have time to pursue all of these threads at the moment but will look into it later! Saint-Evremond might already be known to you?
I've heard of Rondel and Evremond before. The former wrote a book titled: "The Morals of Epicurus" in 1712 and Evremond was a man of letters & philosopher yet very inspired by Epicurus, who wrote very frequently and corresponded with Ninon De l'Enclos.
As for Bertin du Rocheret, that's a new name but his name keeps popping up in connection with Evremond on the topic of Champagne's history and nobility (as well as the drink), however I have found nothing Epicurean in relation to him besides Evremond.
The general consensus about Epicurean Philosophy and politics at least from what I've observed is that politics is considered a hands-off topic within a Garden, and that an Epicurean should only engage in politics if they are forced by some external factor like a brutal regime or an administrations policies directly interfering with their pleasure in life. To that we don't mean that an Epicurean should always avoid politics, I always took the "avoid all culture" quote in tandem with Epicurus' perspectives of marriage and politics, in that we should avoid trapping ourselves with current cultural influences, that we do not need to feel arbitrarily compelled to follow these customs and norms.
Take the last of the Principle Doctrines for example, they all deal with conceptions of Justice. Meanwhile in Diogenes Laertius, its noted that Epicurus wrote a book about Governmental Power (On Kingly Power).
I'm sure many of us here on this site have very different political opinions about the world that we more or less keep to ourselves. Yet we all get along as we share a common interest: pleasure.
What is considered "unacceptable" would be to extrapolate the ideas of Epicurus and translate them into explicit approvals of contemporary political ideals, such as claiming that Epicurus might be a communist because of the structure of Gardens, or that Epicurus would be a libertarian because Epicurean Justice is similar to the Non-Aggression Principle.
However the topic of what an "Epicurean State" might look like has long fascinated me and no extant works actually humor the idea, and for good reason, yet it remains a focal point of critique against us. I'm referring to Epictetus' Discourses, Book 3 Chapter 7.
melkor While there is no solid definition of Neo-Epicureanism, we can say with confidence that its someone who takes a specific interpretation on Epicurus, one that deviates away from Epicurus & Lucretius most notably in ethics and by extension, politics.
The most common Neo-Epicurean takes I hear are some of the following: pleasure is the absence of pain, Epicurus advocated for calm, rational pleasures over bodily pleasures, that Epicurus was celibate or lived frugally like an ascetic, that friendship is the *greatest* pleasure, or advocating a specific contemporary political stance claiming Epicurus would've done the same (Catherine Wilson for example does this with abortion).
A lot of Neo-Epicureanism stems from a deviation of hedonism following the 19th century with thinkers like J. S. Mills or Bentham, the idea of there being "higher and lower pleasures" or adopting pleasure into some societal model like Utilitarianism. Of course there is also Marx & Engels who wrote about Lucretius and the former's doctoral thesis was on Democritean & Epicurean Atomism. But these writers and thinkers differed from the 18th century hedonists by prioritizing things other than pleasure, they refused to be apologists for the garden or of pleasure itself.
Opening up to these revisions and scapegoats has allowed this new (Neo) and modern interpretation of Epicurean Ethics (Epicureanism), with one particular paragraph within the Letter to Menoceus dominate public perception and most academic attention onto the subject, thus creating Neo-Epicureanism, or at least that's my interpretation as to how this vast difference came to be.
I'm forgetting to mention influences like Buddhism and the trend of minimalism as well, but I think my point was established in the origins of it, rather than contemporary influences.
Recorded by Jean-Charles Tibeaux in "Letters on Frederick II, King of Prussia"
Section from Tibeaux's: "On Algarotti, La Mettrie, d' Arget, abbe Prades, abbe Bastiani, the Marquis of Lucceshtini and others.
"Verses from Voltaire to La Mettrie, when he was sick"
I am far from uneasy
If our joyous La Mettrie
Sometimes loses that good health
Which makes his face so glowing
A small dose of Gluttony
With a large dose of pleasure,
Defying the Faculty:
Sweetly take up all his time.
He behaves the way he writes;
When nature he indulges;
For him pleasure always heals
All the ills which pleasure brings.
(La Mettrie's Response)
As for me, I'm quite uneasy,
When the most eminent writer,
In his eleventh lustrum,
Enjoys a weak state of health;
I fear that with his glad days
The brilliant torch might go out:
Muses, graces, charities,
With him ends your reign as well!
But, truly, why should I dread
The death of an immortal;
He for whom, in his deep pains,
The most famous king on Earth
Will set up at Sans-souci
A shrine eternal as he?
Unless there are British writers we just don't seem to know about, the French experience - though far from totally faithful to Epicurus - seems much more faithful than the British.
The British were very keen on writing about Epicurus in the mid 17th century, though it was mostly about physics and chemistry with a focus on atoms. There was a woman who translated Lucretius into English but I think she was extremely hostile to begin with.
I knew he quoted Lucretius quite frequently, and he even owned a copy that he annotated, though more importantly I wonder how influential he was in France's Philosophical History concerning Lucretius and Epicurus. Almost all signs point to Gassendi for "reviving" Epicurean Philosophy, though I've come across figures who came shortly after Gassendi who sought to bring back atomism into its original materialist origins. (Lamy & La Mettrie for example)
I'm still convinced of the rich history of French Materialism and its result in the complete revival of Epicurean Philosophy.
Montaigne is always one of those names that keeps popping up during the Enlightenment era, especially among the French Materialists. I've always wondered what some of his writings on pleasure and on Epicurus/Lucretius were.
The issue we're facing is that for the rest of philosophy: free will is a matter of ontology, but for us its a matter of physics, coming from the swerve. The underlying reasons for each of these lead to very different sets of justifications and argumentation.
In our case, it further stresses that the physics of Epicurean Philosophy are "necessary" for learning ethics, free will comes into play during choice and avoidance.
I don't deny Plato his reputation or influence, but I do despise him. My friends who like philosophy often call me out for "calling out Plato", but when I start quoting sentences from The Republic that are seemingly nonsensical but not cherry picked, they fall silent.
Good point Godfrey but that sort of brings us towards the arguments of those who say that free will does indeed exist, but not in the pursuance of pleasure. According to them, free will can only be exercised when you *will* yourself out of desire, say to uphold duty or maintain virtue.
It's both a double standard and very convenient.
Excellent poem Joshua
I mentioned once during the recording of last week's Lucretius Today podcast session of an argument about pleasure and free will being incompatible, having never fully understood the argument until this morning when I started reading "Thérèse the Philosopher" by Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, the Marquis d'Argens (A French philosopher who shared the court of Frederick the Great with La Mettrie, who also is familiar with Epicurus and Lucretius much like La Mettrie), I'll skip a summary of the novella to explain the argument and then paste some of the text with my interpretation of both, of which [the argument against free will] I had seen before and a peer of mine espoused to me once.
The argument is presented like so:
If pleasure is an innate or intrinsic good, then all decisions are bound by our desire for pleasure
Since all decisions are bound by an external factor, often expressed as what Nature provides or has laid out for us
Then by recognizing pleasure and living a life of pleasure, we do as what Nature intends and not of our own free will
Here's the text from Boyer that explained this to me in a way that I properly understood.
"Answer, deceitful or ignorant theologians who create our crimes at your leisure, who is it that put in me the two passions that I fought, the love of God and that of the pleasure of the flesh? Is it Nature or the devil? Choose. But would you dare suggest that the one or the other is more powerful than God? If they are subordinate, then it was God who had allowed these passions to be in me, it was his work. But, you answer, God gave you reason to enlighten you. Yes, but not to choose for me. Reason had indeed made me see the two passions with which I was agitated, it is through it that I later understood that, having everything from God, I had from him those passions with all their strength. But this same reason that enlightened me did not in the least help me choose. God however, you continue, left you mistress of your will, you were free to decide for good or for evil. Pure wordplay. This will and this so-called freedom only have degrees of strength, only act, in proportion to the degrees of strength of the passions and desires which pull at us. I seem, for example, to be free to kill myself, to throw myself out the window. Not at all: whenever the urge to live is stronger in me than death, I do not kill myself. Such a man, you say, is the master of giving to the poor, to his indulgent confessor, a hundred pounds of gold he had in his pocket. Not in the least: the desire he has to keep his money is stronger than that of obtaining a useless absolution for his sins, he will necessarily keep his money. Finally, anyone can prove to you that Reason only serves to make known to Man the degree of desire he has to do or avoid certain things, combined with the pleasure and displeasure which he must get from these. From this knowledge acquired through Reason, comes what we call will and determination. But this will and determination are also fully subject to the degree of passion or desire as a weight of four pounds necessarily determines the side of a scale that has only two pounds to raise in its other bowl.
But, will say a thinker who only sees the surface, am I not free to drink with my dinner a bottle of Burgundy or Champagne? Am I not free to choose for my walk the avenue of the Tuileries or the Feuillant terrace?
I agree that in all cases where the soul is in a perfect indifference on its choice, that the circumstances where the desire to do certain things is in equal balance, in a just equilibrium, we cannot see this lack of freedom: it is a distance in which we do not discern objects. But go a little closer to them, these objects, we soon see clearly the mechanism of our lives' action and once we know one, we know all, since Nature acts by the same principle.
Our reasoner sits down to the table, he is served oysters: this dish makes him choose Champagne. But, it will be said, he was free to choose Burgundy. I say no; it is quite true that another reason, another desire more powerful than the first could induce him to drink that wine. Well, in this case, the latter would also have forced his supposed freedom.
Our same reasoner, on entering the Tuileries, sees a pretty woman he knows on the terrace of the Feuillants: he decides to join her, unless some other reason of profit or pleasure leads him to the broad paths. But whichever side he chooses, it will always be a reason, a desire that inevitably leads him to take one side or another, that constrains his will.
To admit that Man was free, we must suppose that he decides by himself. But if he is led by the degree of passion by which Nature and feeling affect him, he is not free, a degree of more or less intense desire decides him as inevitably as a weight of four pounds takes up one of three."
Clearly Boyer was influenced by Anthropic Mechanistic Materialism by the likes of Descartes and Hobbes as Therese the Philosopher was published in 1748, the same year in which La Mettrie's Man a Machine was published, the latter would've still retained his position as a hospital administrator, for when he published Man a Machine, the backlash that led to him being sacked came from chaplains within the French Army, La Mettrie would be exiled until he left for Berlin after his friend secured a position from Frederick the Great, so there is perhaps a chance Boyer was inspired.
As for the argument at surface level it seems easy to dismiss it on grounds of, borrowing the words of Boyer himself: "Pure wordplay". Though the argument is not his alone, as I have mentioned before, and it has some aspects that aren't so easy to dismiss. A huge part of theory and pleasure, and even how some of it relates to Epicurean Philosophy is the inclusion of Nature as some entity that becomes apotheosized but not deified. This happens all too often within the Enlightenment, even within our own Epicurean Texts! Nature has become the new god that lays out everything we know about reality by virtue of how we attribute everything to it as well as providing our faculties and the other means in which we both recognize and attain pleasure.
Not wanting to prematurely derail this thread the focus on there being a "Natural" limitation that can only be achieved through reasoning, that can be the topic of another thread. Instead, I'd like to go back to the original problem that I had written out in syllogistic logic.
Immediately I can't claim that the argument brings arbitrary talking points because the logic is sound and not at all formal, despite me writing it as such. We can agree that caterpillars and spiders don't exhibit free will, and they do as what nature intended them to do, but if we recognize that pleasure is what nature set out for us to pursue, then we pattern the behavior of other animals who do as nature intends.
I disagree with the argument but can't easily conquer it without coming up with some contrived notion of free will and how causality behaves. That is to say I don't believe there is fate or necessity that goes anywhere near this, but instead a still undirected yet firm universal logic at play.
I'd love to hear some discussion.