Posts by Charles

    This ties into my thread about Cavalante di Cavalcanti and Farinata Degli Uberti, who were the Epicurean influences that introduced the ideas to Dante.

    Dante had placed Epicurus and his followers in the sixth circle of hell, in the fiery city of Dis. The reason for this was because the Epicureans "denied the immortality of the soul" and thus were condemned to live inside burning coffins for eternity. Farinata Degli Uberti is also spotted alongside Epicurus.

    Maybe the ideas and teachings of Aclepiades of Bithynia (c. 124/140 BCE - 40 BCE) can help us in this regard? It's not known exactly how much he was inspired or deviated from Epicurean and Democritean theory, however, it's also said that he was very acquainted with philosophy. But it's very clear that he rejected humorism and other leading theories from his time.


    Asclepiades began by vilifying the principles and practices of his predecessors, and by asserting that he had discovered a more effective method of treating diseases than had been before known to the world. He decried the efforts of those who sought to investigate the structure of the body, or to watch the phenomena of disease, and he is said to have directed his attacks particularly against the writings of Hippocrates.

    Discarding the humoral doctrine of Hippocrates, Asclepiades attempted to build a new theory of disease, and founded his medical practice on a modification of the atomic or corpuscular theory, according to which disease results from an irregular or inharmonious motion of the corpuscles of the body.[6] His ideas were likely partly derived from the atomic theories of Democritus and Epicurus. All morbid action was reduced to the obstruction of pores and irregular distribution of atoms. Asclepiades arranged diseases into two great classes of Acute and Chronic.[11] Acute diseases were caused essentially by a constriction of the pores, or an obstruction of them by an excess of atoms; the Chronic were caused by a relaxation of the pores or a deficiency of atoms. Asclepiades thought that other mild disease were caused by a disruption in bodily fluids and pneuma. He separated illnesses into three separate categories: status strictus (too tightly held), status laxus (too loosely held), and status mixtus (a little of each). He also believed that there were no critical days of diseases, meaning that illnesses do not end at a definite time.

    Asclepiades' remedies were, therefore, directed to the restoration of harmony. He trusted much to changes of diet, massages, bathing and exercise, although he did employ emetics and bleeding.[6] A part of the great popularity which he enjoyed depended upon his prescribing the liberal use of wine to his patients,[12] and upon his attending to their every need, and indulging their inclinations. He would treat all his patients fairly and did not discriminate based upon gender or mental illness. He believed treating his patients kindly and amicably was essential to being a good physician. Cito tuto jucunde (meaning to treat his patients "swiftly, safely, and sweetly") was a motto that he followed.[13] This contrasted with the behaviour of other physicians who practised during his life time who it was said had a tendency to be uncaring and have a lack of sympathy towards their patients.

    Metrodorus and Epicurus may have written against the ritualistic approach to disease and illness as was common in their days. Bear in mind that Epicurus' mother was something of a shaman or "witch doctor" who would cite prayers and incantations with charms. The only possibility I see (from current surviving sources) is both a critique of humorism and the magical/religious approaches to medicine not focused on the physical body. Whether or not the two built their own theory of medicine I can't say, but its clear that they would've been against healing rituals and charms that kept away disease.

    I'm at work so I can't quite take the time to inspect every single detail, but I'd start with the clothing, to determine if its a chiton or toga, or any variation of the former. After that, it's onto the sandals, from there its discernible that its either a Greek or Roman figure, and that should narrow it down.

    My bets for Roman are: Zeno of Sidon or Philodemus

    For Greek: Hermarchus or Polyenus, if not, then Metrodorus based off of the figure alone.

    Doc Version:…LpcVzn_o/edit?usp=sharing

    Published Version:…Tv1msterQuX_f1-bax7T9/pub

    After a delay yesterday that prevented me from finishing this, I completed it today. I recommend the online doc, pdf or rtf version as the formatting was tricky and won't show the correct numbers in the Published Doc version.


    I'm pretty sure you have no relation w Epicurus Today blog ( There might be copyright issues with the name? Maybe not ... just thinking out loud.

    I know Robert Hanrott fairly well and we email back and forth in addition to being added to his family email list, he's very reasonable and agreeable, if this is necessary I can bring it up with him.

    Do we know if he called himself an Epicurean?

    Yes, in Paragraph 10 in System of Epicurus he calls out "modern anti-Epicureans", and in Paragraph 41, there are other references but these are the most outward without going any deeper into his work.


    "If humans have not always existed as we see them today, (what? How could we accept the idea that they sprang into the world fully grown: fathers and mothers, ready to procreate from the get-go!) the Earth must have been a uterus for humans; it must have opened its depths to receive the prepared human seeds so that this superb animal, given certain laws, could be hatched out. Why, modern anti-Epicureans, should the Earth, the common mother and wet-nurse of all bodies, deny to the seeds of animals, the favor she grants to the most deformed and harmful of plants? They always find fertility in her inner parts, and this womb can’t be all that different, in the end, than what women have." (I've seen this translated and translated it myself as "Why, I ask you modern anti-Epicureans")


    "So many philosophers have supported Epicurus' views that I've dared to mingle my own weak voice with theirs; besides, like them, I'm only offering a system; which shows us what an enormous task we're really taking on when, hoping to pierce the night of time, we cast our presumptuous glance on things that offer them no clues: for, whether you believe in creation or reject it, the same mystery remains; the same incomprehensibility holds on all sides. How was this Earth, where I live, formed? Is it the only inhabited planet? Where did I come from? Where am I? What is the nature of everything I see? What about all these brilliant phantoms whose illusions I love? Did I exist, before the time when I was nothing? Will I be, when I am no more? What state came before I was aware of my existence? What state will follow the loss of sensation? These are questions that the greatest geniuses can never answer; they will philosophically fight the battle as I have done, will set off the bigots' alarm bells, and we'll learn nothing at all."

    I'd put a lot less thought into 41, as he more frequently cites Lucretius than Epicurus at least in this book, but perhaps the remaining sections of Anti-Seneca will be more forthcoming, as it appears to be.

    I plan on finishing a transcription of The System of Epicurus tonight to share with everyone, I have guests coming over in about half an hour, so it won't be until much later. But to answer your question Cassius , yes he does, he denies life after death and only mentions god in the sense of figure of speech and expression. Though he refers to the universe as "nature" and personifies nature as a woman (Mother Nature, but not "Earth" with a following grammatical gender, an important distinction), but I think this is due to his slight poetic flair or method of describing the laws of movement in an easy and frank manner to his readers.

    There are a few works that missed the inclusion in the collected works that I recently purchased. I'll continue to search, but so far I have only identified two: "The Avenged Faculty: A Comedy in Three Parts" and "The Penelope Works". I have the first in French in a pdf, and the latter is only found in a 1923 reconstruction format that I believe was published by Knopf, but is rather pricey given how much I spent for everything else in one package.

    So I wonder to what extent a transfer of ideas from La Mettrie - to Jefferson - to Wright took place.

    I don't have the time to get into a large wall of text explaining Mettrie at the moment, but he was heavily censored and faced constant backlash, he was "kicked" out of France during the War of Austrian Secession to escape punishment at the hands of the clergy, prompting him to the more tolerant Netherlands - in which he was later evicted and he was practically saved by his friend "Pierre Louis Maupertuis" who secured him a spot in Fredericks Court (I've yet to read the letters between the two).

    Back to Mettrie, his works were so controversial that other materialists had to tone down the ideas of Mettrie that they had incorporated, and much of his ideas live on in the legacy of psychology, specifically behavioralism in the works of other, lesser known thinkers.

    However, I mentioned this once very briefly and haven't had the chance or opportunity to look into it further, since Mettrie's introduction to Epicurean Physics was *not* from Gassendi, it was from Guillaume Lamy who said of Gassendi's Epicurean-Christian atomism that it was "watered-down". If that means that Mettrie had not been exposed to Laertius, I cannot say yet as there's still quite a large number of works I haven't delved into yet, as for context with Epicurus as he mentions him by name quite a few times in the three works I've been studying (Anti-Seneca, System of Epicurus, & School of Volup.).

    Regardless, it's absolutely clear that Mettrie has an extremely heavy and prolific reader of: history, poetry, and scientific works; having very keen and astute knowledge of all the leading theories and popular poets of his day (he drops the names of his contemporary poets left and right in School of Volup.). But the nature of his works has less to do with acknowledging history, than it does with speculating & hypothesizing and stating his beliefs on various subjects or findings.

    China is remarkably transparent about the whole thing, and after the poor handling of SARS, I think they're more prepared than ever before, that being said, there's a ton of misinformation going on with the virus. I doubt it will be anything catastrophic or will ever reach a global level. Safety precautions and travel restrictions must be taken and they are, but overall I think it will tide over throughout the next 4-5 months before "dying out".

    I think the view is less of death being painful than it is about the fear of death and the actions that fear leads to. The reasons why we shouldn't fear death stem from and come as a result of the observations and explanations behind the physics of Epicurean Philosophy, namely the monistic and materialist nature of the universe, and the lack of an afterlife and immortality of the soul, which having established that basis it then becomes natural that death itself is a painless experience, but of course the process in which somebody dies is up to circumstance in a given time and area, and nobody will deny that being bashed over the head with a rock a few times is painful, its the concept of death that acts as nothing to us. Here are a few quotes from Julien Offray de la Mettrie, who I believe is outwardly Epicurean:

    "Those who defined cold as a "privation of fire" said what cold was not and not

    what it was. Death is not the same; to say what it is not, to say that it is a

    privation of air which makes all movement, all heat and all feeling stop, is to

    declare well enough what it is. Nothing positive. Nothing. Less than nothing, if

    that could be imagined. No, nothing real, nothing that concerns us, nothing that

    belongs to us, as Lucretius said very well. Death in the nature of things is only

    what zero is in arithmetic." (Paragraph 55 in The System of Epicurus)

    "I saw thousands of soldiers die (a sorry sight!) in those great military hospitals of

    which I was in charge in Flanders during the last war. Pleasant deaths such as those

    I have just depicted seemed to me much rarer than painful deaths. The most

    frequent ones happen unawares. We leave the world as we come into it, without

    realising it." (Paragraph 70)

    Material monist. Dualism requires "something" that is not material. Void is not a "something".

    That's what I thought. Any sort of "properties" within Dualism usually invoke some abstract or mental property that is immaterial. I was caught up on the specifics and semantics of substance dualism.

    Just a quick question. Is EP monistic for holding the sole substance of matter and its absence: void? Or dualistic for recognizing matter and void? I feel like I knew the answer at one point but Im failing to recall it.