Welcome Namcisumeht!

  • Welcome  Namcisumeht ! And thanks for joining us! When you get a chance, please tell us about yourself and your background in Epicurean philosophy.

    It would be particularly helpful if you could tell us (1) how you found this forum, and (2) how much background reading you have done in Epicurus. As an aid in the latter, we have prepared the following list of core reading.

    We look forward to talking with you!

    ----------------------- Epicurean Works I Have Read ---------------------------------

    1 The Biography of Epicurus By Diogenes Laertius (Chapter 10). This includes all Epicurus' letters and the Authorized Doctrines. Supplement with the Vatican list of Sayings.

    2 "Epicurus And His Philosophy" - Norman DeWitt

    3 "On The Nature of Things"- Lucretius

    4 Cicero's "On Ends" - Torquatus Section

    5 Cicero's "On The Nature of the Gods" - Velleius Section

    6 The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda - Martin Ferguson Smith translation

    7 "A Few Days In Athens" - Frances Wright

    8 Lucian Core Texts on Epicurus: (1) Alexander the Oracle-Monger, (2) Hermotimus (3) Others?

    9 Plato's Philebus

    10 Philodemus "On Methods of Inference" (De Lacy version, including his appendix on relationship of Epicurean canon to Aristotle and other Greeks)

    11 "The Greeks on Pleasure" -Gosling & Taylor Sections on Epicurus, especially on katastematic and kinetic pleasure.

  • Thanks. I find that Epicureanism resonates the most with modern theories of human behavior and the science of happiness(e.g. Daniel Gilbert).

  • I have not seen a line-by-line review by an authority organized in exactly that way. Most of the time (for example, Dewitt) they approach by topic, and then cite the doctrines underneath each topic, and/or include the doctrines in the topical index at the end of the book.

    When you say you have read everything by Epicurus, in what form, with what commentary? Something like the Epicurus Reader, or Bailey's Collected Works, or what.

    Also, it sounds like you've not read Lucretius, so that would be good to add to a reading list at some point.

  • There's a doctrine by doctrine commentary starting here:


    And from there you can navigate to other texts.

    Also this page links to translations:


    It includes notes on translation but not commentary.

    And in this forum there are subforums for the doctrines and other texts, but the amount of commentary varies. That's a great place for discussion though.

  • Thanks. I find that Epicureanism resonates the most with modern theories of human behavior and the science of happiness(e.g. Daniel Gilbert).


    i would agree that positive psychology and the modern science of happiness have echoes of Epicureanism especially when it comes to the importance of social interactions and friendship. I find some of the books and research by Gilbert, Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, and others very interesting. I've even tried making my way through the free Coursera Science of Happiness course from Yale.

    However, I read an article not long ago that made me realize that Epicureanism is NOT identical with positive psychology in its popularized forms:


    "Seligman’s inclusion of material achievement in the components of happiness has also raised eyebrows. He has theorized that people who have not achieved some degree of mastery and success in the world can’t be said to be flourishing. He once described a “thirty-two-year-old Harvard University summa in mathematics who is fluent in Russian and Japanese and runs her own hedge fund” as a “poster child for positive psychology.” But this can make well-being seem exclusive and out of reach, since accomplishment of this kind is not possible to all, or even most."

    Whether that's a correct interpretation of Seligman's work is up for debate. If it is, that all sounds very Aristotelian or Peripatetic to me. Epicurus wanted eudaimonia to be accessible to everyone! I think we can learn from a variety of sources - and the more people explore what it takes to truly be happy, the better - but we just have to be ready to read and learn with critical eyes.