Welcome Jon M!

  • Hello and welcome to the forum Jon M !

    This is the place for students of Epicurus to coordinate their studies and work together to promote the philosophy of Epicurus. Please remember that all posting here is subject to our Community Standards / Rules of the Forum our Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean and our Posting Policy statements and associated posts.

    Please understand that the leaders of this forum are well aware that many fans of Epicurus may have sincerely-held views of what Epicurus taught that are incompatible with the purposes and standards of this forum. This forum is dedicated exclusively to the study and support of people who are committed to classical Epicurean views. As a result, this forum is not for people who seek to mix and match some Epicurean views with positions that are inherently inconsistent with the core teachings of Epicurus.

    All of us who are here have arrived at our respect for Epicurus after long journeys through other philosophies, and we do not demand of others what we were not able to do ourselves. Epicurean philosophy is very different from other viewpoints, and it takes time to understand how deep those differences really are. That's why we have membership levels here at the forum which allow for new participants to discuss and develop their own learning, but it's also why we have standards that will lead in some cases to arguments being limited, and even participants being removed, when the purposes of the community require it. Epicurean philosophy is not inherently democratic, or committed to unlimited free speech, or devoted to any other form of organization other than the pursuit by our community of happy living through the principles of Epicurean philosophy.

    One way you can be most assured of your time here being productive is to tell us a little about yourself and personal your background in reading Epicurean texts. It would also be helpful if you could tell us how you found this forum, and any particular areas of interest that you have which would help us make sure that your questions and thoughts are addressed.

    In that regard we have found over the years that there are a number of key texts and references which most all serious students of Epicurus will want to read and evaluate for themselves. Those include the following.

    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
    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.

    It is by no means essential or required that you have read these texts before participating in the forum, but your understanding of Epicurus will be much enhanced the more of these you have read.

    And time has also indicated to us that if you can find the time to read one book which will best explain classical Epicurean philosophy, as opposed to most modern "eclectic" interpretations of Epicurus, that book is Norman DeWitt's Epicurus And His Philosophy.

    Welcome to the forum!



  • Thanks for your welcome. I am not sure how this Forum works exactly, but I have just commented on Elayne's On Pain, Pleasure, and Happiness as my initial post and introducing myself. Will that post show up in this Forum? Feel free to move that post to the most suitable place.


    -- Jon M

    ADMIN NOTE: Jon's detailed comment on Elayne's post is at the following link: Discussion of Article: "On Pleasure, Pain and Happiness"

    For continued welcoming of Jon in general, please post below! ;)

  • Thank you Jon, for your post and your supportive comments. Welcome and we look forward to many discussions about Epicurus. Your post in comment on Elayne's article is now here here: Discussion of Article: "On Pleasure, Pain and Happiness"

    Also, Jon M , may I ask, did you find this article here at the forum, or on Epicurusmagazine.com? It would help our "advertising" efforts to know how you found this.

  • I found the article here, on Epicurean Friends. I linked to it from the New Epicurean site. I did not know you had a third site Epicurus Magazine.

    I am sure the three sites have different functions (do you have any more?), but I find it a bit confusing, having to flick from one to the other. I am sure I will find my way around in time.

    Thanks for all you do - great site (or sites, all three of them). As I said in my main post, it is wonderful to have such high-quality writing and insightful ideas about Epicurus all in one place (or in three places!)

    -- Jon

  • Jon - Newepicurean was my original blog I have used since 2010. When I set that up I knew that the Dewitt direction I was taking would not be popular in Academia, and more than that I knew I wanted to clearly separate from the Stoic synthesizers.

    After about five years I realized I was pretty clear about the ultimate issues and I knew I wanted to build more "community" so I set up Epicureanfriend.com for that purpose. I continued to use NewEpicurean at times but devoted most of my time here.

    As far as Epicurusmagazine.com goes, that is a recent startup for the sole purpose if highlighting our best articles so people don't have to search too hare to find the starting points.

    In terms of monitoring them, I will make sure that everything of significance starts here at Epicureanfriends, so if you check in here regularly you will catch everything.

    All of this stems from the perspective that it is best to make the positions very clear on the deeper and more "divisive" as quickly and clearly as possible so that people can decide whether to invest more time in Epicurus, or consider him just another rosebud to pick from a smörgåsbord, which seems too often to be the general approach. ;)

  • Jon I really appreciate your contributions to the forum so far. I think I read that you found the forum through NewEpicurean.com but could you let me know how you found that website? Googling Epicurus? In the past many of us have come together through Facebook but i am convinced that is declining and was never an optimum source so I always want to be alert to how to find quality posters like yourself.

  • Hi Cassius

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I click around a lot, and I have forgotten what exactly I was researching, but I found your site through a Google search, as you say.

    I had just finished Catherine Wilson's latest book How To Be An Epicurean: The Ancient Art Of Living Well and from memory I was researching one of her many claims which seemed to me dodgy (I have forgotten precisely what).

    I didn't like the book particularly. It was her own interpretation, which is fair enough - it was her book! But she was applying what she thought Epicurus and Lucretius were saying to a large number of modern-day situations which did not interest me. It many ways it was a general self-help book with mainly her ideas and Epicurus playing a supporting role.

    I use social media very little, and Facebook not at all.

    -- Jon

  • Sounds like you are a perfect fit for our forum! Glad to have you!

    The kind of scary thing to me about the Catherine Wilson book is that while I agree with everything you wrote, I think she still manages to portray Epicurus in a way that comes across better than many other current books. As you say, I think she employs Epicurus for own goals, and i find those goals in my view much too shortsighted, buy I grudgingly give her credit that she sees in a small way how much of a revolution Epicurus represented, a spirit that I don't find in the writers who see Epicurus as basically a Stoic. On that issue - Epicurus' distance from Stoicism - she does a better job than many.

  • I agree with you. I wasn't suggesting she doesn't know her stuff, she clearly does. I was only saying the book was not for me.

    I certainly give her credit. There are many folk who would both like her book and find it helpful. I am just not one of them.

    Six months ago there was an interview with her in Scientific American where she sums up her thinking.

    -- Jon