Welcome SimonC!

  • Welcome SimonC !

    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. "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Norman DeWitt
    2. The Biography of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius. This includes the surviving letters of Epicurus, including those to Herodotus, Pythocles, and Menoeceus.
    3. "On The Nature of Things" - by Lucretius (a poetic abridgement of Epicurus' "On Nature"
    4. "Epicurus on Pleasure" - By Boris Nikolsky
    5. The chapters on Epicurus in Gosling and Taylor's "The Greeks On Pleasure."
    6. Cicero's "On Ends" - Torquatus Section
    7. Cicero's "On The Nature of the Gods" - Velleius Section
    8. The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda - Martin Ferguson Smith translation
    9. A Few Days In Athens" - Frances Wright
    10. Lucian Core Texts on Epicurus: (1) Alexander the Oracle-Monger, (2) Hermotimus
    11. Philodemus "On Methods of Inference" (De Lacy version, including his appendix on relationship of Epicurean canon to Aristotle and other Greeks)
    12. "The Greeks on Pleasure" -Gosling & Taylor Sections on Epicurus, especially the section on katastematic and kinetic pleasure which explains why ultimately this distinction was not of great significance to Epicurus.

    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!



  • Thank you.

    I'm a layperson who got interested in philosophy a couple years ago. I took an e-course in philosophy in 2020 and got the distinct impression that the emperor was not wearing any clothes - in particular I still don't understand why anyone was ever impressed by Kant. I appreciate that I barely scratched the surface on this one, but that is still the impression I got.

    I did get an appreciation of Epicurus, Hume, and Nietzsche (though the course material was somewhat dismissive of them), and have been doing my own reading since.

    As far as Epicurus, I've read Lucretius. I've got DeWitt on my ereader but haven't started it yet.

    I found this site through a web search looking for reading material. I registered an account because the common-sense interpretation of pleasure as opposed to bread-and-water ataraxia made sense to me, and in order to learn more.

  • Wow Welcome again SimonC and thank you for that introduction. That's a pithy way of hitting the high points of good information about your background to get things started, so thank you!

    Your intro sounds a lot like what I would have written myself years ago.

    The main thing that occurs to me to say is that with your attitude, and at your level of reading, I really hope you will post your reactions as you read through more material. It's extremely helpful to hear reactions from people as they read more, not just here, but other places, about Epicurus and how he fits into the general philosophic picture.

    And as a layperson with just a couple of years of reading experience you're probably a very good example of what I think would probably be the type of person we tend to target with this forum: Enough reading to have some general familiarity with the issues, but not so much that the person has become jaded and cynical - which is what my experience is tends to happen to people when they get too deep into modern philosophy from a purely "academic" approach.

    Look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  • I registered an account because the common-sense interpretation of pleasure as opposed to bread-and-water ataraxia made sense to me, and in order to learn more.

    Welcome! Glad you have joined us! :)