A Canonics Project - Drawing A Diagram To Illustrate Key Aspects of Epicurean Canonics / Epistemology

  • This thread comes to mind because Joshua recently took a stab at a diagram of Epicurean epistemology that he prepared on Draw.io. The picture below is just an excerpt to liven up this post, but the full current product is available here:

    Joshua obviously put a lot of work into this, but it's a huge project, and a lot of the benefit will come from annotating what the branches and boxes are intended to illustrate.

    I am going to pin this thread to the Canonics section, and I will try to work on a variation myself. There should be a variety of technologies that would help us, so don't feel obligated to stick with Draw.io . I think there are probably free and collaborative "mind map" alternatives that would do the job as well, so we are very open to proposals on how this might be accomplished.

    I haven't had time to study Joshua's first draft, but I feel sure that a large part of the difficulty is going to be to try to somehow illustrate "core" aspects of what Epicurus was suggesting, which would apply to most every question to be considered by the mind, while also separately showing that there are "non-core" circumstantial inputs that need to be shown in order to see the big picture. I am not at all sure what format makes best sense to use to show that. A tree, starting with roots and growing up to a trunk with branches? Or is it best to use sort of a time line view as Joshua has done, or some other format entirely?

    Such a diagram would always end up being very conceptual, but might well help us think about the issues that are involved.

    It also strikes me that what we are talking about is not entirely different from Artificial Intelligence models, and there are very likely all sorts of new web technologies being developed to assist with that. Maybe some kind of Epicurean Canonical AI-bot is also something to consider.

    All suggestion are welcome!

  • Just in case it helps, my next plan with the diagram was to take off from "I want to explain this fact" and take that through a Pythoclean treatment of single vs multiple causes, postponing judgment until further information comes to hand, etc. The 'feelings' bubble would pretty quickly branch off into two parts, one interlacing with the "sensations" pathway to inform epistemology and one branching off into a treatment of pleasures (kinetic and katastematic), pains (short if intense, etc), and the limits of each, before coming down to the "desire module", where natural, necessary, etc couple with epistemic outputs to inform decision making. Prolepsis would present considerable difficulties, as I still don't grasp it very well. The result would be like a dense interweaving hedge more than a tree.