Seven Steps With Epicurus - A Slide Presentation

  • As part of our collaborative work toward an "Epicurean Week" we have come up with a series of "power-point" slides which introduce the philosophy in seven simple steps. The formulation here may change over time as we fine tune this as part of our course materials. This will eventually be expanded into a "7 Weeks with Epicurus". Questions and comments are welcome. Click here for the presentation or you can just click on the graphic above to begin the presentation.

  • Thanks for the suggestions so far! That's what we are doing, always looking to fine tune.

    The slide feature is rather neat and has a feature for adding "notes' for each slide to assist in a presenter using the slides to give a talk. We can work on those too over time to allow for points that don't make it into the main outline.

    And it's also easy to add hyperlinks .

    So think of this one as more of a presentation aid in giving a talk, and an aid in thinking about what are the most important points to build out into longer presentations.

  • Incredible work! Just excellent, well-written: well-presented.

    "We must try to make the end of the journey better than the beginning, as long as we are journeying; but when we come to the end, we must be happy and content." (Vatican Saying 48)

  • Nice work.

    I'd add mention of Philodemus in Step 2.

    PS. Suggested draft:

    Texts continue to be discovered among the scrolls that were buried by Vesuvius in Herculaneum including works by Epicurus himself and Philodemus, a 1st century BCE Epicurean philosopher, poet, and student of Zeno of Sidon who was the head of the Garden in Athens at the time.

    Revise as needed :)

  • Thanks again for the comments.

    The lengthier comments may end up being best with a hyperlink to another location, but I should have mentioned earlier that this format has another feature:

    When you are in the web window for the slideshow, you can press "S" on your keyboard and up will pop a "Presenter" page which features several extra things -

    - a clock

    - a timer (so you will know how long you are talking

    - a panel for the "next slide" so you will know what you are about to talk about when you finish the current slide

    - a panel for the current slide

    - a NOTES section, where speaker notes can be included and used for the talk.

    I think the intended use is perhaps to have two monitors, or if you are using a screen capture program, to capture the main panel only while you use the others to help your talk.

    So for the moment I have add longer suggestions such as what Don wrote on Philodemus to the "speaker notes" section, which can be used as a reminder when giving the presentation.

    I planned to record an audio track and then post the resulting video to youtube, but I haven't had time to get that done yet.

    In the meantime and on into the future, i think that things like this could be helpful to those who might want to make their own videos or just get some practice in explaining things to others.

  • No - Obsidian is an electron app which is cross-platform and therefore runs on windows, linux, and apple. There are even smartphone versions.

    Sweet! I'm going to have to investigate. I have several applications of that cross-platform ability in mind. Thanks!!

  • Not to go too far on a tangent, but I am aware of two new free competitors in this space that seem very useful. At the moment I am preferring Obsidian, but LOGSEQ is very similar and does many of the same things.

    Obsidian is more suitable for narrative compositions of several paragraphs as the basic unit of work, while Logseq is oriented toward outlining in which each point of the outline is the basic unit of work. If you're manipulating paragraphs then maybe obsidian works best; if you're manipulating bulleted outlines logseq has more features.

    But both have the ability to produce formatted slides from the data.

  • And to sort of bring this back to what would be the most productive use of the thread, I am thinking about it in context that the best way to learn something is to study it enough to present it to other people.

    It's pretty easy nowadays to put together things like this, and what really needs to be the next step is a "voice-over" talking through the points, which could of course be done in many different ways.

    So having a platform that is easy to change and update and then use is a strong advantage to have. Customizing an outline has been something we've talked about for a long time:

    Creating an outline, adding a narrative voice, and uploading to youtube is an obvious next step.

  • In Step 2, "about the same time as the founding of the Stoic school" should better be replaced by "before the founding of the Stoic school".

    DeWitt indicates that there has been a misconception that Epicurus' philosophy was a response to Stoicism. Therefore, we should be clear in the historic timeline.

  • Zeno of Citium ,the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, which he taught in Athens from about 300 BC. Zeno began teaching in the colonnade in the Agora of Athens known as the Stoa Poikile (Greek Στοὰ Ποικίλη) in 301 BC. His disciples were initially called "Zenonians," but eventually they came to be known as "Stoics," a name previously applied to poets who congregated in the Stoa Poikile.

    Bornc . 334 BCE Citium, Cyprus

    Died c. 262 BC (aged 71–72) Athens


    Epicurus bought his house and garden in Athens in 306 BCE after teaching in Mytilene and Lampsacus for years. His philosophy was already nearing maturity when he came to Athens.

    Born 341 BC Samos, Greece

    Died 270 BC (aged about 72) Athens, Greece


    Epicurus's philosophy was not in response to Stoicism. Stoicism wasn't developed enough to be a real rival to his philosophy until later in the history of the Garden. The philosophies became true rivals by the time of Cicero and Philodemus.

    Epicurus's texts shouldn't be read in reference to Stoicism, but the later texts need to be read with Stoics in mind.

    That's my perspective.

    So... Timeline

    Epicurus Born 341 BCE Samos, Greece

    Zeno Born c . 334 BCE Citium, Cyprus

    Epicurus established Garden 306 BCE

    Zeno *begins* teaching in the Stoa 300 BCE

    Epicurus Died 270 BC (aged about 72) Athens

    Zeno Died c. 262 BC (aged 71–72) Athens

  • so at least five years - maybe more (?)

    Zeno was about 7 years younger than Epicurus.

    The significance of the timeline is that Epicurus was establishing a mature school in his own property six years before Zeno even began teaching in the Stoa.


    Apart from Crates, Zeno studied under the philosophers of the Megarian school, including Stilpo, and the dialecticians Diodorus Cronus, and Philo. He is also said to have studied Platonist philosophy under the direction of Xenocrates, and Polemo.

    Summary: I would characterize Epicureanism and Stoicism as siblings, with the former being the older one and with all the stereotypical sibling rivalry that goes along with that metaphor. The siblings are not close.

  • Step 4 title is now changed to:

    Free Yourself From Supernatural Gods, Fatalism, and Fear Of Death

    ....Although I am not fully settled on that exact wording.

    We still need to add in something about Philodemus and also something about the Vatican Sayings, in Step 2 Key Sources.

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “New Slide Presentation - Seven Steps With Epicurus” to “Seven Steps With Epicurus - A Slide Presentation”.