Epicurus Answers Four of the Great Questions of Human Life
Many people know a little about…
"Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind." (Attributed to Epicurus through Porphyry, Letter to Marcella)
I've been wanting to prepare a new general article for distribution on Twitter, Facebook, etc. about why people should want to study Epicurus. Here it is as a blog article here: Epicurus Answers Four of the Great Questions of Human Life
Today the forums were reorganized to reduce the number of top levels. All the old posts and subforums are still there, hopefully under logical categories, but the main list should now be easier to navigate.
Note: Along with the recent update of the default theme, we updated the "favicon" from an "E" to a picture of Epicurus. If you save a direct link to this page on your phone or tablet home screen, you should now get the new green icon.
Today we switched the default theme of EpicureanFriends that new users will see, but regulars who prefer a dark or other type them can still find the old ones, plus several more, by selecting "Change Style" in the footer of any page.
Last night we posted the Lucretius Today podcast which begins the discussion of the perils of romantic love, and today I am posting the text to be reviewed in the next episode. If you have comments on this topic (and who doesn't?) please add them to the threads: Episode Sixty-Two - The Perils of Romantic Love (Part 2) [Pre-Production]
The full text of Episode 61, to be recorded this weekend, has now been posted. This is the long-awaited opening of the section on sex and romantic love which concludes book four. We'll have at least two weeks on this topic - maybe more - but feel free to give us any comments that come to mind and we will try to incorporate them into the discussion: Episode Sixty-One [Pre-Production - The Long Awaited Section on the Perils of Romantic Love]
Episode Sixty of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available: RE: Episode Sixty - Dreams and the Mind's Use of Images This one has some challenging discussion on the interaction (or lack thereof) between memory and images, so we especially encourage your listening and participation in the thread.
Welcome to our Online Community of Epicureans, where we study Epicurus, apply Epicurean philosophy to our own lives, and "strike a blow for Epicurus, that great man whose holiness and divinity of nature were not shams, who alone had and imparted true insight into the good, and who brought deliverance to all that consorted with him." All are welcome to read and ask questions, but only firm friends of Epicurean Philosophy in accord with our Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean statement and our Posting Policy statement are granted full posting privileges, so here you will find a truly supportive community of Epicurean Friends.
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Materiality: All Things Are Composed Of Ultimate Particles and Void
||The Three Components of The Epicurean Canon||Pleasure As the Highest Good|
Epicurean Gods And Life Elsewhere In The Universe
||Epicurean Logic And Reason||Virtue As Instrumental To Pleasure|
The Impossibility of Life After Death
||The Trustworthiness of the Senses||The Relationship of Pleasure To Absence of Pain And Disturbance|
The Existence of "the Swerve"
||Knowledge And Truth||Emotion In Epicurean Philosophy|
The Universe As Eternal In Time
||The Significance of "Images"||Engagement With The Non-Epicurean World|
The Universe As Infinite In Space
||Agency / Free Will|
The Universe As Having No Center
||Friendship in Epicurean Philosophy|
The Impossibility of Infinite Divisibility
||Justice in Epicurean Philosophy|
|Dealing With Adversity|
Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean
After 2000 Years Still The Three Main Contenders For Your Mind
Autun mosaic from The House of the Greek Authors, Musée Rolin
On Living Unknown While Locating Your School In A High Traffic Area
Epicurus Greece Stamp 2019
Death Is Nothing To Us
Plato's Metaphysical Contradiction
Epicurus Skipping Mysticism
Plato's Distracted Boyfriend
Concepts As Black As Hell
PD9 - Just As All Colors Are Colorful
This is the place to study and discuss Epicurus with people who - can you believe it? - aren't just Stoics in disguise, but who actually support and promote Epicurean philosophy. On your first visit, check out this full home page, including the Not Neo-Epicurean, But Epicurean and our Posting Policy statements. Look around the Forums arranged by Topic. A good place to sample the latest conversations is by clicking Latest Threads, or simply start with our General Forum. After that, bookmark the Dashboard, so that when you come back you'll see all the latest postings and announcements. Other key links are the FAQ where we have answers to often-asked questions, and our Wiki, which features one of the best collections of Lucretius and other Epicurean texts that you'll find anywhere. Don't miss the forum devoted to reviews of modern books, articles, and video-multimedia devoted to Epicurus. Do you prefer a page theme that is lighter, darker, or a different color? Go to the bottom right and click "Change Style!" Thanks for dropping by and enjoy your stay - here our highest goal is Pleasure!
In the future we will reschedule another series of discussions of Norman DeWitt's Epicurus and His Philosophy. If you are interested in the next series, please check the discussion outlines posted here.
There is a great need for an authoritative online free edition of Lucretius' On The Nature of Things. At our Wiki page, we have two public domain versions (Munro and Bailey) and we are currently working on adding the 1743 Daniel Browne edition, which has the Latin text on the facing page of the original. In order to allow the reader to crosscheck the English translation, we are cross-referencing each translation the equivalent passage in the Latin text. If you have time to help in any of our projects, please let us know by posting in the appropriate forum thread.
If you have come across Epicurean philosophy in the past but been confused by commentators who assert - incorrectly - that Epicurus advocated an ascetic or passive lifestyle, you'll want to check out our table of Major Issues In Understanding Epicurean Philosophy. We're glad to help with your study of Epicurus - just ask in the forums! In the meantime, here is the advice of Thomas Jefferson on living an active Epicurean life:
"I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple of our master Epicurus in indulging the indolence to which you say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that “that indulgence which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces a greater pain, is to be avoided.” Your love of repose will lead, in its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation of mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to a debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all things from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences of Epicurus ensure; fortitude, you know is one of his four cardinal virtues. That teaches us to meet and surmount difficulties; not to fly from them, like cowards; and to fly, too, in vain, for they will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh this matter well; brace yourself up." - Thomas Jefferson to William Short, October 31, 1819.
A Feature of Our Forum - Follow The Advice Of Epicurus: Outline Your Understanding Of Philosophy
Epicurus' Letter to Herodotus: "Those who have made some advance in the survey of the entire system ought to fix in their minds under the principal headings an elementary outline of the whole treatment of the subject. For a comprehensive view is often required, the details but seldom. ... For it is impossible to gather up the results of continuous diligent study of the entirety of things unless we can embrace in short formulas and hold in mind all that might have been accurately expressed even to the minutest detail."
Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter "I too am an Epicurean" and drafted his own outline of Epicurean philosophy. If you'd like to see what Jefferson wrote, and get help in drafting your own, click here.
A Note On Why This Website Is Not "Stoic In Disguise"
Many people who come here have been influenced by the alleged importance of a distinction between "kinetic" and "katastematic" pleasure. This argument is unsound, probably not of Epicurean origin at all, and can be very damaging to a proper understanding of Epicurus. To research this issue, start with Boris Nikolsky's "Epicurus on Pleasure," which argues that the katastematic issue was not introduced by Epicurus and reflects a later Stoic-influenced viewpoint. Next, read the chapters on Epicurus in Gosling and Taylor's "The Greeks on Pleasure," from which Nikolsky got the inspiration for his article. The whole section on Epicurus is good, but be sure to read their Chapter 19 "Katastematic and Kinetic Pleasure." Add to that the Wentham article "Cicero's Interpretation of Katastematic Pleasure," which highlights how emphasis on katastematic pleasure contradicts other core aspects of Epicurean philosophy.
Those shorter articles should then take you back to the best general book on Epicurus, Norman DeWitt's "Epicurus and His Philosophy." DeWitt provides a sweeping overview of Epicurus which hardly mentions the katastematic - kinetic distinction except to point out how - even if one considers the categories relevant - Epicurean philosophy embraces both types. If you don't read anything else at this website, check out the articles listed above, and you'll see how important this issue is to a proper understanding of Epicurean philosophy. And if you are brand new to the study of Epicurus, be sure to start your study with DeWitt's "Epicurus and His Philsosophy."