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."