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  • The list of insults used by Epicurus against his opponents, as listed by Diogenes Laertius, is colorful, but there is also a lot to learn from taking them apart and dissecting them. That's a task that probably can't be handled in one thread, but this is a place to start. If you've seen commentators give explanations for these, please add them to the thread . In each case we ought to explore who the opponent is, why he was an opponent, and the basis in truth for why Epicurus' insult is biting. He…
  • As to Nausiphanes ‘The mollusk,’ ‘The illiterate,’ ‘The cheat,’ ‘The harlot,' we have the following from DeWitt's EAHP chapter three: How long Epicurus sojourned with Nausiphanes it is impossible to say, but the duration of the discipleship was certainly long enough to engender exceptional bitterness of feeling. Cicero records in a malicious moment that being "on the spot," as it were, and unable to deny obligation, Epicurus assailed his teacher with all sorts of insulting epithets. This stateme…
  • As to the followers of Plato being 'Flatterers of Dionysus,’ we have this from DeWitt's EAHP chapter fourteen: Outside of the popular assembly parresia signified the expression of the speaker's opinion without regard for the feelings of others, and it might mean defiance. Epicurus was exemplifying it when he publicly assailed the Platonists, who in his youth were enjoying a monopoly of favor. He called them "flatterers of Dionysus," and the "deep-voiced." 20 The latter was a term of derision sim…
  • As to Plato being "the Golden man" we have this from EAHP chapter five: "The Platonists, however, could not boast of innocence themselves, because their own Arcesilaus was on record as hailing the founders of the school as "almost gods or relics of the race of gold." 46 Thus Epicurus, when dubbing Plato "the Golden," was possibly mocking his followers and not merely deriding his division of mankind on the basis of iron, silver, and gold."
  • (Quote from Don) I would expect nothing less, and I am looking forward to it! When we are insulting people we want to do it as precisely as possible!
  • More seriously, I really would like to see what we can develop as to the details on each of these, as I think it's a really helpful way to triangulate on exactly where Epicurus was coming from and what flaws he saw in opposing philosophies. I know for example that by now we're pretty used to seeing Epicurus worked up to oppose Plato, but I think a lot of us are surprised to see the same kind of opposition (or even worse?) to Aristotle. Same goes with Pyrrho, because many people consider Epicurus…
  • One source of analysis of this list is David Sedley's "Epicurus and His Professional Rivals" in which Sedley argues that these statements are in the most part not disaparaging at all, but indeed can be seen in some cases as praise! This appears to be in contradiction of the position of Bignone, who unfortunately I don't think we have in English. My view is that Diogenes Laertius can hardly fail to have realized that the way he was recounting the story implied that he expected the reader to take …