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  • Lately I've been thinking about the Epicurean gods and would like to share some thoughts. It's commonly acknowledged here that physics has advanced a great deal since Epicurus' time, but that Epicurean physics is still valid. As for the gods, although it probably exists I haven't seen any discussion regarding the advance of religious thought since Epicurus. Today in the West there aren't gods, just God. Although valuable, the discussion of Epicurean gods is purely abstract to us living today as…
  • Thanks Nate and Cassius! Lots digest....
  • The plot thickens! Yes I'm planning to continue this discussion. Tonight is date night though, so it won't be for a while
  • There is so much here to digest, I'll try to narrow down my comments and questions as much as possible to help wrap my head around things. (Cassius, your comments on pleasure are quite interesting and could make another thread in themselves!) For the most part I totally understand and agree with the points made. I'd like to focus on 1) an infinite system, 2) chance, and 3) isonomy. 1) In EP, the number of atoms is infinite. The types of atoms are innumerable. If my thinking is correct, the type…
  • (Quote from Cassius)This is what I was thinking, except I missed the point that the "natural law" arises from properties of atoms. Quite a big oversight on my part: I was imagining the "natural law" arising after the combinations of atoms. (Quote from Cassius)On double checking, he said "cannot be less than" the number of mortals. Can you explain his reasoning on this? This is one of the things that baffles me about isonomy. I'm off to read Long now.
  • The Long essay brings significant nuance to the discussion of chance and necessity. Key takeaways for me: - Necessity for Epicurus is that certain conditions must be met in order for a given thing to happen, as opposed to the idea that the given thing must happen. - The swerve has an exponentially greater impact on the atoms of the mind than on atoms of standard matter. This is because (as pointed out in today's Daily Lucretian) atoms composing mind are round, lightweight and quick to move as o…
  • Hiram , I was actually reading your linked essay, among other things, before starting this thread and was coming to similar conclusions as you did. As I'm currently understanding the gods, there are several options, including: - They're theorized from the hierarchy of beings and are probable advanced beings in an infinite universe - We have a prolepsis of gods. But why couldn't this be simply a concept, similar to justice? To me, this prolepsis doesn't necessitate corporeality. Does a prolepsis…
  • (Quote)I agree with this as well. As a non-philosopher, I'm working my way from a superficial understanding to a deeper understanding of the philosophy. The theory has been put out there that Epicurus was playing it safe on the gods, which is why I asked about that in my initial post. Now I can see the evidence is such that it puts the lie to that idea. (Quote)Required to exist. Also in the interest of deepening my understanding of EP, I'm wrestling with the question of whether or not believing…
  • Yes, the more we discuss various aspects of the philosophy, the clearer the ideas become. There's so much more than is initially evident and it gets more interesting the more I get into it. And the gods are definitely a juicy topic with which to deepen one's understanding!
  • According to DeWitt, Epicurus never described the gods as "immortal" but as "incorruptible". He goes on to say: "The reasoning behind this doctrine of incorruptibility is readily discerned. From the doctrine that nothing exists except atoms and void it follows that the bodies of the gods must be corporeal. Gods are zoa, "animate beings." They are thus units in the ascending order of Nature, as is man. Being in this order and corporeal, they cannot be deathless. If deathlessness were inherent in…
  • Actually, for us moderns, many innovations of Epicurus are common sense. So the ones that aren't (like the gods) uncomfortably challenge us perhaps in a way that he challenged his contemporaries.
  • I had no idea that the Mormons believe such things! Just from my reasoning it seems that the gods evolved, are born, and are quite smart about being blissful and staying alive. If they, individually, extend back an eternity then they'd have to be a separate class along with atoms and void, which doesn't seem to be the case. "Immortal" is a perplexing word. I just Googled the definition and most sources define it as "deathless". This has no implication of extending back in time. But to cloud the…
  • To focus on "immortal", VS 78 and the end of the letter to Menoeceus mention immortal goods. In the Greek text on Monadnock each of these as well as PD 1 have what appear to be slightly different spellings of the word. I'm clueless about Greek; does anyone know if these variations have any significance to the discussion? (I might not even be looking at the right words, please pardon my ignorance if that's the case.)
  • If this is "my" thread I can only say that I'm learning as much or more than anyone from it and I'm quite grateful for and impressed by everybody's posts! Both the rise of religion and the subject of "images" belong with this topic and I for one would like to pursue them. Maybe they could be split off into "part 2" and "part 3" threads, if only because this one is getting pretty long.