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  • That article certainly fits the classic pattern: 1 - Epicurus held pleasure to be the goal. 2 - But when he said "pleasure" he really meant "absence of pain." 3 - That means we should above all our single-minded goal should be to minimize pain - come hell or high water, we should make all our decisions on avoiding the slighted pain or disturbance whatsoever! 4 - We now see that Epicurus was an ascetic and really didn't mean anything about pleasure at all. 5 - We can't achieve that goal of being …
  • Here is an example we have discussed before that illustrates the same thing. I have underlined two sentences to stress what I see as the important off-key statements that lead to problems: ----------------------------- Achieving Tranquility: Epicurus on Living without FearTim O’Keefe, Georgia State University [Penultimate draft. Final version is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy, eds. Jacob Klein and Nathan Powers, Oxford University Press. Please cite that version once…
  • Was Cicero capable of and familiar with the tactic of taking words out of context and giving them meanings not originally intended or understood when it is to his advantage? Consider this from De Officiis (Marcus Tullius Cicero. De Officiis. Translated by Walter Miller. Loeb Edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913.) 33 Injustice often arises also through chicanery, that is, through an over-subtle and even fraudulent construction of the law. This it is that gave rise to the now familia…
  • Right - I agree with both of these comments: (Quote from Don) (Quote from reneliza) Both of which are stated very differently, and would be understood very differently by most people, from the following promoted to the world by OKeefe and many other writers as the way to understand Epicurus: (Quote from OKeefe)
  • OK keeping in mind here that I think we are all largely on the same page but we're debating the "best" way to explain the issue in the world of 2022 among non-specialists: I don't think I would agree that tranquility is a "necessary" condition. If what we are talking about is "defining the best life" then yes it would be a significant part of the conceptual definition and in that sense it be necessary to include it somewhere in the definition of what to shoot for. But if what we are talking abou…
  • "Some people can't achieve tranquility in the near term, but that does not mean they are any less Epicurean in pursuing the best mix of pleasure and pain that is available for them at any particular place or time." In saying that I am thinking back to the recent thread on "Whether one has to be well off to be an Epicurean" (or a title something like that - I will find it and link. - Here it is) I think it's a significant problem that many people get the idea that one has to be rich or successful…
  • Yes Nate I agree. There are multiple perspectives that have to be appreciated and understood and allowing one perspective to dominate the others ends up with a similar problem as when we mix up the ends with the means, as is the problem with "virtue." And as Ren says it's never going to be the case that everyone is going to agree on a single perspective - nor should we expect them to. The issue for those who consider themselves to be primarily Epicurean seems largely to be a matter of finding a …
  • Your definition is thoroughly suitable to me, but I believe would have been totally unsuitable to Cicero, as it would have prevented him from ridiculing Epicureans as worthless in civil society. As to whether your definition would be suitable to the professional academic class today, I very much doubt it, as it would prevent them from keeping Epicureanism in a medicine box for use mainly in nursing homes and anxiety clinics. I would like to think that, over time and little by little, we can make…
  • (Quote from Kalosyni) I thought I better comment on this sentence. I think it's consistent with the idea that "in general" an Epicurean would not choose a career in politics or something that depends on the whims of crowds. But to say flatly that "an Epicurean would not choose to be employed in any kind of high-risk/high-adrenaline enterprises" would IMHO probably be going too far. I doubt that it is the risk or the adrenaline are determinative - those would be according to our judgment as to wh…
  • These last comments point up the issues of ataraxia and aponia. If all "disturbance" is "pain" then why were two words necessary? The implication to me is that the issue of "disturbance " much involve some subtlety different than "pain" rather than mental vs bodily pain -- unless there is evidence that disturbance was always used only in a mental context.
  • I had been looking for this following quote and just found it. It mostly relates to the issue of "avoiding all pain" and whether we should draw a bright line against all high risk / high adrenaline enterprises. (Quote from Plutarch)