***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 2/28/2015***

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 2/28/2015***

** This is the ninety-fifth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

** As of tonight, our group has grown to 1447. Last week this time we were 1418. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “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!”

**Just like last week, we have had some lengthy and productive conversations again this week. The one I would like to highlight is the very last on the list as this goes to press – a post I made about Plato’s Dialogue “Philebus.” Most of us here on the facebook group are not trained professionals in philosophy, and our background reading on the details of other philosophers is not deep. I hope we have a few professionals reading along who can keep us in line, but we are largely reliant on mainstream commentators, including the one I mention most, Norman DeWitt. In my reading I have found that Dewitt does a better job than most in pointing our how Epicurean doctrines were targeted in opposition to prior philosophers, but I think most of us have had limited opportunity to follow up on that. Our recent discussions about PD3 and the Letter to Menoeceus about the nature of pleasure (“is pleasure identical with the absence of pain?”) led me to look for more material on the background to which Epicurus was responding. My post on Thomas Aquinas was my firt effort, as Aquinas is renowned for following Aristotle, and we know that Nichomachean Ethics contained some of the main arguments against pleasure.

Today, however, I started on Plato’s “Philebus”, which is focused on exactly the question before us: Is pleasure “the good”, and if not, why not? Plato of course takes the position that pleasure is NOT the good, but the point of interest here is his reasoning why. In my first read-through of Philebus, it seems a significant number of important Epicurean doctrines are directly targeting at refuting statements made by Socrates. My post today is an invitation to all our friends here to read Philebus (it’s not tremendously long) and help us assemble a list of Plato’s major attacks on pleasure, so we can show the Epicurean response. For example, Socrates asks point blank in this dialog, “Have pleasure and pain a limit, or do they belong to the class which admits of more and less?” That’s a question that seems to have directly prompted Epicurus’ PD3. Without a knowledge of the background of the question, and the answer given by Socrates, the answer given in PD3 is very hard to understand. I urge everyone interested in the study of Epicurus to review this post and the materal linked from it, and assist us if you can. It will greatly help both the group and your own understanding of the issues if you do: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/795740100474952/

Now for the regular post update:

**I believe this was posted more than one place, but one post you don’t want to miss from this past week was the existentialcomics.com edition on “Stoicism Man” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793258037389825/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793371914045104/ This one prompted some good (and sometimes heated discussion) about whether the comic was fair or not, but I can’t recommend it highly enough.

**In the first of a series of posts I made this week about the nature of pleasure, I started off with “Of Mice, Syllables, Thermometers, and the Complete Life” dedicated to further discussion of the meaning of PD3. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792534794128816/

**Hiram posted a new blog article on “The Tablet of Yays and Nays” consisting of some back-and-forth discussion between him and myself on the relationshio of Nietzsche and Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792508534131442/

**One of our newest participants had a link on his page about a 15th Century manuscript of Diogenes Laertius. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792598714122424/

**We had a number of discussions about Stoicism this week in which Dragan N. posted references to why Stoics seem to like to borrow from Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792858550763107/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792618040787158/

**I posted to a graphic in which Clarence Darrow is quoted as saying that the fear of God is NOT the beginning of wisdom in order to make a point about PD1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793098310739131/

**Elli followed up the ExistentialComic post by checking out their others to find two that were particularly appropriate to our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793365680712394/
and https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793372010711761/

**Hiram posted to an interview with Lawrence Krauss, which as usual when he is mentioned leads to a discussion of “nothing from nothing” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793810234001272/

**We added a new participant from Italy who works with a cultural association in Rome with some outstanding photographs and presentations https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793554064026889/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793185054063790/

**My second post on the nature of pleasure this week was “Can’t you hear that this thermometer is wrong?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/793470107368618/

**Elli had an excellent graphic on how every house has two washing machines https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794165980632364/

**Third in my series on pleasure this week was “If Death is Nothing To Us, What is Everything To us?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794233603958935/

**Mark W posted a link about Pierre Hadot and his “Philosophy as a way of life” This one was a little controversial due to some of Hadot’s positions, but it was a very worthwhile post. You’ll want to read this one if you’re interested in the topic “is an instant of pleasure the same as an eternity of pleasure?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794224817293147/

**My series on pleasure continued with “Are Static Pleasures Always Preferred?” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794135247302104/

**Elli posted verses from C P Cavafy, a famous Greek poet, in regard to the ISIS destruction of ancient art in Iraq. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794681643914131/

**Francisco M asked an excellent question about the nature of pleasure and its relationbship with modern neuroscience, and this prompted some very productive discussion https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/795046567210972/

**As the week neared end I continued my series with “Pleasure and Pain – Stoic v Epicurean” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794323657283263/

**One of our Greek members posted a great photo of the Athenian Epicurean group being shown a park area in Athens which is to be dedicated to Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/795199343862361/

**Uwe F. posted a link to a book by Francis Edgeworth, who worked in 1881 to develop a mathematical formula for a hedonic calculus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794931037222525/

**Elli posted a copy of Christos Yapjakis’ article “Ethical Teachings of Epicurus Based on Human Nature in the light of Biological Psychology.” This is an excellent article from a well-qualified Athenian at the Department of Neurology at a university in Athens Greece and well worth reading. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/

**Hiram noted the passing of Leonard Nimoy. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/795362560512706/

**Tommy H. posted a question about the Greek concept of Thumos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/794036273978668/

**The same Greek member whose name I can’t type here but referenced above posted a photo of the book table at the recent Athens Symposium on Epicurus https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/795192410529721/

**The last in my series on pleasure this week was “Thomas Aquinas v Epicurus – On The Nature of Pleasure http://newepicurean.com/thomas-aquinas-v-epicurus-on-the-nature-of-pleasure/

**All in all it was an excellent week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. Feel free to post any comments in this thread. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
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PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 2/21/2015***

** This is the ninety-fourth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.
*
** As of tonight, our group has grown to 1418. Last week this time we were 1407. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “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!”

**My title for tonight is A______X__XP_______X__P____. That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The absence of letters IS the same as meaningful communication, right 🙂 (A poor attempt at a joke.)
*
*We have had some lengthy and highly productive discussions this week, and I want to thank everyone who participated. We have covered this week some really important issues, in good humor throughout, and I hope we have accomplished some things that both further our own understanding and better equip us to explain these issues to others in the future. The last couple of days have seens some of my most intensive blog-writing and posting in a while, so I will just summarize the key topics in case anyone wants to scan this and catch up that way:
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*First off this week marked the launch of a page dedicated to Gassendi’s Summary of Epicurean philosophy. This is a project in which several of us, primarily Ilkka, have invested a great deal of time, and I hope it proves useful. Most commentaries about Epicurus cite Gassendi’s work as of key importance in reawakening interest in Epicurus in Europe after many centuries of silence, but until now it has been extremely difficult to find a copy in English of any of Gaassendi’s work. We now have a link to a scanned version, which is largely transcribed for those who wish to cut and paste. Thanks to all who assisted. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/789330374449258/
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*Yiannis T. posted a Richard Feynmann quote on the importance of atoms as a foundational concept in science: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/789203257795303/
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**Elli posted posted an ocean scene picture with commentary as to its meaning: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/788681251180837/
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** Takis P. posted more pictures from the 5th Epicurean Symposium in Athens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/788955057820123/
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** Hiram posted a link to an article on Humanist economics. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/789773351071627/
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** Ilkka found a link to an interesting video showing the intelligence of the ancient Epicurean mascot – the pig: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/790247161024246/
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**Uwe F. continued his assistance from the land of the Hyperboreans by posting information about the German translator of Epicurus, Karl Ludwig von Knebel: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/790479844334311/
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** In a post I made just after last week’s update, I linked an article about “Epicurean Leadership” from the Huffington Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/788719447843684/ Now that I recall, that was the post that pretty much opened the door for a deluge the rest of the week –
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**Next, Hiram posted a good quote from Nietzsche on the importance of clarity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/791126797602949/
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**Then, on the Twentieth, I posted a new blog entry on “Epicurus v Aristotle and Plato on Pleasure.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/791530644229231/ There was some important information in there that bears on the meaning of PD3, but more importantly, it got me thinking that it was time to reopen the discussion on the full nature of pleasure.
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*Steve K memorialized the Twentieth by posting to an article on the joy of hot chili peppers – which also relates to the pleasure and pain issue – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/791508604231435/
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*Then we had a new participant take a few minutes away from his work in the “International Gandalf Look-Alike Contest” to join our group – welcome Tommy H. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/791728090876153/
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**I posted an article from Norman Dewitt about “The Worst Book Written about Epicurus by a Reputable Scholar” followed by other book recommendations by DeWitt https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792046834177612/
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** Then, we launched three major intense discussions on the nature of pleasure and pain:
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*(1) “Is Pleasure an Attitude or A Sense? Focusing on the different perspectives on the nature of pleasure between Epicurus and other Greek philosophers
*https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/790184881030474/
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(2) “Twilight of the Absense of Pain” – A discussion on whether it is accurate to say Pleasure IS the absence of pain: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/791717817543847/*
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*(3) And most recently, a post asking a hypothetical question on the same topic of pleasure as the absence of pain, which generated lots of intense discussion and how this relates to Stoicism https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/792110150837947/
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*Rather than summarize these here I just want to recommend them to you if you have any interest. I appreciate the good humor with which everyone participated, and I want to repeat that I am going to work to see that these discussions are not completely “here today, gone tomorrow”. I am working on new formats for internet and “meetup-group” presentation of Epicurean philosophy, and I am going to incorporate all I can from what we learn about people’s perspectives on important topics. I know that the other Admins of the group share my goal that were are not just here to kill time, but to work toward greater re-popularization of Epiucurean Philosophy world-wide. I am sure they agree that the things we learn from these discussions will be of great help in that effort.
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*Thanks again to all participants.
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**All in all it was an excellent week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. Feel free to post any comments in this thread. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
*
PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 2/14/2015***

** This is the ninety-third in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

*
** As of tonight, our group has grown to 1407. Last week this time we were 1404. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “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!”

**In parts of the world, today marked Valentine’s Day. I hope everyone’s romantic life is in good order – if not, this might be a good time to reread the end of Lucretius Book IV, starting with “This pleasure is Venus for us….” http://newepicurean.com/lucretius/iv/iv-bailey/ If Lucretius can’t take the edge off unrealistic romantic thoughts, nobody can! 😉

**Our posts this week were of extremely high quality, and virtually every one offered something of significant substance.

**Last weekend was the Fifth Epicurean symposium in Athens, and we had several posts with photos and reports from the gathering. They included:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/785847338130895/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786282824754013/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787231797992449/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/788356814546614/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786845791364383/

It’s a great inspiration to see interest in Epicurus alive and well in Greece, and I hope soon we will be able to post photos from other gatherings around the world.

** We had two posts this week focusing on the issue of whether the universe is eternal, as Epicurus concluded, or was “born” at some point in time, as religions and some physicists seem to hold (although in the case of the physicists, they are rarely clear about the state of things before their singular events). The most commented post of the week was Alexander R’s https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786343478081281/ followed closely by Hiram’s https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786939841354978/ They both revolve around similar topics and are well worth reading if the subject of “where did the universe come from?” interests you. In other posts:

**Hiram posted on Epicurus’ description of three kinds of students: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786310458084583/

**Hiram posted an update on progress with the Epicurean scrolls: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786932454689050/

** Bill H. posted on how the concept “universe” can be confusing unless clearly defined: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786930404689255/

** Hiram continues his survey of eastern religions and philosophies with a post on Confucius. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787324514649844/

** Alexander R started an interesting conversation on one of the more obscure sayings of Epicurus – Vatican Saying 37. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786032448112384/

**I posted a link to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education which contained much favorable comment on Lucretius https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787416541307308/

**Hiram posted to an episode of Cosmos devoted in large part to Giordano Bruno https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787654221283540/

**I posted an article which surveyed interest in Lucretius in 18th century Germany. Who knew that Frederick the Great carried around with him a copy of Lucretius “to which he resorted in moments of despondency.” This article refers to a German translation by a man named Knebel who appears to be a fan of Epicurus and probably had some things to say that would be of great interest – if we can get over the hurdle of the language barrier (he wrote in German). https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/787451577970471/

**Hiram memorialized Darwin Day with an interesting graphic that spurred conversation https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787603351288627/

**Julian H. made a comment in Hiram’s thread that started a good conversation about Epicurean criticism of Socrates (and Plato as well). I uploaded to the group an interesting academic article by a man named Riley on this topic, which contains some very good commentary on why the ancient Epicureans did not have a high opinion of Socrates. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/788558787859750/

**Hiram posted a link to a video about the president of Uruguay, a fan of Epicurus, discussing the legalization of marijuana. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/787800097935619/

**Assya B. posted a graphic about not fearing death, which started a surprising amount of conversation. (Maybe not so surprising, given the importance of the topic.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786045041444458/

**Elli posted an interesting photo that gives us a beautiful view of a part of the homeland of our favorite philosopher. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/788681251180837/

**I posted a link to my latest research article “Nietzsche, Epicurus, and the Most Successful Double Agent In History(?)” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/786851564697139/

**For those who happened to miss the link, but still want the key part, here was a list of six ways in which the article listed above indicated that ancient Epicureans criticized Socrates:

(1) “Their opposition was based on a fundamental difference of opinion concerning the role of the philosopher and his behavior towards his students.”
(2) “Socrates’ words were charlatans or imposters because what he said in the dialogues was one thing, but what he did was quite different”
(3) “Now the logical consequences of this refusal to attribute reality to the perceptible world around us should be the same as the consequences of refusing to take a position at all on what is reality. The latter position is xxx, suspension of judgement, and is attributed to the Sceptics, chiefly to Pyrrho of Elis. That Sceptics were expected in some circles to live up to their profession is shown by Diogenes Laertius (9.62) on Pyrrho: “He led a life consistent with this doctrine (i.e., agnosticism and suspension of judgement), going out of his way for nothing, taking no precautions, but facing all risks as they came, whether carts, precipices, dogs, or what not, and generally leaving nothing to the arbitrament of the senses.” This testimony from Antigonus of Carystus, roughly a contemporary of Colotes (both third century B.C.), indicates that Colotes could have felt justified in criticizing Socrates for not following the practical consequences of his doctrine. Socrates’ words are imposters; he himself is an imposter, because he lives as if the world around us were real; he follows the clues offered by sight, whereas to be consistent he should ignore this illusion and follow what is really real, whatever the consequences.
(4) Colotes’ second criticism of Socrates, that he flaunts the boast that he does not even know himself (Adv. Col. 1118c, referring to Phaedrus 230a), adds to the characterization of Socrates. Again he is charged with ignoring the obvious; for the Epicurean, man can be defined by pointing to a man and saying “man is this kind of shape here combined with animation” (Sextus Empiricus Math. 7.267; fr. 310 Usener). Socrates can see men all around, yet he insists he does not know what he is. More important is the attack implied in the word “flaunting;” not only is Socrates in error, but he boasts of his error and ignorance. This pride in his ignorance is a personal quality which puts Socrates outside the company of truly wise men, according to Epicurus, who states “the wise man will dogmatize, not suspend judgement”
(5) In short the Epicurean considers Socrates to have the undesirable traits of an eiron: he flatters others, conceals what he really thinks, does not practice what he preaches.
(6) The slyness which they thought characterized Socrates would put a distance between philosopher and student, a distance inimical to Epicurean friendship.
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**All in all it was an excellent week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. Feel free to post any comments in this thread. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
*
PEACE AND SAFETY!
Cassius Amicus

***THIS WEEK IN EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY – 2/7/2015***

** This is the ninety-second in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.

*
** As of tonight, our group has grown to 1404. Last week this time we were 1390. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. If you apply to participate and don’t receive a reply promptly, please send an email to an admin about your interest in the group. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “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!”

**Tonight is a good time to start off with best wishes to the Athens Garden of Epicurus, which is in the middle of its weekend conference as I post this. We hope to have some photos and/or videos to post in the coming week. See here for more info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/784336261615336/

**Another subject I would like to highlight before getting to the week’s post is one that comes up from a link Hiram posted to a video on hedonism from ThePhilosophyTube: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/785258668189762/ It’s a well done video of which the Epicurus discussion was only a part. I posted in the comments that I thought that part did not really do Epicurus justice, as it focused on the static/active pleasure issue as a precursor to moving on the further questioning about whether pleasure really should be considered the goal of life. This is a very important topic, and it is possible to highlight the issue with a particular passage from the Letter to Menoeceus. The only point I want to accomplish here is to point out a troublesome sentence that is translated in several different ways by English authorities. The varying translations are a good reminder that it is best to compare several versions and not read too much into any single translation. Here’s the key sentence, in three ways:

(1) wiki.epicurus.info: “It is when we feel pain that we must seek relief, which is pleasure. And when we no longer feel pain, we no longer need pleasure.”

(2) Cyril Bailey: “For it is then we have need of pleasure, when we feel pain owing to the absence of pleasure; (but when we do not feel pain) we no longer need pleasure.”

(3) Norman Dewitt, from appendix to St. Paul and Epicurus: (For only then have we need of pleasure when from the absence of pleasure we feel pain; and conversely, when we no longer feel pain we no longer feel need of pleasure.)

Are these passages stating flatly that when we feel no pain we have “no need of pleasure”? It would be easy to read that sentence to mean that pleasure is worthless in itself, and it is valuable only as a medicine to remedy pain. Is Epicurus saying that this we would have been better off never to have been born, so we would never have experienced pain, which is the true driving force of life?

Of course readers here know that I do NOT think that that is what Epicurus was saying, and yet if you divorce this passage from the rest of the preserved texts, it is very easy to make that argument. When two men who were highly educated on this topic corresponded with each other, Cassius wrote to Cicero ” For it is hard to convince men that “the good is to be chosen for its own sake”; but that pleasure and tranquillity of mind is acquired by virtue, justice, and the good is both true and demonstrable.” Was Cassius simply being redundant to list BOTH “pleasure” AND “tranquility of mind”? If they are identical – one and the same – why list them both? And if both words have no Epicurean meaning other than “escape from pain,” why did he not simply state “but that **escape from pain** is acquired by virtue, justice, and the good is both true and demonstrable”?

This is an example of a question that needs much time and attention so that the reasoning becomes clear and the ambiguities are lifted. I don’t blame those ambiguities on Epicurus, but on a world where Stoicism has triumped and pleasure is looked on with disdain and suspicion. In such an environment defenders of pleasure need to be clear on exactly what it is they are defending.

**And that transitions me to another important point. I want to thank Uwe F. for his excellent post on “Lathe biosas.” This is the kind of initiative and research of which I think we need much more. It has entered the common discussion on the internet that Epicurus advised that we should “live unknown” – which seems a mite contradictory for the founder of a worldwide philosophical reform movement. When Lucretius wrote his monumental poem, when Lucian wrote his satirical essays, when Horace wrote his poems, and when Cassius was leading an army in the name of his view of Epicurean pleasure, none of these men were following a flat rule of living “unknown.” How shall we reconcile this? Uwe’s post has some excellent background on this issue. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/785156631533299/

**Speaking of Horace, who left us the line “fat and sleek and in good keeping, a hog of Epicurus’ herd,” Elli posted an incredible video of a man blowing life back into a still-born piglet. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/784766504905645/

**Bryan W H posted another in his series of excellent recitations of Lucretius in Latin https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/784037204978575/ Somewhere down the road it would be great to turn these, or something like these, into youtube videos for use by Latin students. The opening of all of the books of Lucretius are excellent, and the passage beginning “Humana ante oculus” which focuses on what we owe to Epicurus would be particularly a good candidate.

** In other posts, I posted a series of quotes about Epicurus and Epicureans that appear on the internet with cites to the Jewish Talmud or similar Judaic sources: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/783094955072800/ There’s no doubt in my mind that the Talmud contains other references, at the very least in response to Epicurean ideas on atoms, void, and the nature of the universe, that would be helpful to know. It’s a shame that translations of the Talmud are not more readily available on the internet.
** In this post I linked to an article in Greek about the skeleton cup featuring Epicurus that was part of the Boscoreale treasure. I am hoping that before long we will get an English article on the same topic from one of our friends in Greece.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/784337858281843/

**Dragan N. posted a link to a good meme on “I am what I choose to become.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/783554001693562/
It appears that this actually deserves the “most-commented” award, but the thread got a little out of hand before it was closed by an Admin 😉

** Hiram posted a link to an article about death, which prompted him to go into some thoughts after reading Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/783744385007857/
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**All in all it was an excellent week. Thanks to one and all for your participation. Feel free to post any comments in this thread. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
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PEACE AND SAFETY!

Cassius Amicus