***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/
**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
PEACE AND SAFETY!