This Week In Epicurean Philosophy 10/24/15

Welcome to This Week in Epicurean Philosophy for the week of 10/24/15!  To subscribe (at no cost) click here.

This is the one hundred and twenty-ninth in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy.  At the Epicurean Philosophy Group we are dedicated to the study and productive discussion of Epicurean Philosophy and its application to daily life.  Our goal is also, in the words of Lucian, to “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!

The History of Remembering Epicurus on “the Twentieth” 

This past week contained the twentieth of October, and one of our Facebook Group readers asked about the reasons for posting “Happy Twentieth.  This is a question we receive often, so rather than simply list the link in this newsletter, let’s cite the references, starting with the main one from the will of Epicurus:

“And from the revenues made over by me to Amynomachus and Timocrates let them to the best of their power in consultation with Hermarchus make separate provision for the funeral offerings to my father, mother, and brothers, and for the customary celebration of my birthday on the tenth day of Gamelion in each year, and for the meeting of all my School held every month on the twentieth day to commemorate Metrodorus and myself according to the rules now in force. Let them also join in celebrating the day in Poseideon which commemorates my brothers, and likewise the day in Metageitnion which commemorates Polyaenus, as I have done previously.”


Norman DeWitt described the history this way in Epicurus and His Philosophy, Chapter 2:

“At any rate, in the dispositions made long afterward in his will for the perpetuation of his own memory, the date was fixed, not for the anniversary day of his birth, which fell on the seventh, but at the twentieth, the day that marked the final initiations at Eleusis. The twentieth was also sacred to Apollo, which gave it an additional sanctity. Such notoriety eventually attached itself to these monthly memorial gatherings that Epicureans were dubbed “Twentyers” by way of derision.”

Further, there is record in the poetry of the Epicurean Philodemus that documents the tradition:

Tomorrow, dearest Piso, your cultured companion drags you

To his humble shack at three o’clock

To feed you your annual dinner on the Twentieth. If you’ll miss

Sow’s udders and Bromius’ Chian wine,

Still you’ll see your faithful companions and hear

Things far more sweet than the Phaeacians’ land.

And if you ever turn your gaze on us too, Piso,

We’ll have a richer Twentieth, instead of a humble one.


In addition to the “happy twentieth” greetings you see in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook group, Hiram Crespo has written an excellent article on how modern Epicureans might continue the tradition.



Also From the Facebook Group this week:

On 10/17 Alexander R. linked to an article on decision-making and quantum theory.

On 10/18, I posted about Cicero’s Tusculun Disputations, where Cicero had one of his character say a line to the effect that: “he would prefer to agree with Plato and be wrong than to agree with certain philosophers and be right.”  Norman DeWitt construes the philososphers referred to as Epicureans, but the line doesn’t specifically refer to Epicurus, so the context has to be taken into account.  The closest school referred to just before the particular reference is Pythagorean, but the context makes pretty clear that Plato was agreeing with the Pythagoreans that the soul survives death, so the Pythagoreans aren’t the ones being contrasted to Plato. The entire thrust of passages before this, however, is an argument against those who assert that the soul perishes at death, so (and/or maybe Democritus) seems to be the leading candidate for that position.’

Also on 10/18, Victor H. linked to an interesting article on the Hippocratic Oath.

On 10/20 Steve K posted about the “Epicurean Manifesto.”

Also on 10/20 we had the complete exchange with George M. about the Twentieth.

Hiram Crespo’s “The Epicurean Revival” was posted about this time last year, and relinked this past week in our group.

And finally on 10/20, George M.’s post led to a post about the “weak and beggarly elements.”

On 10/23 Uwe F. linked to an article on Lucretius and his persuasive abilities.

Rounding out the week, Ilkka V. posted a new article to the Menoeceus blog, this one on the important topic of definitions in philosophical discussions.


Recent significant posts at


image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of October – Tips on Epicurean Reasoning from PhilodemusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be! Every day, not just the Twentieth, is a good day to remember that Epicurean philosophy teaches a…
image The Epicurean “Method of Analogy” in Philodemus, And Its Vital Importance to UsWhat do we do when we are confronted by differences of opinion among people who believe very strongly in their ideals, even though those ideals vary tremendously from person to…
image “This Week In Epicurean Philosophy”For the last several years (one hundred and twenty five weeks, to be exact) I have been producing a short weekly summary of notable links and discussions on the Facebook…
image “Quantity” Does Not Equal “Type”The diagram associated with this post is intended to dramatize the question:  Does any quantity of a thing ever change that thing into its opposite?  When Epicurus stated that there…
image Peace and Safety For Your Twentieth of September! – An Overview of the Letter to HerodotusPeace and Safety to the Epicureans of today, no matter where you might be!   This month for the Twentieth, I offer a quick outline of the major points of…
Thanks to all who participated in the Facebook forum this week. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group!
 – – – Live Well!

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Resources for Epicurean Philosophy On The Internet

There are many find Epicurean websites on the internet, so be sure you are aware of the main ones.  This newsletter is brought to you by Two other very active and important websites are and

There is also an active website in Greece (mostly in the Greek language) at  Please be sure to check the list at for a full list, and let us know if other sites should be mentioned here.

Options for those who wish to discuss Epicurus on the internet include:1- If you are focused primarily on Epicurus, and you want to participate in a forum where people will defend Epicurus strongly from all challenges, then you have two Facebook options. Our open and main group, entitled simply “Epicurean Philosophy,” is the home base of this post. Anyone can read the posts there, and all you have to do is ask in order to join. (Note that there is an “About” and a “Sticky” post with our forum rules.)

2 – If you are someone whose views are fully formed, and you’ve combined several disparate viewpoints into your own personal mix, and you mainly want to talk casually to other people of the same eclectic type, there are several excellent facebook groups including EPISTOBUZEN and “Epicureanism for Modern Times.” 3 – If you prefer to post in a “private” group where your posts are not readable by outsiders, we have “Epicurean Private Garden.” Because it is a private group, you cannot find it by searching, and you have to email one of our admins in the open group if you wish to join. Please note that our About and Sticky Post rules in the private forum are the same as the open forum, and the private forum will be moderated to the same standards as the open forum (or perhaps slightly tighter!)

4 – If you are not only focused primarily on Epicurus, but you wish to assist with a forum platform where pro-Epicurean activists can build for the future, check out Work is starting on a FAQ and other resources. Anyone can read the posts, but only approved members can create new posts or comment.

5 – If your interest is primarily on the scientific research side, such as implications of quantum mechanics and related theories, be sure to check out “Epicurean Touchpoints” at Facebook.

Please be sure to check out the list of websites at for the latest available sites. If you know of sites that should be mentioned here, please send me an email.

This email newsletter is brought to you by  Copies of these posts, and a current list of links to active Epicurean websites can also be found at
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