TOPIC: Epicurean Hedonism
Wikipedia on Epicureanism:
Philosophy has been described as the search for what it means to be human. Epicurus suggested that the nature of humanity was to seek pleasure and that indeed pleasure was the greatest good. This month, we explore the core teachings of Epicureanism and their context in our light of the modern world we now live in, and the scientific research which has come to bear since it's inception. Specifically, I would like to focus on the Epicurean Four Part Cure:
Don't fear god,
Don't worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.
~Philodemus, Herculaneum Papyrus, 1005, 4.9-14
1. The nature of pleasure. Epicureanism makes the claim that the absence of pain is the ultimate pleasure, or that pleasure is otherwise derived from the absence of pain. Is this possible? Is this accurate?
2. Fear of god(s) or fate. One could read the notions of Epicurus concerning god(s) as essentially boiling down to "don't fret over that which is beyond your control."
3. Fear of death. Epicurus argued that while we are alive, we need not worry about death because we're not experiencing it. While dead, we also need not worry about death because we're not experiencing anything. Fear of death is a fairly big one. Would we do well to abandon it? Is that even possible? Are Epicurus' arguments against the fear of death even valid?
4. What is good is easy to get. Is this true universally, generally, or at least on average? Is it truly easy to do good and conversely difficult to do evil? Many religions have suggested that it is the exact opposite.
5. Enduring the terrible. Is it really that easy? Epicurus said that suffering is either brief or chronic, either mild or intense, yet rarely chronic and intense. Is this accurate? Does this offer any comfort?
6. What sets Epicurean hedonism apart from other forms of hedonism? Is there a means by which we could determine which is more effective?
Location and Price:
This meetup will be just outside the cafe inside Half-Price Books (near the fish tank and crystal display). There is also a suggested (but by no means mandatory) $2 donation to help cover the cost of maintaining this meetup group.