- Major Concepts
- Canonics – Nature’s Test of Truth
- Ethics – How Men Should Live
- Physics – Nature of the Universe
- Against Plato And His Children
- Key Issues In Correct Thinking
- Diogenes Laertius: The Life of Epicurus
- 12 Elementals of Nature
- Forty Authorized Doctrines (And Sayings)
- Vatican Library List
- The Wise Man Sayings
- Letter to Herodotus – Elemental Edition
- Epicurus’ Letter to Pythocles – Elemental Edition
- Letter to Menoeceus – Elemental Edition
- Other Writers
- Norman DeWitt’s “Epicurus And His Philosophy”
- Frances Wright’s “A Few Days In Athens”
- Ante Oculos – Epicurus and The Evidence-Based Life
- The Doctrines of Epicurus – Annotated
- A Life Worthy of the Gods – The Life And Work of Epicurus
- The Tripod of Truth
- An Introduction To The Nature of Things
- Lion of Epicurus – Lucian and His Epicurean Passages
- On Three Legs We Stand – Epicurus and the Dialogues of Jackson Barwis
- The Same Span of Time – The Major Works of Thomas Cooper, M.D.
- Catius’ Cat And The Forty Mice
- Thus Purred Catius’ Cat
- Thomas Cooper’s “Consolidation”
Welcome to NewEpicurean.com, the website devoted to the study and application of Epicureanism in the modern world. Why do we feature a picture of Thomas Jefferson? Because for many today, the third president of the United States, who wrote in his private correspondence "I too am an Epicurean," is their closest point of reference for understanding someone who claimed to be a follower of Epicureanism. Without an understanding of Epicurus, you will never truly follow the roots of Jefferson's thinking, or why he wrote statements such as these:
- As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurean. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. Epictetus indeed, has given us what was good of the stoics; all beyond, of their dogmas, being hypocrisy and grimace. Their great crime was in their calumnies of Epicurus and misrepresentations of his doctrines; in which we lament to see the candid character of Cicero engaging as an accomplice. Diffuse, vapid, rhetorical, but enchanting. His prototype Plato, eloquent as himself, dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to the human mind, has been deified by certain sects usurping the name of Christians; because, in his foggy conceptions, they found a basis of impenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as delirious, of their own invention. - Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1819
- “I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.” – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1820
- ...[T]o give rest to my mind, I was obliged to recur ultimately to my habitual anodyne: "I feel: therefore I exist." I feel bodies which are not myself: there are other existencies then. I call them matter. I feel them changing place. This gives me motion. Where there is an absence of matter, I call it void, or nothing, or immaterial space. On the basis of sensation, of matter and motion, we may erect the fabric of all the certainties we can have or need. ... To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise. - Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820
- The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them; and for this obvious reason, that nonsense can never be explained. - Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, July 5, 1814
Thank you for visiting! Many today are rediscovering that the ancient flowering of Greco-Roman civilization was in large part generated by a fascinating and popular intellectual movement. This movement was led by Epicurus, a man who - all but alone - stood up against and put to flight the religious and philosophic tyranny of his day. After hundreds of years Epicureanism was eventually suppressed, but like the elements, its truths could not be destroyed. The insights of Epicurus remain just as fresh and just as valid today as ever, and they remain available to provide a foundation of strength and happiness for any who seek it out. If you have not visited before, be sure to review our modern audio presentation of Epicurus' own summary of his philosophy, his "Letter to Herodotus." Also, be sure to check out To The Hearts In Darkness: a Brief Introduction to the Philosophy of Epicurus, and for a modern summary at an elemental level, see our two short poems "Thus Purred Catius Cat" and "Catius Cat And the Forty Mice." These videos are organized for easy reference on our Youtube Video Page. We also have a set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Our Most Recent Blog Post:
For all our recent blog posts, click here. →
The following extended excerpt is from Chapter XII of Norman DeWitt’s “Epicurus and His Philosophy.” It is presented here without comment as part of our ongoing investigation of Epicurus’ views on Pleasure and Pain. THE TRUE NATURE OF PLEASURE While the identity of the end or telos is declared to have been established by Nature, recourse must be had to …Read More
The purpose of this website is to promote the study of the philosophy of Epicurus.
Epicurus taught that it is essential to our happiness to pursue the study of Nature. An understanding of basic principles of Nature leads us to conclude that the universe is eternal, that we have free will, that we are not predestined by “Fate,” that we have no need to fear punishment or reward from capricious gods either now or after death, that we can find all the truth that is necessary for us to find, that happiness is possible, and that the requirements of happy living are few and simple. And these truths are not matters of speculation or reserved for some future existence – these are the ground rules of the only life available to us – the one we live now.
Armed with confidence in these conclusions, we are freed from the unnecessary fears and anxieties peddled by false priests and false philosophers. Beguiled no longer by “virtue” or “abstract reason” or “the will of the gods,” we are free to follow the guide Nature provided to us, Divine Pleasure. And our confidence that these conclusions are correct is not a matter of faith – in Epicurus or anything or anyone else. Our confidence is grounded in the proper use of the faculties Nature herself gave to us, by use of the method of true reason taught by Epicurus.
These are the matters that this web site will explore. This exploration is directed to normal, everyday people who wish to live happily – it is not directed to academics or historians. Academics and historians are welcome as well, but the philosophy of Epicurus was developed for ordinary people, and for far too long it has been hidden away from those who need it most. Establishment figures can be expected to continue to reject Epicurus just as they have for thousands of years. Epicurus’ philosophy gives no quarter to imposition or manipulation, and gives no route to fame or riches or power over others. The path of Epicureanism will always be the one to which Nature calls, but only those who are willing to listen to her, rather than to the crowd, will follow.
The attitude of Thomas Jefferson two hundred years ago was much the same as Epicurus two thousand years ago, and so the same is the attitude embraced by this website: “I swear eternal hostility toward every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
For a summary of the tenets of Epicurean philosophy prepared by Epicurus himself, consult the three letters he wrote for that purpose: (1) To Herodotus on General Principles of Nature, (2) To Pythocles on Astronomy, and (3) To Menoeceus on Ethics.
The Letter to Herodotus
The Letter to Pythocles
The Letter to Menoeceus
The above “Elemental Edition” audio versions have been compiled and simplified from a variety of translations. Many translations of these letters are available on the internet, with two particularly good resources being Epicurus.info and Epicurus.net. For additional resources including the full text of these letters with critical commentary, consult the various resources included in the NewEpicurean library.