We are very pleased to be able to present to you, here at the end of 2021, one of the best and most helpful audio presentations of an ancient Epicurean text available anywhere.
The “Torquatus” narrative of Epicurean Philosophy found in Book One of Cicero’s “On Ends” is probably the most detailed and important summaries of Epicurean Ethics that survives from the ancient world. In important respects it is more detailed and clear than even Epicurus’ own “Letter to Menoeceus.” Perhaps that ought not be surprising, given that Epicurus’ letter was apparently written to a younger member of his own school, who presumably already understood the basics of Epicurus’ views. The Torquatus narrative, on the other hand, represents itself to be an argument sufficient to refute the opposition of one of the most educated Roman “Academic / Stoics of his time, – the highly educated Marcus Tullius Cicero, Senator and former Consul of Rome. Cicero prepared this material for us as part of his campaign against Epicurus, but in doing so he preserved for us some of the most important evidence we have of Epicurus’ true viewpoints.
This audio version of Torquatus was recorded by Joshua, who is a regular panelist of the “Lucretius Today” podcast. Joshua’s excerpt needs little introduction, as the subject will be immediately familiar to all students of Epicurus. Torquatus takes us deep into the rationale of Epicurus’ designation of Pleasure as the goal of life, and sets forth in detail the Stoic/Platonic error of placing the highest good in “Virtue.” The student of Epicurus looking for a clear and concise presentation of Epicurus’ ethical doctrines can hardly find a better place to start, or to coordinate his or her more detailed studies, than this material direct from the ancient world.
Many thanks to Joshua for the effort he put into producing this for the free benefit of all students of Epicurus. You can hear more from Joshua in his regular appearances on the “Lucretius Today” podcast, and learn much more about Epicurean philosophy, at EpicureanFriends.com, where links are always available to find the podcast for free on all major podcast platforms.