Welcome to Episode 195 of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who wrote “On The Nature of Things,” the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world. Each week we walk you through the Epicurean texts, and we discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. If you find the Epicurean worldview attractive, we invite you to join us in the study of Epicurus at EpicureanFriends.com, where you will find a discussion thread for each of our podcast episodes and many other topics.
This week we continue our discussion of Books One and Two of Cicero’s On Ends, which are largely devoted to Epicurean Philosophy. “On Ends” contains important criticisms of Epicurus that have set the tone for standard analysis of his philosophy for the last 2000 years. Going through this book gives us the opportunity to review those attacks, take them apart, and respond to them as an ancient Epicurean might have done, and much more fully than Cicero allowed Torquatus, his Epicurean spokesman, to do.
This week we continue with Book Two. Last week we made a few preliminary comments about it, and this week we will be starting it in earnest at the very end of section II, right before the beginning of section III, on page 32 of the Reid edition, as Cicero claims that Epicurus himself is unsure what pleasure is.