The Society of Friends of Epicurus (ISFE) was recently founded in February of 2013.
Epicurus was one of the first philosophers who spoke about the atom (2,300 years ago). He was an ethical materialist philosopher who linked the ethics discourse to tangible human happiness and tangible human suffering, rather than what we have in our society where, every time we have a discussion on morals and ethics, we can expect it to degenerate into people making supernatural claims to promote an anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-science agenda. We believe that philosophy is the only proper context within which rational, sane ethical discourse can really take place, and we’re interested in giving naturalist philosophy again the visibility it had in antiquity.
We are experiencing growth on a global scale and we believe that, just as there are churches in every corner, there should be Epicurean Gardens (this is the name for Epicurus’ schools) in every city, as it was in antiquity. Currently, there are two modern Gardens in Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens) and one in Sydney, Australia. There are also many individuals in many parts of the world who are committed to the philosophy and interested in forming new circles of Friends of Epicurus.
Epicureanism is also a philosophy and science of happiness that provides people with empirical methodologies for the cultivation of happiness and well-being. We’re very interested in the work being done by the likes of Sam Harris in neuroscience, studying the brain when it’s in a state of happiness, and other work being done around diets that promote well-being, etc.
Epicurus promoted sane interaction among friends (ergo, among equals) as the ideal relationship. Epicurus was so progressive that his contemporaries considered him scandalous for engaging women and slaves in philosophical discourse in his day. We believe that friends are the most important ingredient for human happiness, and so our tradition also has the potential to build community and strong bonds of loyalty and solidarity among like-minded people.
Thomas Jefferson was an Epicurean, and so was Christopher Hitchens.
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