In Proximity to Epicurus: Nietzsche’s Discovery of the Past Within

 Works Cited: 

Ansell Pearson, Keith. “True to the Earth: Nietzsche’s Epicurean Care of Self and World” in
Nietzsche’s Therapeutic Teaching: For Individuals and Culture. Edited by Horst Hutter
and Eli Friedland, London: Bloomsbury 2013, pp. 97-116. Print.
—.“Heroic-idyllic philosophizing: Nietzsche and the Epicurean tradition”. Royal Institute
 of Philosophy Supplement, 74, 2014, pp. 237-263. Available online at

Bett, Richard. “Nietzsche, the Greeks, and Happiness (with Special Reference to Aristotle and
Epicurus).” Philosophical Topics. Vol. 33, No. 2, Fall 2005, pp. 45-70. Print.

Gaskin, John (ed.). The Epicurean Philosophers. London: Everyman, 1995. Print.

Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Tr. By Michael Chase. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995. Print.

Krell, David Farrell and Bates, Donald L. The Good European: Nietzsche’s Work Sites in Word and Image. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997. Print.

Nietzsche, F. Nietzsche: Kritische Studienausgabe in 15 volumes, edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin : DTV/de Gruyter, 1967-77 and 1988. Print.

—.Nietzsche: Sämtliche Briefe: Kritische Studienausgabe in 8 volumes, edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin : DTV/de Gruyter, 1975-1984 and 1986. Print.

Shearin, Wilson H., “Misunderstanding Epicurus: A Nietzschean Identification.” Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Vol. 45, Issue 1, Spring 2014, pp. 68-83. Print.

Vincenzo, Joseph P. “Nietzsche and Epicurus” Man and World, Vol.27, No.4 (1994), pp. 383- Print.

[1] Translations are my own.

[2] In The Gay Science Nietzsche suggests that although these archaic powers may seem strange, rare and extraordinary in the present day, they may once have been common. Accordingly, it behoves whoever “feels these powers in oneself” to care for, defend, honour and cultivate them “against another world that resists them” (GS 10).

[3] This is somewhat different to the act of ‘identifying’ with Epicurus. For a discussion of Epicurus as a model Nietzsche uses in ‘in the process of creating himself’ see Wilson H. Shearin 2014, p.74.

[4] See Book II of Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura (Gaskin 1995, p. 120).

[5] See “Letter to Menoeceus” (Gaskin 1995, p.45).

[6] Nietzsche lists his “Doctrine of the Nearest Things” in his private notes as follows: “Division of the day, purpose of the day (periods). Nourishment. Company [Umgang]. Nature. Solitude. Sleep.  Profession [Broderwerb]. Upbringing (original and foreign). Use of moods and atmospheric conditions (Witterung). Health. Retreat from politics.”See KSA 8/581/40[16].

[7] See Nietzsche’s list at KSA 8/581/40[16]. Various sayings attributed to Epicurus concern a retreat from public office and political life. For example, “We must release ourselves from the prison of affairs and politics” (“Vatican Sayings”, LVIII, cited in Gaskin p. 52). See also Gaskin 64, 71. Epicurus’s remarks on meterological phenomena are to be found in his “Letter to Pythocles” (see Gaskin 1995, pp. 30-41).

[8] See Krell and Bates 1997, pp.123-123.

[9] Richard Bett notes that Pierre Hadot includes Nietzsche in his discussion of the value of the present instant in ancient philosophy, citing a passage on saying yes to eternity by saying yes to a single moment. However, he does not see any relevant link to Epicurus: “The thought is clearly connected with the attitude expressed in Nietzsche’s contemplation of the eternal recurrence; but this is not especially relevant to Nietzsche’s view of Epicurus” (Bett 2005, 70).

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