First, let me acknowledge that I'm a novice and won't even call myself an Epicurean as I don't have the foundation to do so. Nonetheless, as a long-standing atheist, I have been attracted to Epicurean philosophy and would like to understand more. I'm very much looking for practical vs. academic understanding.
I'll admit that, of all the concepts in Epicurean philosophy, anticipations is the one I'm struggling with the most. In the absence consensus on the meaning, I can see this becoming a source of misunderstanding. Clearly, Epicurus placed importance on this as a source of truth.
Based on what I've read, the only understanding of anticipations that resonates with me is internalized rules about the way the world works. (This is me paraphrasing what I've read, not an explanation I found in the literature.) For example, if I observe a phenomenon and whenever the conditions are repeated the same thing happens, I can intuit cause and effect while not necessarily knowing what the actual mechanics at work are. And as children develop, and even as adults, I think this process is precognitive and unconscious. These can be rules about the physical world (e.g. I can crawl over a clear sheet of glass and won't fall through because it is solid) or about human nature (e.g. I'm more likely to have my argument accepted if I acknowledge the truth in the counter-argument).
So please help me learn by telling my why I'm right or wrong, and what I'm missing in my interpretation of anticipations. Thanks!