Cassius' Personal Outline of Epicurean Philosophy (Example)

  • Here is an example of a raw outline composed from "stream of consciousness" that needs much revision:


    1. Nature / Physics
      1. We observe nothing comes from nothing and nothing goes to nothing
      2. We observe that nature follows a pattern in which changes happen with regularity and living things reproduce their same kind (orange trees produce oranges; oranges produce orange trees, over and over. Birds don't appear in an instant in the sky, they come from eggs. Birds and people grow at a regular expectable rate.
      3. There must be a mechanism by which this pattern is reproduced.
      4. There must be, at the limit of division, some smallest level of particle which continues to survive and on which these reproducible changes originate.
      5. In order for these elemental particles to move, they must have space to move in, so there must be void.
      6. If anything exists, it must be composed of these elemental particles and void.
      7. Since nothing new is ever created or destroyed (per observation 1) the inference is that the universe has always existed, and therefore was not created by any supernatural god.
      8. Since all things which come together from elemental particles and void eventually return to particles and void, that includes my mind and body.
      9. When my mind and body disassemble and return to elemental state, I will have no further sensation and my consciousness will end; I will not go to "heaven" or "hell"
      10. The universe appears to be infinite in size, and the number of particles appears infinite (for reasons to be included here in future additions)
      11. Since the universe is infinite in size, there is nothing "outside" the universe where any supernatural god or supernatural realm might be.
      12. Modern science, as well as the observation that higher animals have free will, provide evidence that there must be a mechanism by which at some point the atoms do not move in an entirely mechanistic biilliard-ball style; this mechanism must be the "swerve" of the atom.
    2. Knowledge / Truth
      1. We have no faculties of information about the universe outside of us except for the senses.
      2. We have no natural dispensation toward what to choose or avoid other than pleasure and pain.
      3. We have no inborn knowledge of facts about things outside us, but we do seem to have some sort of intuitive faculty which disposes us to process information in predisposedways (anticipations)
      4. Those who tell us that knowledge / truth is impossible are lying because they are are claiming knowledge / truth in making their statement.
      5. Reason must be based on evidence from the senses in order for the conclusions of reason to be valid.
    3. Ethics / How to Live
      1. Because we concluded in Physics that there are no supernatural gods, then there is also no supernatural world of ideas, of forms, of virtues, or any other absolute standards of conduct.
      2. Because we concluded in Physics that our consciousness ends at death, there is no reason to calculate our conduct based on heaven and hell, or fear of gods.
      3. Because we concluded in Physics that our consciousness ends at death, we know that this is the only life that we will ever have, so that we must live it to the fullest now.
      4. Because we concluded in Knowledge/Truth that pleasure is the only natural faculty we have that gives us a reason to choose anything, and pain the only natural faculty that tells us to avoid things, we conclude that pleasure is the guide of life, and pain is to be avoided.
      5. Because pleasure is our only goal according to nature, we just all our choices according to whether those choices bring us pleasure or pain.
      6. There is no grounds for considering any choice or action virtuous other than whether it brings us pleasure or helps us avoid pain.
      7. Because our emotions, in telling us what is pleasurable and therefore to choose, and what is painful and therefore to avoid, are so essential to us, any idea that emotions (feelings) should be suppressed, as suggested by the stoics and others, is the height of foolishness.