Can you be an epicurean and use some logic with the senses?

  • I believe and follow mostly the fundamentals handouts Cassius had made. I haven't read them all yet but I finished the first one and I follow that entirely except for this one I am not sure about which I'll discuss now.

    That being said I was wondering what if someone has a medical issue where their senses can see or hear that are not there and or have intrusive thoughts can you still be an epicurean and use logic to reason out why those problems are not real. For example, with intrusive thoughts that are negative the medical field recommends to use logic to reason out why it isn't true and come up with a more reasonable conclusion. Did the Epicureans advocate anything to counteract these thoughts?

  • Tyler philosophy is not a magic bullet, and when someone has a medical issue they always need to be relying on professional medical help. So I urge you to be sure you (or anyone with a clinical problem) is getting professional help and following those professionals' advice.

    That having been said, much of Lucretius is devoted to using reasoned observation to study what goes on in nature, and with the senses, so as to better know how to process the perceptions we get from our senses.

  • The writings of Philodemus make it clear that only (well-reasoned, empirical) arguments can heal the soul. This is made clear, for example, when he discusses the healing properties of music and argues that only the content of the songs, if it contains the healing words (logos, related to logic) of philosophy, can heal.

    And so Philodemus prescribes cognitive therapy to deal with emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that are misaligned with nature.

    But outside of that, if there are medical or mental health issues, no one in the Epicurean group is licensed for therapy and professional advise should be sought. Philosophy only helps to keep basic existential health, not in cases that require special care.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Which book(s) of Philodemus is this that has these writings?

  • Pending Hiram answering that question, I'll just post that other than a few, most of Philodemus' surviving writings are pretty fragmentary, so you have to know where to look, and decide which reconstructors to trust.

  • Which book(s) of Philodemus is this that has these writings?

    This is what I found in his scroll on music (…s-on-philodemus-on-music/) (the part in gray is a direct quote from the scroll):


    After summarizing Diogenes’ scroll, Philodemus argues that music (by which he means instrumental music, as he treats lyrics in a separate scroll on Poetry) is not capable of making us better or worse in character. This is one of his key points, and it’s because of the lack of words, of lyrics.

    This view is consistent with the view that therapeutic philosophy heals with words, with arguments. Therefore, music can not replace philosophy in its healing role: it can not, by itself, fix the human character. It can only have therapeutic value if it incorporates the words of the healing doctrines of philosophy.

    And those that say that we are sweetened by music because she softens our souls and would deprive them of their savagery, one may consider them perfect imbeciles. In fact, it is only reason–because she teaches that none of the strange things that unreason invents has been produced by nature and that, furthermore, nothing of what she produces has any importance–that can perfectly reach this result, once it has attained its perfection, and while she is still on the path to perfection, it can alleviate in proportion

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words