What did Epicurus say about the size of the sun and whether the Earth was round or flat?

  • Credit to Joshua for this:


    His idea, that the Sun is as big as it seems (—> DeWitt), is very naive...


    ...even in the ancient world.

    I might agree with the first part, but not as much with the second.

    It's important to consider the whole proposition. Epicurus thought that the sun was;

    1. Wholly material

    2. In constant but not uniform motion

    3. In a centerless cosmos

    4. Governed by the same laws as things on Earth

    5. Arose out of matter, and has a finite period of existence

    5a. But its matter will recombine into other things

    6. About as big as it seems.

    Compare Aristotle's sun;

    1. Made of aether, an element that didn't exist on earth

    2. In constant and uniform motion (because aetherial)

    2a. Set in motion by unmoved mover (god)

    3. Orbiting a stationary earth that was the center of everything

    4. Governed by different laws than Earth (the laws of the aether)

    5. Exists in perpetuity (because aetherial)

    6. Size uncertain (not mentioned, as far as I can tell)


    In view of the above, I think Epicurus came out alright.