On Nature Book 28 - Reconstruction By David Sedley - 1973 Article 1.0.0

Sedley reconstruction of fragments from Book 28

Sedley reconstruction of fragments from Book 28

  • Version 1.0.0

  • I'm unable to upload pics into the comments section here, but in p. 46 I see the idea expressed that "by assigning any name one expresses a particular opinion".

    This reminds me of Nietzsche's treatment of words as both authority or power upon creation / the world, as well as with the insistence among Epicureans in a careful choice of words, something on which we today and in the English language have not focused enough. We have instead been careful to _avoid_ certain words (like faith, God or gods, hedonism) because of their conventionally understood meanings, instead.

    Further up from this passage it suggests the need for "adapting certain conventional usages"--which reminds me of the practice (which is mentioned in the recent "against empty words" video) of re-defining words according to nature, and Polyaenus insistence on this in his scroll "on definitions".

    In p. 47 Epicurus here mentions that he has recently learned about the "difficulties of using the correct names for individual things". This resonates with my observation that the ancient Epicureans preferred to move away from speaking in the abstract (man) and trying to align their speech as clearly as possible with the concrete examples of categories (humans, men in the plural) to accentuate the individual specimens.

    There seems to have been a more complete, comprehensive Epicurean theory of speech, rhetorics, and linguistics than most of us today are aware of (which would make sense in light of the insistence on clear speech).

    P. 48 again confirms what we know, that the Epicureans used conventional words and did not disregard conventional meaning ("our own usage does not flout linguistic convention") but yet assigned new and particular meaning to them, keeping in mind their distinct, clear meaning.

    p. 49 mentions a work titled "On Ambiguity" as a source that explained why it's an error to transfer words that design the knowable to things that belong in the category of the unknowable. Here, Metodorus and Epicurus are also discussing who is and who is not a worthy intellectual opponent enough to dedicate time to them in light of the goal of benefiting sincere, committed students who want to be happy. Maybe we should discuss these matters more in detail in order to try to imagine what was discussed in that work.

    p 50 contains a great quote in defense of empirical thinking, and the idea that false opinions can find themselves into the words of a language "through a non-empirical process, not following one of our current divisions, but simply arising from an internal movement". This is below called a "trace of suspicion" and a call is made to "turn to the entire faculty of empirical reasoning". This is passage is beautiful and of great value!

    p. 51: "for the opinion which he holds is, I know, by no means empirically based on current evidence … every opinion to which we had not yet at the time applied an empirical assessment should be referred to the following rule: it is not possible, in my view, to subject every opinion immediately to an empirical assessment, but it is sufficient that a man will be ready merely to display a capacity for reasoning empirically when the opportunity allows. For someone who examines it with this lack of empirical reasoning and in an utterly inadequate fashion, will nevertheless be able to assess it empiritucally, (if it is an opinion that concerns actions, when he has the opportunity to observe someone who proceeds to action on the basis of it; he will see with what results the person performs this action and under its guidance he will arrive at the truth just as much in the category of avoidance as in that of choice".

    The above passage re: how to think empirically about action is mentioned in the video on empty words. Concerning theoretical and unempirical opinions, they can be considered false if an empirical opinion based on them is untrue, or if when acted upon they lead to disadvantageous action (meaning that, here, the definite existence of "moral truths" is posited based on disadvantage).

    p 55 Epicurus mentions the importance of the canon ("keeping at his side a yardstick with the help of which … he will not proceed in the direction of falsehood"), and of being careful to await for confirmation (that is, empirical evidence) before we declare something to be true.

    p 56 closes by citing how important this discourse is: "... try 10,000 times over to commit to memory what I and Metrodorus here have just said".

    • thank you Hiram! Why cannot you add attachments? How large are they?

    • Also Hiram if you can quote the book from on nature where there occur we can correlate with the material on the Werzberger site.

    • Hiram let's try to discuss in the main thread here. On Nature Book 28 - Reconstruction By David Sedley - 1973 Article

    • According to the above "sources" we have to examine an example of the experience, and in practice :

      Positively and affirmatively I assure you that the majority of the greek epicureans we speak, reading and writing the words of our language properly, as well as we avoid definitions on the words since we are not be based on the methodology of dialectics by Plato. We use the epicurean Canon to judge all the issues and applying in practice Epicurean Philosophy accordingly. We use the greek words as they really ARE and as have been evolved and till now are evolving through the experiences of all men in the history of our civilization, and from the era of Homer and through the survival sources of the whole greek literature . So, that is easy for us, the greek epicureans, to grasp the concepts of the words directly and without mistake. And of course when we see a word in front of our own eyes written with its proper orthography the mistake to be considered as abstract it reduces to the zero.

      An example with an evidence that an english speaking man can't use the word "αυτάρκεια" without as it is written in greek or the better that has to do is to write it like this : "autárkea" . Because, if he won't do that, he will fall in the trap to be confused and confuse others i.e. he will use an empty word without meaning.

      For the greek word "αυτάρκεια" and of what this denotes, the greeks understand it as it is written in their language, but when they read it and hearing it as it is used by english speaking persons written as "autarky"… sorry, but falser and more confused written greek word I have ever seen like this till now.

      English lexicons for the etymology of this word: "autarky” is from the Greek word: "αὐτάρκεια" (SEE HOW IT IS WRITTEN, see the syllables [thrice see the syllables] wondering how the "ει" became "y" in English and why ???)

      Aytarky means "self-sufficiency" (derived from αὐτο-, "self," and ἀρκέω, "to suffice").

      The term is sometimes (*) confused with autocracy (Greek: "αὐτoκρατία"(SEE HOW IT IS WRITTEN, see the syllables that the letter "ι" is written in English with the letter “y” again ). Autocracy is a government by single absolute ruler" or autarchy Greek: αὐταρχία – the idea of rejecting government and ruling oneself and no other.

      (*) Note : not sometimes, but all the times. Do you want an evidence and in practice ? Well ask many greek persons to explain when they would hear and see this word written in english as "autarky" and what would be their first reaction of what this word denotes in their life. See their faces and their feelings of a disgust. Ask men and their "opinions". I do not accept that words are opinions. We live through them, we breath through them, we feed with the milk of our mothers who spoke to us with them, we feel with them, and we have been and still are evolving with them. No, I do not accept that the words are opinions, the falsehood on opinions can be judged through the Canon, but the Canon that is described also in the Epicurus letter to Herodotus accepts that the words are the only standard to use for our investigations through our senses and feelings. Sorry, but this issue on language and the words as used by the greeks, and on how is given and written here is going to be an issue of unnatural and not natural.

      When you have a remembrance of a pleasurable moment i.e. a trip, and someone would ask you what did you saw and felt , you have to describe it with words. If you use fantastic creatures in your narration, the other person if he won't be a stupid, he will understand that your narration is based on the fantastic impressions of the mind. The other person could confirm without contradiction whatever you tell him.

      Sorry Epicurus did not change the concepts of the greek words and he did not change the orthography and the grammar of greek words. He wrote his works with clarity and properly with the usage of greek language.

      The issue on greek language :

      The historical unity and continuing identity between the various stages of the Greek language is often emphasized. Although Greek has undergone morphological and phonological changes comparable to those seen in other languages, never since classical antiquity has its cultural, literary, and orthographic tradition been interrupted to the extent that one can speak of a new language emerging. Greek speakers today still tend to regard literary works of ancient Greek as part of their own rather than a foreign language. It is also often stated that the historical changes have been relatively slight compared with some other languages. According to one estimation, "Homeric Greek is probably closer to demotic than 12-century Middle English is to modern spoken English," (Greek has seen fewer changes in 2700 years than English has in 900 years).

      Geographic distribution

      Greek is spoken by at least 13 million people, mainly in Greece, Albania and Cyprus, but also worldwide by the large Greek diaspora. Historically, there were traditional Greek-speaking settlements and regions in the neighbouring countries of Albania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, as well as in several countries in the Black Sea area, such as Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and around the Mediterranean Sea, Southern Italy, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and ancient coastal towns along the Levant. Particularly in Albania due to the immigration wave towards Greece today a significant percentage of the population can speak the Greek language, or at least has some basic knowledge of it. The language is also spoken by Greek emigrant communities in many countries in Western Europe, especially the United Kingdom and Germany, Canada, the United States, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and others.


      The phonology, morphology, syntax and vocabulary of the language show both conservative and innovative tendencies across the entire attestation of the language from the ancient to the modern period. The division into conventional periods is, as with all such periodisations, relatively arbitrary, especially because at all periods, Ancient Greek has enjoyed high prestige, and the literate borrowed heavily from it.


      Across its history, the syllabic structure of Greek has varied little: Greek shows a mixed syllable structure, permitting complex syllabic onsets but very restricted codas. It has only oral vowels and a fairly stable set of consonantal contrasts. The main phonological changes occurred during the Hellenistic and Roman period (see Koine Greek phonology for details):

      • replacement of the pitch accent with a stress accent.
      • simplification of the system of vowels and diphthongs: loss of vowel length distinction, monophthongisation of most diphthongs and several steps in a chain shift of vowels towards /i/ (iotacism).
      • development of the voiceless aspirated plosives /pʰ/ and /tʰ/ to the voiceless fricatives /f/ and /θ/, respectively; the similar development of /kʰ/ to /x/ may have taken place later (the phonological changes are not reflected in the orthography, and both earlier and later phonemes are written with φ, θ, and χ).
      • development of the voiced plosives /b/, /d/, and /ɡ/ to their voiced fricative counterparts /β/ (later /v/), /ð/, and /ɣ/.


      In all its stages, the morphology of Greek shows an extensive set of productive derivational affixes, a limited but productive system of compounding and a rich inflectional system. Although its morphological categories have been fairly stable over time, morphological changes are present throughout, particularly in the nominal and verbal systems. The major change in the nominal morphology since the classical stage was the disuse of the dative case (its functions being largely taken over by the genitive). The verbal system has lost the infinitive, the synthetically-formed future and perfect tenses and the optative mood. Many have been replaced by periphrastic (analytical) forms.

      Nouns and adjectives

      Pronouns show distinctions in person (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), number (singular, dual, and plural in the ancient language; singular and plural alone in later stages), and gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and decline for case (from six cases in the earliest forms attested to four in the modern language).[22] Nouns, articles and adjectives show all the distinctions except for person. Both attributive and predicative adjectives agree with the noun.


      The inflectional categories of the Greek verb have likewise remained largely the same over the course of the language's history but with significant changes in the number of distinctions within each category and their morphological expression. Greek verbs have synthetic inflectional forms for:




      Ancient Greek

      Modern Greek


      first, second and third

      also second person formal


      singular, dual and plural

      singular and plural


      present, past and future

      past and non-past (future is expressed by a periphrastic construction)


      imperfective, perfective (traditionally called aorist) and perfect (sometimes also called perfective; see note about terminology)

      imperfective and perfective/aorist (perfect is expressed by a periphrastic construction)


      indicative, subjunctive, imperative and optative

      indicative, subjunctive,[23] and imperative (other modal functions are expressed by periphrastic constructions)


      active, middle, and passive

      active and medio-passive


      Many aspects of the syntax of Greek have remained constant: verbs agree with their subject only, the use of the surviving cases is largely intact (nominative for subjects and predicates, accusative for objects of most verbs and many prepositions, genitive for possessors), articles precede nouns, adpositions are largely prepositional, relative clauses follow the noun they modify and relative pronouns are clause-initial. However, the morphological changes also have their counterparts in the syntax, and there are also significant differences between the syntax of the ancient and that of the modern form of the language. Ancient Greek made great use of participial constructions and of constructions involving the infinitive, and the modern variety lacks the infinitive entirely (instead having a raft of new periphrastic constructions) and uses participles more restrictively. The loss of the dative led to a rise of prepositional indirect objects (and the use of the genitive to directly mark these as well). Ancient Greek tended to be verb-final, but neutral word order in the modern language is VSO or SVO.


      Modern Greek inherits most of its vocabulary from Ancient Greek, which in turn is an Indo-European language, but also includes a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks, some documented in Mycenaean texts; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. The form and meaning of many words has evolved. Loanwords (words of foreign origin) have entered the language, mainly from Latin, Venetian, and Turkish. During the older periods of Greek, loanwords into Greek acquired Greek inflections, thus leaving only a foreign root word. Modern borrowings (from the 20th century on), especially from French and English, are typically not inflected; other modern borrowings are derived from South Slavic (Macedonian/Bulgarian) and Eastern Romance languages (Aromanian and Megleno-Romanian).

      Greek loanwords in other languages

      Greek words have been widely borrowed into other languages, including English: mathematics, physics, astronomy, democracy, philosophy, athletics, theatre, rhetoric, baptism, evangelist, etc. Moreover, Greek words and word elements continue to be productive as a basis for coinages: anthropology, photography, telephony, isomer, biomechanics, cinematography, etc. and form, with Latin words, the foundation of international scientific and technical vocabulary like all words ending with –logy ("discourse"). There are many English words of Greek origin.


      Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. The ancient language most closely related to it may be ancient Macedonian which many scholars suggest may have been a dialect of Greek itself, but it is so poorly attested that it is difficult to conclude anything about it. Independently of the Macedonian question, some scholars have grouped Greek into Graeco-Phrygian, as Greek and the extinct Phrygian share features that are not found in other Indo-European languages.[28] Among living languages, some Indo-Europeanists suggest that Greek may be most closely related to Armenian (see Graeco-Armenian) or the Indo-Iranian languages (see Graeco-Aryan), but little definitive evidence has been found for grouping the living branches of the family. In addition, Albanian has also been considered somewhat related to Greek and Armenian by some linguists. If proven and recognised, the three languages would form a new Balkan sub-branch with other dead European languages.

      Writing system

      Greek alphabet

      Αα Alpha        Νν  Nu

      Ββ  Beta          Ξξ  Xi

      Γγ  Gamma     Οο  Omicron

      Δδ  Delta         Ππ  Pi

      Εε  Epsilon     Ρρ   Rho

      Ζζ  Zeta          Σσς Sigma

      Ηη  Eta            Ττ   Tau

      Θθ  Theta        Υυ  Upsilon

      Ιι    Iota           Φφ Phi

      Κκ  Kappa       Χχ  Chi

      Λλ Lambda    Ψψ Psi

      Μμ Mu            Ωω Omega

      Linear B

      Main article: Linear B

      Linear B, attested as early as the late 15th century BC, was the first script used to write Greek. It is basically a syllabary, which was finally deciphered by Michael Ventris and John Chadwick in the 1950s (its precursor, Linear A, has not been deciphered and most likely encodes a non-Greek language). The language of the Linear B texts, Mycenaean Greek, is the earliest known form of Greek.

      Greek inscription in Cypriot syllabic script

      Another similar system used to write the Greek language was the Cypriot syllabary (also a descendant of Linear A via the intermediate Cypro-Minoan syllabary), which is closely related to Linear B but uses somewhat different syllabic conventions to represent phoneme sequences. The Cypriot syllabary is attested in Cyprus from the 11th century BC until its gradual abandonment in the late Classical period, in favor of the standard Greek alphabet.

      Greek alphabet

      Ancient epichoric variants of the Greek alphabet from Euboea, Ionia, Athens, and Corinth comparing to modern Greek

      Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet since approximately the 9th century BC. It was created by modifying the Phoenician alphabet, with the innovation of adopting certain letters to represent the vowels. The variant of the alphabet in use today is essentially the late Ionic variant, introduced for writing classical Attic in 403 BC. In classical Greek, as in classical Latin, only upper-case letters existed. The lower-case Greek letters were developed much later by medieval scribes to permit a faster, more convenient cursive writing style with the use of ink and quill.

      The Greek alphabet consists of 24 letters, each with an uppercase (majuscule) and lowercase (minuscule) form. The letter sigma has an additional lowercase form (ς) used in the final position:


      In addition to the letters, the Greek alphabet features a number of diacritical signs: three different accent marks (acute, grave, and circumflex), originally denoting different shapes of pitch accent on the stressed vowel; the so-called breathing marks (rough and smooth breathing), originally used to signal presence or absence of word-initial /h/; and the diaeresis, used to mark full syllabic value of a vowel that would otherwise be read as part of a diphthong. These marks were introduced during the course of the Hellenistic period. Actual usage of the grave in handwriting saw a rapid decline in favor of uniform usage of the acute during the late 20th century, and it has only been retained in typography.

      After the writing reform of 1982, most diacritics are no longer used. Since then, Greek has been written mostly in the simplified monotonic orthography (or monotonic system), which employs only the acute accent and the diaeresis. The traditional system, now called the polytonic orthography (or polytonic system), is still used internationally for the writing of Ancient Greek.


      In Greek, the question mark is written as the English semicolon, while the functions of the colon and semicolon are performed by a raised point (•), known as the ano teleia (άνω τελεία). In Greek the comma also functions as a silent letter in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing ό,τι (ó,ti, "whatever") from ότι (óti, "that").

      Ancient Greek texts often used scriptio continua ('continuous writing'), which means that ancient authors and scribes would write word after word with no spaces or punctuation between words to differentiate or mark boundaries. Boustrophedon, or bi-directional text, was also used in Ancient Greek.

      Latin alphabet

      Greek has occasionally been written in the Latin script, especially in areas under Venetian rule or by Greek Catholics. The term Frankolevantinika / Φραγκολεβαντίνικα applies when the Latin script is used to write Greek in the cultural ambit of Catholicism (because Frankos / Φράγκος is an older Greek term for West-European dating to when most of (Roman Catholic Christian) West Europe was under the control of the Frankish Empire). Frankochiotika / Φραγκοχιώτικα (meaning "Catholic Chiot") alludes to the significant presence of Catholic missionaries based on the island of Chios. Additionally the term Greeklish is often used when the Greek language is written in a Latin script in online communications.

      List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


    • I don't know why I can't upload pics I just know that I can't. Under insert image it says "source", I see no way to UPLOAD, except from a link / website, so can't copy and paste.