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-====== ​Summary ​of Epicurean Philosophy ====== +====== ​Foundations ​of Epicurean Philosophy ======
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-*The following outline has been prepared by paraphrasing excerpts from the ancient texts and organizing them in a sequence calculated to be of benefit to new students of Epicurus. ​ The hyperlink at the end of each passage provides a citation to where a more detailed discussion of each topic can be found in the original sources. ​ Recurring themes from this document are summarized separately in [[Major Characteristics of the Epicurean View of Life]] ​ Thomas Jefferson'​s outline summary of Epicurean Philosophy can be found [here](http://​newepicurean.com/​suggested-reading/​thomas-jeffersons-letter-to-william-short-october-31-1819/#​Thomas_Jefferson_to_William_Short,​).*+
  
 +//The following outline has been prepared by paraphrasing excerpts from the ancient texts and organizing them in a sequence calculated to be of benefit to new students of Epicurus. The hyperlink at the end of each passage provides a citation to where a more detailed discussion of each topic can be found in the original sources. Recurring themes from this document are summarized separately in [[:​major_characteristics_of_the_epicurean_view_of_life|]]//​
  
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 At a time when human life - before the eye of all - lay foully prostrate upon the Earth, crushed down under the weight of Religion, which showed its head from the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect, glowering down upon men, it was a man of Hellas who was the first to venture to lift up his mortal eyes, and stand up to Religion, face to face. [(Lucretius Book 1)] At a time when human life - before the eye of all - lay foully prostrate upon the Earth, crushed down under the weight of Religion, which showed its head from the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect, glowering down upon men, it was a man of Hellas who was the first to venture to lift up his mortal eyes, and stand up to Religion, face to face. [(Lucretius Book 1)]
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 So with words of truth he purged the heart of man, setting limits to desires and fears, explaining the truth about the highest good toward which we all should strive, and pointing out the path whereby we may work toward that goal on a straight course. [(Lucretius Book 6)] So with words of truth he purged the heart of man, setting limits to desires and fears, explaining the truth about the highest good toward which we all should strive, and pointing out the path whereby we may work toward that goal on a straight course. [(Lucretius Book 6)]
  
-He explained the nature of evil in mortal affairs, and how these evils come to pass by chance, or by force of Nature, rather than by the will of the gods.  ​[(Lucretius Book 6)] +He explained the nature of evil in mortal affairs, and how these evils come to pass by chance, or by force of Nature, rather than by the will of the gods. [(Lucretius Book 6)]
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-And he showed from what gates we must march forth to combat each one, proving to us that it is mostly in vain that men toss their hearts in gloomy billows of care.  ​[(Lucretius Book 6)]+
  
-For just as children tremble and fear everything in the dark, so do we - even in the light - dread things ​that are not a bit more to be feared than the imagination ​of children [(Lucretius Book 6)]+And he showed from what gates we must march forth to combat each one, proving to us that it is mostly ​in vain that men toss their hearts in gloomy billows ​of care. [(Lucretius Book 6)]
  
-These terrors ​and darknesses of mind must be dispelledbut not by gleaming shafts of daylight. Terrors such as these can only be scattered by study of the laws of Nature [(Lucretius Book 6)]+For just as children tremble ​and fear everything in the darkso do we - even in the light - dread things that are not a bit more to be feared than the imagination ​of children. [(Lucretius Book 6)]
  
-And so he taught us to grasp the principles ​of things abovethe principles ​by which the sun and moon go on their courses, and the forces by which every thing on Earth proceeds [(Lucretius Book 1)]+These terrors and darknesses ​of mind must be dispelledbut not by gleaming shafts of daylight. Terrors such as these can only be scattered by study of the laws of Nature. [(Lucretius Book 6)]
  
-And he taught ​that above all we must find out by keen reasoning ​the nature ​of the soul and of the mind, and the nature of those things that frighten us when we are under the influence of disease, or buried in sleep, or when we seem to see or hear those who are long dead, and whose bones the Earth holds in its embrace [(Lucretius Book 1)]+And so he taught ​us to grasp the principles ​of things above, ​the principles by which the sun and moon go on their courses, and the forces by which every thing on Earth proceeds. [(Lucretius Book 1)]
  
-And he taught ​us that unless, at the very first, ​we have confidence in our senses as to those things which are clear and apparent to us, there will be nothing to which we can appeal when we seek to prove, ​by reasoning of the mind, anything about those things ​which are hidden. ​  ​[(Lucretius Book 1, line 420 - ** Munro:** "//For that body exists by itself ​the general feeling ​of man kind declares; and unless at the very first belief ​in this be firmly groundedthere will be nothing to which we can appeal on hidden things in order to prove anything by reasoning of mind//​."​ **Bailey**: ​ "//For that body exists is declared by the feeling which all share alike; and unless faith in this feeling be firmly grounded at once and prevailthere will be naught to which we can make appeal about things hidden, so as to prove aught by the reasoning of the mind//​."​ **Smith**: ​ "//The existence of matter is proved by universal sensation; ​and unless in the first place trust in sensation is established as an unshakeable foundation, there will be no criterion to which we can refer in the case of things hidden from view in order to verify any matter by reasoning//." ​)]+And he taught that above all we must find out by keen reasoning ​the nature of the soul and of the mind, and the nature of those things ​that frighten us when we are under the influence ​of disease, or buried ​in sleepor when we seem to see or hear those who are long dead, and whose bones the Earth holds in its embrace[(Lucretius Book 1)]
  
 +And he taught us that unless, at the very first, we have confidence in our senses as to those things which are clear and apparent to us, there will be nothing to which we can appeal when we seek to prove, by reasoning of the mind, anything about those things which are hidden. [(Lucretius Book 1, line 420 - ** Munro:** "//For that body exists by itself the general feeling of man kind declares; and unless at the very first belief in this be firmly grounded, there will be nothing to which we can appeal on hidden things in order to prove anything by reasoning of mind//​."​ **Bailey**: "//For that body exists is declared by the feeling which all share alike; and unless faith in this feeling be firmly grounded at once and prevail, there will be naught to which we can make appeal about things hidden, so as to prove aught by the reasoning of the mind//​."​ **Smith**: "//The existence of matter is proved by universal sensation; and unless in the first place trust in sensation is established as an unshakeable foundation, there will be no criterion to which we can refer in the case of things hidden from view in order to verify any matter by reasoning//​."​ )]
  
-Thus the wise man will hold firmly to that which is true, and he will not be a mere skeptic. ​ [(Diogenes Laertius, Book X)]+Thus the wise man will hold firmly to that which is true, and he will not be a mere skeptic. [(Diogenes Laertius, Book X)]
  
-Yet there are some men who will claim that nothing at all can be known. As for these, they know not whether even their own claim can be known, since they admit that they know nothing. ​ [(Lucretius Book 4)]+Yet there are some men who will claim that nothing at all can be known. As for these, they know not whether even their own claim can be known, since they admit that they know nothing. [(Lucretius Book 4)]
  
-We therefore decline to argue with men who place their head where their feet should be. And yet, even if we granted their claim that they know nothing, we would still ask these questions: ​ [(Lucretius Book 4)]+We therefore decline to argue with men who place their head where their feet should be. And yet, even if we granted their claim that they know nothing, we would still ask these questions: [(Lucretius Book 4)]
  
-Since they have never yet seen any truth in any thing, how do they know what "​knowing"​ and "not knowing"​ are? What is it that has produced in them this knowledge of the true and the false? What is it that has proved to them the difference between the doubtful and the certain? ​ [(Lucretius Book 4)]+Since they have never yet seen any truth in any thing, how do they know what "​knowing"​ and "not knowing"​ are? What is it that has produced in them this knowledge of the true and the false? What is it that has proved to them the difference between the doubtful and the certain? [(Lucretius Book 4)]
  
-That which is able to refute the false must by nature be provable with a higher certainty to be true. And what can fairly be accounted of higher certainty than sensation? ​ [(Lucretius Book 4)]+That which is able to refute the false must by nature be provable with a higher certainty to be true. And what can fairly be accounted of higher certainty than sensation? [(Lucretius Book 4)]
  
 Can reasoning alone contradict the senses, when reasoning itself is wholly founded on the senses? If the senses are not true, all reasoning is rendered false as well. [(Lucretius Book 4)] Can reasoning alone contradict the senses, when reasoning itself is wholly founded on the senses? If the senses are not true, all reasoning is rendered false as well. [(Lucretius Book 4)]
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 Thus while we direct our greatest and highest interests by reason throughout our whole life, we do not rely either on dialectical reason or logic as our ultimate Canon of Truth. [(Epicurus Doctrine 16, Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus, Diogenes Laertius Book 10)] Thus while we direct our greatest and highest interests by reason throughout our whole life, we do not rely either on dialectical reason or logic as our ultimate Canon of Truth. [(Epicurus Doctrine 16, Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus, Diogenes Laertius Book 10)]
  
-Instead, the faculties which constitute our Canon of Truth are our senses, our preconceptions,​ and our feelings of pleasure and pain, for it is by means of these that test those things which are true, and we determine which are obscure and need confirmation. [(Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus)]+Instead, the faculties which constitute our Canon of Truth are our senses, our preconceptions,​ and our feelings of pleasure and pain, for it is by means of these that we test those things which are true, and we determine which are obscure and need confirmation. [(Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus)]
  
-For only when those things which are clear to us are understood is it time to consider those things which are obscure. ​ [(Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus)]+For only when those things which are clear to us are understood is it time to consider those things which are obscure. [(Epicurus'​ Letter to Herodotus)]
  
 Now, apply your mind, for a new question struggles earnestly to gain your ears, a new aspect of things is about to display itself. [(Lucretius Book 2)] Now, apply your mind, for a new question struggles earnestly to gain your ears, a new aspect of things is about to display itself. [(Lucretius Book 2)]
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 And so in its elements the universe always was such as it is now, and always will be the same. There is nothing new into which the universe can change, for there is nothing new outside the universe which could come into it and bring about change. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)] And so in its elements the universe always was such as it is now, and always will be the same. There is nothing new into which the universe can change, for there is nothing new outside the universe which could come into it and bring about change. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)]
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 It is also true that everything in the universe is composed of bodies and space. As to bodies, the sense experience of all men perceives their existence. As to imperceptible space, we must reason from that to which the senses do testify. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)] It is also true that everything in the universe is composed of bodies and space. As to bodies, the sense experience of all men perceives their existence. As to imperceptible space, we must reason from that to which the senses do testify. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)]
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 And if that which we call space did not exist, bodies would have nowhere to be, and nothing through which to move. But we see that bodies do exist, and that they do move, so we know that space exists. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)] And if that which we call space did not exist, bodies would have nowhere to be, and nothing through which to move. But we see that bodies do exist, and that they do move, so we know that space exists. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)]
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 Besides bodies and space, nothing can even be thought of, either by conception or by analogy, so nothing can exist other than those things which are properties or qualities of bodies and space. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)] Besides bodies and space, nothing can even be thought of, either by conception or by analogy, so nothing can exist other than those things which are properties or qualities of bodies and space. [(Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus)]
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 A property of a thing is that which can in no case be separated without utter destruction accompanying the severance, such as the weight of a stone, the heat of fire, or the fluidity of water. [(Lucretius Book 1)] A property of a thing is that which can in no case be separated without utter destruction accompanying the severance, such as the weight of a stone, the heat of fire, or the fluidity of water. [(Lucretius Book 1)]
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 And this is the nature of 'the good,' if one apprehends it rightly, and stands by his finding, and does not go on walking round and round, harping uselessly on the meaning of '​good.'​ [(Plutarch - Epicurean Fragment)] And this is the nature of 'the good,' if one apprehends it rightly, and stands by his finding, and does not go on walking round and round, harping uselessly on the meaning of '​good.'​ [(Plutarch - Epicurean Fragment)]
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 And by this we mean that pleasurable living is the ultimate end prescribed by Nature. If you do not on every occasion refer each of your actions to this end, but instead of this you turn to some other end, your actions will not be consistent with your goal. [(Epicurus - Principal Doctrine 25)] And by this we mean that pleasurable living is the ultimate end prescribed by Nature. If you do not on every occasion refer each of your actions to this end, but instead of this you turn to some other end, your actions will not be consistent with your goal. [(Epicurus - Principal Doctrine 25)]
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 Nevertheless,​ some men use syllogistic reasoning to argue that pleasurable living is not the goal of life. They argue that "the good" is something with a certain limit beyond which nothing is higher, but that pleasure cannot be the good because it has no limit. [( Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book 10)] Nevertheless,​ some men use syllogistic reasoning to argue that pleasurable living is not the goal of life. They argue that "the good" is something with a certain limit beyond which nothing is higher, but that pleasure cannot be the good because it has no limit. [( Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book 10)]
  
-To these men we say that pleasure does have a limit, for a man's life is like a vessel, and a man's limit of pleasure is reached when his vessel is filled with pleasure, and all pain which accompanies that pleasure is removed. [(Epicurus - +To these men we say that pleasure does have a limit, for a man's life is like a vessel, and a man's limit of pleasure is reached when his vessel is filled with pleasure, and all pain which accompanies that pleasure is removed. [(Epicurus - Principal Doctrine 3, 18, 19, 20; Lucretius Book 6)]
- Principal Doctrine 3, 18, 19, 20; Lucretius Book 6)]+
  
 For when the pain of want is removed, bodily pleasure does not increase, and only varies. [(Epicurus - Principle Doctrine 18)] For when the pain of want is removed, bodily pleasure does not increase, and only varies. [(Epicurus - Principle Doctrine 18)]
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 But the issue is not "what is the means of happiness,"​ but "what is happiness itself and what is the ultimate goal of our nature."​ [(Diogenes of Oinoanda)] But the issue is not "what is the means of happiness,"​ but "what is happiness itself and what is the ultimate goal of our nature."​ [(Diogenes of Oinoanda)]
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 To this we say both now and always, shouting out loudly to all Greeks and non-Greeks, that Pleasure is the end of the best way of life, while the virtues, which are messed about by our enemies and transferred from the place of the means to that of the end, are in no way the end in themselves, but the means to the end. [(Diogenes of Oinoanda)] To this we say both now and always, shouting out loudly to all Greeks and non-Greeks, that Pleasure is the end of the best way of life, while the virtues, which are messed about by our enemies and transferred from the place of the means to that of the end, are in no way the end in themselves, but the means to the end. [(Diogenes of Oinoanda)]
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 But a great error has arisen among men in the mistaken idea of condemning pleasure and praising pain. [(Torquatus - Cicero'​s On Ends)] But a great error has arisen among men in the mistaken idea of condemning pleasure and praising pain. [(Torquatus - Cicero'​s On Ends)]
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 But in contrast to freedom, some men say that there is a single true law which applies universally to all men, and is unchanging and everlasting,​ and that this single law summons all to duty by its commands and averts all from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. [(Cicero - The Republic)] But in contrast to freedom, some men say that there is a single true law which applies universally to all men, and is unchanging and everlasting,​ and that this single law summons all to duty by its commands and averts all from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. [(Cicero - The Republic)]
  
-These men say that it is a sin to try to alter or repeal this law, and there should not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law for all nations and all times. ​ [(Cicero - The Republic)] +These men say that it is a sin to try to alter or repeal this law, and there should not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law for all nations and all times. [(Cicero - The Republic)]
  
 To these men of a single law, we say that there never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among particular men, at various times and places, to provide against infliction or suffering of harm. [(Epicurus - Principle Doctrine 33)] To these men of a single law, we say that there never was such a thing as absolute justice, but only agreements made in mutual dealings among particular men, at various times and places, to provide against infliction or suffering of harm. [(Epicurus - Principle Doctrine 33)]
summary_of_epicurean_philosophy.1523131348.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/04/07 16:02 by cassiusamicus