It is true that the philosophy of Epicurus put great stress on these, as affording the explanation of the origin of supernatural beliefs.
Foremost among these were the writings of Epicurus; but he had also an intimate knowledge of the philosophical poem of Empedocles, and at least an acquaintance with the works of Democritus, Anaxagoras, Heraclitus, Plato and the Stoical writers.
His devotion to Epicurus seems at first sight more difficult to explain than his enthusiasm for Empedocles or Ennius.
Following Epicurus he sets before himself the aim of finally crushing that fear of the gods and that fear of death resulting from it which he regards as the source of all the human ills.
In addition to persons of high rank, poets, legendary and others (Linus, Orpheus, Homer, Aeschylus and Sophocles), legislators and physicians (Lycurgus, Hippocrates), the patrons of various trades or handicrafts (artists, cooks, bakers, potters), the heads of philosophical schools (Plato, Democritus, Epicurus) received the honours of a cult.
Thus, in the end, Aristippus, the founder of ' the purest hedonism in the history of thought, comes very near not only to the Cynics, but to the more cultured hedonism of Epicurus and modern thinkers.
It is true that pleasure is the summum bonum of Epicurus, but his conception of that pleasure is profoundly modified by the Socratic doctrine of prudence and the eudaemonism of Aristotle.
See also, beside works quoted under Cyrenaics, Epicurus, &c., and the general histories of philosophy, J.
His fame was so completely overshadowed by that of Democritus, who subsequently developed the theory into a system, that his very existence was denied by Epicurus (Diog.
Epicurus, however, distinguishes Leucippus from Democritus, and Aristotle and Theophrastus expressly credit him with the invention of Atomism.
EPICURUS (342-270 B.C.), Greek philosopher, was born in Samos in the end of 342 or the beginning of 341 B.C., seven years after the death of Plato.
A year later, however, Antipater banished some 12,000 of the poorer citizens, and Epicurus joined his father, who was now living at Colophon.
277), his brother Timocrates, and his wife Leontion (formerly a hetaera), Polyaenus, Hermarchus, who succeeded Epicurus as chief of the school, Leonteus and his wife Themista, and Idomeneus, whose wife was a sister of Metrodorus.
The stories of the Stoics, who sought to refute the views of Epicurus by an appeal to his alleged antecedents and habits, were no doubt in the main, as Diogenes Laertius says, the stories of maniacs.
" Send me," says Epicurus to a correspondent, " send me some Cythnian cheese, so that, should I choose, I may fare sumptuously."
There was no community of property, which, as Epicurus said, would imply distrust of their own and others' good resolutions.
Epicurus died of stone in 270 B.C. He left his property, consisting of the garden (Ki iroc 'E7rLKoupov), a house in Melite (the south-west quarter of Athens), and apparently some funds besides, to two trustees on behalf of his society, and for the special interest of some youthful members.
Epicurus himself had not apparently shared in any large or liberal culture, and his influence was certainly thrown on the side of those who depreciated purely scientific pursuits as onesided and misleading.
But experience had in the time of Epicurus shown the temporary and artificial character of the civic form of social life.
It was necessary, therefore, for Epicurus to go back to nature to find a more enduring and a wider foundation for ethical doctrine, to go back from words to realities, to give up reasonings and get at feelings, to test conceptions and arguments by a final reference to the only touchstone of truth - to sensation.
The method of Epicurus is the argument of analogy.
This is what Epicurus calls explaining what we do not see by what we do see.
Epicurus in this way explains vision by substituting for the apparent action of a body at a distance a direct contact of image and organ.
That there are gods Epicurus never dreams of denying.
To prevent all reference of the more potent phenomena of nature to divine action Epicurus rationalizes the processes of the cosmos.
When two or more modes of accounting for a phenomena are equally admissible as not directly contradicted by known phenomena, it seems to Epicurus almost a return to the old mythological habit of mind when a savant asserts that the real cause is one and only one.
Thus, if Epicurus objects to the doctrine of mythology, he objects no less to the doctrine of an inevitable fate, a necessary order of things unchangeable and supreme over the human will.
The Stoic doctrine of Fatalism seemed to Epicurus no less deadly a foe of man's true welfare than popular superstition.
So, in the sphere of human action, Epicurus would allow of no absolutely controlling necessity.
The attitude of Epicurus in this whole matter is antagonistic to science.
So little was the scientific conception of the solar system familiar to Epicurus that he could reproach the astronomers, because their account of an eclipse represented things otherwise than as they appear to the senses, and could declare that the sun and stars were just as large as they seemed to us.
The moral philosophy of Epicurus is a qualified hedonism, the heir of the Cyrenaic doctrine that pleasure is the good thing in life.
By pleasure Epicurus meant both more and less than the Cyrenaics.
To the Cyrenaics pleasure was of moments; to Epicurus it extended as a habit of mind through life.
To the Cyrenaics pleasure was something active and positive; to Epicurus it was rather negative - tranquillity more than vigorous enjoyment.
The test of true pleasure, according to Epicurus, is the removal and absorption of all that gives pain; it implies freedom from pain of body and from trouble of mind.
It is, in fact, says Epicurus - in language which contrasts strongly with that of Aristotle on the same topic - " a more precious power than philosophy."
Feeling, which Epicurus declared to be the means of determining what is good, is subordinated to a reason which adjudicates between competing pleasures with the view of securing tranquillity of mind and body.
- Even in the lifetime of Epicurus we hear of the vast numbers of his friends, not merely in Greece, but in Asia and Egypt.
The dogmas of Epicurus became to his followers a creed embodying the truths on which salvation depended; and they passed on from one generation to another with scarcely a change or addition.
The immediate disciples of Epicurus have been already mentioned, with the exception of Colotes of Lampsacus, a great favourite of Epicurus, who wrote a work arguing " that it was impossible even to live according to the doctrines of the other philosophers."
But the greatest of its Roman names was Lucretius, whose De rerum natura embodies the main teaching of Epicurus with great exactness, and with a beauty which the subject seemed scarcely to allow.
Epicurus was a voluminous writer (iroXveypacixbraros, Diog.
- The chief ancient accounts of Epicurus are in the tenth book of Diogenes Laertius, in Lucretius, and in several treatises of Cicero and Plutarch.
The Volumina Herculanensia (1st and 2nd series) contain fragments of treatises by Epicurus and members of his school.
Wallace, Epicureanism (London, 1880), and Epicurus; A Lecture (London, 1896); G.
Kreibig, Epicurus (Vienna, 1886); A.
Entering the university of Leiden he took his degree in philosophy in 1689, with a dissertation De distinctione mentis a corpore, in which he attacked the doctrines of Epicurus, Hobbes and Spinoza.
They contain works by Epicurus, Demetrius, Polystratus, Colotes, Chrysippus, Carniscus and Philodemus.
Of the same new collection, recognized most important fragments of the Ethics of Epicurus, and these he published in 1879 in Nos.
Yet, in falling back, with a difference, upon the atomism of Democritus, Epicurus had to face some questions of logic. In the inference from phenomena to further phenomena positive verification must be insisted on.
Gassendi, with some deviations, follows Epicurus in his theory of the formation of the world.
Later on he develops the materialistic view of Epicurus, only modifying it so far as to conceive of matter as finite.
His Histoire des causes premieres was among the first attempts at a history of philosophy, and in his work on Epicurus, following on Gassendi, he defended Epicureanism against the general attacks made against it.
Metrodorus of Lampsacus was the disciple and intimate friend of Epicurus, and is described by Cicero (de Fin.
279 F.) quotes from the words of Metrodorus showing that he was in entire agreement with Epicurus, and was, if possible, even more dogmatic in his doctrine of pleasure.
He introduced a system which, so far as we know, was his own, though founded upon the Epicurean philosophical creed; on the practical side it conformed pretty closely to the Stoic rule of life, thus adapting itself to the leanings of the better stamp of Romans in the later times of the republic. According to Asclepiades all diseases depended upon alterations in the size, number, arrangement or movement of the "atoms," of which, according to the doctrine of Epicurus, the body consisted.
Cicero, by his professed antagonism to the doctrines of Epicurus, by his inadequate appreciation of Lucretius himself and by the indifference which he shows to other contemporary poets, seems to have been neither fitted for the task of correcting the unfinished work of a writer whose genius was so distinct from his own, nor likely to have cordially undertaken such a task.