Epicurus Sentence Examples
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.Advertisement
A year later, however, Antipater banished some 12,000 of the poorer citizens, and Epicurus joined his father, who was now living at Colophon.
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.
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.Advertisement
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.
But in what that vividness (ivap-yaaa) consists is a question which Epicurus does not raise, and which he would no doubt have deemed superfluous quibbling over a matter sufficiently settled by common sense.
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.Advertisement
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.Advertisement
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.Advertisement
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.
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.
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.
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.
Velleius attacks other philosophies and explains the system of Epicurus.
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.
More probably it reflects the fact that Epicurus was, according to tradition through Nausiphanes, on the whole dominated by the influences that produced Pyrrhonism.
Some reading between the lines of Lucretius has led the " logic " of Epicurus to have an effect on the modern world, but scarcely because of its deserts.
The 3rd century B.C. saw in its first half the close of Epicurus' activity, and the life-work of Chrysippus, the refounder of Stoicism, is complete before its close.
Cudworth criticizes two main forms of materialistic atheism, the atomic, adopted by Democritus, Epicurus and Hobbes; and the hylozoic, attributed to Strato, which explains everything by the supposition of an inward self-organizing life in matter.
Those of Aristotle are of questionable genuineness, but we can rely, at any rate in part, on those of Isocrates and Epicurus.
Zeno indeed could hardly have been denied the title conferred upon Epicurus.
Thus he describes the body (which, after Epicurus, he calls the flesh) as a mere husk or fetter or prison of the soul; with its departure begins the soul's true life.
Epicurus denies a divine superintendence of human affairs.
Besides Polemon, the statesman Phocion, Chaeron, tyrant of Pellene, the Academic Crantor, the Stoic Zeno and Epicurus are alleged to have frequented his lectures.
This paradox is violent, but it is quite in harmony with the spirit of Stoicism; and we are more startled to find that the Epicurean sage, no less than the Stoic, is to be happy even on the rack; that his happiness, too, is unimpaired by being restricted in duration, when his mind has apprehended the natural limits of life; that, in short, Epicurus makes no less strenuous efforts than Zeno to eliminate imperfection from the conditions of human existence.
Such a combination was effected, with some little violence, by Epicurus; whose system with all its defects showed a remarkable power of standing the test of time, as it attracted the unqualified adhesion of generation after generation of disciples for a period of some six centuries.
In the fundamental principle of his philosophy Epicurus is not original.
And Epicurus assures us that he means by pleasure what plain men mean by it; and that if the gratifications of appetite and sense are discarded, the notion is emptied of its significance.
The originality of Epicurus lay in his theory that the highest point of pleasure, whether in body or mind, is to be attained by the mere removal of pain or disturbance, after which pleasure admits of variation only and not of augmentation; that therefore the utmost gratification of which the body is capable may be provided by the simplest means, and that " natural wealth " is no more than any man can earn.
As regards friendship, Epicurus was a man of peculiarly unexclusive sympathies.
The nature of this answer was determined by the psychological views to which Hobbes had been led, possibly to some extent under the influence of Bacon,' partly perhaps through association with his younger contemporary Gassendi, who, in two treatises, published between the appearance of Hobbes's De cive (1642) and that of the Leviathan (1651), endeavoured to revive interest in Epicurus.
His labours on Epicurus have a certain historical value, but the want of consistency inherent in the philosophical system raised on Epicureanism is such as to deprive it of genuine worth.
It is divided, according to the usual fashion of the Epicureans, into logic (which, with Gassendi as with Epicurus, is truly canonic), physics and ethics.
This conception of the grained structure of matter is very ancient; traces of it are to be found in Indian philosophy, perhaps twelve centuries before the Christian era, and the Greek philosophers Democritus and Epicurus, in the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C., taught it very definitely.
The combative energy, the sense of superiority, the spirit of satire, characteristic of him as a Roman, unite with his loyalty to Epicurus to render him not only polemical but intolerant and contemptuous in his tone toward the great antagonists of his system, the Stoics, whom, while constantly referring to them, he does not condescend even to name.
Aristotle from the first profited by having a father who, being physician to Amyntas II., king of Macedon, and one of the Asclepiads who, according to Galen, practised their sons in dissection, both prepared the way for his son's influence at the Macedonian court, and gave him a bias to medicine and biology, which certainly led to his belief in nature and natural science, and perhaps induced him to practise medicine, as he did, according to his enemies, Timaeus and Epicurus, when he first went to Athens.
In physics Epicurus founded upon Democritus, and his chief object was to abolish the dualism between mind and matter which is so essential a point in the systems of Plato and Aristotle.
All that exists, says Epicurus, is corporeal (TO irav iaTC v wµa); the intangible is non-existent, or empty space.
In the 1st century of the Christian era, the nature of the time, with its active political struggles, naturally called Stoicism more into the foreground, yet Seneca, though nominally a Stoic, draws nearly all his suavity and much of his paternal wisdom from the writings of Epicurus.
All those whose ethical theory is in any degree hedonistic are to some extent the intellectual descendants of Epicurus (see Hedonism).
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.
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.
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.
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."