[Latest Updated MP3 Version here] [Vimeo Edition]Of all the original texts that are available from the ancient world, Epicurus’ Letter to Herodotus preserved by. Letter to Herodotus has 52 ratings and 1 review. Epicurus summarizes the key doctrines from “On Nature” (of which only a few fragments have been recovere. curus’ Letter to Herodotus which is faithful to the best manuscript tradition of the text, credits Epicurus with a clear and plausible. (though lamentably fallacious).

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He says, further on, that the atoms have no peculiar quality peicurus their own, except from magnitude and weight. But we must respect the established notions on this subject, provided, nevertheless, that they do not all contradict the respect due to truth; for nothing is more calculated to trouble the soul than this strife of contradictory notions and principles. Brenton rated it it was ok Mar 06, They are, as one sees plainly, accidents of the peicurus accidents which do not of necessity make any part of its nature; which cannot be considered as independent substances, but still to each of which sensation gives the peculiar character under which it appears to us.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

eoicurus We must admit that the case of smelling is the same as that of hearing. There is the further point to be considered, what the incorporeal can be, if, I mean, according to current usage the term is applied to what can be conceived as self-existent. It is, in fact, evident, that we speak of time as composed of days and nights, and parts of days and nights; passiveness and impassability, movement and repose, are equally comprised in time.

Falsehood and error always depend upon the intrusion of opinion when a fact awaits confirmation or the absence of contradiction, which fact is afterwards frequently not confirmed or even contradicted following a certain movement in ourselves connected with, but distinct from, the mental picture presented—which is the cause of error.

Further, we must keep in mind that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. David Reece rated it it was amazing Nov 07, It follows that the first beginnings must be indivisible, corporeal entities.

And I beg you to take care of the children of Metrodorus, in a manner worthy of the devotion shown by the young man to me, and to philosophy. It follows that thought can only conceive that one single movement of transference, from low to high, ad heroodotus ; and one single movement from high to low.

Hence also their velocities are enormous, since they always find a void passage to fit them. For every quality changes, but the atoms do not change, since, when the composite bodies are dissolved, there must needs be a permanent something, solid and indissoluble, left behind, which makes change possible: Anita Tahiri rated it liked herpdotus Dec 03, Only the gods are immortal, says Epicurus, but we are not.


Accordingly, they who pretended that the soul is incorporeal, utter words destitute of sense; for if it had this character, it would not be able either to do or to suffer anything; but, as it ro, we see plainly enough that it is liable to both these circumstances. The containing sheaths may be dislocated in whole or in part, and portions of epixurus soul may thereby be lost; yet in spite of this the soul, if it manage to survive, will have sentience.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus | The Core Curriculum

The same principles are laid down in the first, and fourteenth, and fifteenth book of the treatise on Nature; and also in the Great Abridgment. Lists with This Book. Again, hearing takes place when a current passes from the object, whether person or thing, which emits epicjrus or sound or noise, or produces the sensation of hearing in any way whatever.

Accordingly, it lstter sufficient to herosotus the general idea of the movement of transference to enable us to conceive in a moment certain distinct qualities, and those combined beings, which, being taken in their totality, receive the name of bodies; and the necessary and eternal attributes without which the body cannot be conceived.

Another epicurjs theme of this letter is the role of physical knowledge in promoting human happiness and negating skepticism and superstition: Rather they are seen to be exactly as and what sensation itself makes them individually claim to be.

May 02, Matt Thomas rated it liked it. We must also note carefully the impressions which we receive in the presence of objects, in order to bring ourselves back to that point in the circumstances in which it is herorotus to suspend the judgment, or even when the question is herodohus things, the evidence of which is not immediately perceived.

There is therefore, no fact inconsistent with an infinity of worlds. Further, we must keep in mind that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. For I have been attacked by a painful inability to urinate, and also dysentery, so violent that nothing can be added to the violence of my sufferings.

The direct production of images in space is equally instantaneous, because these images are only light substances destitute of depth. Let us also beware of thinking that animals are derived from the infinite; for there is no one who can prove that the seeds from which animals epicruus born, and plants, and all the other objects which we contemplate, have been brought from epicuurs exterior in such a world, and that this same world would not have been able to produce them of itself.


Nay, in every term we use we herodots hold fast to all epicuruus majesty which attaches to such notions as bliss and immortality, lest the terms should generate opinions inconsistent with this majesty. For, as the atoms are, as lerter their number, infinite, as I have proved above, they necessarily move about at immense distances; for besides the infinite multitude of atoms, of which the world is formed, or by which it is produced, could not be entirely absorbed by one single world, nor even by any worlds, the number of which was limited, whether we suppose them like this word of ours, or different form it.

Moreover, when the whole frame is broken up, the soul is scattered and has no longer the same powers as before, nor the same notions; hence it does not possess sentience either.

The rest of the body, on the other hand, even when it remains, either as a whole, or in any part, loses all feeling by the dispersion of that aggregate of atoms, whatever it may be, that forms the soul.

The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red and the section numbers in the translation are shown in green.

Diogenes Laertius: Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

We must recognize that this analogy also holds of the minimum in the atom; it is only in minuteness that it differs from that which is observed by sense, but it follows the same analogy. For without the transmission from the object of a certain interconnection of the parts no such sensation letter arise.

He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and bad, that death is the end of the body and the soul and should therefore not be feared, that the gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.

Again, we must suppose that nature too has been taught and forced to learn many various lessons by the facts themselves, that reason subsequently develops what it has thus received and makes fresh discoveries, among some tribes more quickly, among others more slowly, the progress thus made being at certain times and seasons greater, at others less.

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