Epicurus Reader Selected Writings and Testimonia

ISBN-10: 0872202410
ISBN-13: 9780872202412
Edition: 1994
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Description: A total philosophy of life, death, religion, science, ethics, and culture promising liberation from the obstacles that stand in the way of our happiness, the teachings of Epicurus claimed many thousand committed followers all over the ancient  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/15/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.528
Language: English

A total philosophy of life, death, religion, science, ethics, and culture promising liberation from the obstacles that stand in the way of our happiness, the teachings of Epicurus claimed many thousand committed followers all over the ancient Mediterranean world and deeply influenced later European thought. From the first years of its development, however, Epicureanism faced hostile opposition, and, as a result, much of our evidence for the content of this teaching is unhelpful and even misleading. "The Epicurus Reader" fills the need for a reliable selection and translation of the main surviving evidence, some of it never previously translated into English. Included here, with the exception of Lucretius De Rerum Natura, are the most important surviving ancient texts of a system of thought that even today remains a powerful living philosophy. "The Epicurus Reader" will be greatly welcomed by anybody who teaches Hellenistic Philosophy, or Epicureanism in particular, at any level. It offers a judicious and ample selection of texts, including the only extant writings by Epicurus. More importantly it provides a reliable, often admirably accurate translation of these sometimes difficult texts. Finally, there is an introduction the general reader or the undergraduate will find very helpful." - Michael Frede, Keble College, Oxford

Epicurus founded his philosophical school and lived with his friends in his "Garden" in Athens when the city was witnessing the rise of Macedonian dominance and Greek politics reflected the ongoing crisis in values and virtues. Many thinkers felt the growing need for intellectual conservatism and voluntary withdrawal to secure a life of imperturbability. That his school became a model followed in other cities, including Rome, for more than 500 years is both testimony to the strong appeal Epicurus's ethical doctrines exerted and a sign of the logical conviction the theory of Atomism generated in his followers. Epicurus, who knew the pre-Socratics well, revived and extended the Atomism of Democritus and Leucippus by finding broader applications for Atomism in psychology, physics, and ethics. Although the principles of the physical teachings of Epicurus were destined for a significant revival, and in certain ways, experimental confirmation in modern times, the special appeal of his philosophy was basically ethical. His physics remains the background to support a way of life aiming at the enhancement of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Epicurus's theories sought to reveal the causes of pain, especially fear, whether of death or of divine intervention. He taught that only the acquisition of knowledge helps in the effort to cope with fears and secure a happy life. His influence was felt strongly in Italy and it found in Rome an eloquent spokesman in Lucretius, whose masterwork, De Rerum Natura, is by far the most complete exposition of Epicureanism.

Brad Inwood is Canada Research Chair in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His recent publications include The Poem of Empedocles (Second edition, University of Toronto Press, 2001) and The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Introduction
The ancient biography of Epicurus
The extant letters
Ancient collections of maxims
Doxographical reports
The testimony of Cicero
The testimony of Lucretius
The polemic of Plutarch
Short fragments and testimonia from known works
From On Nature
From the Puzzles
From On the Goal
From the Symposium
From Against Theophrastus
Fragments of Epicurus' letters
Short fragments and testimonia from uncertain works
Logic and epistemology
Physics and theology
Ethics
Index

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