McDaniel, Kris (ed). BIOGRAPHY of Epicurus. Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, trans. But are they right? There Epicurus founded the Garden, a combination … But here’s a problem: if particular gametes determine one’s identity, in vitro fertilization (IVF) shows how the same human being could exist earlier. 1-19. Lucretius - Lucretius - Literary qualities of the poem: The linguistic style and spirit of the poem are notable. Someone with a working knowledge of these other thinkers is needed to interpret the meaning of Epicurus' few remaining fragments for the lay person. Common sense has long recoiled to Epicurus. But they worried that conceiving a child when they were older would carry a higher risk that their child would have a congenital defect. [13]Travis Timmerman, “Avoiding the Asymmetry Problem,” Ratio 31/1 (2018) pp. Cyril Bailey, Oxford University Press, 1920. Although this Latin word is correctly translated intoEnglish as ‘religion’, its literal meaning is‘binding down’, and it therefore serves Lucretius as aterm, not for all attitudes of reverence towards the divine, but forthose which cow people’s spirits, rather than, as he thinks suchattitudes should, elevate them to a joyful state of tranquility. Tenets of Epicureanism- Friendship, Pleasure (moderate, not hedonist,) No Fear of Death, Atomism. The earlier IVF human being would indeed be identical to the later one, but the term “human being” is ambiguous between “human organism,” which is a biological concept, and “, So the embryo could have been implanted earlier, which would have resulted in the same. Brueckner, Anthony, and Fischer, John Martin, “The Asymmetry of Early Death and Late Birth,” Philosophical Studies 71 (1993) pp. said about Epicurus when his works were still around. Lecture 10.1: Epicurus and Lucretius Rorty: UCSC Let me start with some more comparisons between Plato and Aristotle, this time in respect to their ethical positions. [12], If I die tomorrow (contrary to fact, I fervently hope! But if it does deprive us of good experiences, then it is bad because it is bad to be deprived of any good. For if we say that death is bad because it deprives us of time alive, then when we were born also deprives us of time alive, since we could have been born earlier than we were (or whenever we began to exist). So Epicurus concludes that fearing death is pointless.[1]. 213-21. Brueckner, Anthony, and Fischer, John Martin, “Why Death is Bad,” Philosophical Studies 50 (1986) pp. Is Death Bad? In Epicurus and Lucretius, the goal is therapeutic. [5] Anthony Brueckner and John Martin Fischer, “Why Death is Bad,” Philosophical Studies 50 (1986) pp. McDaniel, Kris (ed). So Epicurus concludes that fearing death is pointless. Feldman, Fred, “Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death,”, Kaufman, Frederik, “Coming Into and Going Out of Existence,” in. How, for example, could I have met my wife before she was born? [4] Fred Feldman, “Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death,” Philosophical Review 100.2, April 1991 205-27 (reprinted in David Benatar, Life, Death, and Meaning, Roman and Littlefield, 2004, p. 234), holds that we should try to view our births in the same way we view our deaths: There are, after all, two ways in which we can rectify the apparently irrational emotional asymmetry [between late birth and early death]. 4) Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet (25 April 1628 – 27 January 1699) was an English statesman and essayist. The Ethics of Abortion – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, The Death Penalty – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, The Badness of Death – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, The Non-Identity Problem – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, Is Immortality Desirable? Alternatively, even if our non-existence before birth and after death both deprive, maybe death deprives us of something we care about, whereas we are indifferent to time we missed before we were born. 3) Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99 BC-c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. Never has Lucretius been read as an original philosophical poet of a radical materialism that goes far beyond anything Epicurus achieved. What is Epicureanism? (A “bias” is an irrational preference, since the idea of a rational bias seems incoherent.) The poem is the fullest extant statement of the physical theory of the Greek philosopher Epicurus. I think it must be granted that our emotional reactions toward pleasures lost by early death are quite different from our emotional reactions toward similar pleasures lost by late birth. Granted, if continued life would be terrible, then death might not deprive. 1-10. This is no idle issue. The shared account of Epicurus and Lucretius unravel the merit of death, in the Philosophy and Death. The drug induces intense pleasure for an hour followed by amnesia. On the one hand, we can follow Lucretius and cease viewing early death as a bad thing for Claudette. Is it not a calmer rest than any sleep? This seems to be a case in which, if the parents had implanted this same embryo earlier, the same person would have had an earlier origin…If this is right, there are some people who could have come into existence earlier than they did. The ATOMIC THEORY of Lucretius as it relates to modern scientific theory . The Roman philosopher Lucretius (94- circa 55 BCE) agrees, and he defends Epicurus. Dying can be awful and so rightly feared. Surely death is bad if it deprives us of the goods of life. They then waited 15 years before implanting the embryo that in fact developed into this person. Some scholars consider the epic poem De rerum natura (Latin for On the Nature of Things) by Lucretius to present in one unified … Fear is rational only for something bad. This applies to those who think death is annihilation and maybe even more so to those who deny it. Epicurus had discovered the truth and the whole truth, and Lucretius endeavors to communicate that truth as accurately, attractively, and persuasively as he can. These then nature holds up to us as a mirror of the time that is to come, when we are dead and gone. However, even if true, this preference merely explains why we care about missing future goods by dying when we will instead of the goods we missed by being born when we were. Fear of death causes extreme anxiety, thus ruining our lives. Natural but unnecessary desires: like sexuality, something that should be avoided according to Epicurus, because it often brings too many worries. This is what I have tried to do in my books. Epicurus was a philosopher who understood the universe and life as being composed of matter in the form of small particles. Justice (one should follow the rules who make community life possible) and friendship (which gives us much joy) are in these cases especially useful. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND and study questions for DRN. Living organisms survived because of their strength, speed, or intellect. This will be useful for us in the next few days because it is in their ethical positions that both the Epicureans and the Stoics reacted most Alternatively, even if our non-existence before birth and after death both deprive, maybe death deprives us of something we care about, whereas we are indifferent to time we missed before we were born. The Epicurean school was very much a “society of friends.” Luper, Steven, “Death”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. This common sense reaction to Epicurus plays right into Lucretius’ hands. Kaufman, Frederik, “Pre-Vital and Post-Mortem Non-Existence,”. So to return to the intuitive response to Epicurus: since death typically deprives us of good life experiences, that’s what makes it bad, thus justifying some appropriate level of fear. The Daniel Browne 1734 English translation of Lucretius's On The Nature of Things. For when saw he that well-nigh everything Which needs of man most urgently require Was ready to hand for mortals, and that life, As far as might be, was established safe, That men were lords in riches, honour, praise, Kaufman, Frederik, “Pre-Vital and Post-Mortem Non-Existence,” American Philosophical Quarterly, vol 36, 1999. McMahan, Jeff, “The Lucretian Argument,” in The Good, the Right, Life and Death: Essays in Honor of Fred Feldman. Indeed, Jefferson owned several copies of On the Nature of Things. 213-226, p. 216) asks us to: [C]onsider someone who is the product of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Unnatural desires: like richness and ambition, these should absolutely be avoided. The Non-Identity Problem by Duncan Purves, Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing by Nathan Nobis, Camus on the Absurd: The Myth of Sisyphus by Erik Van Aken, Is Immortality Desirable? [14] If so, this answers Lucretius. Lucretius, a committed Epicurean, expresses gratitude to his mentor for freeing him from the fear of death that afflicts so many people, causing them to lead desperate lives and to do awful things; The issues of this case lead to what’s called “the non-identity problem”: for an introduction, see, In response, I, following Nagel, argue that we must put some limits on how possible a possibility must be for its non-realization to count as a misfortune. To miss out on time alive by dying in a car crash tomorrow hardly compares with missing out on time alive because the Milky Way formed later rather than earlier. Here is is Brueckner and Fischer’s version of Parfit’s thought experiment: Imagine that you are in some hospital to test a drug. Lucretius, a committed Epicurean, expresses gratitude to his mentor for freeing him from the fear of death that afflicts so many people, causing them to lead desperate lives and to do awful things; On the Nature of Things, Bk II, p. 65, Cecil Bailey, tr, Oxford University Press, 1950: Sweet it is, when on the great sea the winds are buffeting the waters, to gaze from the land on another’s great struggles; not because it is pleasure or joy that any one should be distressed, but because it is sweet to perceive from what misfortune you yourself are free. The problem of Lucretius was to render the bald and abstract Greek prose of Epicurus into Latin hexameters at a time when Latin had no philosophical vocabulary. Since it is impossible for thick persons to exist earlier than they do, one cannot be deprived of time before birth. – Both Epicurus and Lucretius are assuming that the subject of harm must be a person who exists at the time that the harm occurs, and that, if they are harmed, then the harm must affect their immediate subjective experience (they must feel harmed). To be clear: the issue is being dead, not dying, since while dying we still exist. Lucretius can even agree that we are biased toward the future; that, he would say, is the problem! Lucretius (c. 99 BCE?c. Is it not a calmer rest than any sleep? While … Ashgate, 2006. Lucretius says there is a limit to the pleasure we can have, and that pleasure is the absence of pain (Line 18, book two, On the Nature of Things) Death, Epicurus argued, cannot touch us because “while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist.” Since death cannot touch us it cannot be bad. Unless we can somehow push everything back in time in lock-step unison, our thick personhoods cannot possibly exist earlier than they do.[13]. Epicurus founded his first philosophical schools in Mytilene and Lampsacus, before moving to Athens around 306 B.C.E. Locke, John, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690. BCE Stoic philosopher) reported thatancient Greek atomism can be traced back to a figure known as Moschusor Mochus of Sidon, who lived at the time of the Trojan wars. However, this is hard to believe and even harder to actually do. [14] The sense of “possible” here may be controversial. Frederik Kaufman is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College. Anyone born earlier would not be me, because different gametes would produce a different individual. He argues that death— as the permanent extinction of consciousness—is not bad, so we should not fear it. An epicurist should strive to keep his needs as small as possible, in order not to be less disappointed when they cannot be realized. [10], We care about the details of our lives. That is what death threatens. The standard view, named "militant Epicureanism" by the editors, is equated with Peter Gay's "black-and-white" portrayal of Lucretius in The Enlightenment: an interpretation (1, 2). According to a passing remark by the geographer Strabo,Posidonius (1stc. Parfit, Derek, Reasons and Persons, Oxford University Press, (1984). He was about 19 when Aristotle died, and he studied philosophy under followers of Democritus and Plato. Our concerns, memories, hopes, relationships, and all that makes our lives worth living matters to each of us. There shared view is contrasted by the piece by Nagel. Death, Epicurus argued, cannot touch us because “while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist.” Since death cannot touch us it cannot be bad. Indeed, much of what is known about Epicurian Philosophy is deduced from what other Ancient thinkers (Cicero, Lucretius, Diogenes, etc.) ), I can nevertheless easily imagine extending my established biography past tomorrow, but I cannot imagine my biography beginning earlier than it did. [5] That is, we could simply have a preference for the future.[6]. - The Daily Idea. E picureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of ancient Greek thinker Epicurus, founded in 307BC. My suggestion is that in the present case the latter course would be preferable. 5. If I die tomorrow (contrary to fact, I fervently hope! [2] For development of this argument, see Thomas Nagel’s seminal article, “Death,” reprinted in Mortal Questions, Cambridge University Press, 1979. pp. The earlier IVF human being would indeed be identical to the later one, but the term “human being” is ambiguous between “human organism,” which is a biological concept, and “person,” which is a metaphysical concept. Locke distinguished sharply between the “man” or the human organism and the “person,” which Locke said is “a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places.”. ), I can nevertheless easily imagine extending my established biography past tomorrow, but I cannot imagine my biography beginning earlier than it did. If we deny that, then we must also abandon the idea of deprivation, since deprivation implies that there could have been a different outcome of events. Brueckner and Fischer think that we could be born earlier than we were, but since we have a bias toward the future, we are indifferent to goods that we missed by being born when we were. Look back again to see how the past ages of everlasting time, before we were born, have been as naught to us. However, since no one fears missing out on time before they were born, they should not fear missing out on time after they die. , Travis Timmerman and Michael Cholbi, eds, Routledge 2020. [9] Jeff McMahan (in “The Lucretian Argument,” in The Good, the Right, Life and Death: Essays in Honor of Fred Feldman. He is usually credited with inventingatomism. If we concede that being born “late” is just as bad as dying “early,” then maybe we should lament. He shows this by means of highly original thought experiments whereby a person undergoes fission, resulting in two streams of consciousness; since there are two, they cannot be numerically identical. ... William Stephens, in another essay, focuses on the Roman poet Lucretius, an Epicurean, and how the poet condemns monogamy as unnatural and what we would now consider romantic love as merely mental disturbance. Kagan, Shelly, Death, Yale University Press, 2012. So even if it is possible for the Milky Way to have formed earlier than it did, one is not deprived of that additional possible time simply because the Milky Way did not form earlier than it could have. Look back again to see how the past ages of everlasting time, before we were born, have been as naught to us. BIOGRAPHY of Lucretius and basic information about his work. But if it does deprive us of good experiences, then it is bad because it is bad to be deprived of any good.[2]. For Epicurus, happiness (understood as pleasure) is the only thing that has intrinsic value, that is, pleasure is the only thing valuable for its own sake; it is the end with respect to which everything else is a means, and so it is the ultimate goal in life. Epicurus argues that we should restrict desires to those which are natural, necessary, and cannot be eliminated. Epicurus had insisted on the existence of the gods, but the mode ofexistence he attributed to them has … , trans. Here is a more promising response. Common sense has long recoiled to Epicurus. The issue of interest is not Lucretius' literary integrity or brilliance, but his effectiveness as an Epicurean expositor and missionary. She says that either you tried the drug yesterday (and had an hour of pleasure) or you will try the drug tomorrow (and will have an hour of pleasure). 'Live covertly' ("lathe biosas") is THE saying of the epicurist: one who is wise does not matter about politics or commerce, and stays unmarried. Besides, Jefferson, like many other founding fathers, was a Deist, meaning he did not believe in a personal God that intervenes positively or negatively in the lives of humans. In contrast to modern thought on the subject, he did not believe that new species evolved from previously existing ones and denied that modern animals, which dwell on land, derived from marine ancestors. Granted, if continued life would be terrible, then death might not deprive. The issues of this case lead to what’s called “the non-identity problem”: for an introduction, see The Non-Identity Problem by Duncan Purves. How, for example, could I have met my wife before she was born? Her parents wanted a child but not until they were older. Lucretius, in full Titus Lucretius Carus, (flourished 1st century bce), Latin poet and philosopher known for his single, long poem, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). If Epicurus and Lucretius are right, then fear of death is irrational. Titus Lucretius Carus, about 90- 55 B.C.E., the author of On the Nature of Things. That the lateness of our birth could be as tragic as our untimely death is even harder to accept than Lucretius’ recommendation that we become indifferent to death. LUCRETIUS, EPICURUS AND EPICUREANISM. Thisreport was given credence in the seventeenth century: the CambridgePlatonist Henry More traced the origins of ancient atomism b… [11] For discussion of thick and thin personhood see Frederik Kaufman, “Pre-Vital and Post-Mortem Non-Existence,” American Philosophical Quarterly, 36, (1999), pp. It seems possible that the pedestrian might not have stepped off the curb when he did and into the path of the car that struck and killed him. We cannot be deprived of impossible things, such as the cake we ate yesterday. Lucretius Today Podcast 40 – The Argument that Mind and Spirit Are Material. Pp. But here’s a problem: if particular gametes determine one’s identity, in vitro fertilization (IVF) shows how the same human being could exist earlier. It is shown that in seeking to come to terms with nature, Epicurus and Lucretius have a conception of the normative self that is thoroughly in line with the mainstream tradition of Greek philosophy. Kaufman, Frederik, “Coming Into and Going Out of Existence,” in Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying, Travis Timmerman and Michael Cholbi, eds, Routledge 2020. In response, I, following Nagel, argue that we must put some limits on how possible a possibility must be for its non-realization to count as a misfortune. Epicurus concludes that a person never gets any good from sexual passion, and is lucky not to receive harm from it." For a recent reappraisal of Epicurus’ thought, and an analysis especially useful for the differences between Epicurus and Lucretius, see Strozier, Robert M., Epicurus and Hellenistic Philosophy (Lanham 1985), especially 141 –51.Strozier examines those passages where … It also alludes to his ethical and logical doctrines. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE) says no. Our concerns, memories, hopes, relationships, and all that makes our lives worth living matters to each of us. Some writings by Epicurus have survived. It shows the extent to which Epicurus' driving force is a therapeutic one, with physics subordinate to ethics. (For an overview of the many meanings of “possible” see Possibility and Necessity: An Introduction to Modality by Andre Leo Rusavuk). The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE) says no. That’s what most of us thought initially, and it looks like we were right. The Epicurean view of the world is that it is composed entirely of atoms moving about in infinite space. The former is clearly a misfortune, whereas it is hard to see the latter that way. (Winter 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. But it is possible to die later than one will, so we can be deprived of that time. Ashgate, 2006. Since it is impossible for thick persons to exist earlier than they do, one cannot be deprived of time before birth. Feldman, Fred, “Some Puzzles About the Evil of Death,” Philosophical Review 100.2, April (1991) pp. It is popular because it is intuitively correct, but like many seemingly obvious views in philosophy it requires more intellectual effort to establish than anyone ever imagined, as these books demonstrate. Word count: 987. On the other hand, we can at least try to start viewing late birth as a bad thing. 2) Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) was a Roman philosopher, politician, etc. By Jefferson’s times, Lucretius and Epicurus were already part of the Western Canon. Lucretius’ claim is that our preference is irrational, since the two periods of non-existence are symmetrical, so we should have similar attitudes toward them. Cyril Bailey, Oxford University Press, 1920. From the very start of the poem, and especially in the opening lines of Book 3 (a ringing tribute to Epicurus), Lucretius makes it clear that his main purpose is not so much to display his own talents as to render accurately in a suitably sublime style the glorious philosophy of his master:The poetry, Lucretius keeps reminding his readers, is secondary, a sugar coating to sweeten Epicurus' healing medicine. 205-27. See my “Coming Into and Going Out of Existence,” in Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying, Travis Timmerman and Michael Cholbi, eds, Routledge 2020. As always... By Cassius Amicus Published October 17, 2020 Lucretius Today Podcast Today’s episode is from Book Three, and focuses on the argument that both “mind” and “spirit” are corporeal. [1] Epicurus, “Letter to Menoeceus,” Principal Doctrines, Library of Liberal Arts, Russel Geer, tr., 1978. p. 54. Fear is rational only for something bad. 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