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(N. D. 1 59,) and Philodemus of Gadara ': and his account of the Epicurean doctrines is probably borrowed from these. Epicureanism had great success among the
. Romans; but, with the exception of the poet Lucretius, none of the Latin expounders of the system seem to have been of any importance®.
The end of the Epicurean philosophy was even more exclusively practical than that of the Stoics. Logic (called by Epicurus 'Canonic,' as giving the “canon' or test of truth) and physics were merely subordinate to ethics, the art of attaining happiness. Knowledge, as generally understood, is in itself of no value or interest, but tends rather to corrupt and distort our natural judgment and feeling. Hence we are told that Epicurus preferred that his disciples should have advanced no further in the elements of ordinary education than just so far as to be able to read and write*. In particular we are informed that he condemned not only the study of Poetry, Rhetoric and Music, but also those sciences which Plato had declared to be the necessary Propaedeutic of the philosopher, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Dialectic or Logic, as being at best a frivolous waste of time, dealing with words and not with things, if not
1 Several treatises of Philodemus have been found among the Herculanean papyri. On the relation between his Περί Ευσεβείας and Cicero's De Natura Deorum see my edition of the latter, pp. XLII-LV.
? Cic. Tusc. IV 7, Fin. I 25.
Compare his words reported by Diogenes x 6, Taldelay dè πάσαν, μακάριε, φεύγε; Quintil. Inst. ΧΙΙ 8 24, Epicurus fugere omnem disciplinam navigatione quam velocissima jubet; and Sext. Emp. Math. II and 49.
actually erroneous and misleading'. It is possible that these strictures may have had reference not so much to Art and Literature and Science in themselves, as to the manner in which they were then prosecuted, to the ‘learned' poetry of Alexandria with its recondite mythological allusions, to the hair-splitting logic of the Megaric and Stoic schools, and the unreal interpretations of Nature propounded by the great idealistic philosophies; but there is not the least appearance of any real speculative interest among the early Epicureans. If there had been, we can hardly suppose, that they would have spoken of geometry as ‘utterly false,' just at the time when the Elements of Euclid, the elder contemporary of Epicurus, had made their appearance amid the general applause of the scientific world'. Even their supposed strong point, Physical Science, was not studied by them for its own sake. Epicurus himself distinctly says that
1 See Cic. Fin. 1 $ 72, II § 12, Acad. 11 § 106, and § 97.
Metrodorus, however, told his disciples they need feel no shame in confessing that they could not quote a line of the Iliad, and did not know which side Hector took in the Trojan war.
3 Hirzel has shown in his Untersuchungen zu Ciceros philosophischen Schriften, p. 177 foll. that there was an important section among the later Epicureans (probably alluded to in Diog. X 25, as those oύς οι γνήσιοι Επικούρειοι σοφιστας αποκαλούσιν) who set a higher value on logic and literary culture generally than their master had done. One of these was Philodemus, of whom Cicero speaks as litteris perpolitus (In Pis. 70), the author of numerous treatises on rhetoric, music, poetry, dialectic, &c.
* See Art. in Dict. of Biog. by De Morgan, 'the Elements must have been a tremendous advance, probably even greater than that contained in the Principia of Newton;' 'their fame was almost coaeval with their publication.'
5 Cic. Fin. I § 63: in physicis plurimum posuit.
we must not think there is any other end in the knowledge of td ueréwpa, celestial phenomena, beyond tranquillity of mind and freedom from superstitious fears,'...'if it had not been for the anxieties caused by our ideas about death and about the influence of these heavenly powers, there would have been no need for Natural Philosophy (pvolo doylas)'... The minute inquiries of the astronomers do not tend to happiness : nay the constant observation of the phenomena of the heavens, without a previous knowledge of the true causes of things, is likely to generate a timid and slavish turn of mind.' The indifference of Epicurus to scientific truth comes out still more strongly in the explanations which he offers of particular phenomena. His one object being to guard against the hypothesis either of divine agency or of necessary law, he tells his disciples that it is madness to suppose that similar effects must always proceed from the same causes, and provides them with a choice of various hypotheses on which to explain the rising and setting of the sun, the changes of the moon, the movements of planets, earthquakes, thunder, lightning, &c. For instance, it may be that the sun (which is no bigger than it appears to the naked eye, so there is no need to be afraid of it or make a god of it), passes under the earth
Diog. L. x 85 and 142, and other passages cited by Zeller, p. 382 foll.
Paraphrased from Diog. x. 79, cf. $ 93.
Compare Diog. X 134, where he speaks of the blessedness of the man who has learnt that necessity is only a name for the effect of chance or of our own free will, and says that 'it were better to believe in the fables about the gods than in the Fate of the philosophers; the former at least allows us some hope of propitiation, but fate is inexorable.'
on setting, and comes above it again on rising; but it may be, and it is just as probable, that the fiery particles collect anew every day to form a fresh sun. We cannot bring the matter to the direct test of sense, and therefore we can only argue from our general experience of what happens on earth, which shows that the one view is as admissible as the other, spite of all that our systemmongers may say'. Nay, even supposing that a certain class of phenomena, such as eclipses, are always caused in the same way in our world, it is still probable, indeed almost certain, that they must be caused in different ways
in the countless worlds contained in the universe.
As regards the Logic of the Epicureans we are told that they rejected as useless almost all that was known under that name, Definition, Generalization, Classification, the Syllogism, and that they had a special objection to the Law of the Excluded Middle (A either is or is not B, aut vivet cras Hermarchus aut non vivet), as involving the principle of Necessity'. But in that age of the world, it was no longer possible to fall back upon the master's Ipse dixit with the implicit confidence of the old Pythagoreans: some reason for their faith had to be given. This ground of certainty Epicurus found in the senses and feelings. What our sense or feeling tells us,
1 Cf. Diog. L, XI13 το δε μίαν αιτίαν τούτων αποδιδόναι, πλεοναχώς των φαινομένων εκκαλουμένων, μανικόν. See examples of these alternative hypotheses in Diog. X 84 foll., Lucr. V 510_-770.
2 Compare Munro on Lucr. v. 532. In Diog. X. 78, Epicurus seems to be applying Aristotle's contrast between the disorderly and capricious movements of the sublunary sphere and the perfect order of the higher splieres, to his own κόσμοι and μετακόσμια, and to find in this a justification for the variety of causation in the former.
8 See Cic. Fin. I 22, and N. D. i 70 and 89 with my notes,
we receive as certain. Even the supposed sensations of sleep or of insanity are in a way true.. They have a real cause, viz. the influx of those images of which Democritus spoke. "The error,' said Epicurus following Aristotle, 'lies not in the sensation, but in our interpretation of the sensation, in the inference we draw from it. If we once abandon this ground of certainty, all is gone. Whatever reasoning is not founded on the clear evidence (ενάργεια, perspicuitas) of sense, is mere words. It is true that the image which comes to us does not always correspond with the actual object (otepélvlov). An image coming from a square tower at a distance, will perhaps be round by the time it reaches us, its edges having been rubbed away in its passage through the air: but the sensation has given the image correctly; error arises when we add to the sensation the opinion that the image is an exact representation of the object®.' Opinions fúmoln eus)
(υπολήψεις) are only true, if testified to by a distinct sensation, or, supposing such direct evidence unattainable, if there is no contrary sensation ; they are false, in all other cases. Repeated sensations produce a permanent image, apóanys, so called because it exists in the mind as an anticipation of the name, which would be unmeaning if it could not be referred to a known type. General terms can only be safely used for the purpose of argument when they rest upon and represent a apólnycs. Otherwise
1 See De Anima III 3, η μεν αισθησις των ιδίων αει αληθής, διανοείσθαι δ' ενδέχεται και ψευδώς, and my note on N. D.1 70.
2 Sext. Emp. Adv. Math. VII 203, foll.
8 An instance given is the existence of void, of which there can be no distinct evidence, but it is in accordance with the fact of motion, which itself rests upon the evidence of our senses, Sext. Emp. b. f. 213.