[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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As to forms, and hues, and magnitudes, and weight, and the other qualities which one looks upon as attributes, whether it be of every body, or of those bodies only which are visible and perceived by the senses, this is the point of view under which they ought to be considered: 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 are born, and plants, and all the other objects which we contemplate, have been brought from the exterior in such a world, and that this same world would not have been able to produce them of itself.

And to this view we must closely adhere, if we are not to repudiate the criteria founded on the clear evidence of sense, nor again to throw all these things into confusion by maintaining falsehood as if it were truth.

If, then, we bring all these arguments concerning soul to the criterion of our feelings and perceptions, and if we keep in mind the proposition stated at the outset, we shall see that the subject has been adequately comprehended in outline: Then, when it is not confirmed, we form our judgments in virtue of a sort of initiation of the thoughts connected, it is true, with the perception, and with a direct representation; but still connected also with a conception peculiar to ourselves, which is the parent of error.

It is evident, after this, that Epicurus regards the worlds as perishable, since he admits that their parts are capable of transformation.

Let us despise those people who are unable to distinguish lettef susceptible epicirus different explanations from others which can only exist and be explained in one single way. But it is impossible to conceive anything that is incorporeal as self-existent except empty space. This phenomenon, on the contrary, is perfectly explained, if we admit that certain images of the same colour, of the same shape, and of a proportionate magnitude pass from these objects to us, and so arrive at being seen and comprehended.


He then founded a school in Lampsacus before returning to Athens in BC.

Diogenes Laertius : The Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

Now, nothing can be conceived in itself as incorporeal except the void; but the void cannot be either passive or active; it is only the condition and the place epicurks movement.

Therefore we must not suppose that the air itself is herorotus into shape by the voice emitted or something similar; for it is very far from being the case that the air is acted upon by it in this way. 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: Hence on the departure of the soul it loses sentience.

They move with rapid motion; and this again explains why they present the appearance of the single continuous object, and retain the mutual interconnection which they had in the object, when they impinge upon the sense, such impact being due to the oscillation of the atoms in the interior of the solid object from which they come.

Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus

The attributes which we have indicated, suffice to explain all the differences of combined bodies; for we must inevitably leave something indestructible, lest everything should resolve itself into non-existence.

Benny Wijaya rated it really liked it Mar 03, We must not investigate time as we do the other accidents which we investigate in a subject, namely, by referring them to the preconceptions envisaged in our minds; but we must take into account the plain fact itself, in virtue of which we speak of time as long or short, linking to it in intimate connection this attribute of duration. For, as the atoms are, as to 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.

Still, it would not have had sensation, had it not been somehow confined within the rest of the frame. We must therefore admit that from the first movement impressed on the heavenly bodies since the organization of the world there is derived a sort of necessity which regulates their course to this day. The universe is infinite. The playwright Menander served in the same age-class of the ephebes as Epicurus. At the age of 18 he went to Athens for his two-year term of military service.


For there is nothing in all this which is contradicted by sensation, if we in some sort look at the clear evidence of sense, to which we should also refer the continuity of particles in the objects external to ourselves.

It follows that the first beginnings must be indivisible, corporeal entities. Thus, then, what is left behind is sufficient to account for the differences in composite bodies, since something at least must necessarily be left remaining and be immune from annihilation.

After the completion of his military service, Epicurus joined his family there.

For the presentations which, for example, are received in a picture or arise in dreams, or from any other form of apprehension by the mind or by the other criteria of truth, would never have resembled what we call the real and true things, had it not been for certain actual things of the kind with which we come in contact.

Hence those who call soul incorporeal speak foolishly. But when from the illusion created by this common property we think we shall distinguish something in the minimum, one part on one side and another part on the other side, it must be another minimum equal to the first which catches our eye. If, then, we know that such a phenomenon can be brought about in the same manner as another given phenomenon of the same character which does not inspire us with any apprehension; and if, on the other hand, we know that it can take place in many different manners, we shall not be more troubled at sight of it than if we know the real cause of it.

But men whose ideas and passion varied according to their respective nations, formed these names of their own accord, uttering diverse sounds produced by each passion, or by each idea, following the differences of the situations and of the peoples.

It is from the infinite that the worlds are derived, and all the finite aggregates which present numerous analogies with the things which we observe under ldtter own eyes. There would be no sense of smell if there did not emanate from most objects certain particles capable of producing an impression on the sense of smell. For height and lowness must not be predicated of the infinite.

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