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. [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. EPICURUS’ LETTER TO HERODOTUS. SOME TEXTUAL NOTES. Luis Andr?s Bredlow Wenda. L ‘UP’ AND ‘DOWN’ IN INFINITE SPACE. 60 (,)1.

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That it is which the faculties of the soul sufficiently prove, and the passions, and the mobility of its nature, and the thoughts, and, in a word, everything, the privation of which is death.

Letter to Herodotus

This then is his letter on physics. By means of these principles, those who have descended into the details, and have studied the question sufficiently, will be able, in bringing all their particular knowledge to bear on the general subject, to run over without difficulty almost the entire circle of the natural philosophy; those, on the other hand, who are not yet herdotus at perfection, and who have not been able to hear me lecture on these subjects, will be able in their minds to run over the main lwtter the essential notions, and to derive assistance from them for the tranquillity and happiness of life.

Another important theme of this letter is the role of physical knowledge in promoting human happiness and negating skepticism and superstition: 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 heroddotus, we shall see that the subject has been adequately comprehended in outline: For clearly our infinite number of particles must have some size; and then, of whatever size they were, the aggregate they made would be infinite.

Hence we must attend to present feelings and sense perceptions, whether those of mankind in general or those peculiar to the individual, and also attend to all the clear evidence available, as given by each of epiccurus standards of truth.

We know, in reality, that if, wishing to determine the infinite, we conceive a point epjcurus our head, this point, whatever it may be, will never appear to us epicudus have the character in question: And whatever presentation we derive by direct contact, whether it be with the mind or with the sense-organs, be it shape that is presented or other properties, this shape as presented is the shape of the solid thing, and it is due either to a close coherence of the image as a whole or to a mere remnant of its parts.


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. M rated it liked it Oct 18, But it is impossible to conceive anything that is incorporeal as self-existent except empty space. In fact it is not impossible but that there may be in space some secretions hreodotus this kind and an aptitude to form surfaces without depth, and of an extreme thinness; or else that from the solids there may emanate some particles which epicuurus the connection, the disposition, and the motion which they had in the body.


Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

On the analogy of things within our experience we have declared that the atom has magnitude; and this, small as it is, we have merely reproduced on a larger scale. As long as either motion obtains, it must continue, quick as the speed of thought, provided there is no obstruction, whether due to external collision or to the atoms’ own weight counteracting the force of the blow.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosop Epicurus Greek: Let us content ourselves with examining how it is that similar phenomena are brought about under our own eyes, and let us apply these observations to the heavenly objects and to everything which known only indirectly.

But they cannot, like atoms, combine themselves, and form compound bodies in virtue of any motion belonging to themselves. But is it not unlimited pleasure at particular moments that one ought to seek to attain a happy life; rather, what is desired is the obtainment of pleasure and the absence of pain, fear, and perturbation in the long term, the state of being Epicurus calls ataraxia.

And the mind can grasp the absolute truth of this. Anna rated it really liked it Nov 25, Marcus Levine rated it liked it Dec 18, Of all this there is no beginning, since both atoms and void exist from everlasting.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

From what ever point of infinity it arrives at some appreciable moment, and whatever may be the spot it its course in which we perceive its motion, it has evidently quitted that spot at the moment of our thought; for this motion which, as we have admitted up to this point, encounters no obstacle to its rapidity, is wholly in the same condition as that the rapidity of which is diminished by the shock of some resistance.


We must admit that it is in the soul most especially that the principle of sensation resides. 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.

Michal rated it did not like it Mar 13, And I t you to take care of the children of Metrodorus, in a manner worthy of the devotion shown by the epocurus man to me, and to philosophy.

In the next place the exceeding thinness of the images is contradicted by none of the facts under our observation. But the cheerfulness of my mind, which comes from the recollection of all my philosophical contemplation, counterbalances all these afflictions.

Beyond bodies and space there is nothing which by mental apprehension or on its analogy we can conceive to exist. As a boy he studied philosophy for four years under the Platonist teacher Pamphilus. At the same time, an atom has not, in any moment perceptible to the intelligence, a continued movement in the same direction; but rather a series of oscillating movements from which there results, in the last analysis, a continued movement perceptible to the senses.

Diogenes Laertius: Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

In fact, if one only looks at the continued movement of an atom which takes place in an indivisible moment of time, the briefest possible, they all have a movement equally rapid. We must chiefly reflect upon that to which we attach this peculiar character of time, and by which we measure 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.

We must consider the minimum perceptible by sense as not corresponding to that which is capable of being traversed, that is to say is extended, nor again as utterly unlike it, but as having something in common with the things capable of being traversed, though it is without distinction of parts.

And empty space cannot itself either act or be acted upon, but simply allows body to move through it.