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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We must chiefly reflect upon that to which we attach this peculiar character of time, and by which we measure it. But only as often as they are seen actually to belong to it, since such accidents are not perpetual concomitants.

When we speak of bodies and space, both are regarded as wholes or separate things, not as the properties or accidents of separate things. Nor, on the other hand, must we suppose the accident to have independent existence for this is just as inconceivable in the case of accidents as in that of the permanent properties ; but, as is manifest, they should all be regarded as accidents, not as permanent concomitants, of bodies, nor yet as having the rank of independent existence. Rees rated it it was amazing Aug 14, But the percussion produced in us when we, by the utterance of a voice, cause a disengagement of certain particles, constitutes a current resembling a light whisper, and prepares an acoustic feeling for us.

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. 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.

Only the gods are immortal, letrer Epicurus, but we are not. We must consider the minimum herodltus by sense as not corresponding to that which is capable epicudus 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.

Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text for each section. However, one must not believe that every kind of magnitude exists in atoms, lest we find ourselves contradicted by phenomena.

Matthew Jankowski rated it it was amazing Jan 19, These heavenly phenomena admit of several explanations; they have no reason of a necessary character, and one may explain them in different manners.

And this is shown by the mental faculties and feelings, by the ease with which the mind moves, and by thoughts, and by all those things the loss of which causes death.


Diogenes Laertius : The Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

The atoms are in continual motion through all eternity. Moreover, when we come to deal with composite bodies, one of them will travel faster than another, although their atoms have equal speed.

They are, as one sees plainly, accidents of the body; accidents which do not of necessity make any part of its nature; which cannot be considered as independent substances, but still to each of which sensation gives the peculiar character under which it appears to us. Hence those who call soul incorporeal speak foolishly. Now, of bodies, some are combinations, and some are the elements out of which these combinations are formed.

Not that, if we consider the minute times perceptible by reason alone, the moving body itself arrives at more than one place simultaneously for this too is inconceivablealthough in time perceptible to sense it does arrive simultaneously, however different the point of departure from that conceived by us.

Epicurus would often deny this influence, denounce other philosophers as confused, and claim to be “self-taught”. When these foundations are once laid we may pass to the study of those things, about which the evidence is not immediate. For all these, whether small or great, have been separated off from special conglomerations of atoms; and all things are again dissolved, some faster, some slower, some through the action of one set of causes, others through the action of another.

We need not adopt any fresh terms as preferable, but should employ the usual expressions about it.

Besides, their incessant effluence meets with no resistance or very little, although many atoms, not to heroxotus an unlimited number, do at once encounter resistance. Each variety of forms contains an innumerable amount of atoms, but there is not for that reason an infinity of atoms; it is only the number of them which is beyond all calculation.

Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

Connie rated it liked it Oct 09, 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. Herodotsu the mind can grasp the absolute truth of this.

For if it were so, it could neither act nor be acted upon.

We must admit that the case of smelling is the same as that of hearing. They exist by their own force, in the midst of the dissolution of herodotud combined bodies, being absolutely full, and as such offering no handle for destruction to take hold of. But, in truth, the universal whole always was such as it now is, and always will be such.


Now the universal whole is a body; for our senses bear us witness in every case that bodies have a real existence; and the evidence of the senses, as I have said before, ought to be the rule of our reasoning about everything which is not directly perceived. Hence, since such a course is of service to all who take up natural science, I, who devote to the subject my continuous energy and reap the calm enjoyment of a life like this, have prepared for you just such an epitome and manual of the doctrines as a whole.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by aponiathe absence of pain and fear, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends.

We must seize, by analogy, and going round the whole circle of things comprised under this general denomination for time – we must seize, I say, that essential character which causes us to say that time is long or short. Herodoths these qualities, I repeat, merely give the body its own permanent nature. Accordingly, it is sufficient to express the general idea of the movement of transference to enable us to conceive in a moment certain distinct qualities, and those combined beings, which, being taken in their totality, receive the name of bodies; and the necessary and eternal attributes without which the body cannot be conceived.

Rather they are seen to be exactly as and what sensation itself makes them individually claim to be. 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. They all have their own characteristic modes of being perceived and distinguished, but always along with the whole body in which they inhere and never in separation from it; and it is in virtue of this complete conception of the body as a whole that it is herodous designated.

Now, nothing can be conceived in itself as incorporeal except the void; but the void cannot be either passive or active; herodotud is only the condition and the place of movement. For I have been attacked by a painful inability to urinate, and also dysentery, so violent ti nothing can be added to the violence of my sufferings. Again, the sum of things is infinite.