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[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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Spenser rated it liked it Mar 31, From what ever point of infinity it lettre 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.

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 epicjrus 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.

Michael Lloyd-Billington rated it really liked it Apr 27, Laura Vilka rated it liked it Nov 09, 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 arrived 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 of the essential notions, and to derive assistance from them for the tranquillity and happiness of life.

Let us despise those people who are unable to distinguish facts petter of different explanations from others which can only exist and be explained in one single way.

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.


For height and lowness must not be predicated of the infinite. But, in truth, the universal whole always was such as it now is, and always will be such. Book 10 contains the life and doctrines of Epicurus. Selected Writings and TestimoniaHackett Publishing: These heavenly phenomena admit of several explanations; they have no reason of a necessary character, and one may explain them in different manners. Let us add to the reflection that one cannot conceive, either in virtue of perception, or of any analogy founded on perception, any general quality peculiar to all beings which is not either an attribute, or an accident of the body, or of the void.

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. Nor can we help thinking that in this way, by proceeding forward from one to the next in order, it is possible by such a progression to arrive in thought at infinity.

Lettter, we must keep in mind that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. One class being ill-suited to the organ, and consequently producing a disordered state of it, the other being suited to it, and causing it no lettwr.

For there is nothing into which it can change.

Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

But, again, there is the third part which exceeds the other two in the fineness of its particles and thereby keeps in closer touch with the rest of the frame. He suffered from kidney stones, to which he finally succumbed in BCE at epicruus age of 72, and despite the prolonged pain involved, he wrote to Idomeneus: It follows from that, that that which does not admit of any change in itself, is imperishable, participates in no respect in the nature of changeable things, and in a word, has its dimensions and forms immutable determined.

This remark applies particularly to the earth.

As to us, we find many explanations of the motions of the sun, of the rising epixurus setting of the stars, of the eclipse and similar phenomena, just as well as of the more particular phenomena. Educated men introduced the notion of things not discoverable by the senses, and appropriated words to them when they found themselves under the necessity of uttering their thoughts; after this, other men, guided in every point by reason, interpreted these words hegodotus the same sense.

The like atoms of hetodotus shape are absolutely infinite; but the variety of shapes, though indefinitely large, is not absolutely infinite. 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.

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Diogenes Laertius: Letter of Epicurus to Herodotus

The direct production of images in space is equally instantaneous, because these images are only light substances destitute of depth. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. For we cannot think of it as sentient, except it be in this composite whole and moving with these movements; nor can we so think of it when the sheaths which enclose and surround it are not the same as those in which the soul is now located and in which it performs these movements.

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. He adds that sleep is produced either when the parts of the soul diffused over the whole of the body concentrate themselves, or when they disperse and escape by the pores of the body; for particles emanate from all bodies.

It is on that account that, when the soul departs, the body is no longer possessed of sensation; for it has not this power, namely that of sensation in itself; but on the other hand, this power can only manifest itself in the soul through the medium of the body.

Historical Context for Letter to Herodotus by Epicurus

We must not fancy either that these globes of fire, which roll on in space, enjoy a perfect happiness, and give themselves, with reflection and wisdom, the motions which they possess. This is because each epicyrus is separated from the rest by void, which is incapable of offering any resistance to the rebound; while it is the solidity of the atom which makes it rebound after a collision, however short the distance to which it rebounds, when it finds itself imprisoned in a mass of entangling atoms.

Hence there will be nothing to hinder an infinity of worlds. It is not even belief, but inconsiderateness and blindness which govern them in every thing, to such a degree that, not calculating these fears, they are just as much troubled as if they really had faith in these vain phantoms.