To understand Epicurus's philosophy on the fear of death, we fist have to understand Epicurus's perception of the universe, and why he believes the soul is mortal. Epicurus believes that the totality of the universe consists only of "bodies and void" (Letter to Herodotus 39). He says that using out senses, we can observe that there are bodies, and using reasoning we must therefore conclude that there must be something (a "void") for the bodies to exist in (Letter to Herodotus 39-40). He claims there can be nothing conceivable outside the totality, since there can be no sense-evidence of anything outside the totality (Letter to Herodotus 40). By this logic, all observable things must be bodies or combinations of bodies, of which the smallest bodies (atoms) are unsplittable (Letter to Herodotus 40).
If, as Epicurus claims, everything is either body or void, the soul must also be one of these two things. It cannot be void, as the void is nothing and can consist only of nothing, so therefore it must be a body or compound of bodies (Letter to Herodotus 63). He believes that the soul is most responsible for sense-perception, and that it must be enclosed within the body to facilitate this (Letter to Herodotus 63-64). If this is the case, it must therefore be acknowledged that the soul must exist...
... middle of paper ...
...erstand the nature of the soul are, as Epicurus says "incomparably stronger than other men" (Letter to Herodotus 83), since they will be able to understand and set aside their fears and worries about themselves after death.
Overall, I believe that Epicurus's view on the mortality of the soul and the fear of death are very plausible and hold up well under scrutiny. His basic principles on the topic are believable and well supported even if some of the premises are rejected or modified. To me, this is an argument that is not difficult to understand, but can be used even in modern discussions of the soul and death.
Lucretius. On the Nature of Things. Trans. Walter Englert. Newburyport, MA: Focus Philosophical Library, 2003.
Epicurus. The Epicurus Reader. Trans. Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 1994.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Humankind’s greatest fear is death. According to Epicurus the soul is a material article. The soul is no less corporeal than any other part of the body, because it too, is part of the physical body itself. If one was to agree with Epicurus, they would stand to reason that when someone’s physical body dies the soul dies as well. Epicurus proposes that there are no grounds for people to fear death. He says that people fear and expect “some everlasting pain, as happens in myths. Or they fear the loss of sensation itself that comes with death, as if it were something that affected them directly.... [tags: ancient Greek philosophy]
747 words (2.1 pages)
- Epicurus Epicurus was a philosopher who was believed to be the one with all the answers to life. He encouraged the Ideal of Good Life, to live simple lives by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Epicurus views worries as unnecessary and unnatural desires. If these desires are avoided, he believes that all worries will be eliminated. Epicurus' metaphysical theory was based on Democritus's view of atoms. They were monists who believed all is matter, the soul is equivalent to the mind and comes apart at death.... [tags: Papers Philosophy Happniess]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- Human beings often have preconceived notions or fears regarding the abstract idea of death. Two Hellenistic philosophers Epicurus and Epictetus take very different approaches to prove that death is insignificant and nothing to worry about. Epicurus argues that death is the unequivocal end of our existence, and Epictetus claims it is something that we have no control over. Both examine the nature of death in an attempt to achieve ataraxia or a tranquil state of mind. However, Epicurus and Epictetus fail to address the true emotional nature of death and its impact on the human psyche.... [tags: Philosophy ]
1522 words (4.3 pages)
- Many people seem to fear death, but philosophers such as Socrates and Epicurus would argue that one has no reason to fear it. Socrates sees death as a blessing to be wished for if death is either nothingness or a relocation of the soul, whereas Epicurus argues that one shouldn't worry themselves about death since, once we are gone, death is annihilation which is neither good nor bad. Epicurus believes that death itself is a total lack of perception, wherein there is no pleasure or pain. I agree with Epicurus because Socrates doesn't give a sound argument for death as a blessing, whereas Epicurus' argument is cogent.... [tags: Why We Should Not Fear Death]
2744 words (7.8 pages)
- Epicurean Philosophy and its Effects on the World During Hellenistic times, Ancient Greece was a baffled region. This was a time of great warfare, militarism, and violence. This was also a time when human kind was searching for a guide to life; a way to live. Philosophies and religions were being tossed around and there was such a variety that it seemed difficult to choose a path. The founder of Epicureanism, Epicurus, had great contributions to peoples’ finding of a way to live. Epicurus was born in 341 B.C.... [tags: Papers]
1101 words (3.1 pages)
- The Death of Behaviorism Aristotle, 384 BC -- 322 BC, dead. "Man is by nature, a political animal." Of the two great philosophers of Greece, Plato and Aristotle, the latter was the one who relied on observation. In Raphael's The School of Athens the two great philosophers in the center of the painting, surrounded by the other great Greeks, with Plato holding his hand upright as if to indicate, "Look to the perfecti on of the heavens for truth," while Aristotle holds his arm straight out, implying "look around you at what is if you would know the truth." Aristotle was born in Stagira (in northern Greece), 384 BC He died in Chalcis (on the Aegean island of Euboea, now Ewoia), 322 B.C.... [tags: Papers]
3318 words (9.5 pages)
- Great minds run in the same direction. But in the case of great minds like Epicurus (342 – 270 B.C.E.) and Epictetus (50 – 130 C.E.), the road toward their common goal differed. Both Epicurus and Epictetus believe that it is in human nature to seek out pleasure and that happiness implicates serenity. However, Epicurus differs from Epictetus in that Epicurus does not believe that it is the virtues that bring about happiness, but rather, one’s own pleasure. While both Epicurus and Epictetus confer their opinions on happiness, it is consequently apparent by juxtaposing these two philosophers that their views on how to achieve is different, this can be proved by comparing their individual ethica... [tags: Philosophy ]
1178 words (3.4 pages)
- The Utopian Philosophy of Shangri-La in James Hilton's Lost Horizon For some people life may not be satisfactory. Life has many troubles including death, pain, and suffering. It leaves little hope. There are ways in which people can live to have a good life. This method of how a person should live is viewed differently thoughout the world. James Hilton represents this combination of ideas and cultures in the novel, Lost Horizon (1933). This novel tells the tale of four distinctively different people retreating from a war zone.... [tags: Lost Horizon Essays]
869 words (2.5 pages)
- At the most basic level of subconscious thought, every living animal possesses a desire to stay alive. Usually, this instinct lays dormant, although in dire situations, we can be led to do unexpected things. In addition to this subconscious drive, there is a socially constructed motivation for fearing death. Thanks to the pervasive nature of religion throughout history, much of humanity has, at some point or another, feared the prospect of eternal damnation and torture during one’s life after death.... [tags: Philosophy]
1129 words (3.2 pages)
- In the novel, White Noise by Don DeLillo, Jack Gladney tries to think that he know his wife Babette. He tries to disguise his true self in order to gain strength through his false identity. He tries to control Babette’s thoughts by telling her she is supposed to act a particular way because he is slowly losing control and the struggle of who is more afraid of death. Jack constantly is trying to face his fears of death but learns that his wife has similar fears. He tries to gain power over his death by trying to murder someone.... [tags: identity, kill, fear, death]
628 words (1.8 pages)