David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ancient Philosophy 17 (1):119-134 (1997)
One striking oddity about Democritus and Epicurus is that, even though Epicurus' theory of perception is largely the same as that of Democritus, Democritus and his followers draw skeptical conclusions from this theory of perception, whereas Epicurus declares that all perceptions are true or real. I believe that the dispute between Democritus and Epicurus stems from a question over what sort of ontological status should be assigned to sensible qualities. In this paper, I address three questions: 1) Why were Democritus and his followers skeptical? 2) How did Epicurus modify Democritus' metaphysics in order to avoid these skeptical conclusions? and 3) How successful was he? 1) I argue that Democritus allows only the intrinsic properties of atoms into his ontology, and then runs into skeptical difficulties because of the relativity of perception. 2) I propose that Epicurus modifies Democritus' ontology by allowing dispositional and relational properties as real properties of bodies. Sensible qualities are conceptualized as dispositional properties of bodies to cause certain experiences in percipients. 3) I argue that Epicurus does not run into the same problems as Democritus. Finally, I consider how my interpretation of Epicurus' ontology helps to make sense of his claim that all perceptions are alethes--'true' or 'real.'
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Tim O'Keefe (2003). Review of James Warren, Epicurus and Democritean Ethics: An Archaeology of Ataraxia. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (5).
James Warren (2002). Epicurus and Democritean Ethics: An Archaeology of Ataraxia. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Pasnau (2007). Democritus and Secondary Qualities. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2):99-121.
Tim O'Keefe (2002). The Reductionist and Compatibilist Argument of Epicurus' On Nature, Book 25. Phronesis 47 (2):153-186.
Pamela M. Huby (1978). Epicurus' Attitude to Democritus. Phronesis 23 (1):80-86.
Tim O'Keefe (1996). Does Epicurus Need the Swerve as an Archê of Collisions? Phronesis 41 (3):305-317.
O. Balaban (1989). The Hermeneutics of the Young Marx: According To Marx's Approach To the Philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus. Diogenes 37 (148):28-41.
J. S. Swindell Blumenthal-Barby (2007). Tim O’Keefe, Epicurus on Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2005). [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 41 (1):107-112.
Paul Thom (1986). A Lesniewskian Reading of Ancient Ontology: Parmenides to Democritus. History and Philosophy of Logic 7 (2):155-166.
Catherine Atherton (2007). Reductionism, Rationality and Responsibility: A Discussion of Tim O'Keefe, Epicurus on Freedom. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2):192-230.
Gianluca Di Muzio (2007). Epicurus' Emergent Atomism. Philo 10 (1):5-16.
Added to index2011-11-23
Total downloads37 ( #73,446 of 1,699,828 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #77,273 of 1,699,828 )
How can I increase my downloads?