Knowing Freedom: Epicurean Philosophy Beyond Atomism and the Swerve

Phronesis 49 (1):41-71 (2004)
This paper argues that Epicurus held a non-reductionist view of mental states that is in the spirit of Davidson's anomalous monism. We argue for this conclusion by considering the role that normative descriptions play in the peritropē argument from "On Nature" 25. However, we also argue that Epicurus was an indeterminist. We can know that atoms swerve because we can know that we make choices that are up to us and this is incompatible with the ancestral causal determination of mental states by atomic processes. Epicurus escapes the traditional criticism of indeterminist libertarians because the swerve is not meant to explain how choices may be free. The anti-reductionist stance on the mental means that nothing about atomic processes could possibly explain any particular mental event. Moreover, because of the practical and therapeutic nature of Epicurean philosophy, it is not necessary that Epicurus provide an explanation of how the swerve subserves freedom of choice. We know all that we need to know for eudaimonia when we know that some choices are up to us
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/156852804773617406
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,938
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #157,163 of 1,725,632 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #211,030 of 1,725,632 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.