Changing Our Minds: Democritus on What is Up to Us

In Pierre Destrée, R. Salles & Marco Antonio De Zingano (eds.), Up to Us: Studies on Causality and Responsibility in Ancient Philosophy. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag. pp. 1-18 (2014)

Authors
Monte Johnson
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
I develop a positive interpretation of Democritus' theory of agency and responsibility, building on previous studies that have already gone far in demonstrating his innovativeness and importance to the history and philosophy of these concepts. The interpretation will be defended by a synthesis of several familiar ethical fragments and maxims presented in the framework of an ancient problem that, unlike the problem of free will and determinism, Democritus almost certainly did confront: the problem of the causes of human goodness and success. I will argue that Democritus' account of the virtues and success is naturally interpreted as an intellectualist one. His focus on our intellectual powers as the source of our own agency and cause of our success led him to remarkable breakthroughs in moral psychology, including the development of a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy for stress and anxiety, and the proposal of an autonomous source of moral sanction.
Keywords Democritus  Up to Us  Free Will
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References found in this work BETA

Did Epicurus Discover the Free-Will Problem?Susanne Bobzien - 2000 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 19:287-337.
Luck in Aristotle's Physics and Ethics.Monte Johnson - 2015 - In Devin Henry & K. Nielson (eds.), Bridging the Gap between Aristotle's Science and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 254-275.

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