By Catherine Wilson
This landmark research examines the function performed via the rediscovery of the writings of the traditional atomists, Epicurus and Lucretius, within the articulation of the main philosophical structures of the 17th century, and, extra largely, their impact at the evolution of typical technology and ethical and political philosophy. the objective of sustained and trenchant philosophical feedback via Cicero, and of opprobrium by means of the Christian Fathers of the early Church, for its unflinching dedication to the absence of divine supervision and the finitude of lifestyles, the Epicurean philosophy surfaced back within the interval of the medical Revolution, whilst it displaced scholastic Aristotelianism. either glossy social agreement idea and utilitarianism in ethics have been grounded in its tenets. Catherine Wilson exhibits how the precise Epicurean photo of the traditional and social worlds took carry in philosophy, and the way it truly is an stated, and infrequently unacknowledged presence within the writings of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, Boyle, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley. With chapters dedicated to Epicurean physics and cosmology, the corpuscularian or "mechanical" philosophy, the query of the mortality of the soul, the grounds of political authority, the contested nature of the experimental philosophy, sensuality, interest, and the function of enjoyment and software in ethics, the writer makes a persuasive case for the importance of materialism in seventeenth-century philosophy with out underestimating the intensity and value of the competition to it, and for its persisted value within the modern global. Lucretius's nice poem, at the Nature of items, provides the body of reference for this deeply-researched inquiry into the origins of contemporary philosophy.
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Additional info for Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity
In man they achieve a higher degree of perfection, as a result of learning and education. ⁵⁹ Overton insisted that he was not questioning the resurrection. Indeed, he said, an advantage of not taking the soul to be naturally immortal was that the preferential salvation of the virtuous made sense. ⁶⁰ Other writers, including John Milton,⁶¹ took the same care to allow in principle for an afterlife in heaven or hell, pointing out that even if the human soul was corporeal, or an epiphenomenon of material organization, and not intrinsically immortal, God could revive or reassemble persons by ﬁat.
40 epicureanism at the origins of modernity Sennert’s remarks raise a number of historiographical questions. How was the doctrine of atoms integrated into the culture of empiricism with its rejection of humanistic learning? Why were the new philosophers concerned sometimes to deny, at other times to afﬁrm, the ancient lineage of their commitments? What qualiﬁcations and amendments to the pure Epicurean system did they introduce and why? How did they reconcile the unobservability of material corpuscles with their demand for direct ocular experience, and their insistence on multiple witnessing as a criterion of truth?
In Lives X. 42–3, 61–2; trans. Hicks, ii. 573, 591.