Download A Life Worthy of the Gods: The Materialist Psychology of by David Konstan PDF

By David Konstan

Epicurus, and his Roman disciple Lucretius, held that the first reason behind human sadness was once an irrational worry of dying. what's extra, they believed transparent figuring out of the character of the area could aid to do away with this worry; for if we understand that the universe and every thing in it's made of atoms and empty area, we are going to see that the soul can't in all likelihood continue to exist the extinction of the physique -- and no damage to us can take place once we die. This releasing perception is on the center of Epicurean treatment. during this publication, Konstan seeks to teach how such fears arose, based on the Epicureans, and why they persist even in glossy societies. It bargains an in depth exam of the fundamental rules of Epicurean psychology: exhibiting how a process in accordance with a materialistic global view may provide a coherent account of irrational anxieties and wishes, and supply a treatment that will enable humans to get pleasure from existence to the fullest measure.

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The rooster does not pose an actual threat to the lion; nevertheless, the lion’s reaction is not an instance of empty or vain opinion (kenodoxia), since it does not involve a judgment (doxa) at all. 29 Properly speaking, then, the lion does not fear the rooster. This same analysis will explain the instinctive impulse to flee that deer, for example, experience at the sight of a predator, where the danger of harm is perfectly real. In neither case is reason involved: deer no more learn to avoid lions than lions learn to avoid roosters.

In the Hellenistic period, however, some philosophical schools did pose the question of why certain emotional responses seem to be resistant to amelioration (for the Stoic account, see Graver 2007: 149–63). The Epicureans in particular held that people are commonly mistaken about the causes of their emotions, and more particularly are universally consumed by the fear of death, a fear they either conceal or misrecognize. To help rid human beings of this anxiety, they elaborated a complex doctrine involving two levels of the soul, the one irrational and the seat of sensations and feelings or pathê, the other rational and the locus of those emotions that depend essentially on belief.

140–41; for an implicit contrast between voluptas on the one hand and suave and dulce on the other, cf. 1–13). 258, voluptas, like hêdonê, is the cause of attraction. 963–68, and cf. 1433. 26 This is an important point, and deserves emphasis. 28 Hermarchus, the alogon or non-rational part of the soul. When Cooper (1999: 497) writes that pleasure, for Epicurus, is “a certain state of consciousness or perception,” I agree, provided we understand “perception” as pathos rather than aisthêsis (both are operations of the non-rational soul).

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