On the extant fragments of Epicurus (341–270 BCE) dealing with ethics, including his “Letter to Menoceus,” “The Principal Doctrines,” and “The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings.” Plus Tim O’Keefe’s Epicureanism (2010) and Martha Nussabum’s The Therapy of Desire (1994).
How are we supposed to act once we understand nature as atoms bouncing and swerving around in the void, temporarily producing order through fortuitous collisions? Ruling out demanding gods means ethics is dictated by human nature: we avoid pain and pursue pleasure. However, we’re very bad at this, and Epicurus wants to fix all of us!
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