Epicureanism (1880) Free PDF book By William Wallace

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Epicureanism 1880  By William Wallace PDF Book




Contents of the book:

 Epicurus and his age - Epicurus and his brotherhood - documentary sources -General Aspect of the System - the Natural World - The chief good - the atomic theory - Comslogy and theology - Logic and Philosophy - Conclusion
Excerpt from the author's introduction
he member of another school might assert towards his teacher's certain impartiality of critical examination. If Plato and Socrates were dear to the Platonist, the truth was dearer still. But to the Epicurean, the belief in his characteristic doctrines was blended with, and humanized by, attachment to the memory of the founder of his creed. Of the four schools, two were more ancient than the others. The Academics and the Peripatetics preceded the Stoics and Epicureans by more than half a century; they continued to exist and flourish long after the younger sects had died away into silence. But during the four centuries which witnessed the rise and spread of Epicurean and Stoical doctrines, from B.C. 250 to A.D. 150, the two other schools were forced into the background and abandoned by all but a few professed students.


In the Roman world, the Stoic and Epicurean systems divided between themselves the suffrages of almost all who cared to think at all. Plato and Aristotle were almost unknown, for the two schools which professed to draw their original inspiration from these masters had rapidly drifted away from the definite doctrine of their leaders. in modem times, we should term Idealism. It had been sustained by enthusiasm for knowledge and carried on by a great wave of intellectual energy.

Plato and Aristotle gathered the ripe fruit from that The Athenian garden where Pericles, Phidias, and Sophocles had visibly signified the spring-time of blossom and brightness. Strong in the accumulated strength of a century of Athenian power and splendor, they raised their eyes fearlessly upon the world and tried to discover its plan and meaning as the home of humanity the humanity which they saw around them and felt within them.


 They endeavored to trace the steps in the long ladder of means and ends, which, from the analogy of what they saw in their types of human society, they believed would also be found in the natural world. They looked upon everything in nature and in humanity as the < realization of an idea, as a stage in the unfolding of a ruling principle.

 Everything to Plato was the product of an " idea of the Good"; everything to Aristotle was a step in the development of the ends of an intelligent Nature. To exist, for both of them, meant to embody or to express an idea, or plan. At the summit of all things, the principle and center of the phenomena of the human and the natural world, was a creative plan or intellect, always carrying itself forth into activity, everlastingly productive, and consciously surveying and embracing its own several manifestations. The question as to the materials employed in order to carry out these plans was noticed by these thinkers only as it served to illustrate the process of realization. At least, this is the case with Plato to a large degree, to a less degree with Aristotle.

Author:  William Wallace
Publication Date: 1880
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