Diogenes Laërtius by Edward Brewster, (Wikimedia Commons) The only surviving complete works by Epicurus are three letters, all contained in Diogenes. Epicurus summarizes the key doctrines from “On Nature” (of which only a few fragments have been recovered) in this letter to Herodotus. At a time when most. THE LETTER TO HERODOTUS, on physics. Epicurus to Herodotus, wishing he may do well. [35] G For those, Herodotus, who are not able accurately to.


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We must recognize that this analogy also holds of the minimum in the atom; it is only in minuteness that it letter to herodotus from that which is observed by sense, but it follows the same analogy.

On the letter to herodotus of things within our experience we have declared that the atom has magnitude; and this, small as it is, we have merely reproduced on a larger scale.

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And further, the least and simplest things must be regarded letter to herodotus extremities of lengths, furnishing from themselves as units the means of measuring lengths, whether greater or less, the mental vision being employed, since direct observation is impossible.

For the community letter to herodotus exists between them and the unchangeable parts the minimal parts of area or surface is sufficient to justify the conclusion so far as this goes.

But it is not possible that these minima of the atom should group themselves together through the possession of motion. Hence it is possible to assume one direction of motion, which we conceive as extending upwards ad infinitum, and another downwards, even if it should happen ten thousand times that what moves from us to the spaces above our heads reaches the feet of those above us, or that which moves downwards from us the heads of those below us.

None the less is it true that the whole of the motion in the respective cases is conceived as extending letter to herodotus opposite directions ad infinitum.

On Epicurus’ Letter to Herodotus: The Foundation of the Universe

When they are traveling through the void and meet with no resistance, the atoms must move with equal speed. Neither will heavy atoms travel more quickly than small and light ones, so long as nothing meets them, nor will small atoms travel more quickly than large ones, provided they always find a passage suitable to their size.

Nor will their upward or their lateral motion, which is due to collisions, nor again their downward motion, due to weight, affect their velocity. As long as either motion obtains, it must continue, quick as the speed of thought, provided there is no obstruction, whether due to external collision or to the atoms' own weight counteracting the letter to herodotus of the blow.

Moreover, when we come to deal with composite bodies, one of them will travel faster than another, although their atoms have equal speed. This is because the atoms in the aggregates are traveling in one direction a during the shortest continuous time, albeit they move in different directions in times so short as to be appreciable only by the reason, but frequently collide until the continuity of their motion letter to herodotus appreciated by sense.

For the assumption that beyond the range of direct observation even the minute times conceivable by reason will present continuity of motion is not true in the case before us.


Our canon is that direct observation by sense and direct apprehension by the mind are alone invariably true. Next, keeping in view our perceptions and feelings for letter to herodotus shall we have the surest grounds for beliefwe must recognize generally that the soul is a corporeal thing, letter to herodotus of fine particles, dispersed all over the frame, most nearly resembling wind with an admixture of heat, in some respects like wind, in others like heat.

Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus

But, again, there letter to herodotus the third part which exceeds the other two in the fineness of its particles and thereby keeps in closer touch with the rest of the frame.

And this is shown by the mental faculties and feelings, by the ease with which the mind moves, and by thoughts, and by all those things the letter to herodotus of which causes death.


Further, we must keep in letter to herodotus that soul has the greatest share in causing sensation. Still, it would not have had sensation, had it not been somehow confined within the rest of the frame. But the rest letter to herodotus the frame, though it provides this indispensable conditions for the soul, itself also has a share, derived from the soul, of the said quality; and yet does not possess all the qualities of soul.


Hence on the departure of the soul it loses sentience. For it had not this power in itself; but something else, congenital with the body, supplied it to body: Hence, so long as the soul is in the body, it never loses sentience letter to herodotus the removal of some other part.

The containing sheaths may be dislocated in whole or in part, and portions of the soul may thereby be lost; yet in spite of this the soul, if it manage to survive, will have sentience. But the rest of the frame, whether the whole of it survives or only a part, no longer has sensation, when once those atoms have departed, which, however few in number, are required to constitute the nature of soul.

Moreover, when the whole frame is broken up, the soul is scattered and has no longer the same powers as before, nor the same notions; hence it does not possess sentience either. Further, any given form has infinite atoms, since the form allows letter to herodotus to flow back and forth from inside to the outside and back again.

What is finite are the number of composite bodies: Epicurus is explicit letter to herodotus a finite number of parts constitutes a finite body.

For we cannot think of it as sentient, except it be in this composite whole and moving letter to herodotus these movements; nor can we so think of it when the sheaths which enclose and surround it are not the same as those in which the soul is now located and in which it performs these movements.

Letter to herodotus is the further point to be considered, what the incorporeal can be, if, I mean, according to current usage the term is applied to what can be conceived as self-existent.