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Epicurus was a Smart Dead Greek Dude

Epicurus was taught philosophy at various schools since he was a young boy and always showed great interest. He was a philosopher from the start. Epicurus was an atomist, and his teachings had the same fundamentals as Democritus, who he had studied under previously. He believed that the universe is made of tiny pieces of matter flying throughout an existing void, and that everything that happens is just the result of the atoms aimless colliding and changing course. However his theory was different from any before. He believed that each particle could randomly present a change in trajectory, or a clinamen. He reasoned this, essentially, because if there was no random motion there would never have been any kind of inciting collision and “nature would never have produced anything.” He determined that since the particles moved randomly, determinism could not exist and therefor free will could survive.

I was actually pretty upset when I read this, because I really like determinism and the lack of free will. I’ve been reasoning this out for a long time (long before philosophy class) and this is the answer I always came too. What upset me more is that quantum physics may agree with him.

While the big bang now explains our inciting motion, his theory of clinamen is strangely similar to quantum physics (I think. I’ve spent too long reading on quantum mechanics as it is. I’ve got to write me a blog post.) If I’m correct, quantum physics also states that particles exhibit seemingly random motion changes in motion. Whether this disproves determinism or not is up to debate on whether the movement is actually random, or if they are reacting to a set of variable we do not yet know. I’m siding with Einstein on this. I don’t understand what place random events have in our universe. Everything else we have ever measured follows a pattern. I think it’s much more likely there’s a pattern we don’t see. I can get into this more if anyone’s interested. I’ve been doing lot of reading.

Outside of metaphysics Epicurus was a key figure in the creation of the scientific method,as he thought that nothing should be believed except that which is tested through direct observation and logical deduction.He also believed that the goal of life was widespread happiness (my opinion too). He ran his school as a tight community of friendship and kindness.

He’s just kind of.. Epic.


2 thoughts on “Epicurus was a Smart Dead Greek Dude

  1. This is a comment. I am commenting because you just told me to.
    You’re welcome.
    But anyway, I personally don’t like the idea of having the future laid out mathematically and in a structured way. I think that our choices and free will, or “random changes in trajectory or course” should be what govern our lives, so I’m inclined to agree with Epicurus and not you. May I ask what it is about determinism that appeals to you?

    Posted by leannefelton | October 26, 2012, 5:57 pm
  2. Toren I enjoyed reading your blog post. Your view on determinism and relating Epicurus to other philosophers made reading this interesting. I do however object to your wording in the title, Epicurus is dead, and he was a smart Greek dude. Thanks

    Posted by Keagan AH | October 26, 2012, 6:08 pm

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