With today’s release of the Letter to Pythocles, I have now completed these “ Elemental Editions” of each of Epicurus’ three letters from Diogenes Laertius, plus a. The Letter to Pythocles. CLEON brought me a letter from you in which you continue to express a kindly feeling towards me, which is a just return for my interest in. The Letter to Pythocles is a treatment of phenomena of the sky. It is possibly one of the few fully extant writings of Epicurus — the second of three.

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And he who asserts either that it is not yet time to philosophise, or that the hour is passed, is like a man who should say that the time is not yet pjthocles to be happy, or that it is too late.

Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles

And when we, on certain occasions, fall in with more sumptuous fare, it makes us in a better disposition towards it, and renders us fearless with respect to fortune.

History of Western Philosophy. But he considers the pains of the soul the worst; for that the flesh is only sensible to present affliction, but the pytyocles feels the past, the present, and the future.

That the wise man will only feel gratitude to his friends, but to them equally whether they are present or absent. Subsequently, these vapours become condensed in epucurus progress under the action of the cold which surrounds the clouds in the lower regions.

But when we pick and choose among them, rejecting one equally consistent with the phenomena, we clearly fall away from the study of nature altogether and tumble into myth.

The prognostics which are derived from the stars may, like those which we borrow from animals, arise from a simple coincidence.

In short, this phenomenon also may admit a great number of explanations. We do not seek to wrest by force what is impossible, nor to understand all matters equally well, nor make our treatment always as clear as when we discuss human life or explain the principles of physics in general—for instance, that the whole of being consists of bodies and intangible nature, or that the ultimate elements of things are indivisible, or any other proposition which admits only one explanation of the phenomena to be possible.

Hail is caused by the firmer congelation and complete transformation, and subsequent distribution into drops, of certain particles resembling wind: Kant – – In Eric Watkins ed.

Epicurus, Letter to Pythocles – PhilPapers

This effect is especially produced in the neighbourhood of high mountains; and, accordingly, they are very frequently struck with the thunderbolts.


It is possible that the heavenly phenomena may present some apparent characteristics which appear to assimilate them to those phenomena which we see taking place around ourselves, without there being any real analogy at the bottom.

But first of all, let us go through the opinions which he held, and his disciples held about the wise man. And in the same spirit, Diogenesin the seventeenth book of his Select Discourses, and Metrodorusin his Timocratesspeak thus. Snow may be produced by a light vapour full of moisture which the clouds allow to escape by passage intended for that end, when they are pressed, in a corresponding manner, by other clouds, and set in motion by the wind.

All things go on uninterruptedly, if all be explained by the method of plurality of causes in conformity with the facts, so soon as we duly understand what may be plausibly alleged respecting them. It is no concern then either of the living or of the dead; since to the one it has no existence, and the other class has no existence itself. For we sow the earth; and friendship arises from a community of, and participation in, pleasures.

For in all the celestial phenomena such a line of research is not to be abandoned; for, if you fight against clear evidence, you never can enjoy genuine peace of mind. Letter Legibility and Visual Word Recognition. Again, they may equally be due to the contrary pressure of the air or, it may be, to the fact that either the fuel from time to time necessary has been consumed in the vicinity or there is a dearth of it.

We see bow the former really take place, but not how the celestial phenomena take place, for their occurrence may possibly be due to a variety of causes.

Winds arise from time to time when foreign matter continually and gradually finds its way into the air; also through the gathering of great store of water.

To give one uniform and positive explanation of all these facts, is not consistent with the conduct of any people but those who love to flash prodigies in the eyes of the multitude. Moreover there are several other ways in which this might be brought about, as may be seen by anyone capable of reasoning in accordance with the facts.

Earthquakes may arise from the wind penetrating into the interior of the earth, or from the earth itself receiving incessantly the addition of exterior particles, and being in incessant motion as to its constituent atoms, being in consequence disposed to a general vibration. And where pleasure is, as long as it lasts, that which gives pain, or that which feels pain, or both of them, are absent.


Falling stars, as they are called, may in some cases be due to the mutual friction of the stars themselves, in other cases to the expulsion of certain parts when that mixture of fire and air takes place which was mentioned when we were discussing lightning; or it may be due to the meeting of atoms capable of generating fire, which accord so well as to produce this result, and their subsequent motion wherever the impulse which brought them together at first leads them; or it may be that wind collects in certain dense mist-like masses and, since it is imprisoned, ignites and then bursts forth upon whatever is round about it, and is carried to that place to which its motion impels it.

In other passages he says that the gods are speculated on by reason, some existing according to number, and others according to some similarity of form, arising from the continual flowing on of similar images, perfected for this very purpose in human form.

Letter to Pythocles

And those who have not fully accepted this, in proportion as they have not done so, will be ill acquainted with these very subjects, nor have they secured the end for which they ought to be studied. Therefore, in the same manner, he contends that the pleasure of the soul are greater than those of the body; and he uses as proof that pleasure is the chief good, the pythoclez that all animals from the moment of their birth are delighted with pleasure, and are offended with pain by their natural instinct, and without the employment of Reason.

Do you then study these precepts, and those which are akin to them, by all means day and night, pondering on them by yourself, and discussing them with any one like yourself, and then you will never be disturbed too either sleeping or waking fancies, but you will live like a god among men; for a man living amid immortal gods, is in no respect like a mortal being.

But in itself and actually it maybe a little larger or a little smaller, or precisely as eppicurus as it is seen pytholes be.