Ideas from 'Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags)' by Epicurus [290 BCE], by Theme Structure

[found in 'The Epicurus Reader' by Epicurus (ed/tr Inwood,B. /Gerson,L.) [Hackett 1994,0-87220-241-0]].

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
It is a great good to show reverence for a wise man
                        Full Idea: To show reverence for a wise man is itself a great good for him who reveres [the wise man].
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 32)
                        A reaction: It is characteristic of Epicurus to move up a level in his thinking, and not merely respect wisdom, but ask after the value of his own respect. Compare Idea 14517. Nice.
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
In study of philosophy, pleasure and knowledge arrive simultaneously
                        Full Idea: In philosophy the pleasure accompanies the knowledge. For the enjoyment does not come after the learning but the learning and the enjoyment are simultaneous.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 27)
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / b. Individuation by properties
Bodies are combinations of shape, size, resistance and weight
                        Full Idea: Epicurus said that body was conceived as an aggregate of shape and size and resistance and weight.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE])
                        A reaction: [Source Sextus 'Adversus Mathematicos' 10.257] Note that this is how we 'conceive' them. They might be intrinsically different, except that Epicurus is pretty much a phenomenalist.
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism
If everything is by necessity, then even denials of necessity are by necessity
                        Full Idea: He who claims that everything occurs by necessity has no complaint against him who claims that everything does not occur by necessity. For he makes the very claim in question by necessity.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 40)
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / c. Value of happiness
What happens to me if I obtain all my desires, and what if I fail?
                        Full Idea: One should bring this question to bear on all one's desires: what will happen to me if what is sought by desire is achieved, and what will happen if it is not?
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 71)
                        A reaction: Yet another example of Epicurus moving up a level in his thinking about ethical issues, as in Idea 14517 and Idea 14519. The mark of a true philosopher. This seems to be a key idea for wisdom - to think further ahead than merely what you desire.
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 3. Pleasure / e. Role of pleasure
Pleasure and virtue entail one another
                        Full Idea: It is not possible to live pleasantly without living intelligently and finely and justly, nor to live intelligently and finely and justly without living pleasantly.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 5), quoted by Julia Annas - The Morality of Happiness Ch.16
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
Justice is merely a contract about not harming or being harmed
                        Full Idea: There is no such things as justice in itself; in people's relations with one another in any place and at any time it is a contract about not harming or being harmed.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 33), quoted by Julia Annas - The Morality of Happiness 13.2
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character
We value our own character, whatever it is, and we should respect the characters of others
                        Full Idea: We value our characters as our own personal possessions, whether they are good and envied by men or not. We must regard our neighbours' characters thus too, if they are respectable.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 15)
                        A reaction: I like this because it introduces a metaethical dimension to the whole problem of virtue. We should value our own character - so should we try to improve it? Should we improve so much as to become unrecognisable?
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / c. Justice
Justice is a pledge of mutual protection
                        Full Idea: The justice of nature is a pledge of reciprocal usefulness, neither to harm one another nor to be harmed.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 31)
                        A reaction: Notice that justice is not just reciprocal usefulness, but a 'pledge' to that effect. This implies a metaethical value of trust and honesty in keeping the pledge. Is it better to live by the pledge, or to be always spontaneously useful?
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 4. Suicide
It is small-minded to find many good reasons for suicide
                        Full Idea: He is utterly small-minded for whom there are many plausible reasons for committing suicide.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 38)
                        A reaction: It is a pity that the insult of 'small-minded' has slipped out of philosophy. The Greeks use it all the time, and know exactly what it means. We all recognise small-mindedness, and it is a great (and subtle) vice.
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract
A law is not just if it is not useful in mutual associations
                        Full Idea: If someone passes a law and it does not turn out to be in accord with what is useful in mutual associations, this no longer possesses the nature of justice.
                        From: Epicurus (Principle Doctrines ('Kuriai Doxai') (frags) [c.290 BCE], 37)