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Pleasure, Mind, and SoulSelected Papers in Ancient Philosophy$
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C. C. W. Taylor

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226399.001.0001

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Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus

Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus

(p.1) 1 Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus
Pleasure, Mind, and Soul

C. C. W. Taylor

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the relation between Democritus' physical and ethical theories. The first part criticizes the attempts of earlier writers, notably G. Vlastos, to establish systematic correlations between psychological states described in terms belonging to the physical theory and ethically significant states such as happiness. The second part argues that the link between the physical and ethical theories is methodological rather than substantive, in that both types of theory replace reliance on sensation by reliance on a rational theory, which nevertheless depends on sensation in that a) the physical theory is subject to empirical verification and b) the good for man is identical with pleasure conceived as the enjoyment of life.

Keywords:   physics, ethics, well-being, pleasure, perception, scepticism, G. Vlastos

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