Chapter

Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus

C. C. W. Taylor

in Pleasure, Mind, and Soul

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226399
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191710209 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226399.003.0001
 Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus

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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

Chapter.  9145 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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