Chapter 10 Epicurus and the Placita

In: Aëtiana IV
David T. Runia
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The Placita focus primarily on the views of philosophers on the natural world organised by topics and questions, not on the thought of the philosophers themselves. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with looking at the doxai of a particular philosopher in the collection and investigating what these can tell us about his thought. The paper focuses on the doxai of Epicurus, who represents a unique case, because not only does his name-label frequently appear among the doxai, but there is also evidence that he himself made use of an early version of the Placita in his own writings. The first part of the paper thus treats Epicurus in the Placita, examining a large number of features of the occurrence of his doxai in the collection. As seventh in the total number of doxai, he is amply represented, though quite often in conjunction with other members of the atomist tradition. His doxai are positioned in accordance with the structural and generally diaeretic method of the Placita, but it is striking how often he brings up the rear in a chapter because he represents a distinctive point of view. The second part of the paper turns to the subject of Epicurus on the Placita. In cosmology it appears that he made use of early doxographical material, particularly for presenting multiple explanations. In the treatment of metereological subjects this usage is less easy to demonstrate but still remains likely. The paper thus demonstrates that the prospective edition of the Placita will also be useful for the study of individual philosophers

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Aëtiana IV

Papers of the Melbourne Colloquium on Ancient Doxography