Epicurus' Emergent Atomism

Philo 10 (1):5-16 (2007)

Abstract

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus regarded his atomism as a cure for the fear of natural phenomena. An atomistic philosophy, however, can easily lead to determinism and epiphenomenalism, which threaten human happiness even more than the fear of nature. The present paper attempts to reconstruct Epicurus’ strategy for dealing with the unwanted consequences of his atomism. The author argues that Epicurus employed a form of emergentism about properties to show that freedom exists and mental states are not causally inert epiphenomena

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