Partial list of the Table of Contents.
A. Contemporary Interest in Epicureanism.
Character of the period. Causes of the apparent neglect of Lucretius by his contemporaries. Influence of Epicureanism upon cultivated Romans. Reasons for Cicero's comparative silence regarding Lucretius. Recognition of the poet by later generations.
B. A Preliminary Question.
To what extent did Lucretius pursue original investigations? The poet's devotion to Epicurus. Evidences of servile imitation. Marks of independent treatment of physical phenomena. No extreme position tenable. Divisions of the present discussion.
I. Philosophers With Whom Lucretius Contends Amicably.
Respects for early physicists. The main contention,
1. Empedocles. Object of Lucretius' admiration. Internal evidence that Lucretius studied the works of Empedocles. Hallier's proofs. Similarity of literary style. Rhetorical imitations. Doctrinal agreement. Resemblances in explanations of physical phenomena. Unquestioned indebtedness of Lucretius. Hostility to Empedocles as representative physicist designating one or more substances primordial matter. Various points of conflict. Void and motion. Incompetent primordia. Fallibility of the senses. Mortality of the soul. Teleology.
2. Anaxagoras. Evidence of high esteem of Epicurus for Anaxagoras. Common ground occupied by Anaxagoras and Atomists. General lines of divergence. Sympathy of Lucretius with Anaxagoras. Instances in proof. The doctrine of the homoeomeria the real issue between Lucretius and Anaxagoras. The theory expounded. Objections of Lucretius. Void ignored. Infinite divisibility of body. Defective primordia. Secondary qualities in primitive matter. Minima. A pair of dilemmas.
3. Democritus. The obligation of Epicurus to the philosopher of Abdera. Ingratitude of the former. The more commendable, spirit of Lucretius. Eulogistic lines. Traces of the pressure of Democritus upon Lucretius. Harmony of general principles. The doctrine of emanations. The summum bonum. The sexual passion. Earthquakes. Imitations of Democritus. The extent of Lucretius' acquaintance with his writings. Chief doctrinal disagreement. Atomic declination. Free-will. Arguments of Epicurus and Lucretius. Minor occasions of controversy. Infinity of number and shapes of atoms. Constitution of the soul. Origin of verbal designations. The rising of the Nile. The gods.
II. Philosophers Toward Whom Lucretius Is Hostile.
The censoriousness of Epicurus emulated by Lucretius.
1. Heraclitus. Alone denounced by name. Taunt of obscurity....
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