Welcome to Episode One Hundred Twenty Eight of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who wrote “On The Nature of Things,” the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world. I am your host Cassius, and together with our panelists from the EpicureanFriends.com forum, we’ll walk you through the ancient Epicurean texts, and we’ll discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. We encourage you to study Epicurus for yourself, and we suggest the best place to start is the book “Epicurus and His Philosophy” by Canadian professor Norman DeWitt. If you find the Epicurean worldview attractive, we invite you to join us in the study of Epicurus at EpicureanFriends.com, where you will find a discussion thread for each of our podcast episodes and many other topics.
This week we are going to take a detour from the letter to Pythocles while both Joshua and Don are away. For this one week only (unless something unusual develops) we will discuss the Twelve Fundamentals of Nature. Part of the discussion has already begun on the forum under the topic: The Twelve Fundamentals – Discussion on Lucretius Today Podcast. We’ll refer to two lists, one by DeWitt and one by Diskin Clay:
The Elementary Principles of Nature below are as set forth by Epicurus and summarized in English by Norman Dewitt in his book “Epicurus And His Philosophy.” This list is provided for convenience. For discussion of each item, please see the forum devoted to each one.
PN 01 Matter is uncreatable.
PN 02 Matter is indestructible.
PN 03 The universe consists of solid bodies and void.
PN 04 Solid bodies are either compounds or simple.
PN 05 The multitude of atoms is infinite.
PN 06 The void is infinite in extent.
PN 07 The atoms are always in motion.
PN 08 The speed of atomic motion is uniform.
PN 09 Motion is linear in space, vibratory in compounds.
PN 10 Atoms are capable of swerving slightly at any point in space or time.
PN 11 Atoms are characterized by three qualities: weight, shape and size.
PN 12 The number of the different shapes is not infinite, merely innumerable.