Epicurus regularly warned against the hazards of skepticism, including viewpoints which allege that confidence in knowledge is impossible. Skepticism comes in too many different forms to list here, but ranging from the very simple “Nothing can be known” (an issue dealt with in Lucretius Book 5) to “Anything Is Possible” to the pseudo-scientific “We don’t have any evidence now, but we might in the future.” I would submit that it is far more important to understand these issues than it is to understand Epicurus’ views on pleasure, because Epicurus could have never had confidence in his conclusions on ethics if he did not have a position on what it means to have confidence in anything. These views of Epicurus formed the basis of his “Canon of Truth,” which is evidence-based rather than logic-based, and every student of Epicurus needs to think closely about Doctrines 22-25 and why abstract logic is not the central aspect of his method.
This can be a complex subject to discuss, but from time to time we come across videos that are not explicitly Epicurean but which help explain the issues involved. Thanks to a reader (Camotero) at EpicureanFriends this video by physicist Sabine Hossenfelder came to my attention today and I think it’s well worth ten minutes. Please be sure at least to catch the part around the six minute mark where she labels the “Multiverse” theory as “unscientific” and attributes the problem to the fact that “many physicists are Platonists… they believe that their math is real.”
This is a very helpful video for orienting new students of Epicurus to his perspective on many aspects of science: Here’s the youtube link below, and here’s the link to discussion at EpicureanFriends: