Toward (and Away from) an Epicurean Modernity

Source; Law & Liberty
by Scott Yenor

“Very ancient Epicurean insights are built into the foundation of Hume’s modern thinking. Those pretenses to knowledge are limited to what could be sensed or experienced; that (therefore) human beings are forever consigned to ignorance and fancy when it comes to understanding the gods or God; that the world itself is disenchanted or at least, as Zubia puts it, ‘despiritualized;’ that religion is the ‘enemy to knowledge, happiness, and social order;’ that morality and politics begin with universal agreement or conventionalism; that the human good is pleasure, though it may be refined beyond simply bodily pleasure; that human society advances from barbarism to civilization — these and more ideas from Epicurus are fundamental tenets in the modern political imagination. Yet a deep difference between Hume and the ancient Epicureans remains.” (02/07/24)