Vatican Saying 40

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Template:Vatican Saying 40


This Saying is a rhetorically repetitious rebuttal of (most probably) the strict cause-and-effect teachings of Demokritos. One person (perhaps a Demokritean "natural philosopher") may very well believe that everything happens by necessity, following an inexorable chain of causes and corresponding effects. Another one (perhaps an Epicurean, harboring notions of paregklisis / clinamen) may believe otherwise, namely that not everything is chained as neatly or as inevitably as that. So be it, retorts Epicurus, nonchalantly. The former can have no reasonable complaint against the latter, as he must surely recognize that the latter holds his/her own views by necessity as well.

By this clever syllogism, Epicurus essentially defangs the argument between his school and that of Demokritos. While he does not prove conclusively that either school is right or wrong about causality, he renders the argument moot. The Demokriteans have to accept "dissent by necessity", whereas the Epicureans were not inextricably bound with necessity to begin with.

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