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Title: The atomistic denial of ghosts: from Democritus to Lucretius
Authors: Traver Vera, Ángel Jacinto
Keywords: Atomists;simulacra;Leucippus;Democritus;Epicurus;Lucretius
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra
Abstract: This chapter discusses the atomistic premises against the existence of ghosts. According to the traditional Graeco-Roman religion and other philosophical doctrines, such as the Pythagorean, the Platonic, and the Stoic, ghosts do exist and serve as medium between the living world and the afterlife. Against this widespread belief, the first Atomists, Leucippus and Democritus, and their followers, Epicurus and Lucretius, argued that ghosts are not the dead who return from beyond, but physical and material emissions (simulacra) of people which persisted in the outside world and sometimes inside the mind, having been previously printed on it. This interpretation fits into the broader context of their philosophical system, which aims at delivering men from fear of the gods, of death and of the afterlife, with the eudemonistic purpose of achieving emotional peace.
ISBN: 978-989-26-1765-7 (PDF)
DOI: 10.14195/978-989-26-1765-7_6
Rights: open access
Appears in Collections:Visitors from beyond the grave: ghosts in world literature

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