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De Rerum Natura IV$
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J. Godwin

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780856683084

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780856683084.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 09 December 2021

De Rerum Natura

De Rerum Natura

Book IV

(p.11) De Rerum Natura
Lucretius: De Rerum Natura IV

John Godwin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter details the text and translation of the fourth book of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura. The internal coherence of the book is remarkably convincing, depending as it does on two basic ideas: the reliability of our senses and refutation of scepticism on the one hand, and the explanation of voluntary vs. involuntary actions on the other. Lucretius argues that human experience is limited, but we are still free to see what is there, if we know the limitations we are working with. This is the relevance of the anti-teleological section; to assert that our freedom to act is limited by the means available, and that our bodies are not designed to cope with the world but that they have developed slowly to a point where they can. As with sense-perception, our freedom is restricted by our faculties and our bodily needs, but our slender thread of free will remains. These two strands are brought together into the disquisition on love and sex which closes the book.

Keywords:   Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, scepticism, voluntary actions, involuntary actions, human experience, freedom, sense-perception, free will

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