•  160
    Lucretius, Symmetry arguments, and fearing death
    Phronesis 46 (4): 466-491. 2001.
    This paper identifies two possible versions of the Epicurean 'Symmetry argument', both of which claim that post mortem non-existence is relevantly like prenatal non-existence and that therefore our attitude to the former should be the same as that towards the latter. One version addresses the fear of the state of being dead by making it equivalent to the state of not yet being born; the other addresses the prospective fear of dying by relating it to our present retrospective attitude to the time…Read more
  •  128
    The ancient philosophical school of Epicureanism tried to argue that death is "nothing to us." Were they right? James Warren provides a comprehensive study and articulation of the interlocking arguments against the fear of death found not only in the writings of Epicurus himself, but also in Lucretius' poem De rerum natura and in Philodemus' work De morte. These arguments are central to the Epicurean project of providing ataraxia (freedom from anxiety) and therefore central to an understanding o…Read more
  •  91
    The Epicurean philosophical system has enjoyed much recent scrutiny, but the question of its philosophical ancestry remains largely neglected. It has often been thought that Epicurus owed only his physical theory of atomism to the fifth-century BC philosopher Democritus, but this study finds that there is much in his ethical thought which can be traced to Democritus. It also finds important influences on Epicurus in Democritus' fourth-century followers such as Anaxarchus and Pyrrho, and in Epicu…Read more
  •  37
    Socratic suicide
    Journal of Hellenic Studies 121 91-106. 2001.
    When is it rational to commit suicide? More specifically, when is it rational for a Platonist to commit suicide, and more worryingly, is it ever not rational for a Platonist to commit suicide? If the Phaedo wants us to learn that the soul is immortal, and that philosophy is a preparation for a state better than incarnation, then why does it begin with a discussion defending the prohibition of suicide? In the course of that discussion, Socrates offers (but does not necessarily endorse) two argume…Read more
  •  35
    The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2009.
    This Companion presents both an introduction to the history of the ancient philosophical school of Epicureanism and also a critical account of the major areas of its philosophical interest. Chapters span the school's history from the early Hellenistic Garden to the Roman Empire and its later reception in the Early Modern period, introducing the reader to the Epicureans' contributions in physics, metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, ethics and politics. The international team of contributors in…Read more
  •  4
    Facing Death, Epicurus and His Critics
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1): 109-110. 2004.
  •  2
    Facing Death, Epicurus and His Critics
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223): 294-297. 2006.
  •  2
    Human lives are full of pleasures and pains. And humans are creatures that are able to think: to learn, understand, remember and recall, plan and anticipate. Ancient philosophers were interested in both of these facts and, what is more, were interested in how these two facts are related to one another. There appear to be, after all, pleasures and pains associated with learning and inquiring, recollecting and anticipating. We enjoy finding something out. We are pained to discover that a belief we…Read more
  •  1
    The Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy is a collection of new essays on the philosophy and philosophers of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Written by a cast of international scholars, it covers the full range of ancient philosophy from the sixth century BC to the sixth century AD and beyond. There are dedicated discussions of the major areas of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle together with accounts of their predecessors and successors. The contributors also address various probl…Read more
  • Body and Soul in Hellenistic Philosophy (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2020.
    Philosophers and doctors from the period immediately after Aristotle down to the second century CE were particularly focussed on the close relationships of soul and body; such relationships are particularly intimate when the soul is understood to be a material entity, as it was by Epicureans and Stoics; but even Aristotelians and Platonists shared the conviction that body and soul interact in ways that affect the well-being of the living human being. These philosophers were interested in the nat…Read more
  • Authors and Authorities in Ancient Philosophy (edited book)
    with Jenny Bryan and Robert Wardy
    Cambridge University Press. 2018.
    Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is often characterised in terms of competitive individuals debating orally with one another in public arenas. But it also developed over its long history a sense in which philosophers might acknowledge some other particular philosopher or group of philosophers as an authority and offer to that authority explicit intellectual allegiance. This is most obvious in the development after the classical period of the philosophical 'schools' with agreed founders and, mo…Read more