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Is Epicurus a Direct Realist?


Bridger Ehli

Lewis & Clark College, US
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In his Letter to Herodotus, Epicurus presents a controversial theory of perception according to which "all perceptions are true." In this paper, I argue that Epicurus' theory of perception should be interpreted as a version of direct realism. If this interpretation is correct, then Epicurus holds that typical human perceivers have direct perceptual awareness of mind-independent objects. In the first section, I present an interpretation of Epicurus' theory of perception. I interpret Epicurus as subscribing to the view according to which our perceptions always provide us with entirely accurate information about the world. In the second section, I provide an outline of a version of direct realism. The version of direct realism I present here is strongly indebted to the work of Michael Huemer. In the third section, using the framework developed in the second section, I argue that Epicurus should be interpreted as a direct realist.

How to Cite: Ehli, B., 2017. Is Epicurus a Direct Realist?. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 9(2), pp.6 (41–49). DOI:
Published on 07 Sep 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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