Lucretius and the possibility of moral progress

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Lucretius and the possibility of moral progress

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Lucretius and the possibility of moral progress
Author: Koning, Jikke Marjolein
Issue Date: 2018-06-29
Keywords: Lucretius - progress - civilisation - reason
Abstract: This BA thesis studies Lucretius' seemingly ambiguous attitude towards the possibility of moral progress. On the one hand he adheres to Epicurean physical doctrines, according to which there is no sense of direction in natural development. On the other, he has a passionate belief in the advancement of human intellectual skills and deep faith in Epicureanism as a cure for society. Writing the De rerum natura and explaining the real nature of the universe serves an ethical purpose. Therefore, the possibility of improvement is an underlying assumption of the DRN. The key question is: How does Lucretius incorporate moral progress in an Epicurean non-teleological worldview, based on DRN V lines 925-1457? As a solution to this fundamental ambiguity, I will propose that in Lucretius the human rational capacities make moral progress possible. The social and cultural context in which we should situate Lucretius' work will also be taken into account. Additionally, this thesis will contribute to our understanding of ancient thought on progress, decline and the concept of history.
Supervisor: Berg, B.M. van den
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Griekse en Latijnse Taal en Cultuur (Bachelor)
ECTS Credits: 10

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