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Colloquium 2

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that preconception (prolêpsis), i.e., the general notion derived from sensation according to Epicurus, is the 'key concept' of the Epicurean methodology. Scholarly discussions have so far mainly focused on issues about the psychological status of prolêpsis, and the two main points of view traditionally held-preconception as a representation and preconception as a movement of thought-have seemed to be incompatible. The chapter also argues that they are not and that preconception must be considered under both aspects, as a mental image as well as a movement of thought. However the most important point in Epicurus' agenda is the methodological status of preconception. It is not reducible to the single function of a basic concept that is necessary for any subsequent investigation. Preconception, in many occurrences, continues to operate as a criterion throughout the process of discovery, and not just as a point of departure.

Keywords:Epicurean methodology; preconception; prolêpsis



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