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PLUTARCH, in the second book of his essay On Homer, 1 asserts that Epicurus made use of an incomplete, perverted and faulty syllogism, and he quotes Epicurus' own words: 2 “Death is nothing to us, for what is dissolved is without perception, and what is without perception is nothing to us.” “Now Epicurus,” says Plutarch, omitted what he ought to have stated as his major premise, that death is a dissolution of body and soul, and then, to prove something else, he goes on to use the very premise that he had omitted, as if it had been stated and conceded. But this syllogism," says Plutarch, “cannot advance, unless that premise be first presented.” [p. 149] What Plutarch wrote as to the form and sequence of a syllogism is true enough; for if you wish to argue and reason according to the teaching of the schools, you ought to say: “Death is the dissolution of soul and body; but what is dissolved is without perception; and what is without perception is nothing to us.” But we cannot suppose that Epicurus, being the man he was, omitted that part of the syllogism through ignorance, or that it was his intention to state a syllogism complete in all its members and limitations, as is done in the schools of the logicians; but since the separation of body and soul by death is self-evident, he of course did not think it necessary to call attention to what was perfectly obvious to everyone. For the same reason, too, he put the conclusion of the syllogism, not at the end, but at the beginning; for who does not see that this also was not due to inadvertence? In Plato too you will often find syllogisms in which the order prescribed in the schools is disregarded and inverted, with a kind of lofty disdain of criticism.
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