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Philosophy Professor's New Book Lucretius II: The Ethics of Motion

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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Thomas Nail, PhD, has published his new book with Edinburgh University Press.

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Dr. Nail's new book, Lucretius 2: The Ethics of Motion

Human suffering, the fear of death, war, poverty, ecological destruction and social inequality: almost 2,000 ago Lucretius proposed an ethics of motion as simple and stunning solution to these ethical problems.

Thomas Nail, PhD, argues that Lucretius was the first to locate the core of all these ethical ills in our obsession with stasis, our fear of movement and our hatred of matter. Instead of trying to transcend nature with our minds, escape it with our immortal souls and dominate it with our technologies, Lucretius was perhaps the first in the Western tradition to forcefully argue for a completely materialist, immanent and naturalistic ethics based on moving well with and as nature. If we want to survive and live well on this planet, Lucretius taught us, our best chance is not to struggle against nature but to embrace it and facilitate its movement.

Lucretius II is the second installment in Thomas Nail's transformative reading of Lucretius' didactic poem De Rerum Natura, which can be read individually or as a trilogy. Lucretius I covered books 1 and 2 of De Rerum Natura and looked at Lucretius' ontology; this volume covers books 3 and 4 and Lucretius' ethics. The third and final volume will cover books 5 and 6.