Rosenbaum defends the epicurean view throughout his essay.

Plato and Epicurus have both given their detailed opinions of what makes one just.
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Plato believes that justness is something that comes from a more internal location dealing with the soul this disagrees with the idea that Epicurus holds which is justness is more of a physical or external matt...

Epicureanism is defined by Epicurus as the pleasure for the end of all morality and that real pleasure is attained through a life of prudence, honor, and justice.

First, “justice as a virtue” is ambiguous as between individualand social applications. Rawls and others regard justice as “thefirst virtue of social institutions” (1971, p. 3), but Rawls is notthe first to think of justice as a virtue of social institutions orsocieties — Plato was there long before him. However, justice asa virtue of societies, polities, and their institutions is addressed , so the focus in this essay will be on justice as a virtue inindividuals. That said, individuals typically live as members ofpolitical communities, so the societal dimension of justice as avirtue will never be long out of view.

Socrates/Epicurus Essay assignment Description
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Fascinating as these questions are in their own right, Epicurushimself does not proceed by creating an abstract model, exploring itsinternal coherence, and determining its applicability to phenomena, inthe ideal manner of modern science. Rather, he begins with thetestimony of the senses, which he thinks are always reliable. Theseprovide a basis on which to draw conclusions either with respect tothings that still await confirmation or those that are by natureimperceptible (Letter to Herodotus = LH 38). Thus,in beginning his account of the physical world in this Letter, heargues that things cannot arise out of nothing, since otherwise therewould be no need of specific seeds for specific plants and animals,and anything whatsoever could be generated out of just any types ofmaterial elements. Since this is not seen to happen, but reproductionin things we can observe with our senses is in fact orderly anddeterminate, spontaneous generation at any level is ruled out. Thelogic is what Epicurus calls counterwitnessing: a hypothetical premise(here, that things sometimes arise out of nothing) is eliminatedbecause experience tells against its conclusion (here, that the cominginto being of visible objects does not require determinate seeds ormaterials). More simply, if A then B; but notB, hence not A. One might, of course, challenge theimplication: something might arise from nothing, even if there are nocases of chickens giving birth to horses. The important point,however, is that Epicurus invokes the data of perception to testifyfor or against the nature of elementary phenomena; he assumes acertain uniformity of nature at all levels. So too with his nextpostulate: things are not destroyed into what is not, since in thatcase everything would cease to exist (and would have ceased to existbefore now, given infinite past time — recall that nothing iscreated out of nothing); but things do exist, hence the premise isfalse.

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First, he distinguished between the atom, which by its nature cannotbe broken apart, and the minimum conceivable expanse of matter: atomshave such minima as parts, but are not minima themselves — therecan be no free-standing entity one minimum expanse in size. Thisresolves the problem of atomic edges, and also that of how atoms cancome in different shapes and sizes (though never large enough to beseen): to have the hooks and crevices needed to form compounds, theycan scarcely be theoretically partless. Second, Epicurus agreed thattime too is discontinuous, as is motion: Simplicius(p. 934.23–30 Diels; translation in Konstan 1989) quotes him asaffirming that it is untrue to say that an atom is moving over aminimum interval, but only that it has moved (some scholars maintainthat this is a later innovation in the school; see especially Verde2013). What is more, as Aristotle had argued must be the case, atomsall move at the same velocity (the principleof isotakheia). This last claim entailed difficulties of itsown, such as how atoms ever overtake each other, if they are moving inthe same direction. (Lucretius invoked the idea of a random swerve tosolve this one; see below.) But it also provided a solution to anotherproblem, that of entropy: for since atoms can never slow down, theuniverse can never come to a halt (in modern terms, there is no lossof energy). As for gravity, Epicurus may have had a solution to thistoo, and in a novel form. If an atom just on its own cannot slow downor alter its direction of motion, then an atom that is rising ormoving in an oblique direction cannot at some point begin to tilt orfall, unless something blocks its progress and forces it to do so. If,however, after a collision atoms tended to emerge in a statisticallyfavored direction — that is, if the motions of all atoms aftercollisions did not cancel each other out but on average produced avector, however small, in a given direction, then that direction wouldby definition be down. The absence of a global orientation in theuniverse was thus immaterial. Due to this vector, any given worldwill, like our own, be similarly oriented in respect togravitation. (Given the infinite expanse of the universe on Epicureantheory — see below — we must expect there to be aplurality of worlds, some like ours, some — within limits— different.)

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Then evaluate some aspect of Epicurus arguments regarding either (a) what justice is, or (b) why one should be just.
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Having established the physical basis of the world, Epicurus proceedsto explain the nature of the soul (this, at least, is the order inwhich Lucretius sets things out). This too, of course, consists ofatoms: first, there is nothing that is not made up of atoms and void(secondary qualities are simply accidents of the arrangement ofatoms), and second, an incorporeal entity could neither act on nor bemoved by bodies, as the soul is seen to do (e.g., it is conscious ofwhat happens to the body, and it initiates physicalmovement). Epicurus maintains that soul atoms are particularly fineand are distributed throughout the body (LH 64), and it is bymeans of them that we have sensations (aisthêseis) andthe experience of pain and pleasure, which Epicuruscalls pathê (a term used by Aristotle and others tosignify emotions instead). Body without soul atoms is unconscious andinert, and when the atoms of the body are disarranged so that it canno longer support conscious life, the soul atoms are scattered and nolonger retain the capacity for sensation (LH 65). There isalso a part of the human soul that is concentrated in the chest, andis the seat of the higher intellectual functions. The distinction isimportant, because it is in the rational part that error of judgmententers in. Sensation, like pain and pleasure, is incorrigible justbecause it is a function of the non-rational part, which does notmodify a perception — that is, the reception of lamina emittedfrom macroscopic bodies — by the addition of opinion orbelief.

Rosenbaum defends the epicurean view throughout his essay

Although human beings, like everything else, are composed of atomsthat move according to their fixed laws, our actions are not whollypredetermined — rather than entertain such a paralyzingdoctrine, Epicurus says, it would be better to believe in the oldmyths, for all their perversities (LM 134). What enables us to wrestliberty from a mechanistic universe is the existence of a certainrandomness in the motion of atoms, that takes the form of a minuteswerve in their forward course (evidence for this doctrine deriveschiefly from later sources, including Lucretius and Cicero). It is notentirely clear how the swerve operates: it may involve a small angleof deviation from the original path, or else a slight shift sideways,perhaps by a single minimum, with no change in direction. The idea ofsuch a minute veering, said to occur at no determinate time or place,is less strange in the modern age of quantum physics than it was inEpicurus' time, and it gave rise to mocking critiques. Moreproblematic today is how the swerve might explain freedom of will— if indeed Epicurus' idea of the will was like our own. It did,at all events, introduce an indeterminacy into the universe, and ifsoul atoms, thanks to their fineness, were more susceptible to theeffects of such deviations than coarser matter, the swerve could atleast represent a breach in any strict predestination of humanbehavior. And this might have been enough for Epicurus' purposes: hemay not have invoked the swerve in order to explain voluntary action(claiming that it is action deriving, immediately or ultimately, froma swerve or some swerves of the soul's atoms). He may have wishedmerely to establish the possibility of action not deriving from thepositions of the soul's constituent atoms at any time plus the effectsof collisions among them resulting from their given movements at thattime. According to Lucretius (2.225–50), the swerve was also putto use to solve a cosmological problem: if at some (as it were)initial moment all atoms were moving uniformly in a single direction(downward) at the same speed, it is impossible to conceive how theprocess of atomic collisions could have begun, save by some suchdevice. This seems a curious idea: given that time, like space, wasinfinite according to Epicurus, he need not have imagined a time priorto collisions. Just possibly the tendency of atoms to emerge fromcollisions in a preferred direction (by definition “down”)might lead over time to local regions of parallel motion, and theswerve could serve to reintroduce contact among them. In any event,Epicurus may have thought of atoms moving in some uniform directionrather than in diverse ones as a default position for physical theory(because of the simplicity of that hypothesis); thus he may have feltthe need to explain how the diversity of the atoms' motions could havearisen.