Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Article excerpt

HUMAN beings produce clones naturally (they are called identical twins), as does society (they are called students), but since scientists have now artificially cloned one sheep from another, fears are being expressed that they might do the same for humans too - in particular, cloning living beings from the dead. Nothing to worry about there, argues the Roman philosopher-poet Lucretius (98-c.55 BC).

In his brilliant De Rerum Natura (`On the Nature of the Universe'), Lucretius argues powerfully that once we die, that is the end of us. Indeed, convinced as he is that men can live rich and fulfilling lives only if they are freed from the terror of death, he goes to the trouble of providing a string of nearly irresistible proofs of the mortality of the soul.

These hinge on his view of the physical nature of the world. Lucretius was a follower of the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-271 BC), and therefore believed, first, that the gods existed but remained entirely aloof from mankind, and second, that everything consisted of atoms. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.