His Histoire des causes premieres was among the first attempts at a history of philosophy, and in his work on Epicurus, following on Gassendi, he defended Epicureanism against the general attacks made against it.
Wallace, Epicureanism (London, 1880), and Epicurus; A Lecture (London, 1896); G.
His labours on Epicurus have a certain historical value, but the want of consistency inherent in the philosophical system raised on Epicureanism is such as to deprive it of genuine worth.
In the case of Epicureanism we can happily judge of the tyranny of the literal tradition by a comparison of Lucretius with the recorded doctrine of the master.
In Epicureanism logic is still less in honour.
They thus endeavoured to resist Epicureanism even on the ground where the latter seems prima facie strongest; in its appeal, namely, to the natural pleasure-seeking of all living things.
Lucretius is a proof, if any were needed, that Epicureanism is compatible with nobility of soul.
No doubt it was rather the practical than the theoretical side of Epicureanism which gave it so strong a hold on succeeding generations.
None the less his writings were committed to memory and remained the textbooks of Epicureanism to the last.
To identify Epicureanism with Cyrenaicism is a complete misunderstanding.