Wednesday, March 9, 2022


EPICURUS (Greek; 341-270 BCE)

A Greek philosopher, founder of Epicureanism. Unlike Diogenes the Cynic--who slept in a pot in the marketplace--Epicurus eschewed suffering, believing that the goal of philosophy was a happy, tranquil life without pain. It is a mistake to think of this as "hedonism," indulgence in the senses for the sake of pleasure. In fact, he and his followers were known for eating simple, satisfying meals. This is the basis of Epicurean ethics: over-indulgence, like any amoral or immoral behavior, complicates one's life and burdens one with guilt, preventing tranquility.

  • Most of what we know of Epicurus's teachings comes from later writers, as the vast majority of his 300-plus works has been lost.
  • Epicurus's policy allowed women and slaves to join his school.
  • According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared.
  • Epicurus was popularly, though inaccurately, thought of in the Middle Ages as patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons.


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