Epicureanism and Stoicism

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Epicureanism and Stoicism

By | May 2012
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Aurora Larson

Ancient Greek Philosophy and it’s influence on Ancient Rome
The Greeks were among the first to study philosophy. The majority of philosophers were pagans and they were not welcomed by the rising of Christianity. Philosophy began with the ideas of how our universe was created, what were the origins of the cosmos, is there life beyond the what we thought was existence and was the standard for a good life. Ancient Greek Philosophy was divided into four periods. Presocratic (6th-5th century), Classical (4th century), Hellenistic (late 4th century 69 1st century BC), and Imperial (1st BC- 6th century AD). Greek philosophy grew to replace religion as the basic guide to someone’s truth and morality. During the Hellenistic period, a philosopher named Epicurus founded the school Epicureanism. He believed the purpose of philosophy was to attain a peaceful life and aponia-, which is the absence of pain- by living an independent life surrounded by friends. He taught that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that the events in the world were caused by the interactions of atoms moving. Epicurus did not deny the existence of the gods, but he believed everything happened the way it did due to the laws of nature and not because of the will of the gods. He believed that there was no interaction or act of the gods. Epicurus said that if the gods listened to the prayers of the men, then humankind would perish, because everyone was quick to pray for each other’s destruction. Epicureanism also believed that there was no life after death because our bodies were made of atoms and when we die, the atoms disperse into nature. His famously quotes, 1. “Death is nothing on us.” in saying that when we exist death does not and when death exists we do not. Epicurus said that happiness can be pursued by avoiding pain and obtaining bliss. He also warned of pursuing excess pleasure because pleasure could turn into pain, which is often greater than the pleasure acquired....
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