Epicurus' Philosophy on a Good Life

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Epicurus was a Greek philosopher. He was born, in the year 341 BCE, on the island of Samos, which is located a mile off of the western coast of Turkey. In 306 he moved to Athens for the required two years of military training that every Athenian did. When he finished the training he stayed in Athens absorbing the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus. He eventually returned to his home in Samos where he started his own school, The Garden. The reason the school was called The Garden is because its location was, believe it or not, his own garden. It is there where he taught philosophy to his disciples who were known as “the philosophers of the garden.” But unlike Plato’s Academy and the Lyceum of Aristotle, “The Garden” allowed women to join and philosophize, which was unheard of at that time. One of the biggest things Epicurus tried to achieve was tranquility. His definition of pleasure was that was “freedom from pain and fear.” Epicurus valued the mind more so than the body. He said that we should enjoy intellectual pleasure more than sensual pleasure because the intellectual would last much longer and cause less suffering. Epicurus is not saying that having sex or other physical pleasures is bad or evil, because the sensations felt during the act is always good. He is saying that when you have too much of it or pursue it too often, it ends up bringing pain and lasts only a short while. It is in this sense that Epicurus is a hedonist. A hedonist is one who believes that pleasure is the greatest good for people. This developed Epicureanism, a hedonistic philosophy that stressed science, serenity, and friendship as the keys to pleasure, happiness, and the good life. Some of the greatest producers of pain and fear are religion and death. Epicurus believed that if we conquered the fear of death, the afterlife, and the gods we would be able to reach genuine happiness. One of the major differences between Epicurus and other...
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