Plato and Epicurus’ Views on the Best Life

Topics: Nature, Soul, Universe Pages: 3 (1010 words) Published: April 26, 2012
Plato and Epicurus’ views on the Best Life

Epicurus put most of his emphasis on sensory knowledge, but he also believed that natural science must be studied as well. Why would he tell his readers to study nature? I think we should study nature not just for the knowledge of the natural world, but because it will free us from superstition and allow us to live a happier life. The more we know about the world and the universe, the more at ease we will be in accepting the cause and effects of what goes on around us. According to Epicurus, by understanding the physical causes of strange natural occurrences (like eclipses, earthquakes, tsunamis etc), we can overcome fears that many believe the gods send. One way to achieve happiness is to eliminate fear of the unknown, and fear of these natural occurrences. Physics is an area of science that works to explain the cause of these things, and the key to living a happier life relies on a better understanding of this science, as well as other areas such as meteorology. How can we be happy if we constantly worry about things we have no control over? Epicurus states this in his principal doctrine: “It is not possible for a man to banish all fear of the essential questions of life unless he understands the nature of the universe, and unless he banishes all consideration that the fables told about the universe could be true. Therefore a man cannot enjoy full happiness, untroubled by turmoil, unless he acts to gain knowledge of the nature of things.” (Epicurus 12)Knowing why Epicurus put so much emphasis on sensory knowledge is important to understand if we want to achieve a happier life, and a life of pleasure. The concept of knowledge

not only depends on life experience but also on truths of life experience, in other words our senses must be proven to be true. Understanding physical pain through an examination of the way in which nature works helps us to understand that the majority of our suffering is...

Cited: Epicurus. The “Principle Doctrines”; http://www.epicurus.net/en/principal.html
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