Philosophy Of Epicurus

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The Epicurean school of philosophy (341-270 BCE) have based their ethics and significant teachings primarily around nature, the goal of human life and what the good life really means. Epicurus, born in the Greek island, Samos, has made many contributions to today’s understanding of what it means to achieve a maximum quality of life. Some people in the 21st Century who come across articles and journals about Epicurus and will most definitely disagree and oppose his views on life, whilst others will see it as their new means of achieving a virtuous and pleasant life. The philosophy of Epicurus states that in order for one to achieve the goal of a happy life, pleasure must first be attained. However, not all pleasures must be sought, according to Epicurus, as some pleasures may be misleading in that they bring unseen disturbances later on in life. Epicurus also draws on his ethics about the different virtues and how they may or may not lead to a pleasant life. Whilst Epicurus is considered to be one of the most influential philosophers of the Hellenistic period, Epicurean philosophy is entirely close minded in the sense that one either wholly agrees or wholly disagrees with its beliefs. In saying this, I see myself as one who agrees with Epicurus since I can relate aspects of my life, and events which have occurred, closely to his ethics on the good life. Epicurean philosophy is summarised in a number of letters including the ‘Letter to Menoeceus’ which is the most well-known. It is known that Epicurus divides human desires into three categories: ones that are natural and necessary, ones that are natural but not necessary, and others that are neither natural nor necessary. Desires such as food and water fall into the natural and nece... ... middle of paper ... must consider the pleasure they are seeking and the long term consequences it will bring to them. In order to live the good life, one must only seek good pleasures and eliminate ones which may cause pain, thus, the Epicurean will not seek all kinds of pleasure. Epicurus states “we judge every good by using the pleasure feeling as our criterion” in his Letter to Menoeceus (PHL132 Unit Reader, p. 3), in his attempt to reiterate the notion that the ‘good’ of an action is measured by the feeling of pleasure which it produces. Epicurus believes that it is essential for one to understand the true meaning of pleasure as the “freedom of bodily pain and mental agitation” (PHL132 Unit Reader, p. 3). This assertion can be extended into the notion that the fulfilment of pleasures should aim to invoke a high level of well-being and not just a temporary state of relief or joy.
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