The Tale of Two Philosophies: Epicureanism and Stoicism

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In Hellenistic Greece, Epicureanism and Stoicism were two influential philosophies encouraging a life of happiness; these philosophies were similar in their belief of the afterlife, but differed in their beliefs of the gods and the approach to attain happiness in life.

Through research and analysis, it is shown that Epicureanism and Stoicism both portrayed the general idea of a content life, but had more differences than similarities in their various beliefs.

The Hellenistic period brought a new, refreshing start to Greece. Ancient Greece and its introverted culture transformed into Hellenistic Greece, which infused its culture into countries and empires outside of Greece’s boundaries. With this spreading influence, new forms of art, inventions, and religion emerged in the midst of the cultural growth. An innovated aspect within Hellenistic Greece was philosophy and its new schools. At the time, two of the most popular philosophies, Epicureanism and Stoicism, rivaled each other.
Epicureanism, founded by Epicurus, and Stoicism, founded by Zeno of Citium, gave the Greeks an attempt to have meaning in their lives. Although the two philosophies competed with each other, they had similarities along with their differences. As Hicks briefly describes, “Both schools sought by devious paths one and the same goal” (v). Epicureanism and Stoicism conceived the universe in different ways, which ultimately led to more differences than similarities between the two philosophies. However, the two schools coincided in their views of life’s purpose – achieving happiness throughout life.
Epicureanism and Stoicism had similarities and differences in how they perceived the world, which culminated in ...

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...Epicureans and Stoics] offered a conception of the world and human nature which drew its support from empirical observations, reason and a recognition that all men have common needs” (6). Though both views opposed each other in various ways, they both provided man with a way to live and to care for oneself.

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Hicks, Robert Drew. Stoic and Epicurean. New York: Russell & Russell, 1962. Print.
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O'Keefe, Tim. Epicureanism. Berkeley: University of California, 2010. Print.
Panichas, George A. Epicurus. New York: Twayne, 1967. Print.
Sandbach, F. H. The Stoics. New York: Norton, 1975. Print.
Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011. Print.

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