Epicurus’ ATARAXIA

Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy. In ethics he is famous for propounding the theory of hedonism, which holds that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. However, his view of pleasure is far from the stereotypical one. For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we […]

Epicurus on “Death”

Epicurus claims that there are two self-imposed beliefs that do the most to make our lives unhappy or full of pain. They are first, the belief that we will be punished by the gods for our bad actions, and second, that death is something to be feared. Both of these beliefs produce fear and anxiety, […]

Epicurus: “Types of Pleasure”

For Epicurus, pleasure is tied closely to satisfying one’s desires. He distinguishes between two different types of pleasure: ‘moving’ pleasures and ‘static’ pleasures. ‘Moving’ pleasures occur when one is in the process of satisfying a desire, e.g., eating a hamburger when one is hungry. These pleasures involve an active titillation of the senses, and these […]

Epicurus on “Virtue” and “Justice”

The virtues: Epicurus’ hedonism was widely denounced in the ancient world as undermining traditional morality. Epicurus, however, insists that courage, moderation, and the other virtues are needed in order to attain happiness. However, the virtues for Epicurus are all purely instrumental goods–that is, they are valuable solely for the sake of the happiness that they […]

Epicurus: “Types of Desire”

Because of the close connection of pleasure with desire-satisfaction, Epicurus devotes a considerable part of his ethics to analysing different kinds of desires. If pleasure results from getting what you want (desire-satisfaction) and pain from not getting what you want (desire-frustration), then there are two strategies you can pursue with respect to any given desire: