Epicurus - An Introduction to His Philosophy

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Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher born in 341 B.C. He is best known for his teachings on the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. His philosophy was based on the idea that pleasure is the chief good, and that pain should be avoided at all costs. He also believed in the power of friendship and the importance of thinking for oneself.

This article will explore Epicurus’ philosophy in greater detail, and explain why it has stood the test of time. Epicurus was an advocate of hedonism, the belief that pleasure should be the ultimate goal of life. He believed that by pursuing pleasure we could achieve a kind of inner peace and tranquility. He rejected the idea that virtue and morality could bring about happiness, and instead focused on the importance of pleasure as a means of attaining it. Epicurus argued that if we pursue pleasure, we will also be able to avoid pain. Epicurus also believed that friendship was essential for living a good life.

He argued that friendship was necessary for human beings to flourish, as it allowed for mutual support and understanding. Epicurus encouraged people to think for themselves and to question traditional beliefs and customs. He believed that our own individual experience was the best guide to living a good life. Epicurus’s philosophy has been hugely influential throughout history, inspiring generations of thinkers. In this article, we will explore Epicurus’ philosophy in more detail, looking at his views on pleasure, friendship, and thought. Epicurus was born in Samos, an island in the Aegean Sea.

He studied philosophy under Nausiphanes of Teos, a follower of the philosopher Democritus. After leaving Samos, Epicurus moved to Athens and opened his own school, the Garden. This school was unique in that it was open to all people regardless of their social class or gender. Epicurus’s philosophy focused on what he called “the pursuit of pleasure”. He believed that pleasure should be the ultimate goal of life and that it could be achieved through a combination of physical and mental pleasure.

Epicurus advocated for moderation in all things and warned against excess. He believed that moderation was the only way to ensure one’s happiness and well-being. Epicurus also believed in the concept of atomism, which he derived from Democritus. Atomism states that all matter is made up of tiny, indivisible particles known as atoms. This idea later influenced other philosophers such as Lucretius and Thomas Hobbes. Epicurus also developed an ethical system based on what he believed to be natural law.

He argued that all humans are inherently rational and capable of making their own decisions. He believed that humans should strive for moral excellence through self-control and moderation. He also believed in the importance of friendship and community, arguing that human beings are social animals and need companionship to be truly happy. Epicurus had a major impact on the ancient world and his works have been widely studied by scholars throughout the centuries. His views on pleasure, materialism, and ethics have had a lasting influence on Western thought.

Life and Works

Epicurus was born in 341 BC in Samos, a small island off the coast of modern-day Turkey.

He studied philosophy and mathematics under the philosopher Nausiphanes and was eventually influenced by the teachings of Democritus. Epicurus wrote several works during his lifetime, including his most famous work, On Nature. This treatise outlines his theories on ethics, physics, and metaphysics. Epicurus also wrote Letter to Menoeceus, which outlines his ethical system, and Vatican Sayings, a collection of quotes and teachings. During his lifetime, Epicurus founded The Garden, a school of philosophy located in Athens. His students included Metrodorus, Hermarchus, Polyaenus, Leonteus, and many others.

He was an influential teacher, inspiring many of his students to become important philosophers in their own right. Epicurus passed away in 271 BC, leaving behind an extensive body of work that has been studied by scholars for centuries. He had a major influence on ancient philosophy and religion, as well as politics. His teachings are still relevant today, making Epicurus one of the most important ancient philosophers.


Epicurus' teachings and philosophy have had a lasting impact on Western thought and culture. His ideas about pleasure, materialism, and an ethical system based on natural law have been widely studied and discussed by scholars, philosophers, and religious figures throughout history.

Epicurus' influence on philosophy is especially noteworthy, as his ideas have shaped and directed the development of many philosophical schools of thought. In terms of religion, Epicurus' writings on the gods were highly controversial. Although he did not deny the existence of the gods, he argued that they had no interest in human affairs and were uninvolved in the world. This view challenged traditional religious conceptions of divine intervention in human affairs and was seen as heretical by some. Epicurus' teachings also had a major impact on politics in the ancient world. He argued for a form of government that valued freedom and self-sufficiency and avoided involvement in war.

This was in stark contrast to the militaristic values of the time, and Epicurus' ideas helped shape the modern conception of democracy. In conclusion, Epicurus had a major influence on philosophy, religion, politics, and Western thought. His teachings were highly controversial in their time but have since been widely studied and discussed by scholars and philosophers.


Epicurus' philosophical views were heavily influenced by the teachings of Democritus, who believed that all matter was composed of small, indivisible particles known as atoms. Epicurus expanded on this idea and believed that atoms were randomly and constantly moving in a void, and that the universe was infinite and eternal. In addition, Epicurus taught that pleasure was the highest good and that pain should be avoided as much as possible.

He also believed that material possessions should be appreciated but not coveted and that an ethical system should be based on natural law. Epicurus' view on pleasure was closely linked to his atomist beliefs. He argued that pleasure was the highest good because it was the only thing that could truly be experienced in the present moment, since atoms and the universe were constantly changing. He also proposed that the pursuit of pleasure should not be viewed as a selfish or immoral activity, as long as it did not lead to harm.

Epicurus' materialism was also closely linked to his atomist beliefs. He argued that material objects were composed of atoms and could not be changed or created by gods or any other supernatural force. This view led him to believe that material possessions should be appreciated but not coveted or hoarded. Finally, Epicurus believed in an ethical system based on natural law, which he argued could be deduced through logical reasoning.

He believed that humans should strive to act in ways that would benefit both themselves and their communities, and that individuals should strive for moderation in all aspects of their lives. Epicurus was an influential figure in ancient Greece who developed a unique philosophical system based on pleasure and moderation. His works have had a lasting impact on Western thought, influencing philosophy, religion, and politics. Today, Epicurus's teachings are still studied by scholars, and his legacy continues to shape our understanding of the world.


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