|Main interests||Atomism, Hedonism|
|Influenced by||Democritus, Pyrrho|
|Influenced||Hermarchus, Lucretius, Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham, J. S. Mill, Thomas Jefferson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Michel Onfray, Hadrian, Metrodorus of Lampsacus (the younger), Philodemus, Amafinius, Catius|
Epicurus (Greek Έπίκουρος) (341 BCE, Samos – 270 BCE, Athens) was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the end of Hellenistic Events By place Macedonia Philip II of Macedon completes his annexation of Thrace. Events By place Roman Republic Rome's subjugation of Italy is completed by the recapture of Rhegium (in southern Italy In Natural philosophy, atomism is the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small indestructible building blocks - Atoms Or stated in Hedonism is the Philosophy that Pleasure is of ultimate importance, the most important pursuit Democritus ( Greek:) was a pre-Socratic Greek Materialist Philosopher (born at Abdera in Thrace ca Pyrrho (ca 360 BC - ca 270 BC a Greek Philosopher of Classical antiquity, is credited as being the first Skeptic philosopher and the inspiration Hermarchus ( Ἕρμαρχoς sometimes but incorrectly written Hermachus Titus Lucretius Carus (ca 99 BC- ca 55 BC was a Roman Poet and Philosopher. Thomas Hobbes (born 5 April 1588died 4 December 1679 was an English philosopher, whose famous 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation Jeremy Bentham ( IPA: or) (15 February 1748&ndash6 June 1832 was an English Jurist, Philosopher, and legal and Social reformer John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 &ndash 8 May 1873 British Philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential Thomas Jefferson (April 13 1743 – July 4 1826 was the third President of the United States (1801–1809 the principal author of the Declaration of Independence Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15 1844 August 25 1900 ( was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and classical philologist Michel Onfray (born January 1 1959 in Argentan, Orne, France) is a French Philosopher. Publius Aelius Hadrianus (January 24 76 &ndash July 10 138 as emperor Imperator Caesar Divi Traiani filius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, and Divus Hadrianus after Metrodorus of Lampsacus (the younger (331-277 BC was a Greek Philosopher of the Epicurean school Philodemus of Gadara (in Greek) ( Gadara, Coele-Syria, c 110 BCE&ndashprobably Herculaneum c C (probably Gaius) Amafinius (or Amafanius) was one of the earliest Roman writers in favour of the Epicurean philosophy Catius, an Epicurean philosopher was a native of Gallia Transpadana (Insuber and composed a treatise in four books on the nature of things and on the chief good Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Events By place Macedonia Philip II of Macedon completes his annexation of Thrace. Samos (Σάμος is a Greek island in the North Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off Events By place Roman Republic Rome's subjugation of Italy is completed by the recapture of Rhegium (in southern Italy Athens (ˈæθənz Αθήνα Athina,) the Capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery as one of the world's Ancient Greek philosophy focused on the role of Reason and Inquiry. Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works. Much of what we know about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by aponia, the absence of pain and fear, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and bad, that death is the end of the body and the soul and should therefore not be feared, that the gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space. In Natural philosophy, atomism is the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small indestructible building blocks - Atoms Or stated in
His parents, Neocles and Chaerestrate, both Athenian citizens, had immigrated to the Athenian settlement on the Aegean island of Samos about ten years before Epicurus was born. Etymology In ancient times there were various explanations for the name Aegean. Samos (Σάμος is a Greek island in the North Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off There he was born in February 341 BCE.
As a boy he studied philosophy under the Platonist teacher Pamphilus for about four years. Platonism is the Philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it At the age of 18 he went to Athens for his two-year term of military service. Athens (ˈæθənz Αθήνα Athina,) the Capital and largest city of Greece, dominates the Attica periphery as one of the world's The playwright Menander served in the same age-class of the ephebes as Epicurus. Menander ( Greek:, Menandros; ca 342&ndash291 BC Greek Dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son This page refers to the social group denoted by this term For other uses eg in sculpture see Ephebos (disambiguation.
After the death of Alexander the Great, Perdiccas expelled the Athenian settlers on Samos to Colophon, and Epicurus joined his family there after the completion of his military service. Alexander the Great ( or, Mégas Aléxandros; July 20 356 BC June 10 or June 11 323 BC also known as Alexander III of Macedon (el Ἀλέξανδρος Γ' Perdiccas ( Greek: Περδίκας, Perdikas; died 321 BC or 320 BC was one of Alexander the Great 's generals Colophon ( Greek) was a city in the region of Lydia in antiquity dating from about the turn of the first millennium-BC He studied under Nausiphanes, who followed the teachings of Democritus. Nausiphanes (Ναυσιφάνης a native of Teos, lived c 325 BC, was attached to the philosophy of Democritus, and was a pupil of Pyrrho Democritus ( Greek:) was a pre-Socratic Greek Materialist Philosopher (born at Abdera in Thrace ca In 311/310 BCE he taught in Mytilene but caused strife and was forced to leave. Mytilene ( Greek: Μυτιλήνη - Mitilíni) is the Capital City of Lesbos, a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea He then founded a school in Lampsacus before returning to Athens in 306 BCE. Lampsacus (also Lampsakos) was an ancient Greek city strategically located on the eastern side of the Hellespont in the northern Troad. There he founded The Garden, a school named for the garden he owned about halfway between the Stoa and the Academy that served as the school's meeting place. Stoa (plural stoae or stoæ) in Ancient Greek architecture; covered walkways or Porticos commonly for public usage An academy ( Greek Ἀκαδημία is an institution of higher learning research or honorary membership
Even though many of his teachings were heavily influenced by earlier thinkers, especially by Democritus, he differed in a significant way with Democritus on determinism. Epicurus would often deny this influence, denounce other philosophers as confused, and claim to be "self-taught".
Epicurus never married and had no known children. He suffered from kidney stones, to which he finally succumbed in 270 BCE at the age of 72, and despite the prolonged pain involved, he wrote to Idomeneus:
I have written this letter to you on a happy day to me, which is also the last day of my life. Kidney stones, also called renal calculi, are solid concretions (crystal aggregations of dissolved minerals in Urine; calculi typically form Idomeneus (Ἰδομενεύς of Lampsacus, was a friend and disciple of Epicurus, flourished about 310 - 270 BC. For I have been attacked by a painful inability to urinate, and also dysentery, so violent that nothing can be added to the violence of my sufferings. But the cheerfulness of my mind, which comes from the recollection of all my philosophical contemplation, counterbalances all these afflictions. And I beg you to take care of the children of Metrodorus, in a manner worthy of the devotion shown by the young man to me, and to philosophy. 
Epicurus' school had a small but devoted following in his lifetime. The primary members were Hermarchus, the financier Idomeneus, Leonteus and his wife Themista, the satirist Colotes, the mathematician Polyaenus of Lampsacus, and Metrodorus of Lampsacus, the most famous popularizer of Epicureanism. Hermarchus ( Ἕρμαρχoς sometimes but incorrectly written Hermachus Idomeneus (Ἰδομενεύς of Lampsacus, was a friend and disciple of Epicurus, flourished about 310 - 270 BC. Leonteus (or Leontius of Lampsacus, was a pupil of Epicurus early in the 3rd century BCE. Themista of Lampsacus, the wife of Leonteus, was a student of Epicurus, early in the 3rd century BCE. Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human Colotes (Κολώτης of Lampsacus, lived 3rd century BC, was a hearer of Epicurus, and one of the most famous of his disciples Polyaenus of Lampsacus (in Greek Πoλύαινoς Λαμψακηνός; ca Metrodorus of Lampsacus (the younger (331-277 BC was a Greek Philosopher of the Epicurean school His school was the first of the ancient Greek philosophical schools to admit women as a rule rather than an exception.  The original school was based in Epicurus' home and garden. An inscription on the gate to the garden is recorded by Seneca in his Epistle XXI:
Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger; Σένεκας in Ancient Greek literature (c Summum bonum ( Latin for the highest good) is an expression used in Philosophy, particularly in Medieval philosophy, to describe the Ultimate
Epicurus emphasized friendship as an important ingredient of happiness, and the school resembled in many ways a community of friends living together. However, he also instituted a hierarchical system of levels among his followers, and had them swear an oath on his core tenets.
Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and the scientific method because of his insistence that nothing should be believed except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction. The Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre located in Paris is the world's most visited art museum a historic monument and a national museum of France Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning " Knowledge " or "knowing" is the effort to discover, and increase human understanding Scientific method refers to bodies of Techniques for investigating phenomena Many of his ideas about nature and physics presaged important scientific concepts of our time. He was a key figure in the Axial Age, the period from 800 BCE to 200 BCE, during which similarly revolutionary thinking appeared in China, India, Iran, the Near East, and Ancient Greece. German Philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the axial age ( Achsenzeit in the German language original to describe the period His statement of the Ethic of Reciprocity as the foundation of ethics is the earliest in Ancient Greece, and differs from the usual formulation by emphasizing the minimization of harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness. The ethic of reciprocity is a fundamental moral Value which " refers to the balance in an interactive system such that each party has both rights and
Epicurus's teachings represented a departure from the other major Greek thinkers of his period, and before, but was nevertheless founded on many of the same principles as Democritus. Democritus ( Greek:) was a pre-Socratic Greek Materialist Philosopher (born at Abdera in Thrace ca Like Democritus, he was an atomist, believing that the fundamental constituents of the world were indivisible little bits of matter (atoms, Greek atomos, indivisible) flying through empty space (khaos). History See also Atomic theory, Atomism The concept that matter is composed of discrete units and cannot be divided into arbitrarily tiny Outer space, often simply called space, comprises the relatively empty regions of the Universe outside the escape velocities of Celestial bodies. Everything that occurs is the result of the atoms colliding, rebounding, and becoming entangled with one another, with no purpose or plan behind their motions. (Compare this with the modern study of particle physics. Particle physics is a branch of Physics that studies the elementary constituents of Matter and Radiation, and the interactions between them ) His theory differs from the earlier atomism of Democritus because he admits that atoms do not always follow straight lines but their direction of motion may occasionally exhibit a 'swerve' (clinamen). This allowed him to avoid the determinism implicit in the earlier atomism and to affirm free will. Determinism is the philosophical Proposition that every event including human cognition and behaviour decision and action is causally determined The question of free will  (Compare this with the modern theory of quantum physics, which postulates a non-deterministic random motion of fundamental particles. Quantum mechanics is the study of mechanical systems whose dimensions are close to the Atomic scale such as Molecules Atoms Electrons )
He admitted women and slaves into his school and was the only philosopher to do so, introducing the new concept of fundamental human egalitarianism into Greek thought, and was one of the first Greeks to break from the god-fearing and god-worshiping tradition common at the time, even while affirming that religious activities are useful as a way to contemplate the gods and to use them as an example of the pleasant life. Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have Epicurus participated in the activities of traditional Greek religion, but taught that one should avoid holding false opinions about the gods. The gods are immortal and blessed and men who ascribe any additional qualities that are alien to immortality and blessedness are, according to Epicurus, impious. The gods do not punish the bad and reward the good as the common man believes. The opinion of the crowd is, Epicurus claims, that the gods "send great evils to the wicked and great blessings to the righteous who model themselves after the gods," when in reality the gods do not concern themselves at all with human beings.
Epicurus' philosophy is based on the theory that all good and bad derive from the sensations of pleasure and pain. What is good is what is pleasurable, and what is bad is what is painful. Pleasure and pain were ultimately, for Epicurus, the basis for the moral distinction between good and bad. If pain is chosen over pleasure in some cases it is only because it leads to a greater pleasure. Moral reasoning is a matter of calculating the benefits and costs in terms of pleasure and pain. Although Epicurus has been commonly misunderstood to advocate the rampant pursuit of pleasure, (primarily through the influence of Christian polemics) what he was really after was the absence of pain (both physical and mental, i. e. , suffering) - a state of satiation and tranquility that was free of the fear of death and the retribution of the gods. Suffering, or pain, is an individual's basic Affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm When we do not suffer pain, we are no longer in need of pleasure, and we enter a state of 'perfect mental peace' (ataraxia). Ataraxia (Ἀταραξία is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a limpid state characterized by freedom from worry or any
Epicurus explicitly warned against overindulgence because it often leads to pain. For instance, in what might be described as a "hangover" theory, Epicurus warned against pursuing love too ardently. A hangover ( veisalgia) describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of drugs particularly Alcoholic beverages The most commonly However, having a circle of friends you can trust is one of the most important means for securing a tranquil life.
Epicurus also believed (contra Aristotle) that death was not to be feared. When a man dies, he does not feel the pain of death because he no longer is and he therefore feels nothing. Therefore, as Epicurus famously said, "death is nothing to us. " When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain. The fear of death arises from the false belief that in death there is awareness.
In connection with this argument, Epicurus formulated a version of the problem of evil. In the Philosophy of religion and Theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of Evil or Suffering in the world Though often referred to as the "Epicurean paradox," the argument is more accurately described as a reductio ad absurdum of the notion that an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent god could exist in a world that manifestly contains evil. In the Philosophy of religion and Theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of Evil or Suffering in the world Reductio ad absurdum ( Latin for "reduction to the absurd" also known as an apagogical argument, reductio ad impossibile  This doctrine, however, is not aimed at promoting atheism. Instead, it is part of an overarching philosophy meant to convince us that what gods there may be do not concern themselves with us, and thus would not seek to punish us either in this or any other life. 
Epicurus emphasized the senses in his epistemology, and his Principle of Multiple Explanations ("if several theories are consistent with the observed data, retain them all") is an early contribution to the philosophy of science. Epistemology (from Greek επιστήμη - episteme, "knowledge" + λόγος, " Logos " or theory of knowledge Philosophy of science is the study of assumptions foundations and implications of Science.
There are also some things for which it is not enough to state a single cause, but several, of which one, however, is the case. Just as if you were to see the lifeless corpse of a man lying far away, it would be fitting to list all the causes of death in order to make sure that the single cause of this death may be stated. For you would not be able to establish conclusively that he died by the sword or of cold or of illness or perhaps by poison, but we know that there is something of this kind that happened to him. 
In contrast to the Stoics, Epicureans showed little interest in participating in the politics of the day, since doing so leads to trouble. Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC He instead advocated seclusion. His garden can be compared to present-day communes. A commune is an Intentional community of people living together sharing common interests Property, possessions Resources, work and Income This principle is epitomized by the phrase lathe biōsas λάθε βιώσας (Plutarchus De latenter vivendo 1128c; Flavius Philostratus Vita Apollonii 8. Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus ( Greek: Μέστριος Πλούταρχος c Philostratus, was the name of four Greek Sophists of the Roman imperial period: (c 28. 12), meaning "live secretly", "get through life without drawing attention to yourself", i. e. live without pursuing glory or wealth or power, but anonymously, enjoying little things like food, the company of friends, etc.
As an ethical guideline, Epicurus emphasized minimizing harm and maximizing happiness of oneself and others:
It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing 'neither to harm nor be harmed').
And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.
Elements of Epicurean philosophy have resonated and resurfaced in various diverse thinkers and movements throughout Western intellectual history.
His emphasis minimizing harm and maximizing happiness in his formulation of the Ethic of Reciprocity was later picked up by the democratic thinkers of the French Revolution, and others, like John Locke, who wrote that people had a right to "life, liberty, and property. The ethic of reciprocity is a fundamental moral Value which " refers to the balance in an interactive system such that each party has both rights and The French Revolution (1789–1799 was a period of political and social upheaval in the History of France, during which the French governmental structure previously an John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704 was an English Philosopher. " To Locke, one's own body was part of their property, and thus one's right to property would theoretically guarantee safety for their persons, as well as their possessions.
This triad, as well as the egalitarianism of Epicurus, was carried forward into the American freedom movement and Declaration of Independence, by the American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, as "all men are created equal" and endowed with certain "inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4 1776 announcing that the thirteen American colonies then The Founding Fathers of the United States are the Political leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence or otherwise participated in the Thomas Jefferson (April 13 1743 – July 4 1826 was the third President of the United States (1801–1809 the principal author of the Declaration of Independence "
Karl Marx's doctoral thesis was on "The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature. A dissertation (also called thesis or disquisition) is a document that presents the author's Research and findings and is submitted in support of candidature Democritus ( Greek:) was a pre-Socratic Greek Materialist Philosopher (born at Abdera in Thrace ca " 
Epicurus was also a significant source of inspiration and interest for Friedrich Nietzsche. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15 1844 August 25 1900 ( was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and classical philologist Nietzsche cites his affinities to Epicurus in a number of his works, including The Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil, and his private letters to Peter Gast. The Gay Science language|German] Die fröhliche Wissenschaft ("la gaya scienza" ] is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil (German Jenseits von Gut und Böse) subtitled "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future" ( Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft Johann Heinrich Köselitz ( 10 January 1854 – 15 August 1918) was a German author and composer Nietzsche was attracted to, among other things, Epicurus' ability to maintain a cheerful philosophical outlook in the face of painful physical ailments. Nietzsche also suffered from a number of sicknesses during his lifetime. However, he thought that Epicurus' conception of happiness as freedom from anxiety was too passive and negative.
The only surviving complete works by Epicurus are three letters, which are to be found in book X of Diogenes Laertius' Lives of Eminent Philosophers, and two groups of quotes: the Principal Doctrines, reported as well in Diogenes' book X, and the Vatican Sayings, preserved in a manuscript from the Vatican Library. Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (Βίοι καὶ γνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων is a biography of the Greek philosophers The Vatican Library ( Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana) is the Library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City.
Numerous fragments of his thirty-seven volume treatise On Nature have been found among the charred papyrus fragments at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. The Villa of the Papyri is a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum (current commune of Ercolano) Herculaneum (in modern Italian Ercolano) is an ancient Roman town located in the territory of the current commune of Ercolano. In addition, other Epicurean writings found at Herculaneum contain important quotations from his other works.
Epicurus the Sage was a comic book by William Messner-Loebs and Sam Kieth, portraying Epicurus as "the only sane philosopher. William Francis Messner-Loebs Jr (born February 19, 1949) is an American comic book writer and artist from Michigan, also known as Sam Kieth (born January 11, 1963) is an American Comics writer and illustrator and film director best known as the creator of The "
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Epikouros; Έπίκουρος|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of Epicureanism|
|DATE OF BIRTH||341 BCE|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Samos|
|DATE OF DEATH||270 BCE|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Athens|