For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by peace and freedom from fear, the absence of pain, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms. Although much of Epicurus' written work has been lost, the remaining principle doctrines and his letters featured in this book provide an insight into the Epicurean school of thought, which was originally based in the garden of his house and thus called The Garden.
"No one is too young or too old to know what happiness is."This is how the way to happiness begins according to Epicurus, the famous founder of one of the most important schools of thought of the Hellenistic and Roman age. Happiness, which individuals yearn so much for, becomes something really easy to get. In this "Letter on happiness" Epicurus reflects on the real meaning of happiness and then reveals you how you can achieve it . You can read and read to it again, with a smile on your face ! ☺ Translated by Alessandra Bottacin
Letter to Menoeceus - Epicurus - Translated by Robert Drew Hicks - Epicurus; 341-270 BC, was an ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia-peace and freedom from fear-and aponia-the absence of pain-and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space. Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and scientific methodology because of his insistence that nothing should be believed, except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction. He was a key figure in the Axial Age, the period from 800 BC to 200 BC, during which, according to Karl Jaspers, similar thinking appeared in China, India, Iran, the Near East, and Ancient Greece. His statement of the Ethic of Reciprocity as the foundation of ethics is the earliest in Ancient Greece, and he differs from the formulation of utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill by emphasizing the minimization of harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness.
The brilliant writings of a highly influential Greek philosopher, with a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of Travels with Epicurus The teachings of Epicurus—about life and death, religion and science, physical sensation, happiness, morality, and friendship—attracted legions of adherents throughout the ancient Mediterranean world and deeply influenced later European thought. Though Epicurus faced hostile opposition for centuries after his death, he counts among his many admirers Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and Isaac Newton. This volume includes all of his extant writings—his letters, doctrines, and Vatican sayings—alongside parallel passages from the greatest exponent of his philosophy, Lucretius, extracts from Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus, a lucid introductory essay about Epicurean philosophy, and a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of Travels with Epicurus and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Epicurus's Principal Doctrines and his Letter to Menoeceus are presented in this excellent edition which includes multiple translations, the original Greek, plus supplementary essays on Epicureanism by respected scholars. In the 3rd century B.C. Epicurus became renowned for developing a system of moral and social philosophy which was popular during ancient times. Epicureanism underwent a resurgence among intellectuals, scholars and Christian believers during the Enlightenment era. A prodigious author during his lifetime, tragically most of the works Epicurus wrote are lost, with only a handful of texts remaining extant for study in the present day. Epicurus advocated a peaceful existence defined by modest living; cultivation of inner peace and fearlessness; surrounding oneself in personal tranquility with worthy friends and family members as good company; and the observation of justice. The Principal Doctrines list forty core beliefs of Epicureanism; each tenet ranges between a single sentence and a single paragraph in length, and explains or instructs a given subject from the Epicurean point of view. Personal conduct and concepts such as just laws are among the subjects present. Letter to Menoeceus is a surviving personal correspondence famous for succinctly expressing many of the ethical traits of Epicureanism. Epicurus proscribes advice to his friend, and by extension other individuals wishing to follow his philosophy; the pursuit of knowledge; pleasure defined as an absence of bodily pain or mental anguish; and a modest lifestyle. This edition of Epicurus's writings is perfect for scholarly study and contemplation. The original Greek of both texts is present, while three contrasting interpretations of the Principle Doctrines are offered. To further stimulate the reader's interests, three lengthy essays by scholars of the 17th and 19th centuries shed insight both on the philosophy itself, and how it came to renewed regard in the eyes of Enlightenment-era scholars.
Author: Jeffrey Fish
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2011-05-26
Epicureanism after the generation of its founders has been characterised as dogmatic, uncreative and static. But this volume brings together work from leading classicists and philosophers that demonstrates the persistent interplay in the school between historical and contemporary influences from outside the school and a commitment to the founders' authority. The interplay begins with Epicurus himself, who made arresting claims of intellectual independence, yet also admitted to taking over important ideas from predecessors, and displayed more receptivity than is usually thought to those of his contemporaries. The same principles of autonomy and openness figure importantly in the three major areas of focus in these essays: theology, politics and the emotions.
Epicurus posited a materialistic physics, in which pleasure, by which he meant freedom from pain, is the highest good. Serenity, the harmony of mind and body, is best achieved, through virtue and simple living. In addition to the Principal Doctrines, included here is the essay Epicureanism by William De Witt Hyde and an Epicurus biography by Charles Bradlaugh.
Author: Pamela Gordon
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Release Date: 2012-04-11
Genre: Literary Criticism
The school of Greek philosopher Epicurus, which became known as the Garden, famously put great stock in happiness and pleasure. As a philosophical community, and a way of seeing the world, Epicureanism had a centuries-long life in Athens and Rome, as well as across the Mediterranean. The Invention and Gendering of Epicurusstudies how the Garden's outlook on pleasure captured Greek and Roman imaginations---particularly among non-Epicureans---for generations after its legendary founding. Unsympathetic sources from disparate eras generally focus not on historic personages but on the symbolic Epicurean. And yet the traditions of this imagined Garden, with its disreputable women and unmanly men, give us intermittent glimpses of historical Epicureans and their conceptions of the Epicurean life. Pamela Gordon suggests how a close hearing and contextualization of anti-Epicurean discourse leads us to a better understanding of the cultural history of Epicureanism. Her primary focus is on sources hostile to the Garden, but her Epicurean-friendly perspective is apparent throughout. Her engagement with ancient anti-Epicurean texts makes more palpable their impact on modern responses to the Garden. Intended both for students and for scholars of Epicureanism and its response, the volume is organized primarily according to the themes common among Epicurus' detractors. It considers the place of women in Epicurean circles, as well as the role of Epicurean philosophy in Homer and other writers.
Author: J. M. Rist
Publisher: CUP Archive
Release Date: 1972-06-29
Professor Rist's account of Epicurus mediates between the extremes of approval and opposition traditionally accorded to him, and he emerges as an ideologist, a pragmatic philosopher whose most notable achievement was to reject the prevailing social ethos of Hellenism and assert the rights of the individual against those of the community or state.
Author: A. A. Long
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 1986
The purpose of this book is to trace the main developments in Greek philosophy during the period which runs from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.c. to the end of the Roman Republic (31 B.c.). These three centuries, known to us as the Hellenistic Age, witnessed a vast expansion of Greek civilization eastwards, following Alexander's conquests; and later, Greek civilization penetrated deeply into the western Mediterranean world assisted by the political conquerors of Greece, the Romans. But philosophy throughout this time remained a predominantly Greek activity. The most influential thinkers in the Hellenistic world were Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics. This book gives a concise critical analysis of their ideas and their methods of thought. The last book in English to cover this ground was written sixty years ago. In the interval the subject has moved on, quite rapidly since the last war, but most of the best work is highly specialized. There is a clear need for a general appraisal of Hellenistic philosophy which can provide those who are not specialists with an up-to-date account of the subject. Hellenistic philosophy is often regarded as a dull product of second-rate thinkers who are unable to stand comparison with Plato and Aristotle. This book will help to remove such misconceptions and arouse wider interest in a field which is fascinating both historically and conceptually.
Author: Dane R. Gordon
Publisher: RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press
Release Date: 2003
The philosophy of Epicurus (c. 341-271 B. C. E.), has been a quietly pervasive influence for more than two millennia. At present, when many long revered ideologies are proven empty, Epicureanism is powerfully and refreshingly relevant, offering a straightforward way of dealing with the issues of life and death. The chapters in this book provide a kaleidoscope of contemporary opinions about Epicurus' teachings. They tell us also about the archeological discoveries that promise to augment the scant remains we have of Epicurus's own writing. the breadth of this new work will be welcomed by those who value Epicurean philosophy as a scholarly and personal resource for contemporary life. "Epicurus: His Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance," is the title of a 2002 conference on Epicurus held at Rochester Institute of Technology, when many of the ideas here were first presented.