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Philosophy 2101: Introduction to Philosophy: Epicurus

Philosophy 2101: Introduction to Philosophy

About Epicurus

Bust of EpicurusEpicurus is one of the major philosophers in the Hellenistic period, the three centuries following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. (and of Aristotle in 322 B.C.E.). Epicurus developed an unsparingly materialistic metaphysics, empiricist epistemology, and hedonistic ethics. Epicurus taught that the basic constituents of the world are atoms, uncuttable bits of matter, flying through empty space, and he tried to explain all natural phenomena in atomic terms. Epicurus rejected the existence of Platonic forms and an immaterial soul, and he said that the gods have no influence on our lives. Epicurus also thought skepticism was untenable, and that we could gain knowledge of the world relying upon the senses. He taught that the point of all one's actions was to attain pleasure (conceived of as tranquility) for oneself, and that this could be done by limiting one's desires and by banishing the fear of the gods and of death. Epicurus' gospel of freedom from fear proved to be quite popular, and communities of Epicureans flourished for centuries after his death.

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Image source

Dudva. (2017). Bust of Epicurus. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bust_of_Epicurus.jpg

Biography source

Tim O’Keefe. (N/A). Epicurus (341—271 B.C.E.). Retrieved October 31, 2018, from https://www.iep.utm.edu/epicur/

Open Resource Texts of Epicurus

Brooklyn College Library Texts of Epicurus

Open Multimedia on Epicurus

Password Protected Texts on Epicurus