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    Epicureanism is a philosophy of the Greek ancient philosopher Epicurus. It seeks to maximize pleasure in a hedonist manner, but seeks to remove pain or fear.

    Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Physics[edit | edit source]

    Epicurean physics held that the entire universe consisted of two things: matter and void. Matter is made up of atoms, which are tiny bodies that have only the unchanging qualities of shape, size, and weight. The Epicureans believed that atoms were unchanging because the world was ordered and that changes had to have specific and consistent sources, e.g. a plant species only grows from a seed of the same species, but that in order for the universe to persist, what it is ultimately made up of must not be able to be changed or else the universe would be essentially destroyed.

    Epicurus holds that there must be an infinite supply of atoms, although only a finite number of types of atoms, as well as an infinite amount of void. Because of the infinite supply of atoms, there are an infinite amount of worlds, or cosmoi.[9] Some of these worlds could be vastly different from our own, some quite similar, and all of the worlds were separated from each other by vast areas of void.

    Sense Perception[edit | edit source]

    Epicureans believed that senses also relied on atoms. Every object was continually emitting particles from itself that would then interact with the observer. All sensations, such as sight, smell, or sound, relied on these particles. While the atoms that were emitted did not have the qualities that the senses were perceiving, the manner in which they were emitted caused the observer to experience those sensations, e.g. red particles were not themselves red but were emitted in a manner that caused the viewer to experience the color red. The atoms are not perceived individually, but rather as a continuous sensation because of how quickly they move.

    Criterion of Truth[edit | edit source]

    Epicureans thought that sensations could not deceive, sensations are the first and main criterion of truth for Epicureans. Even in cases where sensory input seems to mislead, the input itself is true and the error arises from our judgments about the input. For example, when one places a straight oar in the water, it appears bent. The Epicurean would argue that image of the oar, that is the atoms travelling from the oar to the observer's eyes, have been shifted and thus really do arrive at the observer's eyes in the shape of a bent oar. The observer makes the error in assuming that the image he or she receives correctly represents the oar and has not been distorted in some way. In order to not make erroneous judgments about perceivable things and instead verify one's judgment, Epicureans believed that one needed to obtain "clear vision" (enargeia) of the perceivable thing by closer examination. This acted as a justification for one's judgements about the thing being perceived. Enargeia is characterized as sensation of an object that has been unchanged by judgments or opinions and is a clear and direct perception of that object.

    Pleasure[edit | edit source]

    Epicureans believed that the highest pleasure came from avoiding pain rather than actively seeking pleasure. They argued that nature guides us to steer clear of pain, and all animals instinctively avoid it. Epicureanism categorized pleasure into two types: pleasures of the body (related to immediate sensations) and pleasures of the mind (involving mental processes and states). Pleasures of the mind, like joy and pleasant memories, were considered superior because they extended beyond the present moment to the past and future.

    The focus was on mental pleasures over physical ones, and these were further divided into kinetic pleasure (involving action or change) and katastematic pleasure (experienced in a pain-free state). The absence of pain (aponia) and the tranquility of the mind (ataraxia) were central to Epicurean philosophy. Kinetic pleasure involved actions like eating delicious food or fulfilling desires, while katastematic pleasure occurred in a pain-free state, whether physical or mental. The ultimate goal was to achieve aponia and ataraxia, eliminating all physical and mental pain to attain the highest form of pleasure.

    Desire[edit | edit source]

    To achieve the highest happiness, Epicureans believed in controlling desires since desire itself was seen as causing pain. By managing desires, individuals could experience aponia (freedom from physical discomfort) and ataraxia (freedom from mental anxiety). Epicureans categorized desires into three types:

    • Natural and necessary desires: These are basic needs essential for happiness, freedom from bodily discomfort, and survival. Examples include clothing and shelter.
    • Natural but not necessary desires: Innate desires not crucial for happiness or survival. Pursuing these desires may not significantly increase happiness and can be based on false beliefs about their necessity. They should be avoided.
    • Vain and empty desires: These are limitless desires not innate or essential for happiness or health, such as desires for wealth or fame. Pursuing them brings discomfort and should be avoided.

    Epicurus argued that focusing only on natural and necessary desires would lead to aponia and ataraxia, resulting in the highest form of happiness. Unnecessary and artificially created desires were to be suppressed for a content and serene life.

    Politics[edit | edit source]

    The Epicurean view of justice is based on self-interest, considering it good because it is mutually beneficial. People avoid unjust actions not only to avoid punishment but also because punishment and fear disturb one's happiness.

    Epicurus introduced the idea of justice as a social contract, contrasting with Plato's Republic. According to Epicureanism, justice arises from a mutual agreement among people not to harm each other. Living in a society with laws and punishments aims to protect individuals from harm, allowing them to pursue happiness. Laws that don't contribute to human happiness are considered unjust.

    Epicureans diverge from Stoic, Platonist, and Aristotelian traditions in their political ideas. Social relations are perceived as matters of customs, with no inherent superiority of one person over another. All individuals are naturally equal as they are made of the same atomic material. While Epicureans generally discourage political involvement, some may see certain associations as beneficial for maximizing pleasure and avoiding distress.

    Death[edit | edit source]

    Epicureans believed that there is no reason to fear death. When we exist, death does not exist. When death exist, we do not exist. Therefore death is completely irrelevant to our existence. Why bother?

    How to Draw[edit | edit source]

    Flag of Epicureanism
    Color Name HEX RGB
    Black #000000 0, 0, 0
    Milk #edefca 237, 239, 202

    Relationships[edit | edit source]

    Friends[edit | edit source]

    • Cyrenaicism - A brother who followed a similar path.
    • Nietzscheanism - Thanks for supporting my struggle against Christianity.

    Frenemies[edit | edit source]

    • Orthodox Marxism - You too are materialist... But why do you deny hedonist ethics? Also what is this 'class struggle' thing?

    Enemies[edit | edit source]

    • Platonism - Rival, I don't like him.
    • Neoplatonism - Son of a rival, I still don't like him.
    • Stoicism - He disowned me, so I hate him.
    • Christianity - I don't care if you think I'm a heretic. Also you can't even prove that God is both omnipotent and good.
    • Libertinism - Sexual pleasure is worthless.

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

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