Picture of EpicurusEpicurus

Hellenistic Philosopher

341-271 B.C

Together with Metrodorus(c.331-278) and Polyaenus(d. 278) Epicurus founded the Hellenistic school of philosophy. He set up Gardens in schools throughout Greece, for the devotion of life devoid of political aims. There are only three brief works that remain of Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Pythocles, and the Letter to Menoecceus. Otherwise, fragments of his work On Nature still exist.

His main areas of thought were ethics, physical theory, and epistemology. His physics were primarily atomistic, his study of knowledge rested on the principle that all sensations are true, and his ethics were totally hedonistic, pain being the only true evil.

Rival to the Epicurean school of thought was Stoicism, whose precepts quickly overshadowed the less popular Epicurean writings. It was ignored because Epicureanism was viewed as hedonism, philistine in its motivations and sometimes looked on as crude sensualism.

See Also:

  • The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers
    Book X, The Life of Epicurus by Diogenes La‘rtius

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