Who was Epicurus


Epicurus, Greek Epicurus, (341-271 BC), Greek philosopher. He was a representative of eudaemonism within Western philosophy.

Epicurus was born in 341 BC. He was born in Samos as the son of a teacher and received private tuition from his father, who was a school teacher, as well as from various philosophers. At the age of 18 he went to Athens to do military service. After a short stay in 322 he moved to his father in Kolophon, where he also became a teacher. Around 311, Epicurus founded a philosophical school in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos; three years later he was appointed head of the school of Lampsakos (now Lâpseki, Turkey). In 306 he went back to Athens to settle here permanently, to develop his teachings and to teach them. Since the lessons were held in Epicurus' garden (Kepos) and people lived there in a community, his students were known as philosophers of the garden. The fact that women were also allowed was considered disreputable by many of his contemporaries. Epicurus School was attended by students from all over Greece and Asia Minor.

In a biography written by the historian Diogenes Laertios from the 3rd century AD, it is said that Epicurus left behind around 300 manuscripts. This includes 37 treatises on physics and numerous works, among others. about topics like love, justice and the world of gods. Of Epicurus' writings, however, only the three letters that are contained in the biography of Diogenes Laertios, as well as 40 doctrines authorized by the philosopher and a few short fragments on papyrus have survived. The main sources for the reconstruction of his philosophy are the works of the Roman writers Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch (an opponent of Epicurus) and Lucretius, whose didactic poem De Rerum Natura (On the essence of things) contains the teachings of Epicureanism. Epicurus died in 271 BC. In Athens.

The main idea of ​​Epicurus' philosophy is a eudaemonism, which aims at a happy life through the sensation of pleasure (see also hedonism) and avoidance of pain; Painlessness and the highest level of pleasure are synonymous. The individual is responsible for his or her own happiness. Epicurously, Epicurus moved in the immediate vicinity of the atomism of Democritus with his theory of emanation: Knowledge is only possible through the perception of things and their “outflow” (emanation); The observation of the same sensory impressions ensures a picture of reality. Everything that cannot be observed can only be considered true if it can be brought into harmony with perception. Since the (mortal) soul and the gods also consist of atoms, the latter need not be worshiped - a central moment of Epicurean natural philosophy.

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