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Epicurus' and Epictetus' Teachings - Essay Example

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Epicurus and Epictetus both lived in time of extreme difficulties in Greek Empire. Both of them founded their schools and were admired by students. Both of them sought relief from the anxiety of their epoch and formed their concepts of “good life”. However, were their views similar? Or did they contrast with each other? …
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Epicurus and Epictetus Teachings
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Download file to see previous pages Epicurus, whose teachings are related to the philosophy of hedonism, saw pleasure as the primary goal in every human’s life. He taught that happiness can only be achieved by means of pleasure. The concept of pleasure is also related to the notion of psychic tranquility, which he calls ataraxia. Ataraxia refers to inner peace of a human being and his being free from fear. Moreover, pleasure is also explained as the “absence of pain”. Just as Epicurus distinguishes between active and passive pleasure, he defines the former as an active process aimed at satisfying people’s desires, and the latter as the absence of pain, the perfect pleasure.
Similarly to Epicurus, Epictetus, who belonged to Stoics, developed his view of happiness and what can make humans happy. However, his views are different from Epicurus’ because he assumes that a person can achieve happiness only if he/she desires something which he/she is capable of achieving. Otherwise, this person will be unhappy. Hence, unlike Epicurus, Epictetus believes that controlling desires by means of self-discipline is the way to avoid unhappiness. Furthermore, Epicurus expressed the view that human beings did not need to be fearful of gods since gods do not interfere in human fates and lives. Unlike Epicurus, the representative of Stoics Epictetus believes that it is god that has control of everything. Hence, human beings are “fragments of god”.
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Broadly speaking, both say that people possess control of their own happiness. Next, both philosophers agree that god exists. However, they disagree about the way god influences people’s lives. Epicurus thinks that god never interferes in people’s fates and lives, while Epictetus believes that every human life is subject to god’s control. Epicurus also believes that people’s body is made of atoms and Epictetus believes that people’s body is part of god’s. Also, the philosophers explain fear of death in a different way. While Epicurus expresses the opinion that we should not fear death since human beings lose sensation at the time of dying (this happens due to atoms dispersal), Epictetus thinks that we just need to change our perception of death and views on it, which will liberate us from fearing death. As for me, Epictetus’ views are more superior since they reject self-indulgence and focus on a personality development. Epicurus views, it seems, lead to moral degradation of people since they risk turning into beasts preoccupied with desires and efforts to satisfy them. 2. Which of Epictetus’ rules do you find most appealing? Why? Which of Epictetus’s rules do you find most distasteful? Why? As I go over the rules of Epictetus, I find all of them appealing. Importantly, these ideas have much in common with what is thought the highest virtues in Christianity. It appears that he even advised not to engage in sexual relationship before marriage, which seems unbelievable if one imagines that society and men’s opportunities. I am literally impressed by how close to my views on life, Epictetus’ rules are. For instance, Epictetus advises not to judge ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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