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Epicureanism and Stoicism Epicureanism is a school of ethical philosophy established by Epicurus 340-271 BC and based largely on his teachings Epicureanism was derived from the Cyrenaics who were very self-indulgent and hedonistic living in large amounts sensual excess Epicureanism however teaches to avoid excess in pursuit of living the good life while still appreciating the pleasures of life in plentiful amounts Epicurus founded a school called The Garden in which he lectured to his students and gained a steady following including the poets Horace and Lucretius Epicurean existence is constantly aimed towards happiness and away from fear and pain Epicureanism teaches that happiness is a result of pleasure which is the supreme good and main goal of life however Epicurus taught that excess of pleasure brings about pain and should be avoided but rather a balance of pleasure and pain through a code of conduct Epicureanism says that simple pleasures are the best and emphasizes that intellectual pleasures are favored to sensual pleasures because intellectual pleasures establish peace of mind In the Epicurean system of philosophy the most important virtues that a person should have are justice honesty and prudence Epicurus beliefs were largely grounded in scientific reason being that he had a natural science background and was a believer in atomism He held that through our sense perceptions we get images from which arise concepts which form our feelings From feelings come two sensations pleasure and pain Pleasure is good and therefore an indication of what to choose whereas pain is an indication of what to avoid He taught to judge matters on whether they led to greater pain or greater pleasure thereby holding feelings as the criteria for decision-making Essentially pleasure is freedom from pain and through his teachings Epicurus sought to free people from pain by removing fear of two things He taught that true happiness is a result of the removal of the fear of death
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