Epicurus And The Greatest Good

1354 Words6 Pages
Epicurus was a Greek philosopher who established a school focused on a life of simplicity and moderation. His philosophy centered on what he deemed the great good which was pleasure. Plato, another Greek philosopher was the best-known follower of Socrates. Plato was the man that transcribed the teachings of Socrates and continued to use Socrates as a character in his philosophies through dialogues similar to how we had seen him before his death. In Plato’s Republic he has Socrates say, “those who make pleasure their good are in … perplexity; for they are compelled to admit that there are bad pleasures as well as good.” (Cpk 119 top) While in the Letter to Menoeceus Epicurus says, “Pleasure, we declare, is the beginning and the end of the happy life. We are endowed by nature to recognize pleasure as the greatest good.” (Cpk 140 middle) In this paper I will discuss why Epicurus thinks that pleasure is the greatest good, why Plato dissents, and finally argue what I believe to be the most reasonable answer.

Epicurus believes pleasure is the greatest good because it is the only way to completely fulfill ones life on this earth. Epicurus is inclined to philosophize in this way as he believed that there was no after life or immortal soul, leading pleasure full self-fulfillment to be the only rational conclusion for the greatest good on earth. To comprehend Epicurus’ pursuit of pleasure one needs to understand that his version of hedonism is not full of lavish indulgences that have
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