Epicurus ' Theory On The Meaning Of Pleasure And Pain

1296 WordsNov 11, 20166 Pages
Epicurus’ theory on the means to a good life revolves around the notion that pleasure is the highest and greatest of all goods, therefore, in order to live a good life, one must direct their actions to gain the most pleasure possible and the least amount of pain. The abundance of pleasure over pain equates to a good life. In that same sense, one cannot have a good life without pleasure. The whole point of living a life is to have more of the actions that will give one the most amount of pleasure and reduce the actions that will give one less pleasure. Further, the theory will go on to state that actions that give one pain are to be avoided as much as possible. A sustainable and moderate amount of pleasure that is free from fear and full of tranquility. This is achieved through understanding physics, or the workings of the world, and the limits of our desires. The emphasis of pleasure and pain in Epicurus’ theory is in regards to mental pleasure and mental pain rather than their physical counterparts. Thus, a good life emphasizes actions that will give one a greater amount of mental pleasure. It is important to note that mental and physical pleasures are not mutually exclusive, therefore, physical pleasures will often provide mental pleasure. However, the assumption is that “great mental pleasure or pain has more influence on whether our life is happy or miserable than does physical pleasure or pain of equal duration” (20). In other words, Epicurus’ theory puts a much greater
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