Stoicism and Epicureanism Essay

2001 Words9 Pages
With their philosophical roots grounded in ancient Greece, Stoicism and Epicureanism had contrary yet significant impacts on Roman society. These two philosophies differed in many of their basic theories. Stoics attempted to reach a moral level where they had freedom from passion, while Epicureans strove for pleasure and avoided all types of pain. Stoics like the Epicureans, emphasized ethics as the main field of knowledge, but they also developed theories of logic and natural science to support their ethical doctrines. Epicurus, the founder of Epicureanism, saw death as a total extinction with no afterlife to ensue, he regarded the universe as infinite and eternal and as consisting only of space and atoms; where the soul or mind is…show more content…
This led Lucretius to write 'where space exists, or what we call the void, /matter cannot be found; what substance holds /void cannot occupy . . . therefore atoms are solid and voidless . . . and if there is a void, it has to be surrounded by solid material'; (Lucretius 458). This was one of the essential theories of Epicurean belief. With this fundamental background of the universe, Lucretius could then convince the Roman people that gods did not create the universe, or even run their lives, but that the matter and void controlled the universe.     Lucretius held firm with the belief that fear and superstitions of the gods were the main causes of unhappiness. His characterization of the universe as an accidental collection of atoms moving in the void, and his insistence that the soul is not a distinct, immaterial entity but a chance combination of atoms that does not survive the body, and also his postulation of purely natural causes for earthly phenomena are all calculated to prove that the world is not directed by the divine agency and that fear of the supernatural is consequently without reasonable foundation. He wrote that 'our starting-point shall be this principle: /nothing at all is ever born from nothing /by the god's will'; (Lucretius 453). He opposed the public idea that the gods had created the universe, and that they were the reason for the things that happened to
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