Epicurus was a Greek philosopher, founder of Epicureanism and the Epicurean school. This philosophical school, which arose in Hellenism parallel to the Stoa, has had a polarizing effect between supporters and opponents since its beginnings due to the apparent hedonistic doctrine developed by Epicurus.

The doctrine of Epicurus was and is subject to misinterpretation due to a common misunderstanding of the Epicurean concept of pleasure. According to Epicurus, the prerequisites for a "lustful" life are freedom from pain and tranquility of the soul. Virtues are desirable only if they increase pleasure. Only those who are just and moderate can live happily.


Epicurus (341–270 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher who founded the philosophical school known as Epicureanism. Born on the island of Samos, he moved to Athens to study philosophy. Epicurus emphasized the pursuit of pleasure and tranquility as the ultimate goals of human life.

He established a community called the Garden in Athens, where he taught his philosophy and engaged in discussions with his followers. Epicurus believed that pleasure could be attained through the moderation of desires and the cultivation of mental and emotional well-being.

Epicurus' philosophy differed from hedonism, as he emphasized intellectual pleasures and the avoidance of pain. He believed that the fear of death and the gods' wrath were sources of anxiety that could be alleviated through rational understanding.

His teachings encompassed ethics, physics, and epistemology. Epicurus posited that the universe was made of atoms and that natural phenomena could be explained through materialistic principles. He also developed a theory of knowledge based on sensory experiences.

Epicurus' ideas were transmitted through his letters and writings, which were compiled into various collections. His philosophy faced criticism and misconceptions from later thinkers, particularly due to the misunderstanding of his views on pleasure.

Despite challenges to his legacy, Epicurus' ideas continued to influence subsequent philosophical movements and thinkers, such as the Roman poet Lucretius and the early modern philosophers. His emphasis on seeking a balanced and simple life, as well as his focus on the pursuit of personal happiness, has had a lasting impact on discussions about the good life and human well-being.

Epicurus Texts, Tubes & Books