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Summary Epicurus (341-271 BCE) was one of the most influential Hellenistic philosophers. He revived the atomism of Democritus and rejected the teleology of Aristotle and the immaterial soul and forms of Plato. All events are the result of indivisible bodies (atoms) interacting in the void, and the gods have no role in the workings of the world. Epicurus' ethics is a form of ascetic egoistic hedonism. Only one's own pleasure is intrinsically valuable, but the limit of pleasure is freedom from bodily distress and (especially) peace of mind, and the way to acquire peace of mind is by limiting your desires. Epicurus' arguments against the fear of death have been especially influential: death is annihilation, and so your death is bad for you neither when you are alive (as you are not dead) nor when you are dead (as you no longer exist).
Key works Most of Epicurus' writings are lost, but book ten of Diogenes Laertius' Lives of Eminent Philosophers, in its summary of Epicurus' life and teachings, contains three letters by Epicurus that summarize his physics, views on celestial and meteorological phenomena, and ethics. It also includes the "Principal Doctrines," short sayings mainly on ethics. Many of Epicurus' philosophical views must be gleaned from the works of later philosophers,such as Lucretius and Cicero. Long & Sedley 1987 and Gerson 1994 are compendiums of many of the crucial texts, with Long & Sedley 1987 including extensive commentary.
Introductions Konstan 2008 is a good encyclopedia entry on Epicurus. O.’Keefe 2009 is an accessible book-length overview of the Epicurean philosophical system, while Warren 2009 contains chapters that deal more extensively with the current scholarly literature.
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  1. added 2020-05-25
    Epicurus’ “Kinetic” and “Katastematic” Pleasures. A Reappraisal.Yosef Z. Liebersohn - 2015 - Elenchos 36 (2):271-296.
    In this paper I shall offer new definitions for what seem to be the most dominant terms in Epicurus’ theory of pleasures - “kinetic” and “katastematic”. While most of the scholarly literature treats these terms as entirely concerned with states of motion and states of stability, I shall argue that the distinction concerns whether pain is or is not removed by this or that pleasure. As the removal of pain is a necessary condition for the Epicurean goal of ataraxia and (...)
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  2. added 2020-05-25
    Democritus and Epicurus on Sensible Qualities in Plutarch, Against Colotes 3-9.Luca Castagnoli - 2013 - Aitia 3.
    Through a close reading of Plutarch’s Against Colotes 3-9, the paper reconstructs and interprets the original Epicurean criticism against Democritean epistemology and ontology, and in particular against Democritus’ theory of sensible qualities, and Plutarch’s twofold criticism of Epicurean epistemology, on similar grounds, and of the questionable exegetical and argumentative manoeuvres used by the Epicurean Colotes. In the process of interpreting Plutarch’s text, the paper reflects on the nature, motivation and plausibility of Plutarch’s own exegetical and argumentative strategies. Finally, the paper (...)
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  3. added 2020-05-11
    Is Epicurus’ Ataraxia Individualistic?Ali Haydar Kutan - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 12:223-227.
    According to Kant Epicurean ethics is a “self-love” ethics, or “an ethics in pursuit of one’s own happiness.” He contends that such a conception of ethics cannot produce any morality in an objective sense. Epicurus contends that ataraxia, a state in which all bodily and mental disturbances are remedied is the ultimate goal of life. In this paper, I will try to show how by beginning the concept of pleasure Epicurus tries to erect a system of ethics which is based (...)
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  4. added 2020-05-11
    Ethical Teachings of Epicurus Based on Human Naturein the Light of Biological Psychology.Christos Yapijakis - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 2 (3):83-88.
    Epicurus observed nature with the aim to achieve serenity and a blissful life. This article discusses current knowledge, regarding the human brain in comparison to Epicurus’ understanding of human nature. The human brain actually consists of three interconnected brains that arose during evolution: the ‘reptilian brain’, the ‘mammalian brain’ and ‘the primate brain’. The philosopher emphasized on the fact that the basic needs of humans lay in instincts, and he determined the purpose of human life on emotional grounds and considered (...)
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  5. added 2020-05-11
    Physical Theories of the Soul: Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius.Archontissa Kokotsaki - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 2 (3):37-41.
    The Epicurean philosophy is based upon the theory of Democritus, who believed that everything is composed of ‘atoms’, physically but not geometrically indivisible, and lie in a void. Democritus paid a great deal of attention to the structure of the human body, the noblest part of which is considered to be the soul. These all-pervading souls - atoms perform in different functions. In this case, Epicurus and his followers believed that the soul, just like the body, was somehow material, consisting (...)
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  6. added 2020-05-04
    Christianity.Ilaria L. E. Ramelli - forthcoming - In Phillip Mitsis (ed.), Oxford Handbook to Epicurus and Epicureanism. Oxford-New York:
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  7. added 2020-05-04
    Oxford Handbook to Epicurus and Epicureanism.Phillip Mitsis (ed.) - forthcoming
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  8. added 2020-05-04
    Memmius, Cicero and Lucretius: A Note on Cic. Fam. 13.1.Christopher V. Trinacty - forthcoming - Classical Quarterly:1-4.
    A recent piece in this journal by Morgan and Taylor made the case that C. Memmius is not to be seen as an active prosecutor of Epicureanism but rather as an Epicurean himself, who merely has disagreed with the grimly orthodox Epicurean sect in Athens. As such, Memmius’ building intentions for Epicurus’ home could have been to create an honorary monument or possibly even construct a grander locus for pilgrimage and the practice of Epicureanism. This note adds to their findings (...)
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  9. added 2020-04-27
    Health and Hedonism in Plato and Epicurus by Kelly Arenson.David Konstan - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (2):401-402.
    Epicurus had a distinctive position on pleasure: the greatest possible pleasure consists in the absence of pain. The pain in question may be physical or psychological. Not to be hungry, cold, or otherwise distressed is the greatest pleasure that the body can know; to be free of fear, particularly the kind of vague, undirected anxiety that Lucretius called cura, is the most pleasant state that the mind can achieve. As Lucretius exclaims, "Do you not see that our nature cries out (...)
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  10. added 2020-04-27
    Plutarch on the Geometry of the Elements.Jan Opsomer - 2015 - In Luc Van der Stockt & Michiel Meeusen (eds.), Aspects of Plutarch’s Natural Philosophy.
    Plutarch is committed to geometric atomism, the Platonic theory that derives the material elements from regular polyhedric shapes. An essential feature of this theory is that qualitative properties are not primitive, but supervene on more fundamental, quantitatively describable properties, such as the size, shape, mass or weight of the atoms, their solidity, position, arrangement and kinetic interactions. Plutarch recognises that the geometric account provides the causal explanation for phenomenal and other qualitative properties. He praises Plato and Democritus for their theoretical (...)
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  11. added 2020-03-05
    Epicureanism by Tim O'Keefe. [REVIEW]Monte Johnson - 2012 - Aestimatio 9:108.
  12. added 2020-02-24
    Can Epicurus Write a Will?Orestis Karatzoglou - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy 40 (1):197-208.
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  13. added 2020-02-24
    Was Epicurus a Buddhist? An Examination and Critique of the Theories of Negative Happiness in Buddha and Epicurus.Adam Barkman - 2010 - Ethic@: An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 7 (2):286-294.
    Comparisons betw western philosophies are uncommon and this, among other things, hinders global philosophical discourse. Thus, in this essay I want to compare the philosophies of the Buddha and Epicurus for similarities, particular in regard to what I call "negative happiness." Once I have establish this, I want to give a brief critique of negative happiness, which subsequently amounts to a selective critique of Buddhism and Epicureanism.
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  14. added 2020-02-24
    Three Studies in Epicurean Cosmology.Frederik Bakker - 2010 - Dissertation, Universiteit Utrecht
    The three studies that make up this work each deal with another facet or subdiscipline of Epicurean cosmology. The first study is devoted to Epicurus’ method of multiple explanations, the second study compares the meteorological sections of Epicurus' Letter to Pythocles and Lucretius' De rerum natura with other ancient meteorological accounts as regards the range and order of subjects, and the third study investigates what shape the Epicureans assigned to the earth. [For an updated version of this thesis, see Frederik (...)
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  15. added 2020-02-24
    The Care of the Self in Epicureanism.Thiago Rodrigo de Oliveira Costa - 2009 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 2:101-119.
    We will discuss some of the central themes of the care of the self in epicureanism, making an articulating the considerations of Michel Foucault to the contributions of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Epicurus will provide us a better understanding of the care of the self and of the existence's aesthetics through the comprehension of the  nature science should be placed on as related to happiness, its main goal.
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  16. added 2020-01-31
    Living Without Fear.Tim O'Keefe - forthcoming - In Nathan Powers & Jacob Klein (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy.
    Explores the role of eliminating fear in Epicurean ethics and physics, focusing on techniques to eliminate the fear of death and the fear of the gods.
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  17. added 2020-01-17
    Manifesto of the Epicurean Philosophy of Life.Marian Andrzej Wesoły - 2019 - Peitho 10 (1):85-102.
    Epicurus’ philosophy grew out of his life experiences, contacts, polem­ics, journeys and other activities. Apart from such great works as the monumental On nature in 37 books, Epicurus authored also various extracts, principle doctrines, sayings and letters. The letters, while addressed to many students and friends, were for him a very important tool of propagating his own philosophy. Epicurus’ fascinating Letter to Menoeceus can be regarded as a manifesto of his philosophy of life. In historiography, it is often characterized as (...)
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  18. added 2020-01-17
    Colloquium 4 Epicureans on Pity, Slavery, and Autonomy.Kelly E. Arenson - 2019 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 34 (1):119-136.
    Diogenes Laertius reports that the Epicurean sage will pity slaves rather than punish them. This paper considers why a hedonistic egoist would feel pity for her subordinates, given that pity can cause psychological pain. I argue that Epicureans feel bad for those who lack the natural good of security, and that Epicureans’ concern for others is entirely consistent with their hedonistic egoism: they will endure the pain of pity in order to achieve the greater pleasure of social cohesion and to (...)
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  19. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Wisdom.Catherine Wilson - 2019 - The Philosophers' Magazine 87:90-95.
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  20. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Natural Philosophy. F.A. Bakker Epicurean Meteorology. Sources, Method, Scope and Organization. Pp. XII + 301, Figs. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016. Cased, €125, Us$138. Isbn: 978-90-04-32156-4. [REVIEW]Liba Taub - 2018 - The Classical Review 68 (1):41-42.
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  21. added 2020-01-17
    Correction To: The End of Epicurean Infinity: Critical Reflections on the Epicurean Infinite Universe.Frederik Bakker - 2018 - In Carla Palmerino, Delphine Bellis & Frederik Bakker (eds.), Space, Imagination and the Cosmos From Antiquity to the Early Modern Period. Springer Verlag.
    Owing to an oversight on the part of Springer, Chapter 3 was initially published as a regular chapter. However, this is an Open Access chapter.
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  22. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Questions: From Tradition to Theology.Enrico Piergiacomi - 2018 - Peitho 9 (1):159-169.
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  23. added 2020-01-17
    The Epicurean Attack on Definition.Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti - 2017 - Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion 22:117-126.
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  24. added 2020-01-17
    Maso Grasp and Dissent. Cicero and Epicurean Philosophy. Pp. 272. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015 . Paper, €70. ISBN: 978-2-503-55030-5. [REVIEW]Georgina White - 2017 - The Classical Review 67 (2):570-571.
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  25. added 2020-01-17
    The Memorization of Epitomes in the Epicurean Community and the Redefinition of Philosophical Praxis.Rodrigo Braicovich - 2017 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 21:127-157.
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  26. added 2020-01-17
    A Comparative Study of Hedonism in Charvaka and Epicurean’s Philosophies.Sadjjad Dehghanzadeh & Fatimah Ahmadian - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 18 (69):143-167.
    Hedonism as an idea is a theory, according to which happiness is ultimate good and unhappiness is the ultimate evil. Materialist schools of thought, which generally believe in hedonism, have various expressions in different human cultures. Hindu culture is no exception, because there is a distinctive school of philosophy in this culture, called Charvaka, which considers pleasure as the only meaning and aim of life, due to having materialistic school of thought. Epicurean philosophy in Greece is the closest school to (...)
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  27. added 2020-01-17
    Exchange: Epicurean and Stoic Philosophy.David Konstan & Catherine Wilson - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 74:97-103.
  28. added 2020-01-17
    Pleasure in Epicurean and Christian Orthodox Conceptions of Happiness.Aleksandar Fatić & Dimitrios Dentsoras - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):523-536.
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  29. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Theology - H. Essler Glückselig Und Unsterblich. Epikureische Theologie Bei Cicero Und Philodem. MIT Einer Edition Von Pherc. 152/157, Kol. 8–10. Pp. 399. Basel: Schwabe, 2011. Cased, Sfr85, €60. Isbn: 978-3-7965-2600-8. [REVIEW]Clive Chandler - 2013 - The Classical Review 63 (2):381-383.
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  30. added 2020-01-17
    A Partial Cure for the Political Epicurean: Plutarch’s Advice to the Statesman’s Friend.Mark Shiffman - 2010 - Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 27 (2):308-330.
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  31. added 2020-01-17
    Philosophy (G.) Roskam 'Live Unnoticed': Λάθε Βιώσαζ. On the Vicissitudes of an Epicurean Doctrine. (Philosophia Antiqua 111). Leiden: Brill, 2007. Pp. Xii + 233. €89. 9789004161719. (G.) Roskam ACommentary on Plutarch's De Latenter Vivendo. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2007. Pp. 279. €34.50. 9789058676030. [REVIEW]James Warren - 2009 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 129:243-.
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  32. added 2020-01-17
    CHAPTER 4.Epicurean Surgery: Argument and Empty Desire.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2009 - In The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton University Press. pp. 102-139.
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  33. added 2020-01-17
    Colloquium 2: Method and Evidence: On Epicurean Preconception1.Pierre-Marie Marie - 2008 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 23 (1):25-55.
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  34. added 2020-01-17
    Night-Vision: Epicurean Eschatology.Andrea Nightingale - 2007 - Arion 14 (3):61-98.
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  35. added 2020-01-17
    Method and Evidence (Enargeia): Epicurean Prolêpsis.Pierre-Marie Morel - 2007 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 23:25-48.
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  36. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean “Passions” and the Good Life.David Konstan - 2006 - In Burkhard Reis & Stella Haffmans (eds.), The Virtuous Life in Greek Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
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  37. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Revival. [REVIEW]W. R. Johnson - 2005 - The Classical Review 55 (1):70-72.
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  38. added 2020-01-17
    How To Be An Epicurean. [REVIEW]Michael Erler - 2005 - The Classical Review 55 (2):459-460.
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  39. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Ethics. [REVIEW]David Sider - 2004 - The Classical Review 54 (2):333-335.
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  40. added 2020-01-17
    Bradley and Schopenhauer, and the Epicurean Argument Concerning Death.Mikel Burley - 2004 - Bradley Studies 10 (1/2):42-54.
    My principal purpose in writing this article is to explore some key elements in the thought of Bradley and Schopenhauer, and to do so by using their respective views on death, and more specifically the relation of those views to Epicureanism, as a focal point. The article divides into three main sections. First I outline the Epicurean position, and discuss how it manifests within the work of Schopenhauer and Bradley. Secondly, I attempt to show how these two philosophers’ thoughts on (...)
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  41. added 2020-01-17
    If Friendship Hurts, an Epicurean Deserts: A Reply to Andrew Mitchell.William O. Stephens - 2002 - Essays in Philosophy 3 (1):70-72.
    Mitchell defends the Epicurean account of friendship. I argue that since Epicureans are hedonists who hold that all pleasures are good and all pains are bad, Epicureans would desert their friends in circumstances in which standing by their friends causes them pain.
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  42. added 2020-01-17
    Review of Stephen Everson, Ed., Ethics, Companions to Ancient Thought 4 (Cambridge University Press, 1998). [REVIEW]John M. Armstrong - 2001 - Ancient Philosophy 21 (1):237–245.
    I review this fine collection of articles on ancient ethics ranging from the Presocratics to Sextus Empiricus. Eight of the nine chapters are published here for the first time. Contributors include Charles H. Kahn on "Pre-Platonic Ethics," C. C. W. Taylor on "Platonic Ethics," Stephen Everson on "Aristotle on Nature and Value," John McDowell on "Some Issues in Aristotle's Moral Psychology," David Sedley on "The Inferential Foundations of Epicurean Ethics," T. H. Irwin on "Socratic Paradox and Stoic Theory," Julia Annas (...)
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  43. added 2020-01-17
    Magnifying Epicurean Minima.Jeffrey S. Purinton - 1994 - Ancient Philosophy 14 (1):115-146.
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  44. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Hedonism.Gisela Striker - 1993 - In Jacques Brunschwig & Martha Craven Nussbaum (eds.), Passions & Perceptions: Studies in Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind: Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium Hellenisticum. Cambridge University Press. pp. 2--1.
  45. added 2020-01-17
    Aspects of Epicurean Theology.Jaap Mansfeld - 1993 - Mnemosyne 46 (2):172-210.
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  46. added 2020-01-17
    The Epicurean Tradition by Howard Jones. [REVIEW]Margaret Osler - 1991 - Isis 82:706-706.
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  47. added 2020-01-17
    The Epicurean Tradition. Howard Jones.Margaret J. Osler - 1991 - Isis 82 (4):706-706.
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  48. added 2020-01-17
    Howard Jones, The Epicurean Tradition Reviewed By.Peter Preuss - 1990 - Philosophy in Review 10 (7):277-280.
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  49. added 2020-01-17
    Problems in Epicurean Physics.David Konstan - 1979 - Isis 70 (3):394-418.
  50. added 2020-01-17
    Epicurean Science.A. Wasserstein - 1978 - Hermes 106 (3):484-494.
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