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Arstippus and Epicurus Essay

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Updated: Nov 21st, 2019

Introduction

Aristippus and Epicurus were Greek philosophers who contributed significantly to the field of philosophy. Their philosophical standings have some similarities and differences as well. This essay carries out a comparison of the lifestyles advocated by Arstippus and Epicurus.

Arstippus and Epicurus

Aristippus found the Cyrenaic school of philosophy. His philosophy was centered on the end result of an action. The overriding focus of his philosophy was pleasure. He advocated for attaining pleasure at the earliest time possible. He did not believe in postponement especially where pleasure was in question (Soccio, 2009).

The pleasures that Aristippus engaged in were significantly of sensual gratification in nature. A significant fraction of them were scorned upon by the society. The reasons he gave for engaging in them were also not viewed to be very prudent either.

For instance, after sleeping with a courtesan he argued that it did not make a big difference between staying in a house that had been occupied by many people and one that had not been occupied. He cared less of what the society thought of him as long as he satisfied his craving for pleasure. This made his contemporaries to consider him a slave of pleasure (Soccio, 2009).

Epicurus’ philosophy was centered on attaining happiness. He believed that anxiety was the biggest obstacle to attainment of happiness. He reasoned out that anxiety could make any person, whether rich or poor, unhappy. For instance, if a famous person is worried about losing his fame then he no longer remains happy.

The same applies to one who is rich if he or she is troubled about losing his or her wealth or is anxious about increasing his or her wealth. To combat anxiety and live happily, Epicurus developed and taught four teachings namely: “Don’t fear god, don’t worry about death; what’s good is easy to get, and what’s terrible is easy to endure” (Inwood & Gerson, 1994, p. 1).

Both Aristippus and Epicurus insisted on making oneself happy. They viewed happiness as a good end result of an action. In both cases, they believed in making the present status better as opposed to thinking much about the future. This especially comes out well in the case of Aristippus who believed in satisfying his craving for pleasure in the present as opposed to postponing them to the future.

In the same vein of argument, Epicurus was of the opinion that worrying about tomorrow is not worthwhile as it deprives one of his or her happiness. The two philosophers therefore were in agreement that people should not look into tomorrow but should live today in a manner that will bring happiness to them.

The biggest difference between the two philosophers was the approach they advocated for attaining happiness. Aristippus’ approach more often collided with the expectations of the society. His approach to attaining pleasure did not take into account the views of the general society. On the other hand, Epicurus’ approach drew goodwill from the society as his teaching resonated well with the societal expectations.

Another difference in the approach was that Aristippus’ approach may be viewed as self centered. This is because he purposed to attain pleasure whether others were hurt in the process or not. This was not the case for Epicurus who argued that friendship was valuable and that it was to be maintained at all costs.

Conclusion

Aristippus and Epicurus were two philosophers who taught on attaining happiness but in different approaches. Both philosophers believed in the present happiness status than happiness in the future. Epicurus argued that anxiety was a big obstacle to happiness while Aristippus believed that a craving for pleasure should be attained at the present moment instead of postponing it. The approach taken by Aristippus is viewed to be more self-centered compared to that advocated by Epicurus.

References

Inwood, B., & Gerson, P. (1994). The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia. New York, NY: Hackett Publishing.

Soccio, D. (2009). Archetypes of Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Arstippus and Epicurus." November 21, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/arstippus-and-epicurus/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Arstippus and Epicurus'. 21 November.

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