Firstly, I will illustrate how the philosopher Epicurus defines human pleasure and how this pleasure is best attained. Next I will describe Epicurus’ viewpoint of how to lead a virtuous life and outline my support to this ideology.
The philosophy of Epicurus revolves around the concept of attaining a ‘pleasurable life’. Epicurus was defined as a hedonist, which represents a belief that pleasure is the greatest good of all. The definition of a ‘pleasurable life’ in this philosophy is a life absent from pain and suffering (Rosenbaum, 1990). Epicurus asserts this could be best achieved by restraining ones desires and eliminating anxiety connected to death and religious gods and enjoying true friendship.
Epicurus wrote three pieces, Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Pythocles and Letter to Menoeceus (Keefe, 2006). Letter of Menoeceus is a composition that summarizes his ethical teachings. I will describe ‘pleasure’ defined in the Letter to Menoeceus. As stated in Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus (1998, p.51)
“'We speak of pleasure as the starting point and the goal of the happy life because we realize that it is our primary native good, because every act of choice and aversion originates with it, and because we come back to it when we judge every good by using the pleasure feeling as our criterion'.”
This statement implies that seeking pleasure and having a pleasant life are a natural human drive and instinct. Every human action is derived from our desire for a pleasurable existence. Hence every human action and behavior is intended to generate more contentment and satisfaction for oneself and any other actions that do not lead to pleasure are to be avoided (Copleston, 2003, p.8). Epicurus is promoting freedom from mental torment, physical pain and fulfillment of simple human drives (hunger, shelter, friendship) as objectives. “We judge every good by using pleasure feeling as our criterion” implies that humans evaluate every pleasurable sensation...