Historical Context for Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus. Epicurus’ teaching rejects Platonic Forms; it claims, for instance, that justice is nothing other than a. A new, public-domain translation of the Letter to Menoikos of Epicurus, including the original Greek text along with notes on the translation. In Epicurus’ Letter to Menoeceus he states: (page 2). ÔÇťAmong desires, some are natural and some are vain. Of those that are natural, some are.

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Young or old, it is necessary to love and practice wisdom, so that in old age you can be youthful by taking joy in the good things you remember, and likewise in youth you can be mature by not fearing what will come.

Discussion summary on : Epicurus Letter to Menoeceus

For man loses all semblance of mortality by living in the midst of immortal blessings. It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, that all these matters must be judged. For we recognize it as the primary and innate good, we honor it in legter we accept or reject, and we achieve it if we judge every good thing by the standard menoceus how that thing affects us [ note ].

So the questions I brought to class follows:. But in the world, at one time men shun death as the greatest of all evils, and at another time choose it as a respite from the evils in life.

When we say, then, that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood peicurus do by some through ignorance, prejudice, or willful misrepresentation. Second, train yourself to hold that death is nothing to us, because good and evil consist in sensation, and death is the removal of sensation.

So Epicurus says some desires are necessary and some an unnecessary. It is easily done, if he has truly decided. For the end of all our actions is to be free from pain and fear, and, when once we have attained all this, the tempest of the soul is laid; seeing that the living creature has no need to go in search of something that is lacking, nor to look for anything else by which the good of the soul and of the body will be fulfilled.

Foolish, therefore, is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect.

Letter to Menoikos, by Epicurus

However, clothing could be necessary or some and necessary for others. There is nothing terrifying in life to someone who truly understands that there is nothing terrifying in the absence of life. Who, then, is superior in your judgment to such a man? Although Epicurus was said to believe in the existence of the gods, he was known as an atheist, for he claimed that it was a mistake to think that the gods were interested and involved themselves in human affairs. Given that desires can be necessities are unique to each individual, at what point does it transition from being a unnecessary desire to a necessary one?


To habituate one’s self, therefore, to simple and inexpensive diet supplies all that is needful for health, and enables a man to meet the necessary requirements of life without shrinking, and it places us in a better condition when we approach at intervals a costly fare lettter renders us fearless of fortune. Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good. Much worse is he who says that it were good not to be born, but when once one is born to pass quickly through the gates of Hades.

In short, whom do you consider better than someone who holds pious opinions about the gods, who is always fearless in the face of death, who has reasoned out the natural goal of life, and who has understood that the limit of good things is easy to fulfill and easy to achieve, whereas the limit of bad things is menoeeceus short-lived or lettter little pain?

Exercise yourself in these and related precepts day and night, both by yourself and with one who is like-minded; then never, either in menosceus or in dream, will you be disturbed, but will live as a god among men. For if he truly believes this, why does he not depart from life?

Selected Writings and TestimoniaHackett Publishing: Pleasure is our first and kindred good. So death, the most terrifying of evils, is nothing to us, because as long as we exist death is not present, whereas when death is present we do not exist. But if he is joking, it is a worthless remark to those who don’t accept it. Daniel McLoughlin – – Angelaki 20 4: Oxygen would be the most necessary and then water, food, shelter and so on.

On-line English translation of this summary of Epicurus’ ethics. This is why we say that pleasure is the beginning and the end of a completely happy life.

For he sees that necessity destroys responsibility and that chance is inconstant; whereas our own actions are autonomous, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach. Stephen Hetherington – – The Journal of Ethics 17 An Unpublished Letter of William James. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul.

Wherefore we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life.

Letter to Menoikos

Arrighetti as published in Epicuro Opere Torino: The things that most people say about the gods are based on false assumptions, not a firm grasp of the facts [ note ], because they say that the greatest goods and the greatest harms come from the gods. It is not impious to deny the gods that most people believe in, but to ascribe to the gods what most people believe.


Then we discussed whether or not clothing was necessary. For the virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them. For there are gods, and the knowledge of them is manifest; but they are not such as the multitude believe, seeing that men do not steadfastly maintain the notions they form respecting them.

If he speaks only in jest, his words are foolishness as those who hear him do not believe. First believe that God is a living being immortal and blessed, according to the notion of a god indicated by the common sense of mankind; and so believing, you shall not affirm of him anything that is foreign to his immortality or that is repugnant to his blessedness. Then, is the definition of necessary and necessary unique to each person? And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more.

A Friendly Letter of Complaint. It is better, in short, that what is well judged in action should not owe its successful issue to the aid of chance.

If he believes what he says, why doesn’t he depart from life? Ed Zalta’s Version of Neo-Logicism: I have expanded the verb as “to love and practice wisdom”. Of those that are necessary, some are necessary for happiness, some for health, and some for life itself. Only a fool says epicursu he fears death because it causes pain ahead of time, not because it will cause pain when it comes.

So practice these and similar things day and night, by yourself and with a like-minded friend, and you will never be disturbed whether waking or sleeping, and you will live as a god among men: Again, we regard independence of outward things as a great good, not so as in all cases to use little, but so as to be contented with little if we have not much, being honestly persuaded that they have the sweetest enjoyment of luxury who stand least in need of it, and that whatever is natural is easily procured and lettter the vain and worthless hard to win.

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