Philosophy 2073F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Epicurus, Empirical Evidence

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Epicurus (163-171)
What is the value or disvalue of death for those who are going to die?
The point:
Death, understood as the deprivation of sense experience, is neither goof nor bad because
good and bad can be measure by reference to sense experience alone; no sense
experiences, no value
Since it is a constant source of anxiety for many, however, it causes unnecessary pan; its
therefore important to recognize the sense in which death is irrelevant in order to live a
secure and pleasant life.
Page 164: The Character of Death in and after Life
Knowledge of whats good and bad in human life arises from sense-experience only.
No one is too old or young to study philosophy
Practice things which produce happiness; if it is present we have everything; if absent we
do everything to have it.
o We do things in life to try and attain happiness however we cant attain it unless
we let go of the worry we have about death
Epicurus states that God is good; if you’re bad, God will punish you; if you’re good the
Gods will welcome you.
Death is nothing. All good and bad experiences is sense experience; death is the end of
all sense experience.
o If you live a good life, you’ll feel good. Death isn’t good or bad because good and
bad are feelings (sense-experience) we associate with situations.
By accepting death isn’t anything to worry about, we can be content and remove the idea
of immortality.
One who recognized there’s nothing to fear from death will possess no fear. Fools say
that he fears death not because it will be painful, but because it is painful waiting for it
this is foolish because this causes pain and distress.
When we exist, death is not present; when death is present we don’t exist. Therefore
death is irrelevant because it neither affects the living or dead.
Wise man doesn’t reject life (suicide) nor fear death.
o This man wouldn’t choose the most food, but the nicest food. This savors not the
longest time, but most pleasant.
Someone who says living is a waste of time and just wishes to “pass through gates of
hades” is worse than simple-minded. This is not in or out of our power.
Pg. 165
We have desires which are both necessary and natural, some of which free the body from
Out motivation of our actions are in the sake of not being in terror or pain. We replace
pain with pleasure, therefore pleasure is the beginning and end of every action undertaken
by the wise.
Therefore pleasure is the starting point to living blessedly. We judge what is good by how
we feel (innate good). By not choosing every pleasure we encounter, we pass up the bad
things that could arise from them.
We choose pain if we know a greater pleasure will follow.
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