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PHIL 1100 - READINGS - EPICURUS: Letter to Menoeceus + Principal Doctrines

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PHIL 1100
Henry Jackman

Epicurus – Letter to Menoeceus - Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in search of it when he has grown old, for no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul - Philosophy = happiness - We must exercise in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it - God is a living being immortal and happy – you shall not affirm to him anything that is foreign to his immortality or that is repugnant to his happiness - The greatest evils happen to the wicket and the greatest blessings happen to the good from the hand of the gods, seeing that they are always favourable to their own good qualities and take pleasure in men like themselves, but reject as alien whatever is not of their kind - Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply the capacity of sensation, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality - Life has no terrors for him who has thoroughly understood that there are no terrors for him in ceasing to live - Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation - The wise seek to enjoy the time which is most pleasant and not merely that which is longest - He who has a clear understanding of what are necessary natural desires (e.g. necessary to live, rid of uneasiness, etc) will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquility of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a happy life - While therefore all pleasure because it is naturally akin to us is good, not all pleasure is should be chosen, just as all pain is an evil and yet not all pain is to be shunned. It is however, by measuring one against the other, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, that all these matters must be judged - We regard independence of outward things 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 - Pleasure is considered the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul – searching out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest tumults take possession of the soul - The beginning and the greatest good is wisdom – from it spring all other virtues, for it teaches that we cannot live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly o Virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them - The superior man sees that our actions are autonomous, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach Epicurus – Principal Doctrines - A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply wea
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