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Epicureanism vs. Stoicism

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In Ancient Greece, Epicurean philosophy and the philosophy of stoicism were popular movements. Popularity, however, is where the similarity between the two ends.

Epicurean philosophy generally involved a minimalist approach to the acquisition of material things. In a way, Epicurean philosophy was heavily related to hedonism, although the Epicurean ideal drew the line in the proverbial sand when it came to overindulgence. The purpose of Epicurean philosophy was to influence people to seek modest happiness in life in order to achieve this philosophy’s version of enlightenment. Excessive hedonism was stressed as being counterproductive and the pathway to ruin. Regarding politics, Epicurean philosophy stressed complete indifference.

Stoicism, a philosophical approach that overshadowed Epicurean philosophy, stressed that an individual would find a greater peace of mind through an almost detached outlook that avoided emphasis on passion. With stoicism, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the suppression of passion so as not to let emotions cloud one’s decisions and actions and this greatly influenced political movements of the day.

Needless to say, both of these approaches appear diametrically opposed to one another as Epicurean philosophy places emphasis on external influence of materialism while stoicism evades external sources and emotions and places great emphasis on internal, logical reasoning.  For Epicurean philosophy to flourish, an individual needed to give into his passions; for stoicism to thrive, reason needed to replace passion. There are merits to both systems, but, in time, stoicism thrived as people, ultimately, to put more faith in reason than passion.

Works Cited

Ethics Of Epicureanism. 17 October 2001. P.L.E. 22 October 2006. URL


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