Epicurean Formula For A Good Life Essay

Decent Essays
Choosing Happiness: The Epicurean Formula for a Good Life
There is often great debate as to what can be considered the good life and how one can achieve it. In this paper I will argue that Epicurus’ moderate hedonism will make for the most flourishing life because it promotes happiness and gives each person a clear formula through which they can make decisions. I will do this by first defining the good and bad life, then introducing Epicurus’ ideas and finally showing how they will lead to the most flourishing life according to my definition.
In order to discuss how to achieve the good life, we must first begin with a definition of what we can consider to be “the good life.” In this paper I will narrow that definition down to two main parts. The first part of a good life is happiness. Happiness is the simplest characteristic in life that makes it enjoyable, everything else that leads to an enjoyable life is merely instrumental form of happiness. This life, one in which you are
…show more content…
Fistly, in introducing the component of virtue Socrates makes two very big assumptions, that everyone is pious and that everyone will gain happiness from living a virtuous life, even if it only consists of philosophizing. Furthermore if these assumptions are true those types of people could easily still achieve the good life according to Epicurus. In their search for happiness they would realize that philosophizing and striving for virtue is their way to maximize pleasure. Thus where Socrates limits the spectrum of people who would really achieve a good life from his philosophy, Epicurus allows each person to find their own path to happiness whether that means philosophizing or even just being outside. Overall Epicurean philosophy will lead more directly to the good life- forgoing the condition that you must achieve virtue

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Happiness is communal and there is no room for discrimination therefore the action that you do that gives the most amount of people happiness is the best action that you can do. Make sacrifices to your happiness in order to make others happy. The total amount of happiness plus the right action to get the most amount of people happy equals utilitarianism. However, what makes one person happy is different than another and we don’t all agree on the same things that make us all happy. It’s also difficult to find what is the right action to achieve such happiness that is agreed upon.…

    • 1112 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Aristotle links the concept of happiness and virtue in saying that the most important factor in the effort to achieve this sense of happiness is to have a good moral character. He goes on to say that one must have this sense of complete virtue, meaning that it is not enough to have a few virtues but instead one must strive to possess them all in order to achieve happiness in the end. He says, “The happy person is the one who expresses complete virtue in his activities, with an adequate supply of external goods, not for just anytime but for a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10101a15). This quote backs up Aristotle’s argument in that happiness consists of achieving these virtuous actions not just at certain points in one’s life but throughout one’s whole lifetime. Aristotle goes on to say that life requires us to make choices, and some of them bring us immediate pleasure while others require some sort of sacrifice to reach happiness.…

    • 1658 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Every single person has a different standpoint of what is important to make his or her life a good and happy life, and everyone has the control to make that life possible. Aristotle believed the good life is one which thrives and that individuals live happily and opportunely. Socrates was another philosopher that contributed in the argument on the good life and how it should be achieved. According to Socrates, the good life is one that is not materialistic but rather about the mind of an individual. He argued that an individual with a healthy mind tends to live the good life as compared to that who is wealthy.…

    • 837 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Chuang Tzu states in Basic Writings that those who live their lives according to The Way is how a person can live to their fullest potential. While there are similarities between the philosopher’s views, they each have main factors in their ideas that set them apart from each other. “Eudaimonia” is the term that Aristotle uses to describe happiness, living life as fully as possible and fulfilled. He also says happiness is the highest good, and the means to reaching this state are to be virtuous (Pol. 7.8).…

    • 1390 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Although all of our souls are not the same, Aristotle states that personal happiness is the goal of ethics that all human beings strive towards. He claims this due to the way we behave being directly related to virtue and vice. Happiness lies in the middle grounds of excess of virtue and excess of vice. By pinpointing this middle ground, the best action can be determined. Happiness is then a common ground for how to live a good life.…

    • 857 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The theory of Aristotle’s ethic is to find the highest and good in life which he believes to be happiness. In Aristotle’s terms, all our actions or goals is used for to reach our ultimate goal which will be happiness in itself. This happiness isn’t simply temporary moments of desires, but it is defined by Aristotle as one’s worth living by quality of life. To achieve one’s happiness is to obtain excellence or virtue because it will provide a life guided by reason. As rational beings, we need both intellectual and moral virtues through the practices of our lives’ experiences.…

    • 710 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The ethical theories of both Aristotle and Epictetus, laid out in their books the Nicomachean Ethics and the Enchiridion, respectively, offer humanity insight into the most effective ways to achieve happiness and to exhibit virtue. Aristotle’s approach to happiness is that it must be looked at as the end to a means not as a means to an end. He feels that happiness should be viewed as the highest good within life. Although Epictetus agrees that happiness is the highest attainable good, he believes that the source of humanity’s misery is people’s inability to differentiate between what they can control and what they cannot. While both philosopher’s theories emphasize the importance of happiness and virtue in a person’s life, Epictetus’ view…

    • 1309 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    A Self-Sufficient Friendship Human beings have an intuitive sense when it comes to friendship. It simply seems natural to be in a virtuous relationship with another person. For Aristotle, the conversation deserves more than an assumption of the natural feelings in humans. He introduces the idea of self-sufficiency as a means of attaining happiness, however, there appears to be a contradiction when comparing this to the necessity of friends. He says they are both are required for happiness, but they seem to be fundamentally opposite.…

    • 1236 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He believed in two different states that each person has; the Good and the End (“Moral Philosophy”). When describing the Good, Socrates explains that people unconsciously do things that make them happy and that physical objects make one feel satisfied at the same time (“Moral Philosophy”). The whole idea of the Good is that humans act in a positive way and that they just want to live a happy and meaningful life (Moral Philosophy”). Happiness is the one thing all humans want to have in their lives and the Good is that explanation. The End is the other idea Socrates had and goes along with the Good.…

    • 1365 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It is only attainable through virtues. Aristotle refers to virtue as the potential excellence of an individual. “Human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue” (Nicomachean Ethics, p. 52/2). Socrates says this excellence is what a person strives to achieve in order to attain happiness and that this excellence comes from the soul. The two philosophers believe that wisdom is the primary virtue because it is through wisdom that one is able to obtain the self-knowledge necessary to realize one’s…

    • 1776 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays