Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus , founded around BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist , following in the steps of Democritus. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention. This would lead one to attain a state of tranquility ataraxia and freedom from fear as well as an absence of bodily pain aponia. The combination of these two states constitutes happiness in its highest form. Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal, the concept that the absence of pain and fear constitutes the greatest pleasure, and its advocacy of a simple life, make it very different from "hedonism" as colloquially understood.
Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy. He argued that we should only proportion belief to empirical evidence and logic, and he propounded the scientific view of atomism , according to which all facts in the macroscopic world are caused by the configuration of atoms or indivisible elements in the microscopic world. In ethics he is famous for propounding the theory of hedonism , which holds that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. As we shall see, however, his view of pleasure is far from the stereotypical one.
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