Who is Epicuros (Epicure, Epicurus)?June 25, 2021
Epicuros (EpicureEpicuros (or Epicurus) is one of the most important thinkers of Hellenistic philosophy. He was born on Samos, known as the island of Samos.
As in Septicism and Stoicism, Epicurus turned to practical philosophy, that is, moral philosophy, and showed activity in this field. He founded the Epicurean school, one of the two main schools that developed after Aristotle’s death. The other of these schools is called Stoicism. Epicurus is said to have written many things, but not much of them remains. He is only a few known letters, but these letters are important in understanding his philosophy.
Epicurus was a philosopher who had been influential for a very long time, and almost no other influential philosopher appeared until the 4th century. Epicurus took lessons from Democritus philosophers and was particularly influenced by their atomic theories. He learned skepticism from the Septic, and was particularly influenced by the skepticism of Pyrrhon. The traces/effects of skepticism are evident both in Epicure’s moral philosophy and his approach to knowledge. After buying a garden in Athens, Epicurus founded his own school there.
After Socrates, this difference of opinion between the Cynics and the Kyrene School is also seen later in the Stoics and Epicureans. Like the Stoics’ morality, Epicurus’ morality is based on “physics”. The Stoics start from Heraclitus in physics. Epicurus, on the other hand, is based on Democritus in his physics. Both schools, opposing Plato, consider the real (the real) as material. While the Stoics consider the truth materially, they also connect the truth to pantheism, adding a life and a soul to the universe, and seeing the whole universe as a living and whole organism. Man is also a part of this living organism. On the other hand, Epicurus accepts that realities are made up of small invisible parts that are unlimited in number, and that they move in empty space. These invisible particles, namely “atoms”, combine with each other, collide, attach to each other or separate from each other. Thus, completely “spontaneous” laws determine the relations of atoms. As a result, Stoic understood the universe as a unity, as a whole, whereas Epicurus divided the universe into an infinite number of small particles.
According to Stoa, any event in the universe; Just as a seed has the purpose of bringing a certain plant into existence, it tends towards a certain purpose. However, according to Epicurus, the universe is lifeless. Everything in the universe is the product of “spontaneous necessity”, the collision and entanglement of atoms.
Epicurus changes the atomic assumption of Democritus, which he basically accepted, at one point. According to Democritus, atoms have been in an endless motion from the beginning. However, Epicurus, who accepted that atoms fall “vertically” in empty space; He argues that atoms deviate from this “level” falling motion so small that they can be calculated very strongly. Epicurus, like Democritus, believes that everything in the universe is due to a spontaneous necessity. According to that; this spontaneous necessity is not certain and absolute, as Democritus argues. There are small deviations in this necessity, and it is not possible for these small deviations to be completely measured. Thus, by accepting “chance” to some extent, Epicurus allows for a certain “freedom” in human behavior. True, the Stoics also accept that there is a necessity in the universe. However, according to them, this necessity is not spontaneous, it is alive. Just as; It is a kind of necessity that hides the plant that will be formed in the future in a seed. However, Epicurus, rejecting the view of living necessity, accepts only spontaneous necessity, as well as minor deviations from necessity, that is, incalculable coincidences.
There are also some implications for “morality” from these opposing views of the Stoics and Epicurus on nature. According to the Stoics, the first principle is that man should understand himself as an organ of the whole called the universe. The second principle is that in this universe where everything is formed in the most perfect way, man must know his place, that is, he must adopt the destiny that is suitable for him. According to Epicurus, the universe operates according to a blind and spontaneous necessity. Destiny is the result of this blind necessity on the one hand and an incalculable coincidence on the other. Since unforeseen coincidences determine man’s destiny by spontaneous necessity, then man can be interested in things that are the product of his will. For this reason, a person will be indifferent to life and death, and by acting wisely, he will know to distinguish those who give happiness from the many things around him.
Following the Epicurean School of Kyrene, morally ideally, it embraces the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of suffering. However, according to Epicurus, one should do it “wisely”. He should avoid violent pleasures, the end of which will bring suffering. Undoubtedly, people will behave in a way that will satisfy some of their basic needs. Without this, it is impossible for man to survive. But man is nothing