Who is Hegesias (Hegesias of Cyrene)?

Who is Hegesias (Hegesias of Cyrene)?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Hegesias BC. He was an Ancient Greek philosopher from Cyrene who lived circa 290 BC. Hegesias; He argued that the attainment of eudaimonia (happiness) was impossible and that the purpose of life should be the avoidance of pain and sorrow, the true virtue.

For him, traditional values ​​such as wealth, poverty, freedom, and slavery are all unimportant and produce no more pleasure than pain. Cicero claimed that Hegesias had written a book called “ἀποκαρτερῶν” (Death by Starvation) and stated that he convinced many people that death was more desirable than life, and for this reason he was expelled from Alexandria.

According to Cicero’s discourse, Hegesias emphasized the difficulties of human life in this book and encouraged people to commit suicide. For this reason, Hegesias is called “the one who persuades death (Peisithanatos)”.

Diogenes Laertius identifies Hegesias as a student of Paraebates. Diogenes also mentions that Hegesias and Anniceris were students of the same school. Some philosophers thought that Hegesias was influenced by Buddhist teachings.

Life Is Not More Valuable Than Death

Although Hegesias followed Aristippus in seeing pleasure and pleasure as the purpose of life, his view of human life was much more pessimistic than Aristippus’. He believed that eudaimonia was unattainable, that the goal of the wise and virtuous man should be to be free from pain and sorrow. According to him, since every person is self-sufficient, all goodness and beauty that will come from outside, all pleasures should be rejected because they are not a real source.

Therefore, the sage should not look at anything but himself; action is rather trivial; if action is unimportant, so is life; therefore life is by no means more desirable than death.

Hegesias thought:

Wise person; As he avoids the bad, he does not pursue the good, thinking that the real good is to live away from all troubles and pains; because the good thing is to downplay the active causes of pleasure.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Ömer Yıldırım’s personal lecture notes.