Epicurus

picture of Greek philosopher Epicurus
"We begin every act of choice and avoidance from pleasure, and it is to pleasure that we return using our experience of pleasure as the criterion of every good thing."
[attributed]
Epicurus
(341 BC - 270 BC)

Greek philosopher Epicurus has sometimes been caricatured as crude hedonist. But Epicurus also maintained the puzzling doctrine that the complete absence of pain consituted "the limit and highest point of pleasure".

Epicurus also maintained that a wise man could be happy even on the rack. However, "there was never yet philosopher, That could endure the toothache patiently" [Leonato; Much Ado About Nothing, Scene Five, Act One]. The empirical evidence favours Shakespeare over Epicurus.


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