The Writings of Epicurus

“Death is nothing to us": Epicurus’ Blunder College

In his Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus outlines his philosophy of attaining happiness and details the proper attitude that Epicureans should have toward the gods and toward death. In reference to the latter, following his Sense-Experience Argument and Unnecessary Pain Argument, Epicurus famously states that, “…death is nothing to us” (125). Epicurus’ arguments regarding death are formulated on the principle that death is “…the absence of life” (125), as in a permanent state of death, rather than a momentary act of dying. However, it is impossible to attain the permanent state of death without experiencing a dying moment and Epicurus seems to overlook this inextricable link between state (permanent death) and cause for state (momentary act of dying). Thus, it is necessary to evaluate Epicurus’ arguments based on a complete definition of ‘death,’ which is comprised of both a momentary act of dying and a subsequent, permanent state of death. Both arguments are deductively valid, but will be proven unsound. Note that Epicurus’ hedonist value system will be accepted for the purposes of this paper; pain will be considered bad and pleasure, defined as the absence of pain, will be considered good.

Epicurus’ hedonist value system is...

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