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The Stoic And Epicurean Understanding Of Happiness Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 2485 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The term happiness and happy have been exposed in the literature of the moral Philosophy. Almost everyone thinks that happiness is one of the most important goals, if not the supreme goal, of life. [1] We tend to think of happiness as a feeling whereas for most Greeks it was more of a state of well-being or good fortune. Epicureanism and Stoicism are the two practical philosophies whose aim is not simple to establish what is true then to live wisely and happily.

For Stoicism happiness is “the sum of all good” a strength sufficient for all living well; fulfillment in an accordance with virtue; a living being’s sufficient benefit. They further believe that man has the abilities to do this. [2] 

The idea of happiness for Epicurean is friends, freedom and an analyzed life. He says that it is our in capacity to see what makes us happy and we look for happiness in the wrong places.

As a student of philosophy I am interested to know more about the idea of Stoic and Epicurean understanding of happiness. I have chosen this topic because I want to know the real meaning of happiness which many of us do not know. In this assignment I will be explaining the perspective on happiness according to Stoic and Epicurean and the differences and comparison between their ideas. Then I would conclude with my personal assessment.

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2.0 What is happiness?

“Happiness is a general well-being in human life, an important for many people and a significant issue for theories in normative ethics. Aristotle disagreed with identification of happiness with bodily pleasure defended by Aristippus and other hedonists. Most utilitarian’s accept this identification, but emphasize the importance of considering the greatest happiness of everyone rather than merely one’s own”. [3] 

Whatever, happy means at least it is thinkable to be happy in different notches one man can be happier than another and one year of one’s life can be happier than some other year. We know that a state of being unhappy or to one of a different mark of happiness. Happy is sometimes used with prepositions such as about, with, and at. Clearly a person can be happy when he is not happy with firm things, although we would not say that a man was happy if he were not happy with anything in his life. Different to what has sometimes been advised a person can be happy even though he does not have anything he wants but John Stuart Mill was right in telling that fulfillment of certain desires is needed for happiness.

The second factor of happiness is the existence of certain sensation or reactions. Happiness is sometimes said to be a flavors of joy in look to one’s total situation. And clearly we can say that a person is happy even if a man he is not feeling joy at good treasure all the time. But if a man is happy, he will not be subject to sadness, worry, restiveness, unhappiness, opposition and disgrace, for these feelings will not happen if he likes the total design of his life in so far as the parts he thinks incapable are worried.

3.0 An Epicurean perspective on happiness

Epicurus is one of the great ancient Greek philosophers, who gave a lot set of directions to happiness. Friends, Freedom and meaningful life are his idea of happiness. He says that it is our in competence to see what makes us happy and we look for happiness in the wrong places. He supposed it the experiences of nature that pleasure or happiness was the goal and consummation of living. It did not follow from this that happiness was a natural right of man; happiness was rather an award which it the part of wisdom was to try after with prudence and attentiveness. [4] 

Epicurus powerfully believed that each one has the ability to achieve real happiness. The only difficult would be that we have a tendency to look for it in all the wrong places. He said that our desire to be happy and to enjoy life should not get up any feeling of fault. Life is given us to be happy, therefore it must be lived fully. This is the most significant error people make, according to Epicurus, is that people have the idea of happiness with having lots of money also he said that pleasure is most vital thing in life. We can also have meek and reasonable life through simple clothes, simple home, drinking water then wine and having ordinary meal. The basic idea in his philosophy is that we are powerless to understand what can make us happy? We are therefore very much fascinated to material things rather than spiritual things. We go shopping for useless things, mislead by advertising. Thus we change our real needs with things like clothes, cars, nice house, furniture and many others. But as this Greek philosophers like Epicurus tried to prove that we need only three things to be happy. They are Friends, Freedom and analyzed life. [5] 

Epicurus respected friendship very much. Friendship dances round the world, announcing to us all to wake up and acknowledge one another. It is also necessary to plan for haven by carefully and scientifically nurturing friendship. “That man has best achieved the feeling of anxiety from the environment that has made relationships friendly wherever possible; where this was difficult, at least not UN friendly; where not even this possible, has avoided contacts, and wherever it was gainful to do so, has required imperial protection.” When Epicurus was 35 years old he bought a new house and invited some of his friends to live together with him. He told that friends are an essential factor for happiness. When we feel sad, when we eat and walk we need friends for talk. Epicurus said that we should not eat anything alone but we have to eat a simple meal with a special friend. The Epicureans duethat friendship cannot be parted from pleasure, just like the virtues, which has been chatted. Isolation and life without friends are full of unseen tricks and fears, reason itself counsels us to protect friendship; when these are gained our spirits are supported and cannot be divided from the hope of getting pleasures. [6] 

Freedom stands for the secondary component of happiness to pause free from the restless life of Athens. He and his friends planned to move to all over the world and lead a simple life. To Epicurus the simple life meant for satisfaction with little and this was called independence, which in turn meant freedom: “Of self-sufficiency the most precious fruit is freedom”. [7] 

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On the topic of freedom and goals the student of Epicureanism must be ready for wonders. In the first place, it will be amazing to notice that Epicurus was at no less pain to stress the freedom of man. I need friends because they are useful for me. So if, as Epicurus holds, pleasure is our complete final end, and we also need real friendships, then we are forced to his conclusion. Even apart from the uncertain status of honest self-concern in overall Epicurean theory, there are complaints that can be raised to the reason of friendship. Furthermore, we can see from Epicurean exercise that they banned some socially recognized forms of relationship. There remains a certain tension, however, given that Epicureans invoked famous romantic friendship in the first place and especially given Epicurus claim that the wise person will love his friend equally with himself. [8] 

Finally, he spoke about an analyzed life. We need to be happy which expected take your own time to think and reflect our worries. Epicurus said that our worries may decreases simply by analyzing them very carefully and sensibly. In this respect, one may take here the Christian stand point on worries and believing the god to provide us with all the needed goods for our day to day life. Though he lived before the attendance of Christianity, Epicurus seems to agree that we should be given position to spiritual matters rather than a material one in order to be beautifully happy.

4.0 Stoic perspective on happiness

According to stoic philosophers the thesis that virtue is enough for happiness, we find the research that quality is self-sufficient for happiness. But how is virtue alone sufficient for happiness? For this we need the special Stoic idea that only virtue is good at all, since the other respected things should be called not good but indifferent, having a value of different kind. The notion of help that the Stoics are using here is a totally objective one, and this only to be expected, since they are describing a totally objective notion good. The travelling thinks that all of their three kinds of goods-external and bodily good and goods of the soul, chiefly virtue donate to happiness.One should live in unity with nature in order to be happy. For human it contains good reason as well as learning nature presence to do things. If you exist, your life with nature it must lead your life on the way to virtue. Thus, a virtuous life according with nature is a happy life. Stoic philosophers hope that happiness is the sum of all good a strength enough for living well; fulfillment in agreement with virtue, a living beings enough advantage. They also belief that man can do this, which differs from the Aristotelian doctrine which states that in addition to man’s competences to fulfill his desire, one would also want some good prosperity in order to attain happiness. [9] 

Stoicism modeled even further problems of fulfillment. Cicero can say that “heaven willing, philosophy will ensure that he who has obeyed its laws …will always be a happy man,” for man, it is reflected as a part of his nature. The ability to reason is what variance between men from animals. By giving right reason, one has attuned to reach the end of his nature. When it happiness, it can be told that he is leading a virtue life, as virtue can be defined as perfect reason. Thus he has touched happiness. Hence, reason is very exceptional to reach the peaceful and a happy life. The Stoic believed that to reach the completion is to reach happiness. This can be done by existing with nature or by active a virtuous life. Stoic meeting part, taught happiness is a task of the share of fulfilled desires to desire. The Stoic’s castoff evens the importance of pleasure and pain. “The happy man is satisfied with his present lot, no matter what it is.” He claims that the man of seamless virtue will be happy even under torture, even on the bracket. The wellbeing of the happy man is totally impermeable to the harshest turns of fate. He said that one must reflect man’s nature should relate with animals, especially his ability to reason and appear things and also his part as a student. By doing this one can dreamily live happily. [10] 

5.0 Comparison between Stoic and Epicureans view on happiness

While both the Epicureans and stoic philosophers highlight happiness, the Epicurean understanding of happiness differs from the stoic understanding of happiness. Epicurus believed that we naturally search for pleasure and avoid pain. This procedure leading to happiness, then, is essentially different for the Stoic.

Stoic beliefs differ from Epicurean beliefs in at least three ways. First, their opinions of nature differ. For the Stoic, self-defense is the first natural character while pleasure plays this part for the Epicureans. This transformation disturbs their views of human brilliance as attached while for the Stoics, self-protection leads to esteeming reason for itself, which leads to the harmony of a special wroth to merit. The second variance between Stoic and Epicureans contains their views of the reactions. For the Epicurean realizes that only a few desires are needed for a lovely life and they can be easily fulfilled. In the Epicurean state of happiness one does not avoid needs, but one is not worried by the failure to fulfill ones desires either. As such, the epicurean is “unperturbed”. The stoic, on the other hand is “imperturbable” because he or she totally removed sadness.

As a final point, the Epicureans and Stoic differ on the role of quality. For Stoics, quality alone is enough for happiness, and it out comes directly from reason. The Epicureans assign pleasure to superiority, but this does not lead to happiness. Rather, the normal person identifies that the highest form of pleasure is happiness. And movement achieved from the state of happiness is the actions of the happy singly. This separate is peacefully, and she or he has good reasons for feeling tasteful.

6.0 Conclusion

It was wonderful experience to talk about two great philosophies of all time. Even though their opinions on Happiness vary yet their tremendous contribution to the society is unforgettable and unquestionable. Their rich contribution and sharing enabled me to wide my perspective in this area. This assignment helped me to clarify their differences and comparisons on Happiness. As I am the student of Philosophy it widens my thinking and it will be a great help at present as well as in the future. Both philosophies given different perspective on happiness but their concept of happiness is almost same because both philosophies saying that one should search happiness in the right place but their way finding out happiness is different, Epicureans giving importance worldly life for happiness but Stoic giving importance to virtue and natural life. As conclusion I would conclude this assignment saying, though the concept of each one varies, let us compile everything together, and put forward the applicable one for today’s life.


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