Aristotle And Epicurus: The Pursuit Of Defining Happiness

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In the pursuit of defining happiness, ancient Greek philosopher made a huge progress, but it is clear that nor all the progress made by different perspectives are always in parallel with each other. In fact, Aristotle and Epicurus are two philosophers who were in conflict with each other in the search of defining happiness. For Aristotle, happiness, in its simple terms, “a happy man, Aristotle would say, is the man who has everything he really needs. He has those things which he needs to realize his potentials. That is why Aristotle says that the happy man wants for nothing.” (Adler, p. 4). In other words, Aristotle would define happiness as the state that the life of a person has reached its completeness, which means nothing that the nature of the man desires is lacking and all that the man pursued throughout his life is fulfilled. For Epicurus, however, the definition of happiness is different. As defined by Epicurus himself, for an Epicurean to define himself happy, the fundamental requirement can be being free from pain and fear, thus the life needs to be full of pleasure. When pleasure is overwhelming, there is no more room to ask for more pleasure, thus, it is the ultimate state of happiness. (Letter to Menoeceus, p. 2).
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