Critique Of Epicurus Theory

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Critique of the Epicurus’ theory of the most valuable pleasure The goal of this essay is to provide an argument against possibility of Epicurus’ attempt to determine the most valuable pleasures. Through the analysis of the key concepts and their relation in Epicurus’ theory I will try to show that his concept of pleasure does not take into account basic human psychology and that this oversight leads to faulty generalization about human nature. I will argue that it is not possible to identify the most valuable pleasure due to diversity of our personalities. In order to understand Epicurus’ pursuit for the most valuable pleasure it is necessary to explain the notions of pleasure and desires. Pleasure is defined negatively as absence of physical…show more content…
Although it may be acceptable that there are pleasures more valuable than others for an individual or even a group, it is unplausible to claim that there are pleasures equally valuable for everybody. I will try to show this by analyzing concepts of desires and fears in Epicurus’ theory. Epicurus’ idea is that fear or desire can be suppressed solely by realization that they have irrational basis. Unfortunately mechanisms of human psychology are far more complex than that. It is not hard to imagine people who would be absolutely terrified after realization that death is the end and that there is no god to save them and what makes this realization appalling is not only irrationality, but certain Weltanschauung or mindset as well. Furthermore, it is not hard to imagine people who believe in afterlife or gods and who are perfectly happy, despite fear of gods. Through history fear of gods and hope of immortality had a significant role as corrective factor in social interactions and if happiness is ultimate goal it is not clear that why shuld they be dissmised as undesirable. What about desires? Do unnecessary desires necessary lead to pain? There are people who have committed their whole lives to that what Epicurus would call unnecessary desires. I am not about people who enjoying fine food, but I was thinking more of desires such as winning the Olympic Games or climbing the Mount Everest. There are people who voluntary expose themselves…show more content…
our mindset differs and individual differences have consequences on our perceptions of pleasure. There is no such thing as universal pleasure, what is pleasurable for me can be painful for you and vice versa, even in the narrow context of necessary pleasures. The same goes for the most valuable pleasures. One can argue that prudence will lead to the most valuable pleasure, but prudence is only a tool, a handy instrument that can help me to avoid the pain. My opinion is that Epicurus’ theory is based on the assumption that all people share the same or relatively similar personalities and that consequently react in a similar way to both internal and external stimuli. I tried to challenge this assumption by giving numerous counterexamples that are aimed to point out relative nature of pleasures and nonuniformity of human character traits. This should show that although in some contexts is plausible to speak about the most valuable pleasures, it is not when this concept is intended to be applied on
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