Death Is Nothing To Us - Epicureanism | Coursera (2023)

Death Is Nothing To Us

Death Is Nothing To Us - Epicureanism | Coursera (1)


What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximines made bold proposals about the ultimate constituents of reality, while Heraclitus insisted that there is an underlying order to the changing world. Parmenides of Elea formulated a powerful objection to all these proposals, while later Greek theorists (such as Anaxagoras and the atomist Democritus) attempted to answer that objection. In fifth-century Athens, Socrates insisted on the importance of the fundamental ethical question—“How shall I live?”—and his pupil, Plato, and Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, developed elaborate philosophical systems to explain the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness. After the death of Aristotle, in the Hellenistic period, Epicureans and Stoics developed and transformed that earlier tradition. We will study the major doctrines of all these thinkers. Part I will cover Plato and his predecessors. Part II will cover Aristotle and his successors.

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Feb 2, 2019

This is an excellent course! The professor is well-timed and the resource material well-selected. In-depth treatment of Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans. Highly recommended.


Jun 7, 2020

I have learned a lot through this course and Coursera is very high through online education. I would like to say that it has changed the online education system. Thank you.

From the lesson


Epicureans return to the atomism of Democritus, and find no purpose in nature. Philosophy is a therapeutic practice that removes fear and anxiety and provides us with the tranquility (ataraxia) of the gods.

Taught By

  • Death Is Nothing To Us - Epicureanism | Coursera (3)

    Susan Sauvé Meyer



Death Is Nothing To Us - Epicureanism | Coursera? ›

This echoes the fuller Epicurean slogan: “Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain.

What is the Epicurean view of death? ›

To Epicureans, death is annihilation, the breakdown of the atomic connections that make us ourselves, and there is no afterlife. While oblivion might sound scary, in his Letter to Menoeceus Epicurus famously taught (Ep. Men.

Which philosopher said death is nothing to us? ›

Quote by Epicurus: “Death is nothing to us.

How did the Epicureans view the ideal life and death? ›

“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And once it does come, we no longer exist.” Epicurus was viewed as dismissive of religion and therefore disliked by much of Greece. He did however gain a small but very loyal following.

Why do people fear death according to Epicurus? ›

Epicurus believed that our fear of death is the worst fear we face in life because it pervades our thoughts while we are alive. According to Epicurus our fear of death stops us from living. To live properly and happily we must rid ourselves of the fear of death.

Did Epicureans believe in afterlife? ›

Epicureanism. The Epicureans emphasise that death is complete extinction and that there is no life after death. Epicureanism is based on the atomism of Democritus, which sees the soul as a temporary amalgam of atomic particles, which has no eternal existence.

What did the Stoics say about death? ›

For Seneca and the other Roman Stoics, death was “the master fear,” and once someone learns how to overcome it, little else remains fearful either. If you don't remember that your time is limited and finite, you are much more likely to take things for granted.

What does death is nothing to us mean? ›

As he puts it, “Death, the most terrifying of ills, is nothing to us, since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist.” This outlook combines one insight with two errors. Once we are dead, we cannot be harmed, and in that sense, we have no reason to fear death.

What do great philosophers say about death? ›

“The dead have no sensation, or as they say it's a migration of the soul from here to some other place,” Socrates asserted, and went on that if death is as sensationless as a dreamless sleep, then it would be a great benefit.

Which humanist philosopher was put to death for his views? ›

Socrates was a polarizing figure in Athenian society. In 399 BC, he was accused of impiety and corrupting the youth. After a trial that lasted a day, he was sentenced to death.

What is the Epicurean motto of life? ›

Epicureanism was later summed up as a motto: eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.

How does stoicism differ from epicureanism on death? ›

Instead, the Epicureans believe death should be embraced as a natural and inevitable part of life. The Stoics, on the other hand, believe that death is not the end of a person's existence. Instead, they believe in the immortality of the soul.

What is the difference between Epicurus and Socrates view on death? ›

Socrates sees death as a blessing to be wished for if death is either nothingness or a relocation of the soul, whereas Epicurus argues that one shouldn't worry themselves about death since, once we are gone, death is annihilation which is neither good nor bad.

Why should death be treated as nothing to us according to Epicurus? ›

Epicurus' main argument against this fear is the “no subject of harm” argument. If death is bad it has to be bad for somebody. But death cannot be bad for the living, since they are alive, nor for the dead, since they don't exist.

What was Epicurus main philosophy? ›

Epicurus developed an unsparingly materialistic metaphysics, empiricist epistemology, and hedonistic ethics. Epicurus taught that the basic constituents of the world are atoms, uncuttable bits of matter, flying through empty space, and he tried to explain all natural phenomena in atomic terms.

What is the meaning of life in Epicureanism? ›

For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquility (ataraxia) by being content with simple things, and by choosing the pleasure of philosophical conversation with friends over the pursuit of physical pleasures like food, drink, and sex.

What is the Epicurean view? ›

Epicureanism divided pleasure into two broad categories: pleasures of the body and pleasures of the mind. Pleasures of the body involve sensations of the body, such as the act of eating delicious food or of being in a state of comfort free from pain, and exist only in the present.

What happens at death for the Epicureans quizlet? ›

For the Epicureans, what happens at death? The soul and body both disintegrate back into atoms.

What did the Epicureans believe about the soul? ›

Epicurus maintains that soul atoms are particularly fine and are distributed throughout the body (LH 64), and it is by means of them that we have sensations (aisthêseis) and the experience of pain and pleasure, which Epicurus calls pathê (a term used by Aristotle and others to signify emotions instead).


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