Four schools of ancient Greek philosophy

Four schools of ancient Greek philosophy

Ancient Greek philosophy consists of four schools, who each proclaim that they hold the secret to a happy and fulfilled life. These schools are Stoicism, Cynicism, Skepticism, and Epicureanism.

Stoicism forms the foundation of cognitive-behavioural therapy. Scepticism and Cynicism have become diluted. Epicureanism has a modern and easy to follow "Four-Part Remedy" to life.

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Epicureans were materialists: They believed the world consisted only of atoms. There were no gods, spirits, or souls, no afterlife or immortality.

In the world of Epicureans, all there is to life is to get as much pleasure as possible and to avoid pain. The concern was with the higher pleasures of the mind. Pleasure does not come from pointless indulging but from decreasing desire to the bare minimum necessary to live.

Epicureans developed the "Four-Part Remedy" to help them find solace and escape existential and spiritual pain.

  1. Don't fear God. Everything is just atoms. The afterlife will be nothingness.
  2. Don't worry about death. With no body, there is no desire, no suffering, no discontent.
  3. What is good is easy to get. Pleasure comes from basic biological desires required to keep us alive. Anything more complicated just creates pain.
  4. What is hard is easy to endure. We're seldom hungry for long.

Epicureanism is about a psychological shift that life doesn't need to be as complicated as we make it. We're just animals with basic needs.

We have the tools to satisfy our desires and the resilience to endure hardships. When that fails and we're dead, we won't care.

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Epicureanism vs. Stoicism

Epicureanism is the philosophy that is based from the teachings of Greek philosopher Epicurus. It denotes that pleasure is the only good there is in life. Alongside it, it mentions that the absence of pain and that living a simple life are the greatest pleasures in life.

Stoicism is a philosophy that maximizes positive feelings, reduces the negatives, and allows the individual to find their purpose to live a virtuous life.

This is what ancient Greece can teach us about the trials and tribulations of modern life

weforum.org

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have spiritual facts.
  • Existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value.

Nietzsche was not a nihilist but wrote about the dangers posed by this philosophy.

10 schools of philosophy and why you should know them

bigthink.com

  • Humans are always drawn to pleasure but it may be a selfish indulgence that does not last. 
  • Truth, rationality and wisdom are the lasting virtues that one should be after.
  • People derive pleasure in millions of different ways, some beyond our understanding.

Example: People who hate sports cannot understand why thousands are cheering in a stadium for a few men who are chasing a ball.

How to think about pleasure | Psyche Guides

psyche.co

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