"We do not mean the pleasure of debauchery..." - Epicureanism | Epic Swerve

"We do not mean the pleasure of debauchery..."

“When we say that pleasure is the goal, we do not mean the pleasure of debauchery or sensuality, despite whatever the ignorant, disagreeable, or malignant people believe. By pleasure, we mean this: freedom from pain in the body and freedom from turmoil in the soul.” — Epicurus


Epicurus seems annoyed in this one; annoyed at having to repeat arguments in defense of what seemed to him very clear and obvious conclusions. But then, as now, obfuscating what he meant was the primary trick of his opponent’s, hence the need to say something like this quote.

No, we don’t (necessarily) mean debauchery. The problem with epicureans, then and now, is that we won’t be cornered into saying debauchery is wrong. It depends on the context. But to say that debauchery is what Epicurus was teaching is clearly a slander, and barely worth a response.



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