Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus (341-270 BC), “On Happiness”

1. What is “pleasure” for Epicurus? And how does it relate to his ideas about happiness, and ethics?

(Also, find some practical examples from the text that support your answers).

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2. What is Epicurus’ advice to us about religion and god (the gods (plural) for him)? How should we form our ethics with a sense of religion or god(the gods) in mind?

(Again, find examples from the text to support your answers).

3. What about “death”? What does Epicurus write about death in his letter? And how should it inform our ethics, and ethical principles?

(Again, find examples.)

4.  According to Epicurus, what should we avoid in order to be happy?

(Again, find examples).

5. What is the “Good” for Epicurus? And what is “the good life?”(both terms appear in the text). And how does Epicurus answer the question we have been asking in this course: “what is the most ethical way of living?”

(Again, use examples from the text to support your arguments and answers).

6. How does Epicurus’ ethical theory relate to Plato’s? Are there any important similarities or differences?

(Again, find examples to help support your arguments).

7.  How useful or helpful do you think Epicurus’ principles are today? Would you follow his advice? And also, can you think of any contemporary examples that help to highlight some of the main points Epicurus makes in his “Letter?”

(Think broadly about the different ways that we can interpret the allegory today, in our contemporary society, and find examples to support your points).

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