He is associated with a philosophy focused on happiness, pleasure, and a tranquil life. Central to his teachings is the concept of ethical hedonism, where the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain are seen as the ultimate aims. However, he emphasizes that not all pleasures are equal; intellectual and moderate physical pleasures are more lasting and profound sources of happiness than fleeting or excessive ones.
Epicurus introduces the idea of ataraxia, a state of tranquility and freedom from anxiety, achieved through intellectual pleasures, the minimization of desires, and the elimination of irrational fears related to the divine and death. His materialistic worldview, influenced by atomism, explains the universe through eternal, indivisible particles interacting in a void, avoiding supernatural explanations. Epicurus also stresses aponia, the absence of pain, and suggests that by satisfying necessary desires while limiting unnecessary ones, individuals can maintain contentment. Friendship and human relationships are also essential to Epicurean philosophy, as genuine friendships contribute to pleasure and emotional support.
He challenges conventional religious beliefs, asserting that gods are not concerned with human affairs, and addresses the fear of death by explaining it as the cessation of consciousness and pain. Overall, Epicurus' philosophy emphasizes the pursuit of intellectual and moderate pleasures for a serene life, while promoting rationality, meaningful relationships, and a balanced approach to desires and fears.