Epicurus of Samos (341-270 BCE) was the founder of the philosophical system to which he gave his name: Epicureanism. It is a label that is often misused and misunderstood today, with ‘a life of pleasure’ as the key aim misinterpreted as a life of indulgence. In fact, the philosophy of Epicurus demonstrated also by his life, was anything but! He established a school in Athens called The Garden, underpinned by his system of ethics.
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by peace and freedom from fear, the absence of pain, and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms.