Aitia (Dec 2022)

Épictète et l’épicurisme : Entretiens, III, 7 (et autres passages)

  • Francesca Alesse

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12


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This paper aims to offer an overview of Epicurean doctrines in Epictetus’ work. I begin with Discourse 3.7, but I also include quotations from the other Discourses. The content of Epictetus’ quotations is strongly anti-Epicurean and rather generic. The fundamental theories of Epicurean ethics, such as the doctrine of catastematic pleasure, the classification of desires, the notion of painlessness, are conspicuously missing. The hypothesis put forward is that Epictetus uses a strategy of reduction (along the lines of the abbreviated doxographic literature, or Kompendienliteratur), as he is not motivated by informative or doctrinal intentions, but educational ones. He mainly aims at dissuading the Roman ruling class from adhering to Epicurean philosophy.