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Aristippus

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Aristipo was a faithful follower of Socrates and the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy . Like other Greek ethical thinkers , his ethics focused on the question of what the ” end ” is; that is to say, to what objective our actions aim and what is valuable in itself. Aristippus identified the end as pleasure which made him a hedonist. Most of the pleasures that Aristippus thinks should be pursued, he describes them as matters related to sensual gratification, such as sleeping with courtesans and enjoying good food and old wines.

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  • When he was born:  435 BC
  • Where he was born:  Cyrene, Ancient Greece
  • When did he die:  350 BC
  • Where he died:  Cyrene, Ancient Greece

Who was Aristippus?

Aristippus was an important Greek philosopher who founded the Cyrenaic school that was at the same time the proponent of hedonism , whose foundation was the identification of good with pleasure .

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  • Biography of Aristipo
  • Thought
  • Contributions
  • Aristippus Hedonism
  • Plays
  • Aristippus quotes

Biography of Aristipo

Aristipo was born in the city of Cyrene , a Greek colony located in North Africa . He moved to Athens and became one of Socrates’ young followers when Socrates questioned the citizens of Athens and exposed their ignorance. He was probably the most scandalous of Socrates’ followers for his advocacy of a life full of sensual pleasure and for his willingness to accept money for his instruction, as did the Sophists .

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Apart from these facts, it has been difficult to find more information regarding Aristippus because the main source of information about him is The Life of the Philosophers , by Diogenes Laertio , who wrote more than 500 years after Aristippus’s death.

Plato spoke of Socrates as a man who enjoyed drinking wine but never got drunk, who attended parties but never had the money to host him, and who lived his last years, with monetary gifts from friends and admirers.

Aristippus lived at the court of the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse (432-367 BC) or, perhaps, of his son Dionysus the Younger (397-343 BC), where he received a high salary for his writing and teaching . His position at court was essentially that of ” sage ” or “counselor” but, according to ancient reports, he appears to have spent much of his time simply amusing himself at Dionysus’s expense. Apparently he lived a life full of luxuries in court where among his students, he taught his daughter Arete on the hedonistic philosophy .

Many sources indicate that he died in his hometown, Cyrene, in 350 AD, some other currents place his death in 360 AD. C.

Thought

When we refer to the thought of Aristippus, then we must refer to the essence of his philosophy , which has been pointed out by some scholars as the highest exaltation with respect to Socratic virtue and pleasure . He thought and considered that all the pleasure of the body was the only state to be pursued and achieved . The philosophy of the Cyrenaics also considered knowledge as a sensation , and for this reason it was that Aristippus believed that all knowledge led man to have a pleasant sensation, since pleasure was considered the highest good . For him, any type of pain was considered an enemy , because this pain made the man turn away from pleasure. It is because of this type of thinking and philosophical stance that Aristippus of Cyrene has been considered throughout history as the predecessor of Hedonism .

Contributions

We can say that Aristippus’ main contribution to the world was the founding of the Cyrenaica school, a school that focused on identifying good and pleasure.

Aristippus Hedonism

Aristippus founded Hedonism more than 2,400 years ago in Greece, which was based on the Socratic affirmation that happiness is an end of moral action . He thought that pleasure or hedoné was the highest good and that reaching this point was the main goal in life. Pleasure was an end and not a means to something else, and happiness consists in satisfying all pleasures immediately.

In hedonism the pleasures of the body were considered to be preferable to the spiritual because they were more intense. This branch of philosophy did not have a long journey and was later divided into other currents.

Plays

In relation to the works that were written by Aristippus, many historians such as Diogenes Laertius, claimed his work could not actually be considered as philosophical works , but rather were books , whose content could be identified as frivolous . However, all the information that is had regarding the work cannot be corroborated, because to date no copy of his writings has been compiled , with the exception of four epistles , which, although they have been identified with his name, have been also marked as false .

Aristippus quotes

Among the main phrases of Aristipo we mention the following:

  • I can’t love any woman because I don’t want the wine I drink either, and instead I enjoy it.
  • The friendship is not in the ignorant or wise.
  • The native capacity without education is like a tree without fruit.
  • It is better to be a beggar than an ignorant , because a beggar is only interested in money , but an ignorant person wants humanity .
  • The art of life consists in taking the pleasures that pass, and the sharpest pleasures are not intellectual , nor are they always moral .
  • The Country of a wise man is the world.
  • Only the present belongs to us, not the past moment or the one we wait for, because one has already been undone and the other we do not know if it will come.
  • I can’t love a woman because I don’t want the wine I drink either, and instead I enjoy it .

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