Thomas Hobbes believed that the best way to live life is through an absolute sovereignty in the form of a government (Thomas Hobbes). Having different beliefs on methods of how life must be lived, both of them thought that these methods serve the self-interest of individuals. Their philosophies, therefore, summarize that of a moral egoist which states that it is ethical to do actions that serve an individual’s self-interest or the common interest of a group. It is the objective of this paper to justify the lumping of these two thinkers as moral egoists in accordance to their common belief that actions must be done towards the achievement of self or group interests, and in accordance to their varying methods on how this is to be achieved. The moral egoism in Epicurus’ philosophy is better expressed in his quotes We must then meditate on the things that make our happiness, seeing that when that is with us we have all, but when it is absent we do all to win it… (Epicurus 84). In another statement, he further emphasized For we recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure, we begin every act of choice or avoidance, and to the pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard… (85). … He justified this by stating that one must believe that death couldn’t affect a person as all good and evil consists of sensation (84). And sensations are also defined with beliefs. Having this philosophy, anybody can experience happiness so long that he can believe in the absence of pain and fears. Pleasure can be attained if there will be free from pain in the body and also freedom from trouble in the mind (84). Epicurus elaborated that it is only through sober reasoning that one can possess pleasure. When this philosophy is established in a person’s mind, he can then be firm on his choices and avoidance, and could not be bothered by the opinions of others, therefore, he can experience peace of mind (84). He reasons out that pleasure and the personal definition of it by every person or a group of persons, as agreed by a common mind, must be resolutely pursued in life and be the foundation of all actions. Epicurus was aware that this kind of philosophy is not easily ingrained in every person’s habits of thought, thus he developed logical systems that would program appropriate attitude of people following his own philosophy (Konstan). This way, the Epicurean way of thinking spread in various aspects of beliefs such as science, marriage, friendship, and religion (Konstan). It is reported that such reasoning had brought intriguing philosophical arguments in other concepts although, in other areas, philosophical beliefs exhibited integrity.
Epicurus and Hobbes Philosophies Advocating Moral Egoism