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Epicurean +‎ -ism


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Epicureanism ‎(usually uncountable, plural Epicureanisms)

  1. A system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. 340–c. 270 BC).
  2. (archaic) atheist
  3. A love or knowledge of enjoyment, especially of good food and drink.

Usage notes[edit]

Modern accepted use of the terms epicurean and Epicureanism refers often to the appreciation of good food (gourmet), and luxury. This strays significantly from the original philosophic intent of Epicureanism. The philosophy indeed elevated pleasure and happiness as the most worthy pursuit, but specifically warned against fine food, for it could lead to dissatisfaction later. Instead, the goal was a long-term pleasure, marked by serenity and temperance, achieved through moderation rather than indulging. Modern senses of gourmet, luxury, hedonism, sensual pleasure and lust are mostly in contrast with the original ancient teachings. The philosophy of Epicurus discounted the action of the gods in the natural world in favor of materialistic explanations and thus presented the opposition to conventional theism, the only non-theistic philosophy known before the modern era. "Epicureanism" in older usage was synonymous with "atheism".