Epicurus and Thomas Jefferson

Epicureanism, like agnosticism and atheism in modern times, appealed to that minority of people who preferred  rationality to  beliefs in divine intervention and everlasting life. But Epicureanism also appealed to those who claimed to believe in God.  Epicureanism was to be the avowed philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, who must have found Epicureanism compatible with the Deism popular in his day, and which also placed God outside of human affairs. Jefferson was to describe Epicureanism as the most rational philosophical system of the ancients. And his Epicureanism was to find expression in his contribution to the American Declaration of Independence, in its phrase "pursuit of happiness."

One Comment

  1. Alas, in some quarters the rational common sense of Jefferson is out of fashion, and his words are skewed to infer that America is a “nation under God”, the god, of course, of the extreme right and the literalist bible-thumpers.

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