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The school of hedonistic philosophy founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, and flourishing at the end of the 4th century bc. The central doctrine was that the goal or end of action must be the particular pleasure of the moment, the ‘strong sensations’ of physical pleasures, which are the basic facts given in our lives. Reason is cultivated purely in order to maximize the attainment of such pleasures for the agent. The Cyrenaic attitude anticipated the more subtle analysis of Epicurus, and must have been a relief from the relentless high-mindedness of Plato and Aristotle.

Subjects: Philosophy — Classical Studies.

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