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*(Hghsi/as), a Cyrenaic philosopher, said by Diogenes Laertius (2.86, &c.) to have been the disciple of Paraebates.

The date of Hegesias is unknown, though Ritter thinks that he was contemporaneous with Epicurus. He was the fellow-student of Anniceris, from whom, however, he differed by presenting in its most hateful form the system which Anniceris softened and improved. [ANNICERIS.] He followed Aristippus in considering pleasure the object of man's desire; but, being probably of a morose and discontented turn of mind, the view which he took of human life was of the gloomiest character, and his practical inferences from the Cyrenaic principles were destructive alike to goodness and happiness. The latter he said could not be the aim of man, because it is not attainable, and therefore concluded that the wise man's only object should be to free himself from inconvenience, thereby reducing the whole of human life to mere sensual pleasure. Since, too, every man is sufficient to himself, all external goods were rejected as not being true sources of pleasure, and therefore all the domestic and benevolent affections. Hence the sage ought to regard nothing but himself; action is quite indifferent; and if action, so also is life, which, therefore, is in no way more desirable than death. This statement (τὴν τε ζώην τε καὶ τὸν θάνατον αἱρετόν) is, however, less strong than that of Cicero (Tusc. 1.34).



Cicero also tells us (Tusc. 1.34) that Hegesias wrote a book called ἀποκαρτερῶν, in which a man who has resolved to starve himself is introduced as representing to his friends that death is actually more to be desired than life, and that the gloomy descriptions of human misery which this work contained were so overpowering, that they drove many persons to commit suicide, in consequence of which the author received the surname of Peisithanatos. This book was published at Alexandria, where he was, in consequence, forbidden to teach by king Ptolemy.

Further Information

Geschichte der Philosophie, 8.1, 3; see also V. Max. 8.9.


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