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Cyrenaic philosophers were the "other" hedonists of classical antiquity, other, that is, than Epicureans.

Despite taking pleasure as their ex definitio point of departure, Cyrenaic views differed from Epicurean ones in that the Cyrenaics did not recognize katastematic, but only kinetic pleasure, as they considered the former to be too passive a state to merit the term "pleasure" at all; they also believed that pleasure and pain of the body greatly exceeds that of the soul/mind, basing that argument on the observation that wrong-doers are customarily condemned to corporal punishment, not infliction of some intangible mental pain. The Cyrenaics held the senses to be unreliable, and saw no need for the study of nature because of its apparent uncertainty (Laertius II.92); Epicurus refuted these claims with directness in his Principal Doctrines 10, 11, 12, 22, 23, and 24.

Opponents of Epicureanism often conflated it with Cyrenaic hedonism; more careful critics, such as Cicero, were cautious to differentiate the two, while openly sympathetic ones, such as Seneca, drew the distinction between the two sharply, favoring Epicureanism in their evaluation.

Unlike Epicureanism, Cyrenaic hedonism did not enjoy significant historical continuity; it resonated rather as an echo, usually appearing as deliberate caricature, in the decidedly anti-hedonistic writings of Neoplatonic, and subsequent early Christian authors.

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