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Epicurus saw the role of philosophy as akin to that of medicine: as the latter exists for the express purpose of maintaining the health of the body, the former exists for that of maintaining the health of the soul.

The chief illness of the soul, according to Epicurus, is anxiety (Gr. tarache); the curative goal of philosophy, therefore, is to help humans reach a state void of anxiety (Gr. ataraxia).

As for the illnessess of the body, Epicurus asserted in the Four-Part Cure that "what is painful, is easy to endure". His own example of fortitude while in the pangs of acute and extremely painful illness bears testimony to the sincerity of his belief.

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