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Epicurus' view of society was ambivalent:

On one hand, the organization of humans into social groups provides the prerequisite underpinnings of individual happiness, be it by providing for basic, material needs (e.g. by structuring a food-chain), or offering shelter from the elements and hostile people (e.g. building and fortifying cities, or providing basic civil services such as law-enforcement); furthermore, and far more importantly for Epicurus, society involves the building and maintenance of friendships among members of a social group. Epicureanism is therefore unfairly accused by some as a fundamentally antisocial philosophy.

On the other hand, since most people are, according to Epicurus, uncritical in pursuing their desires, society as a whole can have an injurious effect on the individual intent on pursuing the true (i.e. Epicurean) happiness of ataraxia. As many, or perhaps most members of a society may very probably ascribe excessive importance to great wealth as opposed to modest self-sufficiency, a person wishing for the latter must assume a contrarian posture amidst a society attached to the former. It is therefore more appropriate to consider Epicureanism as more specifically non-conformist than more generally or radically antisocial.

In the context of his own social environment, Epicurus broke more than a few, deeply held taboos by including women and slaves among his students and followers; the inclusion of even prostitutes scandalized his contemporaries, and gave rise to fantastic rumors in his own time and beyond. His relative isolation from Athenian society in his Garden may have been in response to unfavorable sociopolitical conditions at the time.

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