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Aponia (Ancient Greek: ἀπονία ) means the absence of pain, and was regarded by the Epicureans to be the height of bodily pleasure.

As with the other Hellenistic schools of philosophy, the Epicureans believed that the goal of human life is happiness. This was to be found in the tranquillity of spirit which resulted from aponia, suppression of physical pain, and ataraxia, elimination of mental disturbances.[1] The Epicureans defined pleasure as the absence of pain (mental and physical), and hence pleasure can only increase up until the point in which pain is absent.[2] Beyond this, pleasure cannot increase further, and indeed one cannot rationally seek bodily pleasure beyond the state of aponia.[3] For Epicurus, aponia was one of the static (katastematic) pleasures,[4] that is, a pleasure one has when there is no want or pain to be removed.[5] To achieve such a state, one has to experience kinetic pleasures, that is, a pleasure one has when want or pain is being removed.[6]


  1. Epicurus, Ep. Men., 128
  2. Reale 1985, pp. 171
  3. Furley 1999, pp. 210
  4. Diogenes Laërtius, x. 136
  5. Annas 1995, pp. 336
  6. Annas 1995, pp. 336


  • Reale, Giovanni (1985), A History of Ancient Philosophy: The Systems of the Hellenistic Age, SUNY Press 
  • Furley, David J. (1999), Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume II. From Aristotle to Augustine, Routledge 
  • Annas, Julia (1995), The Morality of Happiness, Oxford University Press 


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