Crete, 3rd century B.C.

Hedonistic philosopher of the Cyrenaic School founded by Aristippus. He was, together with Annikeri, a student of the Cyrenaic philosopher Paraivatus, while he taught in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I of Lagos. But Ptolemy forbade him to teach because, as Cicero mentions, many of his listeners were driven to suicide by his teaching. That is why he is referred as Peisithanatos in the history of philosophy.

Although the aim of the Cyrenaic School was the search for pleasure, Hegesias considered it impossible because its achievement does not only depend on us but also on the factor of luck. He advised his followers to voluntarily throw away their lives and secure their freedom from earthly things. The release that comes with death is, for this philosopher, the highest good of pleasure. All that man can achieve in life is his mental state of not feeling pain, sorrow, or destitution, as he called it. His teaching found great resonance in Alexandria.

Because of his teachings, however, Ptolemy was forced to expel him from the city. Hegesias wrote a work entitled Apokarteron (i.e. a man who can no longer endure life), in which he refers to the sufferings of human life.