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Over two thousand years ago, long before Trump, Brexit and 2020, the Greek philosopher Epicurus offered a seemingly simple answer: pleasure. All we really want is pleasure. Philosopher John Sellars takes us through the basic arguments of Epicureanism with wonderful clarity, distilling the essence of an ancient philosophy that speaks with increasing urgency to our troubled times.
Today we tend to associate the word ‘Epicurean’ with the enjoyment of fine food and wine and decadent self-indulgence. But, as Professor Sellars shows, these things are a world away from the vision of a pleasant life developed by Epicurus and his followers who were more concerned with mental pleasures and avoiding pain. Their goal, in short, was a life of tranquillity.
John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London (where he is an Associate Editor for the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project), and a member of Wolfson College, Oxford (where he was once a Junior Research Fellow).
He is the author of The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy (2003; 2nd edn 2009), Stoicism(2006), Hellenistic Philosophy (2018), Lessons in Stoicism (2019), Marcus Aurelius (2020) and The Fourfold Remedy: Epicurus and the Art of Happiness (2021).
Links for further info:
Twitter: @DrJSellars / @AllenLaneBooks