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The Pleasure Principle: Epicureanism

A Philosophy for Modern Living
Narrated by: Billie Fulford-Brown
Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

In a dissatisfied world, looking back to ancient wisdom can shed light on fresh solutions. 

For years, many of us have upheld the Stoic concept of ‘no pain, no gain’. But in a time when we are burdened by the fear of failure and outsize ambitions, perhaps we should stop skirting around the edges of our problems via punishing exercise regimes, productivity apps and early morning starts. 

According to the pleasure-centric philosophy of Epicureanism, life can be good without great sacrifice, and temptation isn’t always the enemy. The riches of the sensory world are there to be enjoyed, so long as your pursuit of pleasure doesn’t later bring you pain. Friendships ripen in restaurants. If the hangover is worth the fantastic night beforehand, go right ahead. Does your job bring you little satisfaction? Think it over. Are you a parent? Don’t sacrifice your own interests by catering to your child’s every whim. Are you unhappy in your relationship? Cut your losses - if you can do without, so much the better. If not, the time to find something better is now. 

No honest philosopher can give you a formula for being happy. But philosophy can point the way to strategies for tackling the things that threaten our happiness. In The Pleasure Principle, Professor Catherine Wilson presents a framework for living not only comfortably and happily, but in a responsible and meaningful way.

©2019 Professor Catherine Wilson (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent primer and comparison with Stoicism

A really well written and beautifully read book, making a compelling argument for Epicurean philosophy by discussing classic material, and the modern applications. Cleared up a lot of the questions I had about the difference to Stoic philosophy. Engaging, informative, and persuasive.

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Accessible, scholarly, convincing, and a pleasure

Although this book may seem to be another of those philosophy-cum-self-help books, it's actually a very rich introduction to philosophy from an Epicurean point of view. The chapters in this book cover the basic philosophical questions of ontology, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind, love, death, social justice, and, above all, living the good life as Epicureans saw it. It's also never boring: the tone of the book is gentle, relaxed, accessible, yet scholarly and convincing. In Epicurean fashion, she begins each chapter with a summary, in the form of a quotation by Epicurus and his principle Roman advocate Lucretius, before going on to flesh out the philosophy it's based on. At the end of the book she addresses one of Epicureanism's great rivals, Stoicism, in exactly the fashion you'd expect a philosopher defending a philosophy would: unsympathetically. If you want to deepen your understanding of Epicurean philosophy, I strongly recommend this book.