Adunamic hedonism

In Dirk Baltzly, Harold Tarrant & Dougal Blyth (eds.), Power and Pleasure, Virtue and Vice: Essays in Ancient Moral Philosophy. Auckland: pp. 136-159 (2001)
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It is widely supposed that Epicurus' identification of aponia (painlessness) and the absence of anxiety (ataraxia) yields as a consequence the claim that the most pleasant life is one that requires little in the way of resources or power. This paper argues that the remarks in Cicero which attempt to reconstruct Epicurus' reasons for thinking that aponia and ataraxia are the limit of pleasure are best interpreted if we suppose that the inference runs the other direction. Epicurus supposed that it was a pre-theoretical constraint on any account of human happiness that it should be natural. Moreover, its naturalness means its in-principle availability to most humans.

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Dirk Baltzly
University of Tasmania


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