Epicurean Hedonism as Qualitative Hedonism

Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (4):411-427 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Epicurus’ theory of what is good for a person is hedonistic: only pleasure has intrinsic value. Critics object that Epicurus is committed to advocating sensualist excess, since hedonism seems both to imply that more pleasure is always of some good for you, and to recommend even debauched, sensual kinds of pleasure. However, Epicurus can respond to this objection much like J. S. Mill responds to the objection that hedonism is a “doctrine worthy only of swine”. I argue that Epicurus’ hedonism is a version of qualitative hedonism on which static pleasure is intrinsically superior to other kinds of pleasure. I also argue that Epicurus conceives of pleasure as a phenomenal or felt quality of experience, and that this is compatible with his troublesome claim that there is an upper limit to pleasure and wellbeing.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,509

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Hedonism.Dan Weijers - 2011 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A New Defense of Hedonism About Well-Being.Ben Bramble - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
The Hedonist's Dilemma.Dale Dorsey - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (2):173-196.
The Good Life: A Defense of Attitudinal Hedonism.Fred Feldman - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):604-628.
Desire Satisfactionism and Hedonism.Chris Heathwood - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (3):539-563.
Reconciling Justice and Pleasure in Epicurean Contractarianism.John J. Thrasher - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):423-436.
Two Types of Psychological Hedonism.Justin Garson - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:7-14.
Plato’s Anti-Hedonism and the Protagoras by J. Clerk Shaw.Naomi Reshotko - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (2):334-335.
Do Pleasures and Pains Differ Qualitatively?Rem B. Edwards - 1975 - Journal of Value Inquiry 9 (4):270-81.


Added to PP

44 (#263,313)

6 months
2 (#277,663)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Alwood
University of Richmond

References found in this work

How Pleasures Make Life Better.Andrew H. Alwood - 2017 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):1-24.

Add more references