In Kelly Arenson (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy. pp. 407-416 (2020)

Tim O'Keefe
Georgia State University
Epicurus thought that the conventional values of Greek society—in particular, its celebration of luxury and wealth—often led people astray. It is by rejecting these values, reducing our desires, and leading a moderately ascetic life that we can attain happiness. But Epicurus’ message is also pertinent for those of us in modern Western culture, with an economy based on constant consumption and an advertising industry that molds us to serve that economy by enlarging our desires. This paper begins with an outline of some of the basic tenets of Epicurean ethics, followed by an explanation of how these tenets lead to an Epicurean diagnosis of what ails modern consumers and of the cure they would propose. The paper closes with a consideration of recent psychological research in well-being and how it supports the Epicurean position.
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