Squaring the Epicurean Circle: Friendship and Happiness in the Garden

Ancient Philosophy 37 (1):153-168 (2017)

Authors
Benjamin Rossi
Tulane University
Abstract
Epicurean ethics has been subject to withering ancient and contemporary criticism for the supposed irreconcilability of Epicurus’s emphatic endorsement of friendship and his equally clear and striking ethical egoism. Recently, Matthew Evans (2004) has suggested that the key to a plausible Epicurean response to these criticisms must begin by understanding why friendship is valuable for Epicurus. In the first section of this paper I develop Evans’ suggestion further. I argue that a shared conception of the human telos and of what is required to attain it structures the confidence that characterizes friendship. In the second part of the paper I return to two contemporary criticisms of Epicurean friendship. The first criticism focuses on the problem of free riders. The second criticism points to a seeming inconsistency in Epicurean doctrine. I suggest that both criticisms can be adequately addressed once we understand Epicurean friendship in greater depth.
Keywords Epicureanism  Egoism  Hedonism  Friendship  Pleasure
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ISBN(s) 0740-2007
DOI 10.5840/ancientphil20173718
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References found in this work BETA

The Morality of Happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Can Epicureans Be Friends?Matthew Evans - 2004 - Ancient Philosophy 24 (2):407-424.
Epicurean Justice.John Armstrong - 1997 - Phronesis 42 (3):324-334.
Is Epicurean Friendship Altruistic?Tim O'Keefe - 2001 - Apeiron 34 (4):269 - 305.

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Citations of this work BETA

Living Without Fear.Tim O'Keefe - forthcoming - In Nathan Powers & Jacob Klein (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy.

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