Epicureanism is commonly associated with a carefree view of life and the pursuit of pleasures, particularly the pleasures of the table. However it was a complex and distinctive system of philosophy that emphasized simplicity and moderation, and considered nature to consist of atoms and the void. Epicureanism is a school of thought whose legacy continues to reverberate today.
In this Very Short Introduction, Catherine Wilson explains the key ideas of the School, comparing them with those of the rival Stoics and with Kantian ethics, and tracing their influence on the development of scientific and political thought from Locke, Newton, and Galileo to Rousseau, Marx, Bentham, and Mill. She discusses the adoption and adaptation of Epicurean motifs in science, morality, and politics from the 17th Century onwards and contextualises the significance of Epicureanism
in modern life.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Catherine Wilson is Anniversary Professor of Philosophy at York University and known for her work on the legacy of Epicureanism. She has contributed chapters to the Cambridge Companion to Epicurus (CUP, 2009) and is the author of the highly regarded monograph, Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity (OUP, 2008).
1. Introduction ; 2. Atomic worlds ; 3. Knowledge and understanding ; 4. Living, loving, dying ; 5. Material minds ; 6. Religion and superstition ; 7. Politics and society ; 8. Epicurean ethics ; 9. The Epicurean legacy ; Further reading ; Index