Abstract: The Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus argued that the good life is the pleasurable life. He also argued that ‘death is nothing to us’. These claims appear in tension. For if pleasure is good, then it seems that death is bad when it deprives us of deeply enjoyable time alive. This talk offers an Epicurean view of pleasure and the complete life which dissolves this tension. It will contend that this view is more appealing than critics of Epicureanism have allowed, in part because it assigns a higher value to pleasures that we produce by exercising our rational capacities and by establishing control over our lives.
Alex Voorhoeve is Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He has held visiting positions at Harvard, Princeton and the U.S. National Institutes of Health and has served on a consultative group on Universal Health Coverage for the World Health Organization. Prof. Voorhoeve works on ethics, distributive justice, and moral psychology. His book of moral philosophy for a general audience, Conversations on Ethics, was published in English by Oxford University Press and in Chinese by Xinhua Press.
Justin Tse is Assistant Professor of Humanities (Education) at Singapore Management University’s Office of Core Curriculum and School of Social Sciences. He is the lead editor of Theological Reflections on the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (Palgrave, 2016) and is working on a book manuscript entitled The Secular in a Sheet of Scattered Sand: Cantonese Protestants and Post-secular Publics on the Pacific Rim (University of Notre Dame Press).