Pleasure in Ancient Greek Philosophy

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Cambridge University Press, 2013 - History - 299 pages
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The Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy series provides concise books, written by major scholars and accessible to non-specialists, on important themes in ancient philosophy that remain of philosophical interest today. In this volume Professor Wolfsdorf undertakes the first exploration of ancient Greek philosophical conceptions of pleasure in relation to contemporary conceptions. The book provides broad coverage of the ancient material, from pre-Platonic to Old Stoic treatments; and in the contemporary period, from World War II to the present. Examination of the nature of pleasure in ancient philosophy largely occurred within ethical contexts. In the contemporary period, the topic has, to a greater extent, been pursued within philosophy of mind and psychology. This divergence reflects the dominant philosophical preoccupations of the times. But Wolfsdorf argues that the various treatments are complementary. Indeed, the Greeks' examinations of pleasure were incisive, their debates vigorous and their results have enduring value for contemporary discussion.

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Pleasure in early Greek ethics
Pleasure in the early physical tradition
Plato on pleasure and restoration
Plato on true untrue and false pleasures
Aristotle on pleasure and activation
Epicurus and the Cyrenaics on katastematic and kinetic pleasures
The Old Stoics on pleasure as passion
Contemporary conceptions of pleasure
Ancient and contemporary conceptions of pleasure
Suggestions for further reading
General Index

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About the author (2013)

David Wolfsdorf is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he specializes in Greek and Roman philosophy. His previous publications include numerous articles on various ancient philosophical topics as well as Trials of Reason: Plato and the Crafting of Philosophy (2008).

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