Living for Pleasure

Gearing up for the International Day of Happiness, this week’s review examines Epicurus’s philosophy on pleasure and how it compares to current approaches to cultivating happiness.

Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life

Austin, Emily A. Oxford, 2023
320p bibl index, 9780197558324 $18.95, 9780197558331

Living for Pleasure: An Epicurean Guide to Life book cover.

This is an extraordinary, fascinating, and entertainingly written book. Austin (Wake Forest Univ.) provides a comprehensive scholarly analysis of the philosophy of Epicurus (341–270 BCE), concentrating on the Epicurean mantra that human happiness is to be found in the experience of pleasure, thoughtfully understood as minimizing anxieties and pursuing the aspects of life that have true and perpetual meaning. Austin’s approach is unique in that she interweaves this Epicurean philosophy into contemporary and popular approaches (some of them misleading) to the enrichment of everyday life. Released in the “Guides to the Good Life” series, this is a work of applied philosophy. Notes and references are excellent.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
Reviewer
: P. A. Streveler, emeritus, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Subject: Humanities – Philosophy
Choice Issue: Nov 2023


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