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Enjoyment and Pleasure in Epicurean Hedonism
20. October 13:00 - 15:00
Epicurus (341-270) considered his philosophy to be completely hedonistic. But his understanding of hedonism was not what most of us today think it is – an irrational indulgence in all, especially physical, pleasures. On the contrary, he defined hedonism negatively – as the absence of pain and discomfort. Enjoyment is a consequence of such states. In the first part of the lecture, we will deal with the history of the concept of hedonism and its origin in the Cyrenean philosophy. Through a brief review of Plato’s rejection of hedonism, we will arrive at Epicurus’ idea of pleasure as the telos of philosophical investigations. In this part of the lecture, we aim to offer valid definitions and accounts of Epicurean aponia and ataraxia. In the second part of the talk, in addition to the historical perspective concerning various interpretations and perceptions of pleasure, we shall offer a certain apology for the Epicurean understanding of pleasure and enjoyment. Our bold historical-philosophical hypothesis, according to which Epicurus did not conceive enjoyment as a mental state, but as an affective component of the relevant mental states, will play a special role in that course.
Mašan Bogdanovski is an associate professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. He was born in 1970 in Belgrade and graduated, obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, where he teaches the theory of knowledge, Hellenistic philosophy, Hume’s philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is the author of Empiricism and God: An Essay on the Philosophy of Religion in British Empiricism and several dozen works in the fields of epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and language, and history of philosophy (Hellenistic philosophy, early modern skepticism in France, and British empiricism). He has also translated a large number of books and articles in philosophy and social sciences.
Ivan Nišavić (1984) was born in Montenegro where he completed elementary and middle school. He enrolled at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade in 2006, where he also obtained master degree. In 2019 Ivan received PhD (dissertation: Epicurean philosophical psychology), and the following year he became research associate.
Last five years he participated as a teaching assistant in the subject of Hellenistic Philosophy and Philosophy of Adult Education (Andragogy). Besides that, he is the author of several papers dealing with Hellenistic philosophy, contemporary epistemology, education and ethics, which have been published in national journals. Mentioned fields are also in the focus of his primary interest.