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Western Philosophers.docx

Western Philosophers.docx - Our next topic addresses our...

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Our next topic addresses our course question, “What is a Good Life,” through the lens of Philosophy, specifically Ethics, the branch of Philosophy concerned with moral values and value judgements. We’ll ask of Epicurus, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Camus, three questions: What is the ultimate good in life? How ought one to behave in order to obtain this ultimate good? Can these ideas be applied to your life, and if so, how? Throughout history, there has been a large variety of answers to the question, what is the ultimate good in life. While there are a huge multiplicity of answers, three answers have been the most prominent in the history of philosophy: virtue, happiness, pleasure Epicurus Hedonism proposes that pleasure is the ultimate good; the greatest good is the maximization of the bodily pleasures (e.g., food, drink, sexual experiences) Epicurus’ Hedonism: Indulging in bodily pleasures prevents one from attaining the good life; in fact, over-indulgence in bodily pleasure brings about pain. The good life is not maximizing bodily pleasures, but avoidance of those things that cause the body pain and the soul confusion, i.e., the good life is freedom from pain, worry, fear, and confusion. To obtain a good life, one must understand the nature of desire (i.e., the 3 category of desires): natural and necessary (food, water, shelter; necessary for survival and not product of social conditioning); natural and unnecessary (e.g., sexual gratification – natural and can’t be eliminated, but if overindulged, can lead to a painful existence); unnatural and unnecessary (these are insatiable and keep us always wanting) The good life is the simple life: be content with what is easy to obtain and what satisfies the organism’s fundamental needs, while renouncing what is superfluous . Being content with simple foods and simple clothes; while renouncing wealth, honors, and public positions; and living in retreat.
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