Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series
Epicureanism is today associated with the enjoyment of food and drink. But the philosophy of Epicurus, originating in the 3rd century BCE, was, in fact, a comprehensive system of cosmology, physics, biology, and ethics that remains interesting and relevant to contemporary life. Unlike their philosophical rivals, the Stoics, the Epicureans believed that the world had originated by chance, that human beings possessed free will, that the soul was material and mortal, and that death was nevertheless not to be feared. In the lecture, I will explore their most famous—and controversial—views and explain why they are worth taking seriously today.
Catherine Wilson is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. She has taught and held research fellowships in Germany, Britain, and Canada, including the University of Aberdeen, where she was formerly Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy. She is the author of seven books on philosophy and its history, including Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity (2008) and The Invisible World: Philosophers and the Microscope (1995). She has two children and lives in London and New York.
Catherine Wilson, Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2015)