Upcoming publication: a companion edition to The Pocket Stoic, published last year.
The Pocket Epicurean by John Sellars
Will Publish December 2021
University of Chicago Press
John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London (where he is an Associate Editor for the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project), and a member of Wolfson College, Oxford (where he was once a Junior Research Fellow).
A short, smart guide to living the good life through the teachings of Epicurus.
As long as there has been human life, we’ve searched for what it means to be happy. More than two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Epicurus came to his own conclusion: all we really want in life is pleasure. Though today we tend to associate the word “Epicurean” with indulgence in the form of food and wine, the philosophy of Epicurus was about a life well lived even in the hardest of times. As John Sellars shows in this concise, approachable guide, the ideal life envisioned by Epicurus and his followers was a life much more concerned with mental pleasures and the avoidance of pain. Their goal, in short, was a life of tranquility or contentment.
In The Pocket Epicurean Sellars walks us through the history of Epicureanism, starting with the private garden on the edge of ancient Athens where Epicurus and his students lived in the fourth century BC, and where women were as welcome as men. Sellars then moves on to ancient Rome, where Epicurean influence flourished thanks to the poet Lucretius and his cohort. Throughout the book, Sellars draws on the ideas of Epicurus to offer a constructive way of thinking about the pleasures of friendship and our place in the world.
Table of Contents
1. Philosophy as Therapy
2. The Path to Tranquillity
3. What Do You Need?
4. The Pleasures of Friendship
5. Why Study Nature?
6. Don’t Fear Death
7. Explaining Everything
This will be a good opportunity for a timely and topical discussion of a short, manageable and inexpensive book at the time of its publication. His prior work is heavily Stoical. Shall we expect to be Tranquil-ized? Let's find out!
Mark your calendars!