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The Birth of HedonismThe Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life$
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Kurt Lampe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161136

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161136.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Birth of Hedonism

Conclusion: The Birth of Hedonism

(p.193) Chapter 10 Conclusion: The Birth of Hedonism
The Birth of Hedonism

Kurt Lampe

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter argues for a new understanding of ancient Cyrenaic ethics, including the development of the movement from Aristippus through to the mainstream Cyrenaics, Hegesiacs, Annicereans, and Theodoreans. Such a comprehensive study would need not only to reconstruct the surviving doctrines and arguments, but also to understand the behavioral and cultural contexts within which Cyrenaic theories seemed both cogent and attractive, at least to certain individuals. The chapter also seeks to illuminate the philosophical significance of Cyrenaic ethics. This significance is sometimes spelled out by making the Cyrenaics the originators of the hedonistic tradition in Western philosophy. While all hedonists organize their beliefs around the high valuation of pleasure, those beliefs are also shaped by many other contexts, among them intellectual history, popular ethics, and the practices and institutions which define philosophy in any given era.

Keywords:   Cyrenaic ethics, Aristippus, Hegesiacs, Annicereans, Theodoreans, hedonistic tradition, Western philosophy, popular ethics

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