Epicurus: All About Pleasure?

Course details

From £820.00
10 CATS points

Sat 13 Jul 2019 - Sat 20 Jul 2019

Epicurus: All About Pleasure?


Epicureans just over-indulge in sensuous pleasures, right? No: the highest pleasure for the men and women living in the frugal commune that Epicurus founded in 307 BCE was to be free from mental and bodily pain. Epicureanism became one of the leading philosophies in antiquity, and was rediscovered in the Renaissance. Through the close study of Epicurus’s surviving letters and other sources we explore his philosophy as a way of life, and discover an appealingly simple and ascetic approach to virtue and happiness, and intriguing views about the nature of the universe and our place in it.

Programme details

Session 1

Epicurus in context

Session 2

Entering the garden in Athens

Session 3

There are only atoms and the void

Session 4

The cosmos lacks purpose

Session 5

The mind is material

Session 6

All impressions are true

Session 7

The will is free

Session 8

Pleasure is the highest good

Session 9

The virtues are means to that end

Session 10

The gods do not concern us

Session 11

And neither does death

Session 12

The happy life is undisturbed

Recommended reading

To view your recommended Reading List please see the PDF below:



Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner): £820.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals): £1430.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals): £1200.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals): £1540.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals): £1295.00


Dr Peter Wyss


Peter has been teaching weekly classes and online courses for the past ten years at the department, where he is involved in certificate and postgraduate programmes too. He also teaches philosophy for the Open University.

Course aims

This course aims to give participants a comprehensive introduction to Epicurean philosophy through the critical study and discussion of ancient sources.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • be able to identify the core views and arguments of Epicureanism;
  • have the ablity express and critically evaluate these views;
  • be able to develop the ability to read, interpret, and communicate extracts from ancient philosophical texts.

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.