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U3A Philosophy Group
Notes of the Meeting of the U3A Philosophy Group
June 18th 2019
Both John Gladwin and Brian Edwards introduced their papers to enable discussion.
Brian was tackling the question, ‘Is pleasure the ultimate good?’ Both looked at the thinking of Epicurus.
The meeting began by responding to Brian’s question as to whether Oskar Schindler’s scheme to save Jewish refugees from the Nazi’s was pleasure seeking behaviour or was he motivated by a higher sense of the ultimate good?
The meeting had a lively discussion of the language surrounding pleasure. Was it satisfaction (as in either the active or passive sense in Epicurus), tranquillity, gratification, joy.
We felt we needed to dig deeper.
The discussion was cautious of the phrase ‘ultimate good’ and inclined to a more relative rather than absolute sense of what this might mean.
The meeting recognised the limits of formal language to capture what this is about and spent some time considering art and music as different languages for human experience – with the potential for experience that has a transcendental quality.
We took note that a child’s early experience of life shaped their development and the importance of their experience of love.
We noted that anger is sometimes the motivation for action – at injustice for example. So ‘pleasure’ does not capture either the depth or the range of human motivation for good action and good living.
There was a general feeling that Epicurus had not plumbed the depths of human experience on the issue of pleasure. But he had provoked a lively and good debate!
Please note there will be no meeting in July or August