Volume 10, April 2017
Making Sense of Epicurean Friendship
An Intended Audience Approach
This paper argues that Epicurean friendship is instrumental in value, and Epicurus’s varied claims about friendship can be understood as teaching strategies that are tailored to different levels of students. After rejecting an argument that presents Epicurean friendship as intrinsic, I outline Epicurus’s methodology of teaching and examine his specific claims regarding friendship as intended for either novice, intermediate, or advanced students. This approach allows Epicurus’s weaker and stronger claims regarding friendship to be viewed as gradually progressing students towards the good life without deviating from the ethical hedonism that frames his entire philosophical project.