chapter  2
Eudaimonia: the ancients and the good life
Pages 21

The notion that hedonistic pleasure is, or ought to be, the one and only motivation for our choices has come under critical examination in recent years. The Greeks did not typically equate these, however, with the goal of a well-lived life, or eudaimonia. This chapter traces the outlines of the major ethical systems of Classical Greek ethics and of the Hellenistic schools. Like Plato, Aristotle argued that the good life consists in an accord of the soul with virtue. The good life for the Cynics is a life lived "according to nature", a familiar injunction for the ancient Greek philosophers. Epicurus's conception of eudaimonia is typically expressed in terms of the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The Stoics are similar to the Epicureans in holding to a materialist (corporeal) conception of the cosmos, though Long points out that it is better to characterize the Stoics as vitalists who regarded nature as a creative force.