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A full-blooded defence of full-blooded Epicureanism: responses to my critics
  1. James Stacey Taylor
  1. Correspondence to James Stacey Taylor, Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classical Studies, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 08628, USA; jtaylor{at}tcnj.edu

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I cannot fully respond here to all of the subtle and sophisticated criticisms of my full-blooded Epicureanism that have been advanced by Frederik Kaufman, Stephan Blatti, TM Wilkinson and Walter Glannon.1–4 Accordingly, I will focus on correcting some misunderstandings of my position and on responding to some of the most pressing objections.

Kaufman holds that the implications of my full-blooded Epicureanism are ‘startling,’ since if I am right “killing or being killed in war will be morally inconsequential, saving people from death will be without merit, and execution could not count as punishment”.1 Second, he criticises my distinction between something being a harm to a person (an actual harm that adversely affects her experiences), and something being a harm for a person (when a person's interests are thwarted and this could be regretted on her behalf, but she is not actually harmed). Kaufman holds that this distinction does little work, and that it is question-begging to assert that only harms to a person are harms proper. Finally, Kaufman criticises my view that there might be instances of harmless wrongdoing, claiming that it is ‘a conceptual truth’ that ‘to be wronged entails being harmed’. …

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