No. 1 (2023)

Toward an Epicurean MAC Model of Boredom

Alex Gillham
St. Bonaventure University

Published 2023-01-13

How to Cite

Gillham, A. (2023). Toward an Epicurean MAC Model of Boredom. Journal of Boredom Studies, (1). Retrieved from


I have previously argued that an Epicurean who has achieved the final telos will still find philosophy worthwhile on hedonic grounds because philosophy prevents painful boredom they might otherwise experience. In response, Justin Bell objected that the Epicureans do not need the kind of explanation I developed because lasting tranquility is rare if not impossible, and even if this were false, it would be better to take philosophy to be worthwhile to the tranquil because of the curiosity it satisfies rather than the boredom it prevents. I reply here that the Epicureans do need the kind of explanation I developed and that Bell’s explanation is less attractive than mine. However, I also concede that my explanation requires an account of Epicurean boredom, which I proceed to sketch here. Borrowing from Westgate and Wilson’s MAC model, I contend that if doing philosophy is worthwhile to the tranquil Epicurean because it prevents boredom, three things must be true: 1) boredom must be an aversive state; 2) the Epicurean must be able to attend to philosophy while tranquil, and 3) philosophizing must have value for the tranquil. I argue that all three conditions are satisfied by the view that philosophy is worthwhile to the tranquil because of the painful boredom it prevents.


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