Understanding Luxury: A Philosophical Perspective

  • Marta MendonçaEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Advances in Luxury book series (PAAL)


The text addresses the phenomenon of luxury from a philosophical perspective, apprehending it as an exclusively and universal human phenomenon. The central question is the following: why is luxury a human need? Accompanying Plato’s perspective, the text considers the broad character of the human experience of luxury and seeks to understand the meaning of the singular relationship with the superfluous that is characteristic of any human life or human culture. The aspiration to luxury is experienced as a manifestation of freedom. For this reason, any consideration of luxury takes on a specifically ethical dimension: just like freedom, luxury presents itself to us ambivalently. Acknowledged as something required by human singularity, luxury can become a factor in human fulfilment or an impediment to this same fulfilment.


Biological needs Freedom Plato Luxury Superfluous 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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