Hedonism and the concept of happiness in life

Contact Epicurus Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy. He argued that we should only proportion belief to empirical evidence and logic, and he propounded the scientific view of atomism, according to which all facts in the macroscopic world are caused by the configuration of atoms or indivisible elements in the microscopic world.

Hedonism and the concept of happiness in life

Types of Hedonism a. Folk Hedonism When the term "hedonism" is used in modern literature, or by non-philosophers in their everyday talk, its meaning is quite different from the meaning it takes when used in the discussions of philosophers.

Be a Long-Term Hedonist

Non-philosophers tend to think of a hedonist as a person who seeks out pleasure for themselves without any particular regard for their own future well-being or for the well-being of others. Philosophers commonly refer to this everyday understanding of hedonism as "Folk Hedonism.

Value Hedonism and Prudential Hedonism When philosophers discuss hedonism, they are most likely to be referring to hedonism about value, and especially the slightly more specific theory, hedonism about well-being. Hedonism as a theory about value best referred to as Value Hedonism holds that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable and all and only pain is intrinsically disvaluable.

The term "intrinsically" is an important part of the definition and is best understood in contrast to the term "instrumentally. Pleasure is thought to be intrinsically valuable because, even if it did not lead to any other benefit, it would still be good to experience.

Money is an example of an instrumental good; its value for us comes from what we can do with it what we can buy with it.

Hedonistic Theories

The fact that a copious amount of money has no value if no one ever sells anything reveals that money lacks intrinsic value. Value Hedonism reduces everything of value to pleasure. For example, a Value Hedonist would explain the instrumental value of money by describing how the things we can buy with money, such as food, shelter, and status-signifying goods, bring us pleasure or help us to avoid pain.

Hedonism as a theory about well-being best referred to as Prudential Hedonism is more specific than Value Hedonism because it stipulates what the value is for.

Some philosophers replace "people" with "animals" or "sentient creatures," so as to apply Prudential Hedonism more widely.

Problems With Existing Approaches to Happiness

Singer questions why some humans can see the intrinsic disvalue in human pain, but do not also accept that it is bad for sentient non-human animals to experience pain. When Prudential Hedonists claim that happiness is what they value most, they intend happiness to be understood as a preponderance of pleasure over pain.

An important distinction between Prudential Hedonism and Folk Hedonism is that Prudential Hedonists usually understand that pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain in the very short-term is not always the best strategy for achieving the best long-term balance of pleasure over pain.

Prudential Hedonism is an integral part of several derivative types of hedonistic theory, all of which have featured prominently in philosophical debates of the past. Since Prudential Hedonism plays this important role, the majority of this article is dedicated to Prudential Hedonism.

First, however, the main derivative types of hedonism are briefly discussed. Motivational Hedonism Motivational Hedonism more commonly referred to by the less descriptive label, " Psychological Hedonism " is the theory that the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain guide all of our behavior.

Most accounts of Motivational Hedonism include both conscious and unconscious desires for pleasure, but emphasize the latter. Bentham used the idea to support his theory of Hedonistic Utilitarianism discussed below.

Weak versions of Motivational Hedonism hold that the desires to seek pleasure and avoid pain often or always have some influence on our behavior. Weak versions are generally considered to be uncontroversially true and not especially useful for philosophy.

Philosophers have been more interested in strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism, which hold that all behavior is governed by the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain and only those desires. Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism have been used to support some of the normative types of hedonism and to argue against non-hedonistic normative theories.

Hedonism and the concept of happiness in life

Glaucon believes that a strong version of Motivational Hedonism is true, but Socrates does not. Glaucon asserts that, emboldened with the power provided by the Ring of Gyges, everyone would succumb to the inherent and ubiquitous desire to pursue their own ends at the expense of others.

Socrates disagrees, arguing that good people would be able to overcome this desire because of their strong love of justice, fostered through philosophising. Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism currently garner very little support for similar reasons.

Many examples of seemingly-pain-seeking acts performed out of a sense of duty are well-known — from the soldier who jumps on a grenade to save his comrades to that time you rescued a trapped dog only to be predictably bitten in the process.

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Introspective evidence also weighs against strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism; many of the decisions we make seem to be based on motives other than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Given these reasons, the burden of proof is considered to be squarely on the shoulders of anyone wishing to argue for a strong account of Motivational Hedonism.

Normative Hedonism Value Hedonism, occasionally with assistance from Motivational Hedonism, has been used to argue for specific theories of right action theories that explain which actions are morally permissible or impermissible and why.

The theory that happiness should be pursued that pleasure should be pursued and pain should be avoided is referred to as Normative Hedonism and sometimes Ethical Hedonism. Both types commonly use happiness defined as pleasure minus pain as the sole criterion for determining the moral rightness or wrongness of an action.

Important variations within each of these two main types specify either the actual resulting happiness after the act or the predicted resulting happiness before the act as the moral criterion. Although both major types of Normative Hedonism have been accused of being repugnant, Hedonistic Egoism is considered the most offensive.

Hedonistic Egoism Hedonistic Egoism is a hedonistic version of egoism, the theory that we should, morally speaking, do whatever is most in our own interests.

Hedonistic Egoism is the theory that we ought, morally speaking, to do whatever makes us happiest — that is whatever provides us with the most net pleasure after pain is subtracted.

The most repugnant feature of this theory is that one never has to ascribe any value whatsoever to the consequences for anyone other than oneself.Positive psychology aims at catalyzing a change in the focus of psychology from preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building positive qualities.

A key interest of positive psychology is the analysis of happiness which has been broadly defined according to two opposing. Hedonism and Happiness in Theory and Practice by writing inspired me to investigate hedonism and happiness in more detail: Dan Haybron, Roger Crisp, Richard Layard, and Fred Feldman.

If I had not there to be infinite happiness can be a way to achieve a truly meaningful life. California State University, Northridge Happiness, Hope, and Optimism by Patricia A. Dunavold (spring ) Introduction. On the surface, happiness, hope, and optimism appear to be three different terms for the same concept.

PDF Happiness and Freedom in Socrates and Callicles Kristian Urstad. Callicles holds a desire-fulfilment conception of happiness; it is something like, that is, the continual satisfaction of desires that constitutes happiness for him.

Happiness in Theory and Practice by writing inspired me to investigate hedonism and happiness in more detail: Dan Haybron, Roger Crisp, Richard Layard, and Fred Feldman. If I had not there to be infinite happiness can be a way to achieve a truly meaningful life.

Hedonism and the concept of happiness in life

Virtues and a Good Life Compiled by Mike Garofalo E-Mail. This webpage was last revised, improved, updated or modified on: June 20, This webpage was first published on July 1,

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