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WHAT IS ETHICAL HEDONISM ?

WHAT IS ETHICAL HEDONISM ?

  • It holds that pleasure is the proper object of desire; that we do not always seek pleasure but ought to seek pleasure. Some hedonists like Bentham and Mill base ethical hedonism on psychological hedonism.
  • However, Sidgwick does not do so, he rejects psychological hedonism but advocates ethical hedonism.  Ethical hedonism is the claim that all and only pleasure has positive importance and all and only pain or displeasure has negative importance.
  • This importance is to be understood non-instrumentally, that is, independently of the importance of anything that pleasure or displeasure might cause or prevent.
  • Ethical hedonisms can be universalist, me-and-my-near-and-dear egocentric, or egoistically focused just on one’s own pleasure. It can also be a claim about value, morality, well-being, rationality, reasons or aesthetics.
  • Further, Ethical hedonisms may assume two forms- Egoistic and Altruistic.

OBJECTION TO ETHICAL HEDONISM 

  • Ethical hedonisms identifies value with pleasure, but perhaps this is wrong. Health, wealth, knowledge, beauty, virtue etc., are values; when we achieve them, we feel pleasure, and if we fail to do so, we feel pain. Pleasure can be regarded as a sign of value but it is not the value itself. Thus, pleasure and value are not identical.
  • Even if pleasure is regarded as a value, it cannot be regarded as the only value. Rashdall regards pleasure as one of the values, but he regards it as inferior to knowledge, beauty and virtue. He regards virtue as the highest value in comparison with pleasure/happiness, knowledge and beauty.
  • It identifies pleasure with happiness. But pleasure is sentient and transient while happiness is rational and abiding. Pleasure may arise from the gratification of a single desire. But happiness arises from the systematization and regulation of many desires.                        WHAT IS ETHICAL HEDONISM ?

 

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