Hedonism and Pleasure

Topics: Hedonism, Utilitarianism, Suffering Pages: 2 (363 words) Published: January 29, 2013
Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person's pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by a student of Socrates, Aristippus of Cyrene. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.[2]

The Hedonic Calculus was devised by J.S. Mill, and it attempts to objectively measure happiness verses suffering. There are different factors of pleasure to be considered, according to the Hedonic Calculus, and it goes like this:

1. Intensity: How strong is the pleasure?
2. Duration: How long will the pleasure last?
3. Certainty or uncertainty: How certain are we that the pleasure will happen? 4. Propinquity: How soon will the pleasure happen?
5. Fecundity: How likely is it that this kind of pleasure could happen again? 6. Purity: How pure is the pleasure? Will any pains result in it? 7. Extent: How many people will it affect?

There are a few serious problems with this, philosophically: 1. Problem of other minds: You cannot know what another person is experiencing.The problem of other minds clearly indicates that you are only aware of your own experiences. To claim objective knowledge of another's experiences is never completely valid. 2. Far too complex: you cannot know how much pain or pleasure somebody is experiencing.People are different, some are more sensitive than others- so it could be that not everyone suffers in the same way, or to the same degree. 3. Hedonism is against equality

Hedonism goes that the value of something is dependent of how much pain and pleasure it causes. In other words, if something causes...
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