Hedonism: Morality and Q. no.

Topics: Morality, Hedonism, Utilitarianism Pages: 8 (2398 words) Published: October 25, 2009
Answer to Q. No. 1

Hedonism (Greek: hēdonē (ᾑδονή from Ancient Greek) "pleasure" +–ism) is a philosophical position that takes the pursuit of pleasure as the primary motivating element of life, based upon a view that "pleasure is good" i.e. pleasure has an ultimate importance and is the most important pursuit of humanity. The concept of pleasure is, however, understood and approached in a variety of ways, and hedonism is classified accordingly.

The three basic types of philosophical hedonism are psychological hedonism, which holds that the tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain is an essential attribute of human nature; evaluative or ethical hedonism, which sets up certain ethical or moral ends as desirable because attaining them will result in happiness; and reflective, or normative hedonism, which seeks to define value in terms of pleasure. The ancient Greek philosophers Democritus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus (341 – 270 B.C.E.) and their followers developed ethical theories centered on the “good life” (the ideal life, the life most worth living, eudaimonia, happiness) and the role of pleasure of achieving it. (Ref:- http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hedonism)

Objection against Hedonism
No general code of morality could be established on the basis of pleasure. Pleasure is essentially subjective feeling, and only the individual is the competent judge of how much pleasure or pain a course of action affords him. What is more pleasurable for one may be less so for another. Hence, on hedonistic grounds, it is evident that there could be no permanently and universally valid dividing line between right and wrong.

Answer to Q. No. 2
Classic utilitarian’s held hedonistic act consequentialism. Act consequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion. Hedonism then claims that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad. Together these claims imply that an act is morally right if and only if that act causes "the greatest happiness for the greatest number," as the common slogan says.

Classic utilitarianism reduces all morally relevant factors to consequences. They define right actions on the basis of following factors:-

Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on consequences (as opposed to the circumstances or the intrinsic nature of the act or anything that happens before the act).

Actual Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the actual consequences (as opposed to foreseen, foreseeable, intended, or likely consequences).

Direct Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act itself (as opposed to the consequences of the agent's motive, of a rule or practice that covers other acts of the same kind, and so on).

Evaluative Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the value of the consequences (as opposed to other features of the consequences).

Hedonism = the value of the consequences depends only on the pleasures and pains in the consequences (as opposed to other goods, such as freedom, knowledge, life, and so on).

Maximizing Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on which consequences are best (as opposed to satisfactory or an improvement over the status quo).

Aggregative Consequentialism = which consequences are best is some function of the values of parts of those consequences (as opposed to rankings of whole worlds or sets of consequences).

Total Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the total net good in the consequences (as opposed to the average net good per person).

Universal Consequentialism = moral rightness depends on the consequences for all people or sentient...
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