Hedonist Accounts of Well-Being

Edited by Ben Bramble (Australian National University, Princeton University)
About this topic
Summary

Hedonism about well-being, roughly put, says that how good or bad our lives are for us is just a matter of our pleasures and pains. 

Whether hedonism counts as a subjective or objective theory of well-being depends on whether it is paired with an attitude-based or felt-quality theory of pleasure.

The most influential contemporary challenge to hedonism is Robert Nozick's "experience machine" thought experiment, according to which hedonism entails that it would be best for one to plug into a machine that would give one any future course of experiences one wanted, when this plainly would not be best for one.

Key works

Important historical discussions of hedonism are found in Plato's Philebus, Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus, Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and Mill's Utilitarianism. The most comprehensive contemporary defenses of hedonism are Feldman 2004, Crisp 2006 (Ch. 4), and Bramble 2016. Other defenses include Bradley 2009 (Ch. 1), Heathwood 2006, and Lazari-Radek & Singer 2014 (Ch. 9). Nozick's experience machine thought experiment appears in Nozick 1989.

Introductions Feldman 2004 provides the most thorough introduction to hedonism about well-being. See also Crisp 2013 (Sec. 4.1) and Heathwood 2014 (Sec. 3.1). 
Related categories

391 found
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  1. Can I Get A Little Less Satisfaction, Please?Michael Plant - manuscript
    While life satisfaction theories (LSTs) of well-being are barely discussed in philosophy, they are popular among social scientists and wider society. When philosophers have discussed LSTs, they are taken to be a distinct alternative to the three canonical accounts of well-being—hedonism, desire theories, the objective list. This essay makes three main claims. First, on closer inspection, LSTs are indistinguishable from a type of desire theory—the global desire theory. Second, the life satisfaction/global desire theories are the only subjectivist accounts of well-being (...)
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  2. The Epistemic Argument for Hedonism.Neil Sinhababu - manuscript
    I defend hedonism about moral value by first presenting an argument for moral skepticism, and then showing that phenomenal introspection gives us a unique way to defeat the skeptical argument and establish pleasure's goodness.
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  3. Wireheading as a Possible Contributor to Civilizational Decline.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    Abstract: Advances in new technologies create new ways to stimulate the pleasure center of the human brain via new chemicals, direct application of electricity, electromagnetic fields, “reward hacking” in games and social networks, and in the future, possibly via genetic manipulation, nanorobots and AI systems. This may have two consequences: a) human life may become more interesting, b) humans may stop participating in any external activities, including work, maintenance, reproduction, and even caring for their own health, which could slowly contribute (...)
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  4. A Defense Of Nozick's "experience Machine".Nathan Ballantyne - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 18.
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  5. Passé Pains.Ben Bramble - forthcoming - Midwest Studies in Philosophy.
    Why are pains bad for us? A natural answer is that it is just because of how they feel (or their felt-qualities). But this answer is cast into doubt by cases of people who are unbothered by certain pains of theirs. These pains retain their felt-qualities, but do not seem bad for the people in question. In this paper, I offer a new response to this problem. I argue that in such cases, the pains in question have become ‘just more (...)
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  6. The Folk Theory of Well-Being.John Bronsteen, Brian Leiter, Jonathan Masur & Kevin Tobia - forthcoming - In Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 5.
    What constitutes a “good” life—not necessarily a morally good life, but a life that is good for the person who lived it? In response to this question of “well-being," philosophers have offered three significant answers: A good life is one in which a person can satisfy their desires (“Desire-Satisfaction” or “Preferentism”), one that includes certain good features (“Objectivism”), or one in which pleasurable states dominate or outweigh painful ones (“Hedonism”). To adjudicate among these competing theories, moral philosophers traditionally gather data (...)
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  7. Is Mill's hedonism inconsistent?'.Norman O. Dahl - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
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  8. Social Media Hedonism and the Case of ’Fitspiration’: A Nietzschean Critique.Aurélien Daudi - forthcoming - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy:1-16.
    Though the rise of social media has provided countless advantages and possibilities, both within and without the domain of sports, recent years have also seen some more detrimental aspects of these technologies come to light. In particular, the widespread social media culture surrounding fitness – ‘fitspiration’ – warrants attention for the way it encourages self-sexualization and -objectification, thereby epitomizing a wider issue with photo-based social media in general. Though the negative impact of fitspiration has been well documented, what is less (...)
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  9. Is pleasure all that is good about experience?Willem Deijl - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1-19.
    Experientialist accounts of wellbeing are those accounts of wellbeing that subscribe to the experience requirement. Typically, these accounts are hedonistic. In this article I present the claim that hedonism is not the most plausible experientialist account of wellbeing. The value of experience should not be understood as being limited to pleasure, and as such, the most plausible experientialist account of wellbeing is pluralistic, not hedonistic. In support of this claim, I argue first that pleasure should not be understood as a (...)
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  10. Strangers to ourselves: a Nietzschean challenge to the badness of suffering.Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Is suffering really bad? The late Derek Parfit argued that we all have reasons to want to avoid future agony and that suffering is in itself bad both for the one who suffers and impersonally. Nietzsche denied that suffering was intrinsically bad and that its value could even be impersonal. This paper has two aims. It argues against what I call ‘Realism about the Value of Suffering’ by drawing from a broadly Nietzschean debunking of our evaluative attitudes, showing that a (...)
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  11. Structuring Wellbeing.Christopher Frugé - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many questions about wellbeing involve metaphysical dependence. Does wellbeing depend on minds? Is wellbeing determined by distinct sorts of things? Is it determined differently for different subjects? However, we should distinguish two axes of dependence. First, there are the grounds that generate value. Second, there are the connections between the grounds and value which make it so that those grounds generate that value. Given these distinct axes of dependence, there are distinct dimensions to questions about the dependence of wellbeing. In (...)
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  12. Self-Esteem and Competition.Pablo Gilabert - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    This paper explores the relations between self-esteem and competition. Self-esteem is a very important good and competition is a widespread phenomenon. They are commonly linked, as people often seek self-esteem through success in competition. Although competition in fact generates valuable consequences and can to some extent foster self-esteem, empirical research suggests that competition has a strong tendency to undermine self-esteem. To be sure, competition is not the source of all problematic deficits in self-esteem, and it can arise for, or undercut (...)
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  13. Subjectivists Should Say Pain Is Bad Because of How It Feels.Jennifer Hawkins - forthcoming - Midwest Studies in Philosophy.
    What is the best way to account for the badness of pain and what sort of theory of welfare is best suited to accommodate this view? I argue that unpleasant sensory experiences are prudentially bad in the absence of contrary attitudes, but good when the object of positive attitudes. Pain is bad unless it is liked, enjoyed, valued etc. Interestingly, this view is incompatible with either pure objectivist or pure subjectivist understandings of welfare. However, there is a kind of welfare (...)
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  14. Subjective Theories of Ill-Being.Anthony Kelley - forthcoming - Midwest Studies in Philosophy.
    Philosophers working on welfare have historically focused on well-being and what is good for you. Recently, at the invitation of Shelly Kagan, we have turned our attention to the negative side of welfare concerning ill-being and what is bad for you. This paper contributes to the growing literature on this topic. My interest here is in extending the popular, yet controversial subjectivist tradition concerning well-being to cover the new and burgeoning field of ill-being. According to subjective theories of ill-being, the (...)
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  15. Mood and Wellbeing.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The two main subjectivist accounts of wellbeing, hedonism and desire-satisfactionism, focus on pleasure and desire (respectively) as the subjective states relevant to evaluating the goodness of a life. In this paper, I argue that another type of subjective state, mood, is much more central to wellbeing. After a general characterization of some central features of mood (§1), I argue that the folk concept of happiness construes it in terms of preponderance of good mood (§2). I then leverage this connection between (...)
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  16. The Value of Consciousness to the One Who Has It.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - In Geoffrey Lee & Adam Pautz (eds.), The Importance of Being Conscious. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    There is a strong intuition that a zombie’s life is never good or bad for the zombie. This suggests that consciousness has a special role in making life good or bad for the one who lives it. What explains this? In this paper, I consider five possible explanations of the intuition that a zombie’s life is never worth living, plus the option of rejecting the intuition. I point out the considerable costs of each option, though making clear which option strikes (...)
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  17. Mutual Recognition and Well-Being: What Is It for Relational Selves to Thrive?Arto Laitinen - forthcoming - In Onni Hirvonen & Heikki J. Koskinen (eds.), Theory and Practice of Recognition. New York, London: pp. ch 3..
    This paper argues that relations of mutual recognition (love, respect, esteem, trust) contribute directly and non-reductively to our flourishing as relational selves. -/- Love is important for the quality of human life. Not only do everyday experiences and analyses of pop culture and world literature attest to this; scientific research does as well. How exactly does love contribute to well-being? This chapter discusses the suggestion that it not only matters for the experiential quality of life, or for successful agency, but (...)
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  18. Une défense de l'hédonisme axiologique.Antonin Broi - 2022 - Dialogue 61 (2):325-346.
    L'hédonisme axiologique a une longue histoire en philosophie. Pourtant, il garde une mauvaise réputation qui lui vaut d’être parfois écarté sans ménagement de la discussion philosophique. Cet article se propose de défendre l'hédonisme axiologique en exposant les principaux arguments en sa faveur et en répondant aux principales critiques et confusions dont il fait l'objet. Une attention particulière sera portée aux arguments établissant la spécificité du plaisir et du déplaisir par rapport à toutes les autres choses — amitié, savoir, justice, etc. (...)
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  19. Paradox of Hedonism.Lorenzo Buscicchi - 2022 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Paradox of Hedonism Varieties of hedonism have been criticized from ancient to modern times. Along the way, philosophers have also considered the paradox of hedonism. The paradox is a common objection to hedonism, even if they often do not give that specific name to the objection. According to the paradox of hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure … Continue reading Paradox of Hedonism →.
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  20. Barthes's hedonism.Jeffrey R. Di Leo - 2022 - In Jeffrey R. Di Leo & Zahi Anbra Zalloua (eds.), Understanding Barthes, Understanding Modernism. Bloomsbury Academic.
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  21. Barthes's hedonism.Jeffrey R. Di Leo - 2022 - In Jeffrey R. Di Leo & Zahi Anbra Zalloua (eds.), Understanding Barthes, understanding modernism. Bloomsbury Academic.
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  22. Well-Being and Moral Constraints: A Modified Subjectivist Account.Megan Fritts - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (4):1809-1824.
    In this paper, I argue that a modified version of well-being subjectivism can avoid the standard, yet unintuitive, conclusion that morally horrible acts may contribute to an agent’s well-being. To make my case, I argue that “Modified Subjectivists” need not accept such conclusions about well-being so long as they accept the following three theoretical addenda: 1) there are a plurality of values pertaining to well-being, 2) there are some objective goods, even if they do not directly contribute to well-being, and (...)
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  23. Well-Being and Experience.Alan H. Goldman - 2022 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (2):175-192.
    Robert Nozick argued that we would not plug into his machine that could give us any experiences we chose. More recently Richard Kraut has argued that it would be prudentially rational to plug into the machine, since only experiences count for personal welfare. I argue that both are wrong, that either choice can be rational or not, depending on the central desires of the subjects choosing. This claim is supported by the empirical evidence, which shows an almost even split between (...)
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  24. Well‐being, part 2: Theories of well‐being.Eden Lin - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (2):e12813.
    Theories of well-being purport to identify the features of lives, and of intervals within lives, in virtue of which some people are high in well-being and others are low in well-being. They also purport to identify the properties that make some events or states of affairs good for a person and other events or states of affairs bad for a person. This article surveys some of the main theories of well-being, with an emphasis on work published since the turn of (...)
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  25. Not More than a Feeling.Kevin Reuter, Michael Messerli & Luca Barlassina - 2022 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):41-50.
    Affect-based theorists and life satisfaction theorists disagree about the nature of happiness, but agree about this methodological principle: a philosophical theory of happiness should be in line with the folk concept HAPPINESS. In this article, we present two empirical studies indicating that it is affect-based theories that get the folk concept HAPPINESS right: competent speakers judge a person to be happy if and only if that person is described as feeling pleasure/good most of the time. Our studies also show that (...)
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  26. Naturalistic arguments for ethical hedonism.Neil Sinhababu - 2022 - An Introduction to Utilitarianism.
    This essay presents two arguments for ethical hedonism, each defending it on naturalistic grounds. This abstract lists the three premises of each argument. First is the Reliability Argument. [R1] The reliability of a process is the probability that beliefs it generates are true. [R2] Phenomenal introspection is reliable in generating belief that pleasure is good. [R3] No other processes are independently reliable in generating moral belief. ∴ [%PIG] Pleasure is probably the only good thing. Second is the Universality Argument. [U1] (...)
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  27. The Pleasures of Tranquillity.Alex Voorhoeve - 2022 - Homo Oeconomicus.
    Epicurus posited that the best life involves the greatest pleasures. He also argued that it involves attaining tranquillity. Many commentators have expressed scepticism that these two claims are compatible. For, they argue, Epicurus’ tranquil life is so austere that it is hard to see how it could be maximally pleasurable. Here, I offer an Epicurean account of the pleasures of tranquillity. I also consider different ways of valuing lives from a hedonistic point of view. Benthamite hedonists value lives by the (...)
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  28. Health and Hedonism in Plato and Epicurus. [REVIEW]Michael J. Augustin - 2021 - Ancient Philosophy 41:578-583.
  29. J. S. Mill on Higher Pleasures and Modes of Existence.Tim Beaumont - 2021 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 21 (2(62)):251-68.
    The passage of Mill’s Utilitarianism that sets out the condition in which one pleasure has a superior quality than another stokes interpretive controversy. According to the Lexical Interpretation, Mill takes one pleasure, P1, to be of a superior quality than another, P2, if, and only if, the smallest quantity of P1 is more valuable than any finite quantity of P2. This paper argues that, while the Lexical Interpretation may be supported with supplementary evidence, the passage itself does not rule out (...)
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  30. How to Use the Paradox of Hedonism.Alexander Dietz - 2021 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 18 (4):387-411.
    The paradox of hedonism is the idea that intrinsically desiring nothing other than pleasure can prevent one from obtaining pleasure. In this article, I show how the paradox of hedonism can be used as the basis for an objection against hedonism about well-being, and one that is more defensible than has been commonly recognized. Moreover, I argue that the challenge presented by the paradox can be used to target not only hedonism about well-being, but also desire satisfactionism and the hybrid (...)
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  31. Happiness and Well-Being.Chris Heathwood - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    This Element provides an opinionated introduction to the debate in moral philosophy over identifying the basic elements of well-being and to the related debate over the nature of happiness. The question of the nature of happiness is simply the question of what happiness is, and the central philosophical question about well-being is the question of what things are in themselves of ultimate benefit or harm to a person, or directly make them better or worse off.
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  32. Socrates's Great Speech: The Defense of Philosophy in Plato's Gorgias.Tushar Irani - 2021 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (3):349-369.
    This paper focuses on a neglected portion of Plato’s Gorgias from 506c to 513d during Socrates’s discussion with Callicles. I claim that Callicles adopts the view that virtue lies in self-preservation in this part of the dialogue. Such a position allows him to assert the value of rhetoric in civic life by appealing not to the goodness of acting unjustly with impunity, but to the badness of suffering unjustly without remedy. On this view, the benefits of the life of rhetoric (...)
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  33. The experience requirement on well-being.Eden Lin - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):867-886.
    According to the experience requirement on well-being, differences in subjects’ levels of welfare or well-being require differences in the phenomenology of their experiences. I explain why the two existing arguments for this requirement are not successful. Then, I introduce a more promising argument for it: that unless we accept the requirement, we cannot plausibly explain why only sentient beings are welfare subjects. I argue, however, that because the right kind of theory of well-being can plausibly account for that apparent fact (...)
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  34. Empirical Relationships Among Five Types of Well-Being.Seth Margolis, Eric Schwitzgebel, Daniel J. Ozer & Sonja Lyubomirsky - 2021 - In Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities. New York, NY, USA: pp. 339-376.
    Philosophers, psychologists, economists and other social scientists continue to debate the nature of human well-being. We argue that this debate centers around five main conceptualizations of well-being: hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, desire fulfillment, eudaimonia, and non-eudaimonic objective-list well-being. Each type of well-being is conceptually different, but are they empirically distinguishable? To address this question, we first developed and validated a measure of desire fulfillment, as no measure existed, and then examined associations between this new measure and several other well-being measures. (...)
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  35. An Honest Look at Hybrid Theories of Pleasure.Daniel Pallies - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):887-907.
    What makes it the case that a given experience is pleasurable? According to the felt-quality theory, each pleasurable experience is pleasurable because of the way that it feels—its “qualitative character” or “felt-quality”. According to the attitudinal theory, each pleasurable experience is pleasurable because the experiencer takes certain attitudes towards it. These two theories of pleasure are typically framed as rivals, but it could be that they are both partly right. It could be that pleasure is partly a matter of felt-quality, (...)
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  36. “The Permanent Truth of Hedonist Moralities”: Plato and Levinas on Pleasures.Tanja Staehler & Alexander Kozin - 2021 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 52 (2):137-154.
    Levinas maintains that there is a lasting significance to hedonism if we consider the important role of pleasures for our embodied existence. In this essay, we go back to Plato to explore the nature of pleasure, different kinds of pleasures, and their contribution to the good life. The good life is a considerate mixture of pleasures which requires knowing, understanding and remembering. Pleasures take us to the most basic level of existence which the Presocratics can help us understand through their (...)
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  37. Well-Being and the Good Death.Stephen M. Campbell - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3):607-623.
    The philosophical literature on well-being and the good life contains very little explicit discussion of what makes for a better or worse death. The purpose of this essay is to highlight some commonly held views about the good death and investigate whether these views are recognized by the leading theories of well-being. While the most widely discussed theories do have implications about what constitutes a good death, they seem unable to fully accommodate these popular good death views. I offer two (...)
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  38. Vātsyāyana’s Guide to Liberation.Nilanjan Das - 2020 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 48 (5):791-825.
    In this essay, my aim is to explain Vātsyāyana’s solution to a problem that arises for his theory of liberation. For him and most Nyāya philosophers after him, liberation consists in the absolute cessation of pain. Since this requires freedom from embodied existence, it also results in the absolute cessation of pleasure. How, then, can agents like us be rationally motivated to seek liberation? Vātsyāyana’s solution depends on what I will call the Pain Principle, i.e., the principle that we should (...)
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  39. A Defense of Free-Roaming Cats from a Hedonist Account of Feline Well-being.C. E. Abbate - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (3):439-461.
    There is a widespread belief that for their own safety and for the protection of wildlife, cats should be permanently kept indoors. Against this view, I argue that cat guardians have a duty to provide their feline companions with outdoor access. The argument is based on a sophisticated hedonistic account of animal well-being that acknowledges that the performance of species-normal ethological behavior is especially pleasurable. Territorial behavior, which requires outdoor access, is a feline-normal ethological behavior, so when a cat is (...)
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  40. An Opinionated Guide to “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”.Chris Heathwood - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 94-113.
    Derek Parfit's monumental 1984 book Reasons and Persons contains a little appendix called "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," a mini-essay on well-being that has taken on a life of its own apart from the body to which it is attached. This paper serves as a critical guide to that appendix. Topics include: the nature of pleasure and pain and its relation to theories of well-being; the unrestricted desire-fulfillment theory and the problem of remote desires; whether a person's actual preferences (...)
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  41. Intuitions and Values: Re-assessing the classical arguments against quantitative hedonism.David Lanius - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):53-84.
    Few philosophers today embrace quantitative hedonism, which states that a person’s well-being depends only on the amount of her experienced happiness and suffering. Despite recent attempts to rehabilitate it, most philosophers still consider it untenable. The most influential arguments levelled against it by Mill, Moore, Nozick and Kagan purport to demonstrate that well-being must depend on more than only the amount of experienced happiness and suffering. I argue in this paper that quantitative hedonism can rebut these arguments by pointing out (...)
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  42. Attitudinal and Phenomenological Theories of Pleasure.Eden Lin - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):510-524.
    On phenomenological theories of pleasure, what makes an experience a pleasure is the way it feels. On attitudinal theories, what makes an experience a pleasure is its relationship to the favorable attitudes of the subject who is having it. I advance the debate between these theories in two ways. First, I argue that the main objection to phenomenological theories, the heterogeneity problem, is not compelling. While others have argued for this before, I identify an especially serious version of this problem (...)
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  43. A Defense of Basic Prudential Hedonism.Joe Nelson - 2020 - Dissertation, Duke University
    Prudential hedonism is a school of thought in the philosophy of welfare that says that only pleasure is good for us in itself and only pain is bad for us in itself. This dissertation concerns an especially austere form of prudential hedonism: basic prudential hedonism (BPH). BPH claims that all pleasure is good for us in itself, and all pain is bad for us in itself, without exception; that all pleasures feel fundamentally alike, as do all pains; and that the (...)
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  44. Epicurean Advice for the Modern Consumer.Tim O'Keefe - 2020 - In Kelly Arenson (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Hellenistic Philosophy. pp. 407-416.
    Epicurus thought that the conventional values of Greek society—in particular, its celebration of luxury and wealth—often led people astray. It is by rejecting these values, reducing our desires, and leading a moderately ascetic life that we can attain happiness. But Epicurus’ message is also pertinent for those of us in modern Western culture, with an economy based on constant consumption and an advertising industry that molds us to serve that economy by enlarging our desires. This paper begins with an outline (...)
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  45. Aesthetic Hedonism and Its Critics.Servaas Van der Berg - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1):e12645.
    This essay surveys the main objections to aesthetic hedonism, the view that aesthetic value is reducible to the value of aesthetic pleasure or experience. Hedonism is the dominant view of aesthetic value, but a spate of recent criticisms has drawn its accuracy into question. I introduce some distinctions crucial to the criticisms, before using the bulk of the essay to identify and review six major lines of argument that hedonism's critics have employed against it. Whether or not these arguments suffice (...)
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  46. Well-Being as Harmony.Hasko von Kriegstein - 2020 - In David Kaspar (ed.), Explorations in Ethics. pp. 117-140.
    In this paper, I sketch out a novel theory of well-being according to which well-being is constituted by harmony between mind and world. The notion of harmony I develop has three aspects. First there is correspondence between mind and world in the sense that events in the world match the content of our mental states. Second there is positive orientation towards the world, meaning that we have pro-attitudes towards the world we find ourselves in. Third there is fitting response to (...)
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  47. Hedonism, Desirability and the Incompleteness Objection.Vuko Andrić - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):101-109.
    Hedonism claims that all and only pleasure is intrinsically good. One worry about Hedonism focuses on the “only” part: Are there not things other than pleasure, such as personal projects and relationships, that are intrinsically good? If so, it can be objected that Hedonism is incomplete. In this paper, I defend Hedonism against this objection by arguing for a distinction between goodness and desirability that understands “desirability” as a deontic concept, in terms of “reason to desire”, but goodness as an (...)
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  48. J.S. Mill on Calliclean Hedonism and the Value of Pleasure.Tim Beaumont - 2019 - Dialogue 58 (3):553-578.
    Maximizing Hedonism maintains that the most pleasurable pleasures are the best. Francis Bradley argues that this is either incompatible with Mill’s Qualitative Hedonism, or renders the latter redundant. Some ‘sympathetic’ interpreters respond that Mill was either a Non-Maximizing Hedonist or a Non-Hedonist. However, Bradley’s argument is fallacious, and these ‘sympathetic’ interpretations cannot provide adequate accounts of: Mill’s identification with the Protagorean Socrates; his criticisms of the Gorgian Socrates; or his apparent belief that Callicles is misguided to attempt to show that (...)
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  49. Ksenija Atanasijević on Epicurus: Atomism and Hedonism [Ксенија Атанасијевић о Епикуру: атомизам и хеленизам].Irina Deretić - 2019 - In Irina Deretić & Aleksandar Kandić (eds.), History of Serbian Philosophy. Essays and contributions IV. Belgrade: Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade. pp. 235-258.
    Ksenija Atanasijevic was not only the first female lecturer at the University of Belgrade but also the first expert in the Ancient Greek Philosophy. In this paper, I will not engage with all of her writings about Ancient Greek thought. Instead, I will place the emphasis on her interpretation of Epicurus, because her best and most profound works are dedicated to his philosophy, including her book on the Epicurus’s atomism written in French under the title L’atomisme d’Épicure. I will critically (...)
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  50. Explaining the Paradox of Hedonism.Alexander Dietz - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):497-510.
    The paradox of hedonism is the idea that making pleasure the only thing that we desire for its own sake can be self-defeating. Why would this be true? In this paper, I survey two prominent explanations, then develop a third possible explanation, inspired by Joseph Butler's classic discussion of the paradox. The existing accounts claim that the paradox arises because we are systematically incompetent at predicting what will make us happy, or because the greatest pleasures for human beings are found (...)
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