Hedonic Tone and the Heterogeneity of Pleasure

Utilitas 24 (2):172-199 (2012)
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Some philosophers have claimed that pleasures and pains are characterized by their particular or . Most contemporary writers reject this view: they hold that hedonic states have nothing in common except being liked or disliked (alternatively: pursued or avoided) for their own sake. In this article, I argue that the hedonic tone view has been dismissed too quickly: there is no clear introspective or scientific evidence that pleasures do not share a phenomenal quality. I also argue that analysing hedonic states in terms of liking or wanting is implausible. If it is correct that pleasures and pains are not united by any particular hedonic tone, we should instead simply conclude that there are several different hedonic tones. This pluralistic understanding of the hedonic tone view has generally been overlooked in the literature, but appears to be fairly plausible as a philosophical account of pleasure and pain



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Ivar Labukt
University of Tromsø

Citations of this work

Reasons and Theories of Sensory Affect.Murat Aydede & Matthew Fulkerson - 2018 - In David Bain, Michael Brady & Jennifer Corns (eds.), Philosophy of Pain. London: Routledge. pp. 27-59.
How to Unify Theories of Sensory Pleasure: An Adverbialist Proposal.Murat Aydede - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):119-133.
A Contemporary Account of Sensory Pleasure.Murat Aydede - 2018 - In Lisa Shapiro (ed.), Pleasure: A History. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 239-266.
Attitudinal and Phenomenological Theories of Pleasure.Eden Lin - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):510-524.
Let’s be Liberal: An Alternative to Aesthetic Hedonism.Antonia Peacocke - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (2):163-183.

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On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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