The Which means of Hedonism
The time period “hedonism” is derived from the traditional Greek for “pleasure” (Weijers, 2011). Nonetheless, there are a number of variants of hedonism in philosophy which are explored on this article.
For instance, motivational hedonism claims that human habits is primarily pushed by the avoidance of ache and pursuit of enjoyment (Moore, 2019).
In the meantime, moral hedonism asserts that pleasure is the best human worth, and ache is worthless. This concept led to the event of utilitarianism, a concept of moral decision-making that determines what is sweet and proper in accordance with the best happiness of the best variety of folks (Driver, 2022). Utilitarianism underpins the rules of recent democracy (Riley, 1990).
As Jeremy Bentham (1789, Chapter 1) acknowledged on this well-known quote from his e book An Introduction to the Rules of Morals and Laws,
“Nature has positioned mankind underneath the governance of two sovereign masters, ache and pleasure. It’s for them alone to level out what we should do, in addition to to find out what we will do. On the one hand the usual of proper and mistaken, on the opposite the chain of causes and results, are mounted to their throne.”
From this quite simple abstract, it’s clear that there’s way more to hedonism from a philosophical perspective than self-indulgent pleasure. The subsequent part explores the philosophical foundations of hedonism and affords examples of various views.
The Philosophy of Hedonism and Examples
As defined above, broadly talking, hedonists would declare that pleasure and the avoidance of ache decide the morality of an motion.
This might result in self-indulgence within the pleasures of the senses, however it will additionally embrace any intrinsically invaluable expertise, like inventive pursuits akin to making music or the enjoyment of studying by studying books.
Nonetheless, from a philosophical perspective, hedonism is a kind of consequentialism, an moral concept that argues that the morality of human habits could be judged in accordance with its penalties (Moore, 2019). This hedonism is extra nuanced and has resulted in a spread of “hedonisms” as listed beneath, with examples.
Normative hedonism claims that the pursuit of enjoyment is humankind’s major purpose for residing (Tiberius & Corridor, 2010). Normative hedonism prioritizes short-term pleasure or acquire over obligation or responsibility and infrequently rationalizes these actions with a “you solely reside as soon as” mentality.
An apparent instance can be consuming alcohol or utilizing medication for pleasure whatever the long-term doubtlessly painful penalties, akin to dependancy and associated well being, social, and monetary issues.
Nonetheless, most socially profitable adults train restraint within the pursuit of enjoyment and self-discipline themselves to derive extra sustainable advantages in the long run. That is summed up within the widespread phrase “no ache, no acquire,” the antithesis to hedonism.
Subsequent, motivational hedonism claims that persons are primarily motivated by the promise of enjoyment and the avoidance of ache (Moore, 2019). That is usually termed “psychological hedonism” and underpins Freudian concept (Daley, 1967) and theories of ethical Darwinism (Wiker, 2002). The avoidance of ache and pursuit of enjoyment is explanatory of all human habits. Motivational hedonists would declare that is human nature.
Nonetheless, critics declare motivational hedonism overlooks different components that additionally drive decision-making, akin to equity, generosity, and authenticity. That is refuted by arguing that though brokers might behave in methods that aren’t instantly pleasurable, upholding reality may help keep away from the ache of guilt or being caught mendacity. Subsequently, psychological hedonism holds.
Egotistical hedonism argues that people ought to pursue no matter contributes most to their very own pleasure after subtracting any ache brought about (Weijers, 2011). An instance can be a drug addict stealing cash for his or her subsequent repair if the ensuing pleasure outweighed any ethical discomfort skilled by theft.
Lastly, altruistic hedonism argues that maximizing the pleasure of humankind as an entire determines the morality of an motion (Cialdini & Kenrick, 1976). An instance of an altruistic hedonist can be a philanthropic billionaire donating their fortune to a trigger that maximized the pleasure of the best variety of folks. The billionaire might then enjoy being admired for his or her altruism.
Nonetheless, the issue with hedonism of all types from a philosophical perspective is that it ignores the position of different values in figuring out ethical selections, akin to freedom, reality, and justice, when deciding what is correct and mistaken (Pradhan, 2015).
A helpful dialogue and abstract of the philosophical roots and apply of hedonism are supplied within the video beneath.