The That 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 can be explored on this article.
For instance, motivational hedonism claims that human habits is primarily pushed by the avoidance of ache and pursuit of delight (Moore, 2019).
In the meantime, moral hedonism asserts that pleasure is the very best human worth, and ache is worthless. This concept led to the event of utilitarianism, a idea of moral decision-making that determines what is nice and proper based on 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) said on this well-known quote from his e-book An Introduction to the Ideas of Morals and Laws,
“Nature has positioned mankind beneath the governance of two sovereign masters, ache and pleasure. It’s for them alone to level out what we must do, in addition to to find out what we will do. On the one hand the usual of proper and flawed, 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 far more to hedonism from a philosophical perspective than self-indulgent pleasure. The subsequent part explores the philosophical foundations of hedonism and provides 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 could additionally embrace any intrinsically useful expertise, like artistic pursuits resembling making music or the enjoyment of studying by means of studying books.
Nonetheless, from a philosophical perspective, hedonism is a sort of consequentialism, an moral idea that argues that the morality of human habits might be judged based on its penalties (Moore, 2019). This hedonism is extra nuanced and has resulted in a variety of “hedonisms” as listed under, with examples.
Normative hedonism claims that the pursuit of delight is humankind’s major cause for residing (Tiberius & Corridor, 2010). Normative hedonism prioritizes short-term pleasure or acquire over obligation or obligation and sometimes rationalizes these actions with a “you solely dwell as soon as” mentality.
An apparent instance could be ingesting alcohol or utilizing medication for pleasure whatever the long-term probably painful penalties, resembling dependancy and associated well being, social, and monetary issues.
Nonetheless, most socially profitable adults train restraint within the pursuit of delight and self-discipline themselves to derive extra sustainable advantages in the long run. That is summed up within the frequent phrase “no ache, no acquire,” the antithesis to hedonism.
Subsequent, motivational hedonism claims that persons are primarily motivated by the promise of delight and the avoidance of ache (Moore, 2019). That is usually termed “psychological hedonism” and underpins Freudian idea (Daley, 1967) and theories of ethical Darwinism (Wiker, 2002). The avoidance of ache and pursuit of delight is explanatory of all human habits. Motivational hedonists would declare that is human nature.
Nonetheless, critics declare motivational hedonism overlooks different elements that additionally drive decision-making, resembling equity, generosity, and authenticity. That is refuted by arguing that though brokers could behave in methods that aren’t instantly pleasurable, upholding reality may also help keep away from the ache of guilt or being caught mendacity. Due to this fact, 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 on (Weijers, 2011). An instance could be a drug addict stealing cash for his or her subsequent repair if the ensuing pleasure outweighed any ethical discomfort skilled by means of theft.
Lastly, altruistic hedonism argues that maximizing the pleasure of humankind as a complete determines the morality of an motion (Cialdini & Kenrick, 1976). An instance of an altruistic hedonist could be a philanthropic billionaire donating their fortune to a trigger that maximized the pleasure of the best variety of folks. The billionaire might then experience 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 decisions, resembling freedom, reality, and justice, when deciding what is correct and flawed (Pradhan, 2015).
A helpful dialogue and abstract of the philosophical roots and follow of hedonism are offered within the video under.