Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Schools Of Hedonism - Part 1: Introduction

Lets first start by stating what Hedonism is: Hedonism declares pleasure as the highest good, and that the humans' ultimate goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Variations from this straight forward definition do exist and that's whats will be discussed in this series.

Hedonism assumes that humans seek pleasure (others claim that happiness is what humans seek not pleasure - for now pick what you think fits). Since the rightness of an action is measured by the degree it fulfills its purpose (by definition), thus pleasure is the highest good - as Hedonism suggests.

Several attempts have been tried to discredit Hedonism, the most notorious of which is the paradox of Hedonism which goes like this: A person cannot seek happiness and obtain it - but, when one pursues some other purpose (eg. a challenging career, a project important to humanity, a code of ethics, a religious commitment), one achieves happiness. A philosopher once said: "Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so."

It is important to notice that the paradox of Hedonism isn't really paradoxical; Hedonism states that humans seek happiness, but if a person - for psychological reasons - fails to achieve happiness by pursuing happiness then if it works for them they can pursue another goal which diverts their attention from focusing on that happiness - which consequently helps them achieve happiness which is the stated purpose as Hedonism suggests.

Another thing worth notice is that seeking pleasure doesn't necessarily undermine pleasure - as the paradox of Hedonism suggests. Proclaiming Hedonism and pursuing pleasure can work flawlessly - it can have counter-intuitive side effects on some, but that's their problem!

In this series:
Schools Of Hedonism - Part 1: Introduction
Schools Of Hedonism - Part 2: Methods Of Evaluation
Schools Of Hedonism - Part 3: What Kind Of Pleasure?
Schools Of Hedonism - Part 4: Egoism VS Utilitarianism

10 comments:

John Doe said...

How about if someone is seeking the happiness socially, and then finds out that this happiness is actually just a cover for the happiness he really desires to achive while following the path of Hedonism, through which he'll be psychologically happy, but not thoroughly satisfied. Bringing us to the question of "To be or not to be".....

P.S. If u understood this comment, u need to get laid ASAP

Devil's Mind said...

If this is the situation you find yourself in, then the real question to ask is: "to hire a prostitute or not" - where in your case i'd advise the former...

John Doe said...

Well considering my general hatred for mankind i'll probably skip the introduction, and go straight to gutting her with a fishing knife.
Thx for the advice though, it might help me reach my happy place.
So can u help a brother out??

Devil's Mind said...

I think I might interest you in some Lithium pills.... Some people say they make you a new man!

John Doe said...

Dude i don't need a pill, i was referring to a prostitute whom i can eviscerate, and then laugh hysterically as she screams and lies on the bed dying in a pool of her own blood.....

Devil's Mind said...

Man, this is getting way off-topic; Please understand that the comments section is for topic-related general-interest discussion, rather than personal chit-chat.

Anyways as a last advise I think it might benefit you to join the Chinese Mafia; I hear they make good use of professional human-torture experts! Your talents can probably flourish there...

John Doe said...

Well seems as there r absolutely zero people interested in this topic, considering no one made a comment, i think u should stop whining and thank god or whatever is it that u believe in that there's someone actually saying something.
Thx for the advice

Devil's Mind said...

Please understand that this blog is administred through policies. If you never did, it might help if read the commenting policy. Those policies are there to ensure the quality of comments. I am generally lenient at enforcing those policies so as to increase friendliness of this place. Yet, the lack of comments that you refer to doesnt justify overlooking those rules of the thumb. Sacrificing quality for quantity is NOT one of the policies of this blog.

Ghaith said...

The number of comments is not a measure of a post’s popularity John Doe. It is very lame of you to bring up this point every time you’re warned or kicked out of a blog for you never-related comments.

Rania said...

John Doe, I totally agree with Ghaith; comments are not a measure, and when you're not commenting, it means the post has got you thinking and you can't cut those thoughts down into coherently written ideas at the moment. True for me, at least.