Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Schools Of Hedonism - Part 4: Egoism VS Utilitarianism

Hedonism is usually connotated with egoism, but this is not really the case: Some altruistic philosophies recognize Hedonism, the most notorious of which is Utilitarianism. Although Egoistic Hedonism and Utilitarianism both recognize happiness as the ultimate goal and the highest good, they hold very different underlaying beliefs.

Utilitarianism recognizes one extra factor that Egoistic Hedonism does not recognize: The extent. The extent is defined as the number of people affected by an action. If an action will make a hundred people happy and upset only one then that action is viewed in positive light. Variations in the methods of calculation do exist within Utilitarianism the same way as described in the previous part.

One of the commonly known utilitarian systems is majoritarian democracy, where voting is used as a practical tool to decide the extent of people who are believed to benefit from that action, and those who are believed to be adversely affected by it.

On the other hand, Egoistic Hedonism holds that each person takes responsibility for their own happiness and views the side-effects on other individuals as a secondary concern.

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

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