Sensory Hedonism about Happiness

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1 University Press Scholarship Online You are looking at of 492 items for: keywords : pleasure Sensory Hedonism about Happiness Fred Feldman in What Is This Thing Called Happiness? Published in print: 2010 Published Online: May 2010 ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick say things that strongly suggest sensory hedonism about happiness. This is the view that a person's level of happiness is equal to the total amount of sensory pleasure he is feeling at that moment, minus the total amount of sensory pain he is feeling at that moment. Daniel Haybron presented a series of arguments against sensory hedonism about happiness. These arguments are explained and criticized. More successful arguments against sensory hedonism are then presented. One of these is based on the case of the New Mother. At the moment when she gives birth the New Mother (a) is experiencing very severe sensory pain (and no sensory pleasure) but at the same time (b) is profoundly happy. Thus, a person's level of happiness at a time cannot be identified with the net amount of sensory pleasure she is feeling at that time. Pleasure, Knowledge, and Sensation in Democritus May acprof:oso/ This chapter investigates the relation between Democritus' physical and ethical theories. The first part criticizes the attempts of earlier writers, notably G. Vlastos, to establish systematic correlations between psychological states described in terms belonging to the physical theory and ethically significant states such as happiness. The second part argues that the link between the physical and ethical theories is Page 1 of 5

2 methodological rather than substantive, in that both types of theory replace reliance on sensation by reliance on a rational theory, which nevertheless depends on sensation in that a) the physical theory is subject to empirical verification and b) the good for man is identical with pleasure conceived as the enjoyment of life. Plato, Hare, and Davidson on Akrasia 1 May acprof:oso/ This chapter argues against a principle on which Donald Davidson relies in his influential discussion of akrasia, viz: If an agent judges that it would be better to do x than to do y, he wants to do x more than to do y. It seeks to show by a counter-example that that principle is false, and then to explain the different reasons why Plato and R. M. Hare also accept it. Finally, the chapter proposes an alternative principle, acceptance of which both explains the occurrence of akrasia and does more justice to the complex phenomena of wanting than the positions criticized in this chapter. Plato and Aristotle on the Criterion of Real Pleasures May acprof:oso/ This chapter examines the attempts by Plato and Aristotle to establish which, among the great variety of pleasures, are genuine pleasures, as opposed to not being pleasures at all, or being pleasures only in some qualified sense. Both appeal to the judgement of a certain type of person as authoritative, but the types of person are different. In Republic Book IX, Plato argues that the philosopher's judgement is authoritative because he excels other types of person in intelligence, reason, and experience of the various types of pleasure. It is argued that this argument fails because only a devotee of a given type of pleasure has the appropriate experience of it, and the philosopher cannot be a devotee of the pleasures of the body and of ambition. Aristotle's Page 2 of 5

3 criterion in the Nicomachean Ethics is the judgement of the person in sound condition, including physical and psychological health, but he is unable to identify the appropriately sound condition independently of the person's having the right kind of pleasures. He appears to suggest in the Eudemian Ethics that it may be possible to identify genuine pleasures independently of anyone's judgement by direct appeal to the proper functioning of human nature. Aesthetic Essence Malcolm Budd in Aesthetic Essays ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ This chapter attempts to show that the aesthetic has an essence that is capturable in non-aesthetic terms. It demonstrates the interdefinability of the various aesthetic categories and explores different conceptions of the scope of the aesthetic. It critically examines accounts of aesthetic pleasure advanced by Kendall Walton and Jerrold Levinson. It extracts from this examination certain considerations that allow of a reductive account of the aesthetic, whatever its scope may be considered to be. It concludes by presenting one such account in a set of interlocking definitions. Rejecting the Illusion of Pleasure Karen C. Lang in Four Illusions: Candrakirti's Advice to Travelers on the Bodhisattva Path Published in print: 2003 Published Online: November 2003 ISBN: eisbn: Attacks the mistaken apprehension of painful things as pleasant by using the human body to illustrate the three types of suffering. The body experiences the ordinary pain of hunger and mental stress, the pain brought about by the transformation of pleasant sensations into painful sensations, and the pain inherent in the very nature of the forces that construct the body. After discussing the Buddha's teachings on suffering and its causes, Candrakiriti engages in a philosophical debate on the inherent existence of pleasure with Vasubandhu, author of the Abhidharmakośa. He concludes that since Vasubandhu fails Page 3 of 5

4 to understand that things are empty of any inherent existence, he misunderstands both the Buddha's and Āryadeva's views on suffering. Measuring Happiness Fred Feldman in What Is This Thing Called Happiness? Published in print: 2010 Published Online: May 2010 ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ Empirical scientists often engage in research designed to reveal the relationship between happiness and such things as age, wealth, or nationality. Some of the tests used to measure happiness are based on the notion that a person's level of happiness is equal to his level of satisfaction with his own standing in several domains of life such as marriage, work, finances, health, leisure time activities, and housing. There are reasons to doubt that the scores generated by this domains of life approach correspond to anything worthy of the name happiness'. If it is a mistake to identify happiness with life satisfaction, then even if a test accurately measured life satisfaction, it still would not be measuring happiness. A better test is sketched. The proposed test would give more accurate assessments of the levels of happiness of the subjects in a variety of cases. Criteria for the evaluation of happiness measuring tests are presented and applied. Aristotle on Function and Virtue Christine M. Korsgaard in The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ According to Plato and Aristotle, a virtue is a quality that makes you good at performing your function. Aristotle thinks that the human function is rational activity. This chapter asks how the moral virtues could contribute to rational activity. It distinguishes five different answers suggested by the text of the Nicomachean Ethics, and examines their merits and demerits. Combining the most promising of them, it argues that in Aristotle's theory, rationality is a potential that is actualized by the acquisition of the virtues. By providing correct evaluative perceptions, Page 4 of 5

5 the moral virtues bring the soul into a transformed condition in which appetites and passions are caused by rational considerations. From Duty and for the Sake of the Noble: Kant and Aristotle on Morally Good Action Christine M. Korsgaard in The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ Aristotle believes that an agent lacks virtue unless she enjoys the performance of virtuous actions, while Kant claims that the person who does her duty despite contrary inclinations exhibits a moral worth that the person who acts from inclination lacks. Despite these differences, this chapter argues that Aristotle and Kant share a distinctive view of the object of human choice and locus of moral value: that what we choose, and what has moral value, are not mere acts, but actions: acts done for the sake of ends. Morally good actions embody a kind of intrinsic value that inspires us to do them from duty (in Kant) or for the sake of the noble (in Aristotle). The chapter traces the difference in their attitudes about doing one's duty with pleasure to a difference in their attitudes towards pleasure itself: Aristotle sees it as a perception of the good, while Kant thinks of it as mere feeling. Katastematic and Kinetic Pleasures J. C. B. Gosling and in The Greeks On Pleasure Published in print: 1982 Published Online: October 2011 ISBN: eisbn: acprof:oso/ This chapter examines how any view which sees kinetic pleasures as comprising at least the sensory ones, and as constituting a distinct class from katastematic ones, involves attributing an awkward view to Epicurus. It then outlines an interpretation indicating how it meets this difficulty. Page 5 of 5

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