“The greatest good for the greatest number”; that is how the British philosopher John Stuart Mill famously summarized utilitarianism (Shafer-Landau, 2012b, p. 120). He is not only one of the greatest utilitarians, he is also a hedonist. Hence, he believed that this greatest good can be achieved by focussing all action on attaining the greatest amount of happiness. Mill describes utility as holding ‘that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness’ ((Shafer-Landau, 2012a, p. 17). He defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain, and unhappiness as pain and the privation of pleasure. Hence, Mill argues that only pleasure is intrinsically desirable and only misery intrinsically bad (Shafer-Landau, 2012a, p. 120). All other desirable things are only desirable as means to promote pleasure or prevent pain (Shafer-Landau, 2012a, p. 18). Therefore, in order to refute Mill’s utilitarianism, one would have to show that there is something other than pleasure or the freedom from pain that is intrinsically desirable. First, Robert Nozick’s attempt to disprove utilitarianism and hedonism in the shape of his ‘experience machine’ will be explained. Next, Mill’s arguments in favour of utilitarianism and hedonism will be recapitulated in an attempt to answer the central research question: why does Nozick’s experience
As humans we are constantly in search of understanding the balance between what feels good and what is right. Humans try to take full advantage of experiencing pleasure to its fullest potential. Hedonism claims that pleasure is the highest and only source of essential significance. If the notion of hedonism is truthful, happiness is directly correlated with pleasure. Robert Nozick presented the philosophical world with his though experiment, “The Experience Machine” in order to dispute the existence and validity of hedonism. Nozick’s thought experiment poses the question of whether or not humans would plug into a machine which produces any desired experience. Nozick weakens the notion of hedonism through his thought experiment, claiming
In part one of our book, “The Good Life,” we studied five different philosopher’s viewpoints on what is needed in order for a person to have a good, fulfilling life. They all included the concepts of pleasure and happiness to some extent in their theories, but they all approached the ideas in different ways. The two hedonists we studied, Epicurus and John Stuart Mill, place heavy emphasis on the importance of pleasure. They both believe that pleasure is a necessity in the ideal life. Jean Kazez agreed with their viewpoints in her theory and said that happiness was a necessity for a good life. Epicurus and Mill also argue that there is nothing else that we ultimately desire beyond pleasure and that it is an intrinsic good.
In Bernard Williams “Utilitarianism & Integrity” he begins by defining Utilitarianism as a philosophical theory that focuses on maximizing happiness as much as possible or in certain ethical dilemmas picking the lesser of two evils. He gives two scenarios of where two men face an ethical dilemma in efforts of demonstrating utilitarianism and objection to consequentialism. Furthermore, Robert Nozick’s “The Experience Machine” and the utilitarian test cases of George and Jim relate since they reject the ideology of hedonism.
So that is Bentham’s Utilitarianism Theory all explained through three parts, the Motivation of pain and pleasure, the Principle of Utility and the Hedonistic
Robert Nozick is a philosopher who seeks to disprove the utilitarian notion of hedonism through a thought experiment that he has entitles “The Experience Machine” (Nozick 646). I will first explain the concept of utilitarianism and hedonism, then the experience machine before I give a reply about the inclusion of a third category of pleasure which I have called “meta-pleasure”. Finally, I will show how technology may be disproving the entire experience machine thought experiment altogether.
'The experience machine' is one of Nozick’s best-known arguments . The experience machine is a thought experiment which posits the existence of a device that can give its user any experience desired. When one placed in an 'experience machine', it can program any experience, such as traveling to the moon. The experience machine is supposed to allow someone to have all and any of the pleasures in the world. However, Nozick states that even though if such machine exits no one would use it, which shows that there are more important things than pleasure.
Nagel provides a complete a thorough argument against the hedonist position by explaining that one can be harmed without suffering, one can suffer post-mortem, and it is not the bad nor the good momentary conscious experiences that judge our lives but our projects, goals, ambitions, history, and possibility.
Hedonism is the idea that well-being of people comes about through pleasure. Pure hedonism is the thought that it arises through and only through pleasure and both Bentham and Mill advocate different approaches for which hedonism may be the basis of human well-being. Both Philosophers then go on to construct theories of morality on the basis of this idea such that what should be maximised in a moral dilemma is the cumulative welfare of all individuals as measured by their particular approach for deciphering which course of action will yield the most well-being for all. However, the focus of
Another important thing to examine carefully are moral choices. If moral choices are not examined, people will choose only what benefits them in the short term and not follow hedonism. Hedonism is a doctrine that states that pleasure is the only intrinsic good in humans and it is our moral obligation to strive to reduce pain and increase pleasure in themselves and others. 3 A student who slacks off on their homework may benefit in the short term by having free time to do as they please, but are putting their long term interests at risk. The student has not thought about how their lack of effort will affect their grades and whether or not they will have enough marks to get into a university or college.
Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are known for their theories about utilitarianism. Both of them agree that the ethical right thing to do would be to maximize utility in any given situation. Yet, both of them disagree when it came to defninig pleasure. Bentham’s theory generalizes pleasure as just the same type of emotion felt by anyone and in any situation. Mill’s theory on the other hand stated that there are two different types of pleasure: the higher intellectual pleasure and the lower physical pleasure
Jeremy Bentham was one of the first philosophers to present a fully developed system of utilitarianism. He thought that we, as humans, should evaluate the consequences of our actions, determine whether each action is morally right or wrong, and tally the pleasure and pain that comes as a result of our actions. Is it right for me to donate to charity? Is it right for me to cheat on my government test? These questions we ask ourselves fall under Bentham’s theory known as act-utilitarianism because it focuses on the consequences of every action we perform. Bentham argues that the “greatest happiness of the greatest number of people” (Bentham) is how we should determine right from wrong. He also believed “mankind is under the
Jeremy Bentham’s quantitative hedonism is a viewpoint that quantity, intensity, and duration of pleasures determines the value of that pleasure. Bentham argues that happiness is the ultimate good. He argues that the definition of happiness is pleasure accompanied by an avoidance of pain. Jeremy Bentham believed that creating the greatest combined happiness was the key to correct moral behavior.
Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one’s life better. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism is desire satisfactionism. The hedonism theory focuses on pleasure/happiness while the desire-satisfaction theory elucidates the relevance of fulfilling our desires. Pleasure, in some points of view is the subjective satisfaction of desire. I will explain the similarities and the differences between the desire-satisfaction theory of value and hedonism. I will also discuss the most successful theory and defend my argument by explaining how the theory
Utilitarianism is one of the moral theories that literally only acts on gaining or developing the use for having utility, or what is also known as happiness. Pleasure is a helpful key word to define utility because it is the opposite of feeling pain. As long as there stands a high level of utility, there will be actions to obtain it and no matter how much morality is provided or taken away. Such pleasure can be from the act of the utilitarian in which... Add more examples to this paragraph.