Daniel Haybron Hedonism Essay

Better Essays

I believe Daniel Haybron’s critique of Hedonism, ‘Happiness and Pleasure’ is rationally compelling. It paints a vivid yet unbiased picture of hedonist theories, carefully explaining the doctrine as well as the three major forms of hedonism. These are psychological hedonism, evaluative or ethical hedonism, and reflective or rationalizing hedonism. After this explanation, Haybron explores the faults with hedonism, specifically that there are many factors that go into one’s happiness, rather than the basic and seemingly instinctual search for gratification through pleasure. These can be physical, intellectual, and emotional. This shows that happiness is, in fact, a multidimensional, almost bottomless concept. He then goes on to provide alternate theories that are perhaps more fitting in …show more content…

These three theories are thymos, life satisfaction theory and affective states. In doing so, he further disproves the hedonistic belief that happiness is equal to pleasure, and that humans solely pursue pleasure, whether it be in a direct or indirect fashion. I agree with this critique of hedonism, and wish to explore my reasoning behind agreeing with Haybron, whilst hopefully forming my own opinion on all the different theories of happiness and potentially forming a theory of my own.

Haybron defines hedonism as ‘Happiness, so constructed, reduces completely to a subject’s balance of pleasure over displeasure. Happiness is merely the condition of having a favorable balance of pleasure over displeasure.’ This suggests that in order for humans to remain in a favorable state of mind, they simply must have a larger amount of pleasure than displeasure in their lives. Happiness is therefore a purely episodic experiential state. This sort of shallow, fleeting happiness still exists, for example

Get Access