Hedonism

 Naturalist: One who tries to understand "Good" in "NATURAL" terms.  One who reduces "Good" to something that can be investigated by science (empirically).

Aristotle is a naturalist because he argues that "good" is what is efficient in achieving it's ends (a quasi-empirical concept).

 Hedonism: an ethical theory which states that pleasure and pleasure alone of intrinsic value.

 Intrinsic Value: Something has intrinsic value if it is valuable for itself and not merely for some other reason.

 Instrumental Value: Something has instrumental value if it is valuable to means of some other end (e.g. money).

One does not value pleasure for some other reason, but rather values it simply because it is what it is and has the qualities it has (intrinsically).

Some point out that there is distinction between valued and valuable.  The first is straight forward empirical claim, especially is valued means value-behavior.  The second is less clear.  It implies that the object is the object of rational desire, (but what is valuable may differ from person to person given different objectives).

Note: It is not clear that anything can be valuable intrinsically since valuable is defined instrumentally.  Perhaps it would be better to say that something has intrinsic value if it is valued in and of itself and something has instrumental value if it is valuable as a means to some other end.

While many people would agree that pleasure has intrinsic value, what distinguishes the Hedonist is the claim that pleasure is the only thing of intrinsic value.

The ethic (practical consequence) implied by this statement of value is that the right thing to do in a given situation is to maximize pleasure (the thing of value) or minimize pain.

Hedonistic Ethical Directive: An action is right if and only if it results in the greatest pleasure (or least pain)...

But Whose pleasure and pain?

Two variants: Egoistic Hedonism and Social Hedonism

Egoistic Hedonism

 Egoism: An action is right if and only if it results in the greatest good for the agent (himself or herself)

Some philosophers would be Hobbes, Rand and Epicurus.  While all would agree that your Moral Duty is to look out for yourself, they would disagree as to what "good" means or implies.

 Egoistic Hedonist (Epicurus): an action is right if and only if it results in the greatest pleasure for the agent (himself or herself).

Epicurus (341-270 B.C.) was the most celebrated hedonist of classical times.

Egoist Hedonist - but he did not recommend a lascivious, decadent life-style.  Many things we find pleasurable can come back to haunt or damage us.

  ex.  Dairy Queen’s Epicurean Delight - Don't eat (often) because it's not healthy.  Beer Too- don't drink too much.

Don't lie, cheat, steel, because it will take pleasure away from you eventually.  (Consequences- prison, social isolation, worries).

The “Good Life” = Moral, moderate life because this is the most pleasant.

If true, then morality is simply a subset of prudential rationality. (I.e. what is moral is ALWAYS what best for YOU.)

Three key presumptions which result in this:

1. Long term consequences (pleasures/pains) are as important, if not more important, than short-term consequences (pleasures/pains).

2. "Pleasure" is not merely instant gratification or positive sensation, but is the absence of annoying things.

Pleasure or the "Good Life" defines not as instant gratification, but as tranquillity.  Distinguishes
between kinetic pleasures (such as eating) which coincide with activity and endure only so long
as the activity continues, and catastemic pleasures (not being hungry) which coincide with a
stable state and as such are capable of indefinite prolongation.

There is nothing wrong with chara, the delight experienced in kinetic pleasures, but they are by their nature ephemeral.  One ought rather to seek ataraxia.

Ataraxia:  A term used by Epicurus which means serenity or blessed-ness.  To be free of pain and aggravation.

3. A life devoted to the acquisition of pleasure (the positive kind) is NOT pleasant.  In fact, it's aggravating.  (i.e. There's always a nice newer BMW then yours.)

Affinity with Buddhism here -holds the idea that the world (or rather our attachment to things in the world) is the source of our pains and suffering.  One must retreat from the world to attain tranquillity.

Pleasure or the "Good Life" defined not as instant gratification, but as tranquillity.

The traditional virtues (justice, temperance, courage, etc.) are among the means for living a
pleasant life.  They have no other value/ justification.