Hedonistic calculus. Whose Pleasure? Whose Pain? Applying the Hedonic Calculus to Public Policy 2019-02-02

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Explain how moral decisions should be made using the Hedonic Calculus.

hedonistic calculus

. Pleasures of the Brain, Oxford University Press. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, First printed in 1780 and first published in 1789. The Main Divisions Several contemporary varieties of hedonism have been defended, although usually by just a handful of philosophers or less at any one time. You then determine the value of the six factors above for each of the possible pleasures and pains. This obstacle is unsurpassable for most versions of Quantitative Hedonism because it makes the value gained from different pleasures impossible to compare.

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The Hedonistic Calculus

hedonistic calculus

These kinds of attempts to refute the experience machine objection do little to persuade non-Hedonists that they have made the wrong choice. Kagan asks us to imagine the life of a very successful businessman who takes great pleasure in being respected by his colleagues, well-liked by his friends, and loved by his wife and children until the day he died. Extent — The number of people who will be affected by the action. Hedonistic Utilitarians, then, tend to advocate not stealing from needy orphans because to do so would usually leave the orphan far less happy and the probably better-off thief only slightly happier assuming he felt no guilt. The Hedonic Calculus required a methodology for measuring pleasure, which in turn required an understanding of the nature of pleasure and specifically what aspects of pleasure were valuable for us.

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Felicific calculus

hedonistic calculus

Although unlikely, such a situation might arise if a child was murdered in a small town and the lack of suspects was causing large-scale inter-ethnic violence. However, when the definition of pleasure is stretched, so as to more effectively argue that all valuable experiences are pleasurable, it becomes much less recognisable as the concept of pleasure we use in day-to-day life and its intrinsic value becomes much less intuitive. The Oyster Example With the exception of a brief period discussed below, Hedonism has been generally unpopular ever since its ancient beginnings. By itself, this definition enables Hedonists to make an argument that is close to perfectly circular. Bentham argued for several types of hedonism, including those now referred to as Prudential Hedonism, Hedonistic Utilitarianism, and Motivational Hedonism although his commitment to strong Motivational Hedonism eventually began to wane. He gives seven factors which we should take into account.


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Hedonistic

hedonistic calculus

So my act of smiling at my friend may start of a chain of smiling and so a chain of happiness. Although both major types of Normative Hedonism have been accused of being repugnant, Hedonistic Egoism is considered the most offensive. Note the similarity to and in economics. Purity refers to the likelihood of the pleasure or pain leading to some of the opposite sensation. Moore then instructs the reader to imagine that no one would ever experience either world and asks if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the filthy one.

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Whose Pleasure? Whose Pain? Applying the Hedonic Calculus to Public Policy

hedonistic calculus

Liking or pro-attitudes must be described in such a way that they are not solely a sensation or best described as a preference satisfaction theory. Perhaps of most value is a chapter at the front of the book in which the experts all answer a standard set of questions posed by the editors. The expected pleasure value equals the probability multiplied by the magnitude of the pleasure. The Hedonic Calculus results in either a majority of pleasure or a majority of pain therefore we cannot distinguish between what is a higher pleasure and what is a lower pleasure, or give them an order of importance? Most Hedonists who describe pleasure as a sensation will be Quantitative Hedonists and will argue that the pleasure from the different senses is the same. Remoteness — How far away in time the effects are from the choice or decision.


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Hedonistic

hedonistic calculus

The Future of Hedonism The future of hedonism seems bleak. Addiction introduces a further concern: hedonic adaptation, whereby people lose the ability to experience the same heights of pleasure from a product or good once they get used to it. I might decide to stamp on their foot, which will make me feel a lot better and increase my happiness. Bentham was very specific about what we should include when calculating how much pleasure or pain an act would lead to. Value Hedonism and Prudential Hedonism When philosophers discuss hedonism, they are most likely to be referring to hedonism about value, and especially the slightly more specific theory, hedonism about well-being. Moore himself thought the heap of filth example thoroughly refuted what he saw as the only potentially viable form of Prudential Hedonism — that conscious pleasure is the only thing that positively contributes to well-being. Because of this, we should make decisions about good and bad actions based on how much pleasure or pain they are likely to cause.

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Hedonism

hedonistic calculus

The most well-known disagreement about what aspects of pleasure are valuable occurs between Quantitative and Qualitative Hedonists. This can be done in a variety of ways. Hedonistic Egoism Hedonistic Egoism is a hedonistic version of egoism, the theory that we should, morally speaking, do whatever is most in our own interests. This article begins by clarifying the different types of hedonistic theories and the labels they are often given. Such pleasures seek if private be thy end: If it be public, wide let them extend Such pains avoid, whichever be thy view: If pains must come, let them extend to few.

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Explain how moral decisions should be made using the Hedonic Calculus.

hedonistic calculus

Bentham was a law maker and a reformer, only interested in ideas that could be applied in the real world. Bentham said we could work this out rationally using the hedonic calculus. The next two variables fecundity and purity are properties of the event or action produced by the pleasure or pain-—not properties of the pleasure or pain, itself. Jeremy Bentham put forward the first classical version of utilitarianism. For this reason McClosky argues that we must take justice into account as well as happiness and other factors as well. This will not increase my happiness, it will do the opposite. Hicks, The Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press.

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Felicific calculus

hedonistic calculus

Quantitative Hedonism is often accused of over-valuing animalistic, simple, and debauched pleasures. Hedonists usually define pleasure and pain broadly, such that both physical and mental phenomena are included. The fecundity of an act is the likelihood that the pleasures or pains that it causes will be followed by similar pleasures or pains. For example, you need to make the decision as to whether you should save a mother and her baby from being hit by a bus on a zebra crossing or a man in his twenties on a bike cycling the opposite way. New senses get added to the list when it is understood that some independent physical process underpins their functioning. Extent refers to the number of people the pleasure or pain is likely to affect. Perhaps the only hope that Hedonists of all types can have for the future is that advances in cognitive science will lead to a better understanding of how pleasure works in the brain and how biases affect our judgements about thought experiments.

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The Hedonistic Calculus

hedonistic calculus

Each item numbered below represents one student's values: Question Time Amount in Dollars 1. If, by this, you mean the cost-benefit analysis we perform before taking an action of hedonistic nature, I believe I can answer. No policy can help them achieve happiness if this is their choice. Furthermore, to answer why we might help a friend even when it harms us, a Hedonist will argue that the prospect of future pleasure from receiving reciprocal favors from our friend, rather than the value of friendship itself, should motivate us to help in this way. Bentham did not consider the notion of psychological or subjective time as opposed to clock or physical time. Moore used the heap of filth example to argue that Prudential Hedonism is false because pleasure is not the only thing of value. Mill employed the distinction between higher and lower pleasures in an attempt to avoid the criticism that his hedonism was just another philosophy of swine.


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