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In the search for something that might make life

satisfactory, most obvious candidate is pleasure.
• HEDONISM- greek word for pleasure

• egoistic- personal pleasure of the individual

• altruistic- seeks the pleasure of others

• universalistic- embraces that of the whole human race

• UTILITARIANISM- extension of hedonism beyond

the pleasure of the group and then to the pleasure
of all mankind

• According to:

• Aristippus- pleasure results form gentle motion

and pain from rough motion.

• Epicurus- pleasure is ethic’s most consistent
with mechanistic materialism

• “the end of life is not intense pleasure but and

abiding peace of mind; a state of cheerful
• Thomas Hobbes- thinks that nothing is by itself
good or evil, but that these are names we give to
what we desire or detest

• “Society is formed of for the benefit of other

people or of mankind as such, but for the peace
and safety of each particular person looking out
primarily for himself.”
• Jeremy Bentham- hedonism with the egoistic
aspect is toned down:

• nature has placed mankind under the governance

of two sovereign masters: pain and pleasure

• Principle of utility recognises this subjection and

assumes it for the foundation of that system, the
object of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by
the hands of reason and law
• Robert Olson- naturalistic pursuit of both
personal and social well-being, in which rational
self-interest is the supreme moral criterion and
health, friendship , contentment and pleasure
are the chief gods.
• Any Rand- virtue of selfishness

• “The ultimate value is man’s survival without

which there would be no men to have other
values and each one is responsible for working
out for himself the means to survival”
Arguments for:

• 1. Self-evident act

• 2. Intellectual Satisfaction

• 3. Societal good redounds into individual good

• 4. Expectations of future happiness

Non-Hedonists argue:

• Not self-evident

• Sense of fulfilment is not equal to pleasure

• Duty, generosity, self-sacrifice and heroism can

be motivations but not pleasure

• The good of society does redound to the good

of the individual

• extension of hedonism beyond the pleasure of

the individual to the pleasure of the group and
then to the pleasure of all mankind
Jeremy Bentham

• pleasure and pain are the only motives

governing mankind, and goes one to show that
personal pleasure and pain are dependent on
the general happiness and prosperity of the
whole community

• pleasure can be calculated

John Stuart Mill

• pleasures differ in quality as well as in quantity

that there are higher and lower pleasures, so
that a lesser amount of a higher pleasure is
better than a greater amount of a lower pleasure
Henry Sidgwick

• united utilitarianism with intuitionism

• was convinced that there is practical

incompatibility between utilitarianism and
intuitionism, though he could find no positive
theory to explain that union
G.E. Moore

• Ideal Utilitarianism- all actions are to be judged

by their consequences

• which act has the greatest utility,the latter which

rule has
Utilitarianism’s own useful consequences:

• 1. Utilitarianism seeks happiness in which all will be

happy rather than only the fortunate few

• 2. it recognises that man is social; each see his own

happiness integrated in that of the group

• 3. Gives each person the right to seek his own pleasure

and limits him only when he would enrich on another’s
equal right.

• 4. A qualitative discrimination of pleasures

• 5. Contrary to neither virtue nor to religion


• One must consider the consequences of one’s

actions and social consequences are most
Criticisms against utilitarianism:

• 1. If pleasure is the highest good, each man should seek as much of it

as he can get. Why should a man forego his own pleasure for the sake
of others?

• 2. How is the pleasure of the group and especially of all humanity, to

be determined?

• 3. One of the simplest ways of eliminating pain from the word is to

eliminate the sufferers.

• 4. The altruistic component in utilitarianism is not justified by the system

• 5. Virtue and religion can have only a peripheral place in utilitarianism.

• Virtue is recommended not because it is virtue, but only because it has

useful consequences.
• The attempt to make pleasure, either of the
individual or of the group, the main purpose of
life and the standard of morality results in failure.

• If the extreme of hedonism is to make pleasure

everything, the opposite extreme called
puritanical spirit, is to consider pleasure bad.

• The proper attitude must be somewhere

between the extremes.
• hedonistic paradox- the fact that intense meant concentration on the pleasure one is
now experiencing rather than on the pleasurable object causes the pleasure to

• We have no special faculty of pleasure, we cannot just simply enjoy.

• Pleasure is but the accompaniment of the normal exercise of abilities which exist for
the accomplishment of some other purpose.

• Objectively, it would be a mistake to think of pleasure merely as a means to an end;

man also uses pleasure as a means when he offers it to others as an incentive.

• Subjectively, pleasure is sought for it own sake and is its own end.

• Failure to distinguish these two aspects of pleasure, the subjective and the objective
lies behind the two extreme attitudes we have mentioned.
• Pleasure is taken precisely as:

• Pleasure is always good and never bad.

• Pleasure is an end and a good, but it is not the

last end and the highest good.

• The pleasures of this life are not attainable by all

men at all times.
• Altruistic pleasure is also unsatisfying because
the joy we feel in kindness is among the purest
and best we can experience.

• Hedonism picks egoistic pleasure as man’s highest good.

• Arguments for: we do in fact seek pleasure and shun pain

• Arguments against: we often refuse pleasure for higher motives

• Utilitarianism prefers the altruistic pleasure of seeking the

greatest happiness of the greatest number; measures the
morality of an act by its utility in promoting the common welfare

• Argument for: it seeks others’ happiness as well as one’s own

• Arguments against: it gives no reason why one should consider