Distinguishing Between Psychological Hedonism and Ethical Hedonism
Length: 325 words (0.9 double-spaced pages)
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Philosophers commonly distinguish between psychological hedonism and ethical hedonism. Psychological hedonism is the view that humans are psychologically constructed in such a way that we exclusively desire pleasure. Ethical hedonism is the view that out fundamental moral obligation is to maximize pleasure or happiness. Ethical hedonism is associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus who taught hat our life's goal should be to minimize pan and maximize pleasure.
The father was Aristippus of Cyrene. He taught that pleasure is the universal and ultimate of endeavor. By pleasure he meant not merely sensual gratification but also the higher forms of enjoyment, mental pleasure, such as love, friendship, and more contentment.
He said "We recognize pleasure as the first good innate in us, and from pleasure we begin every act of choice and acoidancem and to pleasure we return again, using the feeling as the standard by which we judge every good." Eppicurus gives advice how to decrease life's pains, and explains the nature of pleasure. As to decreasing life's pain, Epicurus explains how we can reduce the psychological anguish that results from fearing gods and fearing death. Concerning the nature of pleaser, Ecpicurus explains that at least some pleasure are rooted in natural and, as a rule, every pain is bad and should be avoided, and every pleasure is good and should be preffered. We should minimize pain when possible, but sometimes minimizing pains ins insufficient to attain happiness, and we then need to go a step further and actively increase pleasure. He argues that we should not pursue every possible pleasure, such as when they produce more pain. He also says the fewer desires we have, the easier it will be to experience happiness.
Erasmus was a renaissance philosopher that revived hedeonism and argued that its emphasis on pleasure was in fact compatible with God's wish for humans to be happy.
British philosopher Thomas More explains that the chief part of a persons happiness consists of pleasure.
More defends hedonism on religious grounds and argues that , not only did God design us to be happy, but that he uses our desire for happiness to mativate us to behave morally. More also distinguishes between pleasures of mind, and pleasures of body. He also argues that we should pursue pleasures that are more naturally grounded, so that we do not become preoccupied with artificial luxuries.