Hedonism

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Webster's dictionary defines hedonism as "the ethical doctrine that pleasure, variously conceived of in terms of happiness of the individual or of society, is the principal good and the proper aim of action" or "the theory that a person always acts is such a way as to seek pleasure and avoid pain." With this definition in mind, and with further examination of John Stuart Mill's theory on hedonism, I am going to argue that hedonism is not an exclusive or distinct way of thinking. In fact, I think that with the exception of possibly a few people, most people are very hedonistically inclined. "Hedonistic utilitarians identify happiness with feeing pleasure and avoiding pain, meaning that the more an individual enjoys pleasure and avoids pain, the happier that individual is" (phil.tamu.edu). Now, is this really a new and profound thought? If you avoid pain, you will lead a happier life? With a few exceptions, I don't know many people who see pain as enjoyment. Most people I know have made it a point to enjoy themselves in so me fasion or another, and that doesn't include the enjoyment of pain. "Mill's overall subject is the right of the indivieual to think and act for himeself of herself. For Mill this does not mean the right to think and act as you please (Castell 360). Eventhough Mill encouraged independent thought and actions, he did not justify running around and doing whatever you liked. According to the Hedonic Society, what they call Enlightened Hedonism ("a naturalistic and humanistic lifestance advocation the ration cultivation of pleasure and happiness for all") can be state... ... middle of paper ... ...ve a relatively balanced life, you would include both physical and intellectual aspects of your life. Whether or not you would be labeled a "Hedonist" would remain to be seen. If you incorporate the greater needs of others into your individual immediate needs, then technically, yes, that would be Hedonism. But, I would venture to say that you would be labeled "a nice person." Works Cited Castell, Alburey, et al., Introduction to Moern Philosophy: Examining the Human Condition. (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001). "Hedonism." Stanford University (online) www.stanford.edu/~quixote/philosophies.htm#hedonism* . (12/03/2001). "John Stuart Mill." unknown (online) *www-/ phil.tamu.edu/~gary/intro/lecture.mill_1.html. (12/03/2001). "What is Enlightened Hedonism?" Hedonic Society (online) *www.hedonicsociety.org/custom/html*. (12/03/2001)

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