PHL 204-07

*** Handout (hedonism) ***

Socrates’ 3 arguments against hedonism

1. argument from shameful pleasure

  • if hedonism were correct, then someone who received a lot of overall pleasure in his life by engaging in shameful activities would be living a very good life
  • this life is not a very good life
  • therefore hedonism is not correct
  • Responses:

  • there are different modes of evaluating life
    • good story?
    • morally good life?
    • good according to society?
    • good for the person living that life?
    • the argument conflates two different senses/modes in the argument
  • can we deny the first premise?
    • JS Mill develops this response
  • 2. argument from mixed pleasures

  • (not covered in class)
  • 3. argument from bravery

  • if hedonism were correct, then the life of a brave person and the life of a coward who experience the same amt of overall pleasure would be living equally good lives
  • but these lives are not equally good lives; the brave person lives a life that is much better for him
  • therefore, hedonism is not correct
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