PHL 204-07

PHL 204

Mill’s defense of hedonism

1 response to an objection
2 provide positive support for it

Is it possible to argue that pleasure is the only thing intrinsically valuable?

Mill says some things that make it seem an open question

we can prove that some things are extrinsically valuable if we have already agreed upon what is intrinsically valuable

listening to music brings pleasure
pleasure is good
therefore listening to music is good

by “proof” in the ordinary sense, he means an argument which proceeds from premises to conclusion

Mill denies that he can prove that pleasure is the only thing intrinsically good for you (in this sense of “prove”)

but he says this does not mean that the principle is arbitrary or is known through intuition (not just a matter of taste) – Mill attacking rationalism

Rationalism: a view about the sources of our beliefs and their justifications; some ideas & beliefs are innate. furthermore, they think they can show that some things are true simply by relying on pure reason.

First principle:
resembles axioms in mathematics & logic (P cannot be not-P; law of non-contradiction)

mathematical & logical axioms cannot be proven, BUT that does not mean they are arbitrary

first principles of our knowledge of the way the world is

does the tree I see match the world?

First principle of knowledge: what I see resembles the world (defeasible)

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