Paper rewrites available if desired: due June 13 23:59 (final exam day), must also include original paper. (rewrite)
*** HANDOUT ***
RE Epicurus’ First Argument — Is premise 1 true (is hedonism correct?)
Standard anti-hedonist argument:
- If hedonism were correct, then we will be forced to evaluate the value of a life in a certain way
- but this evaluation is incorrect
- so hedonism is not correct
Problems with this argument:
- premise #2 above seems convincing only to those who already think hedonism is false
- premise #1 seems to rely on a bad interpretation of what hedonism says waht hedonism really is
A new argument against hedonism?
- The Betrayed Businessman example
- B1: loves family, respects friends & colleagues, etc. (reciprocated)
- based on these relationships, he has a set of experiences (E1)
- B2: loves family, respects friends & colleagues, etc. (NOT reciprocated)
- based on these relationships, he has a set of experiences (E2)
Who, if anyone, in this example, is living a better life / whose life is going better?
Can what you don’t know hurt you??
The experience machine (VR/Matrix-like system)
- experiences are indistinguishable from reality
- prior memories are eliminated, replaced with new memories for continuity
- feedback loop
- you will experience more pleasure, guaranteed
- everyone (including the hedonist) agrees that the discovery of betrayal causes sadness.
- non-hedonist can explain this – the sadness results because we have learned something bad has happened
- the hedonist cannot explain this – the betrayal is value neutral for the hedonist
- we have reason to prefer theories that have more explanatory power so we have reason to prefer non-hedonist theories over hedonism
Nagel’s argument against hedonism