Hedonistic calculus. Jeremy Bentham and the Felicific Calculus 2019-03-02

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The hedonic calculus

hedonistic calculus

In the first strategy, objectors make arguments that some specific value cannot be reduced to pleasure. In the thought experiment, Nozick asks us to imagine that we have the choice of plugging in to a fantastic machine that flawlessly provides an amazing mix of experiences. Homework Assignment: How does the propinquity factor function in the modified hedonistic calculus? The classic utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill is discussed as a paradigm case by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation he lays out the way in which be believes that you can actually calculate the moral rightness or wrongness of an action. Every persons happiness counts equally, whether they are a pop star or a college student! Quantitative Hedonists argue that how valuable pleasure is for well-being depends on only the amount of pleasure, and so they are only concerned with dimensions of pleasure such as duration and intensity.

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Project MUSE

hedonistic calculus

Philosophical hedonists tend to focus on hedonistic theories of value, and especially of well-being the good life for the one living it. That our actions have real consequences, that our friends are real, and that our experiences are genuine seem to matter for most of us regardless of considerations of pleasure. One: The of the pleasure or pain. A potential method for making this theory more useful would be to draw on the cognitive sciences to investigate if there is a specific neurological function for liking or enjoying. Imagine that a magical genie offered for you to play a game with him. The game consists of you flipping a fair coin.

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The Hedonistic Calculus

hedonistic calculus

So basically how likely a certain action will cause a cause a certain action. For example, it might be argued that we expect to get pleasure from spending time with our real friends and family, but we do not expect to get as much pleasure from the fake friends or family we might have in the experience machine. Other varieties of hedonism are also theoretically available but have received little or no discussion. For example, a Hedonistic Utilitarian would be morally obliged to publicly execute an innocent friend of theirs if doing so was the only way to promote the greatest happiness overall. He asks us to imagine Jim, a jungle explorer, is put in a position where he has to choose between watching twenty innocent people die, or killing one himself to save the rest.

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What are some examples of hedonistic calculus?

hedonistic calculus

Bentham Normative and Motivational Hedonism were both at their most popular during the heyday of Empiricism in the 18 th and 19 th Centuries. In ordinary instances, where consumers are rational, consumer surplus is simply the difference between the price a consumer would be willing to pay for a certain product or service and its actual price. These objectives will be addressed, respectively, in sections 1 and ~. Qualitative Hedonists still need a coherent method for comparing the different pleasures with each other in order to be more than just an abstract theory of well-being, however. Fecundity and purity are perhaps the two most difficult factors to understand. However, smiling at someone is likely to make them happier, which in turn may cause them to smile at other people which will make them happy too. This is a problem for Prudential Hedonists because the pleasure is quantitatively equal in each life, so they should be equally good for the one living it.

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SAGE Reference

hedonistic calculus

If we attempt to create an economic model that allows for hedonic adaptation, ultimately we may end up with an unsustainable equation. Prudential Hedonists need not relinquish the Quantitative aspect of their theory in order to deal with these criticisms, however. So my act of smiling at my friend may start of a chain of smiling and so a chain of happiness. Interestingly , whereas in the Protagoras failure to achieve aret~is attributed to miscalculation , in the Phaedo it is attributed to calculation per se 69a6-9. It has also been argued that what makes an experience intrinsically valuable is that you like or enjoy it for its own sake.

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SAGE Reference

hedonistic calculus

Then for each pleasure or pain you take times times times. Normative Hedonism Value Hedonism, occasionally with assistance from Motivational Hedonism, has been used to argue for specific theories of right action theories that explain which actions are morally permissible or impermissible and why. Moore then instructs the reader to imagine that no one would ever experience either world and asks if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the filthy one. Bentham thought that his Hedonic Calculus could be applied to situations to see what should, morally speaking, be done in a situation. For Williams, this does give adequate weight to the value of human life. However, the claim that pleasure and pain are the only things of ultimate importance is what makes hedonism distinctive and philosophically interesting.

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What are some examples of hedonistic calculus?

hedonistic calculus

This factor might be expresses as a ratio of pleasure to pain. New senses get added to the list when it is understood that some independent physical process underpins their functioning. Principia Ethica, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Author Information Dan Weijers Email: Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. Hedonism as a theory about well-being best referred to as Prudential Hedonism is more specific than Value Hedonism because it stipulates what the value is for. Qualitative Hedonism is criticised by some for smuggling values other than pleasure into well-being by misleadingly labelling them as dimensions of pleasure. Their reasoning for this is even less clear, but is most plausibly linked to their sceptical views — perhaps that what we can be most sure of in this uncertain existence is our current bodily pleasures.

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Whose Pleasure? Whose Pain? Applying the Hedonic Calculus to Public Policy

hedonistic calculus

Moore used the heap of filth example to argue that Prudential Hedonism is false because pleasure is not the only thing of value. The best example of these modern criticisms is a thought experiment devised by Shelly Kagan. He lays out basic factors that go into this calculation: Zero: The of the pleasure or pain. In the heap of filth example, Moore asks the reader to imagine two worlds, one of which is exceedingly beautiful and the other a disgusting heap of filth. This book can be difficult to acquire. Given that the deceived businessman never knew of any of these deceptions and his experiences were never negatively impacted by the deceptions indirectly, which life do you think is better? Value Hedonism reduces everything of value to pleasure.

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Jeremy Bentham and the Felicific Calculus

hedonistic calculus

The fecundity of an act is the likelihood that the pleasures or pains that it causes will be followed by similar pleasures or pains. For example, you need to make the decision as to whether you should save a mother and her baby from being hit by a bus on a zebra crossing or a man in his twenties on a bike cycling the opposite way. On balance the amount of happiness in the world increases and so the guards are acting morally. Can we truly be sure of the consequences of our actions. Since pleasure is scaled from 0 to 10 and pain is scaled from 0 to -10 a positive ratio would represent an aggregate purity value in the pleasure range, and a negative ratio would represent a purity value in the negative range.

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Project MUSE

hedonistic calculus

Socrates asks Protarchus to imagine a life without much pleasure but full of the higher cognitive processes, such as knowledge, forethought and consciousness and to compare it with a life that is the opposite. The pleasure of three individuals here are outweighing the suffering of a single individual. Cassius Amicus, who writes for the NewEpicurean. In each case the suggestion is that the solution is obvious for the utilitarian. Defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience and well-being as all and only experiences that are intrinsically valuable allows a Hedonist to all but stipulate that Prudential Hedonism is the correct theory of well-being.

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