Happiness and pleasure

This paper argues against hedonistic theories of happiness. First, hedonism is too inclusive: many pleasures cannot plausibly be construed as constitutive of happiness. Second, any credible theory must count either attitudes of life satisfaction, affective states such as mood, or both as constituents of happiness; yet neither sort of state reduces to pleasure. Hedonism errs in its attempt to reduce happiness, which is at least partly dispositional, to purely episodic experiential states. The dispositionality of happiness also undermines weakened nonreductive forms of hedonism, as some happiness-constitutive states are not pleasures in any sense. Moreover, these states can apparently fail to exhibit the usual hedonic properties; sadness, for instance, can sometimes be pleasant. Finally, the nonhedonistic accounts are adequate if not superior on grounds of practical and theoretical utility, quite apart from their superior conformity to the folk notion of happiness
Keywords Ethics  Happiness  Hedonism  Pleasant  Pleasure
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2001.tb00072.x
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Citations of this work BETA
Roger Crisp (2006). Hedonism Reconsidered. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):619–645.
Daniel M. Haybron (2005). On Being Happy or Unhappy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):287–317.

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Edward Walter (1987). A Concept of Happiness. Philosophy Research Archives 13:137-150.
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Thomas Blackson (2012). Extrinsic Attitudinal Pleasure. Philosophical Studies 159 (2):277-291.
Dan Haybron (forthcoming). Happiness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Daniel M. Haybron (2005). On Being Happy or Unhappy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):287–317.

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