David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):293 - 303 (2010)
According to several prominent philosophers, pleasure and pain come in measurable quantities. This thesis is controversial, however, and many philosophers have presented or felt compelled to respond to arguments for the conclusion that it is false. One important class of these arguments concerns the problem of aggregation, which says that if pleasure and pain were measurable quantities, then, by definition, it would be possible to perform various mathematical and statistical operations on numbers representing amounts of them. It is sometimes argued that such operations cannot be sensibly applied to pleasure and pain, and that sentences expressing such operations must be false or meaningless. The purpose of this paper is to present, explain, and rebut several versions of this argument. In the first section, I present a generic version of the argument. In the second section, I present a defense of its key premise based on a case involving comparisons of relief from pain, and explain why I think it fails. In the third section, I present and rebut another defense, based on a pair of analogies with temperature. In the final section, I present a third defense, based on an analogy with spatial distances. I then present my reasons for rejecting it. Along the way, I explain my reasons for thinking that pleasure and pain are amenable to interval measurement.
|Keywords||Hedonism Hedonic calculus Bentham Mill Aggregation Measurement|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Ruth Chang (ed.) (1997). Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press.
John C. Hall (1966). Quantity of Pleasure. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 67:35 - 52.
Justin Klocksiem (2008). The Problem of Interpersonal Comparisons of Pleasure and Pain. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (1):23-40.
David Krantz, Duncan Luce, Patrick Suppes & Amos Tversky (eds.) (1971). Foundations of Measurement, Vol. I: Additive and Polynomial Representations. New York Academic Press.
John Stuart Mill (1962). Utilitarianism. Cleveland, World Pub. Co..
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Thomas Hurka (2010). Asymmetries In Value. Noûs 44 (2):199-223.
Daniel Howard-Snyder (1994). Theism, the Hypothesis of Indifference, and the Biological Role of Pain and Pleasure. Faith and Philosophy 11 (3):452-466.
Benjamin Franklin (1930). A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. The Facsimile Text Society.
Paul A. Weiss (1942). Pain and Pleasure. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 3 (December):137-144.
Pepita Haezrahi (1960). Pain and Pleasure: Some Reflections on Susan Stebbing's View That Pain and Pleasure Are Moral Values. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 11 (5):71 - 78.
Irwin Goldstein (1983). Pain and Masochism. Journal of Value Inquiry 17 (3):219-223.
Murat Aydede (2000). An Analysis of Pleasure Vis-a-Vis Pain. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):537-570.
Irwin Goldstein (1989). Pleasure and Pain: Unconditional Intrinsic Values. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (December):255-276.
Irwin Goldstein (1980). Why People Prefer Pleasure to Pain. Philosophy 55 (July):349-362.
Justin Klocksiem (2010). Pleasure, Desire, and Oppositeness. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
Added to index2009-08-29
Total downloads32 ( #64,028 of 1,679,382 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #182,933 of 1,679,382 )
How can I increase my downloads?