Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare ("desire satisfactionism") are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one's life go best. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism just is the most plausible form of desire satisfactionism. How can a single theory of welfare be a version of both hedonism and desire satisfactionism? The answer lies in what pleasure is: pleasure is, in my view, the subjective satisfaction of desire. (...) This thesis about pleasure is clarified and defended only after we proceed through the dialectics that get us to the most plausible forms of hedonism and desire satisfactionism. (shrink)
Fred Feldman's fascinating new book sets out to defend hedonism as a theory about the Good Life. He tries to show that, when carefully and charitably interpreted, certain forms of hedonism yield plausible evaluations of human lives. Feldman begins by explaining the question about the Good Life. As he understands it, the question is not about the morally good life or about the beneficial life. Rather, the question concerns the general features of the life that is good in (...) itself for the one who lives it. Hedonism says (roughly) that the Good Life is the pleasant life. After showing that received formulations of hedonism are often confused or incoherent, Feldman presents a simple, clear, coherent form of sensory hedonism that provides a starting point for discussion. He then presents a catalogue of classic objections to hedonism, coming from sources as diverse as Plato, Aristotle, Brentano, Ross, Moore, Rawls, Kagan, Nozick, Brandt, and others. One of Feldman's central themes is that there is an important distinction between the forms of hedonism that emphasize sensory pleasure and those that emphasize attitudinal pleasure. Feldman formulates several kinds of hedonism based on the idea that attitudinal pleasure is the Good. He claims that attitudinal forms of hedonism - which have often been ignored in the literature -- are worthy of more careful attention. Another main theme of the book is the plasticity of hedonism. Hedonism comes in many forms. Attitudinal hedonism is especially receptive to variations and modifications. Feldman illustrates this plasticity by formulating several variants of attitudinal hedonism and showing how they evade some of the objections. He also shows how it is possible to develop forms of hedonism that are equivalent to the allegedly anti-hedonistic theory of G. E. Moore and the Aristotelian theory according to which the Good Life is the life of virtue, or flourishing. He also formulates hedonisms relevantly like the ones defended by Aristippus and Mill. Feldman argues that a carefully developed form of attitudinal hedonism is not refuted by objections concerning 'the shape of a life'. He also defends the claim that all of the alleged forms of hedonism discussed in the book genuinely deserve to be called 'hedonism'. Finally, after dealing with the last of the objections, he gives a sketch of his hedonistic vision of the Good Life. (shrink)
Fred Feldman is an important philosopher, who has made a substantial contribution to utilitarian moral philosophy. This collection of ten previously published essays plus a new introductory essay reveal the striking originality and unity of his views. Feldman's version of utilitarianism differs from traditional forms in that it evaluates behaviour by appeal to the values of accessible worlds. These worlds are in turn evaluated in terms of the amounts of pleasure they contain, but the conception of pleasure involved is a (...) novel one and the formulation of hedonism improved. In Feldman's view pleasure is not a feeling but a propositional attitude. He also deals with problems of justice that affect standard forms of utilitarianism. The collection is ideally suited for courses on contemporary utilitarian theory. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that hedonism about well-being faces a powerful dilemma. However, as I shall try to show here, this choice creates a dilemma for hedonism. On a subjective interpretation, hedonism is open to the familiar objection that pleasure is not the only thing desired or the only thing for which we possess a pro-attitude. On an objective interpretation, hedonism lacks an independent rationale. In this paper, I do not claim that hedonism fails (...) once and for all. However, this dilemma illustrates a serious problem for hedonism, the solution to which is not immediately obvious, and which must be addressed if hedonism is to be considered a serious competitor for the true theory of well-being. (shrink)
The dispute over Socrates’ apparent endorsement of hedonism in the Protagoras has persisted for ages among scholars and students of Plato’s work. The solution to the query concerning the seriousness and sincerity of Socrates’ argument from hedonism established in the dialogue is of considerable importance for the interpretation of Plato’s overall moral theory, considering how blatantly irreconcilable the defense of this doctrine is with Plato’s other early dialogues. In his earlier works, Socrates puts supreme importance on virtue and (...) perfection of the soul, so the puzzle apparent in the Protagoras merits a thorough examination. Several scholars have argued that, since Socrates’ defense of hedonism in this work clashes significantly with his views on morality in other dialogues, Socrates must only have been defending hedonism ironically, or with the intention of “diagnosing” his opponent’s point of view. In this paper, I examine the approaches according to which Socrates didn’t in fact mean to defend hedonism, but merely used it as a diagnostic tool; I argue that there is no compelling evidence for this resolution of Socrates’ defense of hedonism, and that the views that attempt to defend it really have no convincing grounds for it apart from the desire to reconcile the Protagoras with other Socratic dialogues. (shrink)
This paper discusses psychological hedonism with a special reference to the writings of Bishop Butler, and Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson. Contrary to philosophical orthodoxy, Sober and Wilson have claimed that Butler failed to refute psychological hedonism. In this paper it is argued: (1) that there is a difference between reductive and ultimate psychological hedonism; (2) that Butler failed to refute ultimate psychological hedonism, but that he succeeded in refuting reductive psychological hedonism; and, finally (...) and more importantly, (3) that Butler’s criticism of reductive hedonism can be used as a stepping-stone in another argument showing the implausibility of ultimate psychological hedonism as well. (shrink)
This thesis defends a hedonistic theory of value consisting of two main components. Part 1 offers a theory of pleasure. Pleasures are experiences distinguished by a distinct phenomenological quality. This quality is attitudinal in nature: it is the feeling of liking. The pleasure experience is also an object of this attitude: when feeling pleasure, we like what we feel, and part of how it feels is how this liking feels: Pleasures are Internally Liked Experiences. Pleasure plays a central role in (...) the motivational system such that pleasure tends to influence, and in turn be influenced by, other motivational, dispositional and evaluative states of the agent. While this connection is strong, it is often indirect and contingent - the necessary attitudinal connection is a matter of how pleasure feels, not of how it functions. -/- Part 2 is concerned with the nature of value. What kind of problem is it that value poses, and what ought a theory of value to do? In face of the fundamental disagreements that persist over these questions, we try to gather and systemize what we can agree upon about value, and then develop a theory that accounts for (enough of) those things. Meta-ethical naturalism, as developed here, is the view that value is a natural property, identified via the role “value” plays according to the best systematization of moral and evaluative thought. The theory engaging meta-ethics with the scientific investigation of matters relevant to value: we need to understand the causal processes behind our beliefs in order to make an informed decision about which of the competing theories offers the best explanation of value. Finally, the argument is made that the nature and function of pleasure shows it to play the kind of explanatory role necessary for a sound naturalistic reduction of value: it makes many of our beliefs about value true, and it is causally responsible for most of our attributions and beliefs about value. (shrink)
I defend hedonism about moral value by first presenting an argument for moral skepticism, and then showing that phenomenal introspection gives us a unique way to defeat the skeptical argument and establish pleasure's goodness.
Robert Nozick’s experience machine thought experiment is often considered a decisive refutation of hedonism. I argue that the conclusions we draw from Nozick’s thought experiment ought to be informed by considerations concerning the operation of our intuitions about value. First, I argue that, in order to show that practical hedonistic reasons are not causing our negative reaction to the experience machine, we must not merely stipulate their irrelevance (since our intuitions are not always responsive to stipulation) but fill in (...) the concrete details that would make them irrelevant. If we do this, we may see our feelings about the experience machine becoming less negative. Second, I argue that, even if our feelings about the experience machine do not perfectly track hedonistic reasons, there are various reasons to doubt the reliability of our anti-hedonistic intuitions. And finally, I argue that, since in the actual world seeing certain things besides pleasure as ends in themselves may best serve hedonistic ends, hedonism may justify our taking these other things to be intrinsically valuable, thus again making the existence of our seemingly anti-hedonistic intuitions far from straightforward evidence for the falsity of hedonism. (shrink)
This paper is a plea for hedonism to be taken more seriously. It begins by charting hedonism's decline, and suggests that this is a result of two major objections: the claim that hedonism is the 'philosophy of swine', reducing all value to a single common denominator, and Nozick's 'experience machine' objection. There follows some elucidation of the nature of hedonism, and of enjoyment in particular. Two types of theory of enjoyment are outlined-intemalism, according to which enjoyment (...) has some special 'feeling tone'. and externalism, according to which enjoyment is any kind of experience to which we take some special attitude, such as that of desire. lnternalism-the traditional view--is defended against current externalist orthodoxy. The paper ends with responses to the philosophy of swine and the experience machine objections. (shrink)
In the second half of their recent, critically acclaimed book Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior , Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson discuss psychological hedonism. This is the view that avoiding our own pain and increasing our own pleasure are the only ultimate motives people have. They argue that none of the traditional philosophical arguments against this view are good, and they go on to present theirownevolutionary biological argument against it. Interestingly, the first half of (...) their book, which is a defense of group selectionism, has received almost all of the attention of those people who have published reactions to the book. No one has published a detailed reaction to the argument of the latter half of the book. In this article, the author explains and critically discusses their evolutionary biological argument against psychological hedonism, concluding that in its current form it is not strong enough to support its conclusion. However, the author goes on to argue that despite recent criticisms of Robert Nozick’s experience-machine argument, it is still a good argument against psychological hedonism. In support of the latter point, the author responds to the objections of Sober and Wilson and to the more recent criticisms offered by Matthew Silverstein. Key Words: hedonism • psychological egoism • evolution • Robert Nozick • Elliott Sober. (shrink)
The hoary philosophical tradition of hedonism – the view that pleasure is the basic ethical or normative value – suggests that it is at least reasonably and roughly intuitive. But philosophers no longer treat hedonism that way. For the most part, they think that they know it to be obviously false on intuitive grounds, much more obviously false on such grounds than familiar competitors. I argue that this consensus is wrong. I defend the intuitive cogency of hedonism (...) relative to the dominant desire-based and objectivist conceptions of well-being and the good. I argue that hedonism is still a contender, and indeed that our current understanding of commonsense intuition on balance supports it. (shrink)
This paper re-evaluates the role that Plato confers to pleasure in the "Philebus." According to leading interpretations, Plato there downplays the role of pleasure, or indeed rejects hedonism altogether. Thus, scholars such as D. Frede have taken the "mixed life" of pleasure and intelligence initially submitted in the "Philebus" to be conceded by Socrates only as a remedial good, second to a life of neutral condition, where one would experience no pleasure and pain. Even more strongly, scholars such as (...) Irwin have seen the "Philebus'" arguments against false pleasures as an actual attack on hedonism, showing -- in Irwin's words -- "why maximization of pleasure cannot be a reasonable policy for the best life." Against these claims, I argue that the mixed life of pleasure and intelligence is presented in the "Philebus" as a first best and not just as a second best for humans, and that, accordingly, Socrates proposes to incorporate -- rather than reject -- pleasure as one of the intrinsically desirable aspects of the happy life. Thus, I offer alternative readings of controversial passages that have given rise to the prevalent interpretation criticized here, and advance positive evidence that at least some pleasures are seen by Plato as inherently good. In addition, I demonstrate that Plato's arguments against false pleasures do not by themselves constitute an attack on hedonism. Rather, they can be seen as a strategy to show the hedonist that, in order to be a maximal, or even a consistent, hedonist, he should go for true, and not fake pleasures, if after all pleasure is the object of his pursuit. But, since this cannot be achieved without intelligence, then the mixed life of pleasure and intelligence is to be accepted even by hedonist themselves. (shrink)
This article argues that attitudinal hedonism is false as atheory of what is intrinsically good for us because it impliesthat nothing is intrinsically good for someone who does nothave the psychological capacity for the propositional attitudeof enjoyment even if he has other important mental capacitiesthat humans have.
Callicles, Socrates’ main interlocutor in Plato’s Gorgias, has traditionally been interpreted as a kind of sybaritic hedonist, as someone who takes the ultimate goal in life to consist in the pursuit of physical pleasures and, further, as someone who refuses to accept the value of any restraint at all on a person’s desire. Such an interpretation turns Callicles into a straw man and Plato, I argue, did not create Callicles only to have him knocked down in this easy way. Plato’s (...) construction of Callicles’ position is much more formidable and not reducible to any simple classification. In the first part of this paper, I challenge the traditional interpretation of Callicles. In the second, I speculate as to why Plato has attributed this much more formidable position to Callicles, one which Socrates is never really made to get at the heart of. (shrink)
This paper is a contribution to the debate about eudaimonism started by Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, King, and Waterman in a previous issue of The Journal of Positive Psychology. We point out that one thing that is missing from this debate is an understanding of the problems with subjective theories of well-being that motivate a turn to objective theories. A better understanding of the rationale for objective theories helps us to see what is needed from a theory of well-being. We then argue (...) that a suitably modified subjective theory can provide what is needed and that this is the theory that ought to be favored by psychologists. Keywords: well-being; happiness; hedonism; eudaimonia; subjective well-being; theory; values.. (shrink)
Understanding the causes of behavior is one of philosophy's oldest challenges. In analyzing human desires, Bertrand Russell's position was clearly related to that of psychological hedonism. Still, though he seems to have held quite consistently that desires and emotions govern human behavior, he claimed that they do not necessarily do so by making us want to maximize pleasure. This claim is related to several being made in today's psychology and philosophy. I point out a string of facts and arguments (...) indicating the weakness of this position, and briefly discuss the possibility of developing a set of assumptions regarding behavioral causation common to students of thinking and behavior. (shrink)
Hegesias (3d c.BC), as hedonist, held that the sage will kill himself. For: One should pursue pleasure and avoid pain. But life is virtually certain to contain more pain than pleasure. Therefore death, which is neither pleasurable nor painful, is better than life. The flaw in the argument lies in the underlying game-theoretical model of life as a game in which play and payoff are distinct. Hegesias's conclusion, that life is not ‘worth living,’ is inescapable by any philosophy so based, (...) including John Rawls's. Why shouldn't his rational persons behind the veil of ignorance opt for prenatal suicide? (shrink)
Francis Hutcheson’s theory of value is often characterized as a precursor to the qualitative hedonism of John Stuart Mill. The interpretation of Mill as a qualitative hedonist has come under fire recently; some have argued that he is, in fact, a hedonist of no variety at all.1 Others have argued that his hedonism is as non-qualitative as Bentham’s.2 The purpose of this essay is not to critically engage the various interpretations of Mill’s value theory. Rather, I hope to (...) show that Hutcheson should not be read as a qualitative hedonist. The evidence for Hutcheson as a qualitative hedonist is strong and striking. The most commonly cited passages are taken from his posthumous opus, A System of Moral .. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question of whether or not Epicurus was a psychological hedonist. Did he, that is, hold that all human action, as a matter of fact, has pleasure as its goal? Or was he just an ethical hedonist, asserting merely that pleasure ought to be the goal of human action? I discuss a recent forceful attempt by John Cooper to answer the latter question in the affirmative, and argue that he fails to make his case. There is considerable (...) evidence in favour of a psychological reading of Epicurean hedonism, evidence that includes some of the very texts that Cooper cites in support of the ethical reading. (shrink)
In her 2006 bestseller about the rise of 'raunch culture' and of such self-ascribed 'Female Chauvinist Pigs' as the tawdry socialite Paris Hilton, Ariel Levy describes these phenomena as being indicative of a drastic cultural shift. Serious concerns have been raised, most recently by the American Psychological Association, about the effects of this culture on young girls. Recent Web sources have coined a term for the self-concept embodied and projected by Paris Hilton and her admirers: 'Hiltonism'. In this paper, I (...) examine this type of self-concept. I begin by exploring raunch culture and Hiltonism in some detail and by delineating three main principles of Hiltonism. Two sections follow in which I scrutinise two putative hypotheses on the provenance of the Hiltonistic self-concept: the postmodern and the hedonistic hypotheses. I conclude that only the hedonistic hypothesis holds water. I close by extracting some of the moral and educational implications of Hiltonism as a modern form of hedonism. (shrink)
This article argues that attitudinal hedonism is false as a theory of what is intrinsically good for us because it implies that nothing is intrinsically good for someone who does not have the psychological capacity for the propositional attitude of enjoyment even if he has other important mental capacities that humans have.
A popular objection to hedonist accounts of personal welfare has been the experience machine argument. Several modifications of traditional hedonism have been proposed in response. In this article I examine two such responses, recently expounded by Feldman and Sumner respectively. I argue that both modifications make hedonism indistinguishable from anti-hedonism. Sumner's account, I claim, also fails to satisfy the demands of theoretical unity.
Hedonism can take many forms. In this paper I sketch a particular version of hedonism which has its roots in some of the ancient Greek theories, like in the perceived theory put forth in Plato’s dialogue the Protagoras and in Epicurus, and which motivates, and extends to some, 18th and 19th century hedonists, like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. I then try to raise some questions and test certain claims when it seems pertinent to do so, and (...) try to suggest, or bring some awareness of, possible reformulations or amendments. Although most of what I will have to say has been said before in some form or another, at times, I try, however brief, to offer a few novel speculations of my own. (shrink)
Major strands of the history of scientific psychology proposed less mechanistic explanations of behavior than the “series of billiard ball reactions” that Ellis ascribes to them. I tease apart psychological systems based on hedonism and those based on stimulus-response mechanisms-and then tease apart basic hedonism and drive-reduction hedonism, to layout psychological and neuroscientific foundations for the active, dynamic, cognitive, emotive, and "spiritual" dynamics of human nature which Ellis calls us to affirm. I trace these distinctions through the (...) drive-reduction psychoanalysis of Freud, the drive-reduction behaviorism of Hull, and the non-drive-reductive hedonistic system of Skinner. Then I trace the recent neuroscience of reward and punishment circuits and putative narcissistic and altruistic circuits, to conclude that Behaviorism and Neuroscience support broad hedonistic but major non-drive-reduction motivational systems. I affirm Ellis’ contention that emotions are basically “active”, although with some caveats and questions. (shrink)
Against Schmidt-Petri's claim, I argue that John Stuart Mill is committed to the view that one pleasure is higher in quality than another if and only if at least a majority of those people who are competently acquainted with both always prefer the one no matter how much of the other is offered. I support my reading with solid textual evidence; none such is provided by Schmidt-Petri in support of his contrary interpretation that qualitative superiority exists whenever the experienced prefer (...) less of one pleasure to more of another. The decisive objection to this is its incompatibility with the hedonistic requirement that more pleasure ought to be preferred to less, a requirement so fundamental that it would be uncharitable to suppose that Mill lost sight of it in his doctrine of higher pleasures. (shrink)
It is widely thought among philosophers that Joseph Butler's criticism of psychological egoism in his Sermons is, in the words of A.E. Duncan-Jones, 'the classic refutation of it.' Indeed, no less a philosopher than David Hume restated and put forth Butler's central argument against hedonistic egoism - without due credit - as part of his own critique. Yet recent commentators have begun to question Butler's arguments, albeit usually with sympathy and in the hope of saving what they take to be (...) his insights. I propose to focus on Butler's main objection to hedonistic psychological egoism, to show how and why it fails to refute plausible forms of the thesis, and briefly to indicate why philosophical attempts to disprove this theory of motivation are misguided. (shrink)
Kant’s ethical writings contain a hedonistic view of human motivation. This has been pointed out by several commentators. Less noticed, however, is his hedonic life perspective, present in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View and Critique of Judgment. This life outlook covers the full range of experience, so that Kant speaks not only of pleasures of the senses and the aestheticimagination but also of pleasures felt through concepts (Begriffe) and ideas (Ideen). In the first part of the paper, (...) I discuss how Kant’s hedonistic view of human motivation is integral to his metaphysics of morals, by examining his four theorems and supporting arguments presented in the Critique of Practical Reason. The second part explores Kant’s hedonic life outlook contained in his Anthropology and Critique of Judgment. I claim that his hedonic perspective is indeed presupposed by his hedonistic view of all human choices outside morality. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
The students and colleagues of Roderick Chisholm admired and respected Chisholm. Many were filled not only with admiration, but with affection and gratitude for Chisholm throughout the time we knew him. Even now that he is dead, we continue to wish him well. Under the circumstances, many of us probably think that that wish amounts to no more than this: we hope that things went well for him when he lived; we hope that he had a good life.
It often seems obvious to us that our pleasures can justify our actions. If I ask you why you’re reading right now instead of dancing, and if your answer is that reading, unlike dancing, is just something you like to do, then (all else equal) your answer seems perfectly sufficient. To demand that you specify some further end you have in enjoying yourself would seem unreasonable if not bizarre. As Elizabeth Anscombe observes, “‘It’s pleasant’ is an adequate answer to ‘What’s (...) the good of it?’ or ‘What do you want that for?’ I.e. the chain of ‘Why’s’ comes to an end with this answer.” (Anscombe 1957/1999, 77) And from this observation alone it is natural to infer—as Plato’s Academic colleague Eudoxus apparently does—that your taking pleasure in something gives you a special, non-derivative reason to pursue that thing. Consider the following argument, attributed by Aristotle to Eudoxus in book X of the Nicomachean Ethics. (shrink)
In this study, George Rudebusch addresses whether Socrates was a hedonist--whether he believed pleasure to be the good. In attempting to locate Socrates' position on hedonism, Rudebusch examines the passages in Plato's early dialogues that are the most disputed on the topic. He maintains that Socrates identifies pleasant activity with virtuous activity, describing Socrates' hedonism as one of activity, not sensation. This analysis allows for Socrates to find both virtue and pleasure to be the good, thus solving the (...) textual puzzle and showing the power of Socratic argument in leading human beings toward the good. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that Robert Nozick's experience machine argument poses an insurmountable obstacle to hedonism as a theory of well-being. After an initial attempt to demonstrate that the persuasiveness of this argument rests on a key ambiguity, I argue that the intuitions to which the thought experiment appeals are not nearly as clear as many philosophers suppose they are. I believe that a careful consideration of the origin of those intuitions -- especially in light of the so-called "paradox of (...)hedonism" -- reveals that they can, in fact, fit quite comfortably into a hedonistic theory of well-being. (shrink)
Time and philosophical fashion have not been kind to hedonism. After flourishing for three centuries or so in its native empiricist habitat, it has latterly all but disappeared from the scene. Does it now merit even passing attention, for other than nostalgic purposes? Like endangered species, discredited ideas do sometimes manage to make a comeback. Is hedonism due for a revival of this sort? Perhaps it is overly optimistic to think that it could ever flourish again in its (...) original form; the evolutionary changes which have rendered the philosophical environment hostile to the classical specimens of the theory are doubtless irreversible. None the less, it is still possible that certain features of the classical view can, and should, be recuperated—like bits of DNA which could contribute to the emergence of new and more robust species. So let us ask ourselves: what is living and what is dead in traditional hedonism? (shrink)
This paper uses readings of two classic autobiographies, Edmund Gosse's Father & Son and John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, to develop a distinctive answer to an old and central question in value theory: What role is played by pleasure in the most successful human life? A first section defends my method. The main body of the paper then defines and rejects voluntarist, stoic, and developmental hedonist lessons to be taken from central crises in my two subjects' autobiographies, and argues for a (...) fourth, diagnostic lesson: Gosse and Mill perceive their individual good through the medium of pleasure. Finally, I offer some speculative moral psychology of human development, as involving the waking, perception, management, and flowering of generic and individual capacities, which I suggest underlies Gosse and Mill's experiences. The acceptance of one's own unchosen nature, discovered by self-perceptive pleasure in the operation of one's nascent capacities, is the beginning of a flourishing adulthood in which that nature is fully developed and expressed. (shrink)
...there can be cases in which we reject pleasure because there is too much of it. Sometimes we decide that pleasure is bad, or not worth having, not because of an extrinsic factor like moral, aesthetic etc. constraints but rather because one is experiencing enough pleasure to the point that more would in itself be undesirable. (2005: 144).
Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of her such that it (...) is affected by events that do not affect her (Kagan 1992, 169-189). These two claims – that well-being is necessarily experiential and that changes in well-being must involve changes in the person – are two different ways of specifying the general intuition that a person’s well-being must be strongly tied to her. This general intuition imposes an adequacy constraint on welfare theorizing: To be adequate, a welfare theory cannot allow that someone can be directly benefited by events that are not strongly tied to her. Call this the strong-tie requirement. The strong-tie requirement is easily satisfied by welfare hedonism, but it poses problems for desire-fulfillment welfare theories and objective-list welfare theories. Though a great deal has been written about desire-fulfillment welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement, not as much has been written about objective-list welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement. This paper argues that objective-list welfare theories can satisfy the strong-tie requirement, though probably only if they take a perfectionist form, as opposed to a brute-list form. (shrink)