Hedonism about well-being, roughly put, says that how good or bad our lives are for us is just a matter of our pleasures and pains.
Whether hedonism counts as a subjective or objective theory of well-being depends on whether it is paired with an attitude-based or felt-quality theory of pleasure.
The most influential contemporary challenge to hedonism is Robert Nozick's "experience machine" thought experiment, according to which hedonism entails that it would be best for one to plug into a machine that would give one any future course of experiences one wanted, when this plainly would not be best for one.
Important historical discussions of hedonism are found in Plato's Philebus, Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus, Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and Mill's Utilitarianism. The most comprehensive contemporary defenses of hedonism are Feldman 2004, Crisp 2006 (Ch. 4), and Bramble 2016. Other defenses include Bradley 2009 (Ch. 1), Heathwood 2006, and Lazari-Radek & Singer 2014 (Ch. 9). Nozick's experience machine thought experiment appears in Nozick 1989.
|Introductions||Feldman 2004 provides the most thorough introduction to hedonism about well-being. See also Crisp 2013 (Sec. 4.1) and Heathwood 2014 (Sec. 3.1).|
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