The Value of Pleasure

Edited by Ben Bramble (Australian National University, Princeton University)
About this topic
Summary There are two central questions here: (1) What is the relationship of pleasure to well-being? (Is all pleasure good for its subject? Is only pleasure (and pain avoidance) good for a person? Why are pleasurable experiences good for their subjects? Is it because of their phenomenology alone, or instead because of their subject’s attitude toward them?)  (2) What is the relationship of pleasure to the good? (Is all pleasure good? Is only pleasure (and pain avoidance) good? Is pleasure good only when, and because, it is good for somebody (i.e., increases somebody’s well-being)?)  Of particular interest are base pleasures (those, say, of gluttony, sex, and so on), malicious pleasures (i.e., those taken in the pain or misfortune of others), and repeated pleasures (i.e., ones that are qualitatively identical to past ones).
Key works Two key works are Crisp 2006 and Feldman 2004, both of which argue (though in different ways) that the value of a pleasure for a person may be affected by what the pleasure is taken in. Goldstein 2003 and Goldstein 1989 argue that all pleasure is good. For important recent work on the role of desire in the value of pleasure (and the reasons provided by pleasure), see Heathwood 2011, Sobel 2005, Sobel 2011, and Parfit 2011.
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  1. Pain and Evil.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In this paper I defend the thesis that, considered simply as certain sorts of bodily sensations, pleasure is not the good nor is pain intrinsically evil. In fact, the opposite is largely the case: pursuit of pleasure is generally productive of ontic evil, and pain, when heeded, directs us toward the ontic good.
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  2. The Epistemic Argument for Hedonism.Neil Sinhababu - manuscript
    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.
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  3. Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others.Aaron Smuts - manuscript
    Is it ever bad to take pleasure in the suffering of fictional characters? I think so. I attempt to show when and why. I begin with two powerful objections to my view: (1) engaging with fiction is akin to morally unproblematic autonomous fantasy, and (2) since no one is harmed, it is morally unproblematic. I reply to the objections and defend a Moorean view on the issue: It is intrinsically bad to enjoy evil, actual (past, present, or future) and merely (...)
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  4. Is Pleasure All That is Good About Experience?Willem Deijl - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1-19.
    Experientialist accounts of wellbeing are those accounts of wellbeing that subscribe to the experience requirement. Typically, these accounts are hedonistic. In this article I present the claim that hedonism is not the most plausible experientialist account of wellbeing. The value of experience should not be understood as being limited to pleasure, and as such, the most plausible experientialist account of wellbeing is pluralistic, not hedonistic. In support of this claim, I argue first that pleasure should not be understood as a (...)
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  5. Strangers to Ourselves: A Nietzschean Challenge to the Badness of Suffering.Nicolas Delon - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Is suffering really bad? The late Derek Parfit argued that we all have reasons to want to avoid future agony and that suffering is in itself bad both for the one who suffers and impersonally. Nietzsche denied that suffering was intrinsically bad and that its value could even be impersonal. This paper has two aims. It argues against what I call ‘Realism about the Value of Suffering’ by drawing from a broadly Nietzschean debunking of our evaluative attitudes, showing that a (...)
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  6. The Standard Interpretation of Schopenhauer's Compensation Argument for Pessimism: A Non-Standard Variant.David Bather Woods - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    According to Schopenhauer’s compensation argument for pessimism, the non-existence of the world is preferable to its existence because no goods can ever compensate for the mere existence of evil. Standard interpretations take this argument to be based on Schopenhauer’s thesis that all goods are merely the negation of evils, from which they assume it follows that the apparent goods in life are in fact empty and without value. This article develops a non-standard variant of the standard interpretation, which accepts the (...)
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  7. Attitudinal and Phenomenological Theories of Pleasure.Eden Lin - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):510-524.
    On phenomenological theories of pleasure, what makes an experience a pleasure is the way it feels. On attitudinal theories, what makes an experience a pleasure is its relationship to the favorable attitudes of the subject who is having it. I advance the debate between these theories in two ways. First, I argue that the main objection to phenomenological theories, the heterogeneity problem, is not compelling. While others have argued for this before, I identify an especially serious version of this problem (...)
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  8. Suffering Pains.Olivier Massin - 2020 - In Jennifer Corns & Michael S. Brady David Bain (ed.), Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value and Normativity. London: Routledge. pp. 76-100.
    The paper aims at clarifying the distinctions and relations between pain and suffering. Three negative theses are defended: 1. Pain and suffering are not identical. 2. Pain is not a species of suffering, nor is suffering a species of pain, nor are pain and suffering of a common (proximate) genus. 3. Suffering cannot be defined as the perception of a pain’s badness, nor can pain be defined as a suffered bodily sensation. Three positive theses are endorsed: 4. Pain and suffering (...)
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  9. A Defense of Basic Prudential Hedonism.Joe Nelson - 2020 - Dissertation, Duke University
    Prudential hedonism is a school of thought in the philosophy of welfare that says that only pleasure is good for us in itself and only pain is bad for us in itself. This dissertation concerns an especially austere form of prudential hedonism: basic prudential hedonism (BPH). BPH claims that all pleasure is good for us in itself, and all pain is bad for us in itself, without exception; that all pleasures feel fundamentally alike, as do all pains; and that the (...)
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  10. Exceptions in Nonderivative Value.Garrett Cullity - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):26-49.
    According to most substantive axiological theories – theories telling us which things are good and bad – pleasure is nonderivatively good. This seems to imply that it is always good, even when directed towards a bad object, such as another person’s suffering. This implication is accepted by the Mainstream View about misdirected pleasures: it holds that when someone takes pleasure in another person’s suffering, his being pleased is good, although his being pleased by suffering is bad. This view gains some (...)
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  11. A Contemporary Account of Sensory Pleasure.Murat Aydede - 2018 - In Lisa Shapiro (ed.), Pleasure: A History. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 239-266.
    [This is the penultimate version, please send me an email for the final version]. Some sensations are pleasant, some unpleasant, and some are neither. Furthermore, those that are pleasant or unpleasant are so to different degrees. In this essay, I want to explore what kind of a difference is the difference between these three kinds of sensations. I will develop a comprehensive three-level account of sensory pleasure that is simultaneously adverbialist, functionalist and is also a version of a satisfied experiential-desire (...)
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  12. Inner Virtue.Nicolas Bommarito - 2018 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    What does it mean to be a morally good person? It can be tempting to think that it is simply a matter of performing certain actions and avoiding others. And yet there is much more to moral character than our outward actions. We expect a good person to not only behave in certain ways but also to experience the world in certain ways within.
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  13. Taking Pleasure in the Good and Well-Being: The Harmless Pleasures Objection.James Delaney - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (2):281-294.
    Well-being is that which is non-instrumentally good for a person. It is identical to how well someone's life goes. There are three main theories of well-being: hedonism, desire-fulfillment, and objective list theories. Each of these theories is subject to criticism, which has led some philosophers to posit a hybrid theory in which well-being is defined as taking pleasure in objective goods. One problem that comes with such an account is the possibility of what I will call harmless pleasures; that is, (...)
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  14. Life's Values: Pleasure, Happiness, Well-Being, and Meaning.Alan H. Goldman - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Life's Values offers new analyses of the nature of pleasure, happiness, well-being, and meaning in life. Recognizing how individuals have different priorities, Goldman explains what is of ultimate value in our lives and argues that making our desires rational - relevantly informed of what it's like to satisfy them - maximizes well-being.
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  15. Is Pleasure Merely An Instrumental Good? Reply to Pianalto.Tully Ian - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (1):135-138.
    The view that pleasure's value might be merely instrumental has not received much support from philosophers. Indeed, few things seem more clearly to be of intrinsic value than pleasure. However, Matthew Pianalto has provided a sophisticated defense of the purely instrumental view. In this paper I respond to Pianalto's argument. I defend it from some recent criticism, while nevertheless ultimately concluding that it fails.
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  16. Art, Pleasure, Value: Reframing the Questions.Mohan Matthen - 2018 - Philosophic Exchange 47 (1).
    In this essay, I’ll argue, first, that an art object's aesthetic value (or merit) depends not just on its intrinsic properties, but on the response it evokes from a consumer who shares the producer's cultural background. My question is: what is the role of culture in relation to this response? I offer a new account of aesthetic pleasure that answers this question. On this account, aesthetic pleasure is not just a “feeling” or “sensation” that results from engaging with a work (...)
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  17. Le Plaisir.Massin Olivier - 2018 - In Tieffenbach Emma & Deonna Julien (eds.), Petit traité des valeurs. pp. 214-222.
    I argue that pleasure is not only necessarily good, but also essentially so. Part of the nature of pleasure is to be (personally, finally) good.
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  18. No, It Isn’T: A Response to Law on Evil Pleasure.Richard Playford - 2018 - [email protected] - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 17 (1):1-12.
    In this paper, I engage with Law’s paper ‘Evil Pleasure Is Good For You!’ I argue that, although his criticism of hedonistic utilitarianism may hold some weight, his analysis of the goodness of pleasure is overly simplistic. I highlight some troubling results which would follow from his analysis and then outline a new account which then remedies these problems. Ultimately, I distinguish between Law’s ‘evil pleasures’ and, what I call, ‘virtuous pleasures’ and show how we can accept the goodness of (...)
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  19. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and Our Shared Hatred of Pain.Ben Bramble - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):94-101.
    This article responds to an argument from Katarzyna de Ladari-Radek and Peter Singer in their article, "The Objectivity of Ethics and the Unity of Practical Reason.".
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  20. Renunciation, Pleasure, and the Good Life in the Saṃnyāsa Upaniṣads.Christopher G. Framarin - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 67 (1):140-159.
    The Saṃnyāsa Upaniṣads characterize the life of the saṃnyāsin as devoid of earthly pleasures. At the same time, these and other texts record confusion and suspicion toward those who would pursue such a life, and disbelief that such severe austerity could be required. To many, the saṃnyāsin seems to forsake the good life in forsaking earthly pleasures. I call this the ‘Precluded Pleasures Objection’ to the saṃnyāsin ideal. A number of replies to the Precluded Pleasures Objection might be drawn from (...)
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  21. The Pleasure of Art.Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1):6-28.
    This paper presents a new account of aesthetic pleasure, according to which it is a distinct psychological structure marked by a characteristic self-reinforcing motivation. Pleasure figures in the appreciation of an object in two ways: In the short run, when we are in contact with particular artefacts on particular occasions, aesthetic pleasure motivates engagement and keeps it running smoothly—it may do this despite the fact that the object we engagement is aversive in some ways. Over longer periods, it plays a (...)
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  22. A New Defense of Hedonism About Well-Being.Ben Bramble - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    According to hedonism about well-being, lives can go well or poorly for us just in virtue of our ability to feel pleasure and pain. Hedonism has had many advocates historically, but has relatively few nowadays. This is mainly due to three highly influential objections to it: The Philosophy of Swine, The Experience Machine, and The Resonance Constraint. In this paper, I attempt to revive hedonism. I begin by giving a precise new definition of it. I then argue that the right (...)
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  23. The Importance of Pleasure in the Moral for Kant's Ethics.Erica A. Holberg - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):226-246.
    I argue for a new reading of Kant's claim that respect is the moral incentive; this reading accommodates the central insights of the affectivist and intellectualist readings of respect, while avoiding shortcomings of each. I show that within Kant's ethical system, the feeling of respect should be understood as paradigmatic of a kind of pleasure, pleasure in the moral. The motivational power of respect arises from its nature as pleasurable feeling, but the feeling does not directly motivate individual dutiful actions. (...)
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  24. The Subjective List Theory of Well-Being.Eden Lin - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):99-114.
    A subjective list theory of well-being is one that accepts both pluralism (the view that there is more than one basic good) and subjectivism (the view, roughly, that every basic good involves our favourable attitudes). Such theories have been neglected in discussions of welfare. I argue that this is a mistake. I introduce a subjective list theory called disjunctive desire satisfactionism, and I argue that it is superior to two prominent monistic subjectivist views: desire satisfactionism and subjective desire satisfactionism. In (...)
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  25. About the Benefits of Pleasure-in-Others’-Misfortune. Aaron Ben-Ze’Ev’s Depiction of Emotions as Adaptive Mechanisms.Magdalena Michalik-Jeżowska - 2016 - Studia Humana 5 (3):53-69.
    This paper was inspired by two ideas: the concept of emotions as adaptive mechanisms, which was suggested by Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, and Robert Solomon’s criticism of the distinction between “positive” and “negative” emotions which functions in social sciences. In the context of the above mentioned theoretical perspectives I consider the infamous emotion of pleasure-in-others’-misfortune in terms of possible benefits for the experiencing subject. I focus especially on supposed adaptive quality of pleasure-in-others’-aging.
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  26. The Role of Pleasure in Well-Being.Ben Bramble - 2015 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge.
    What is the role of pleasure in determining a person’s well-being? I start by considering the nature of pleasure (i.e., what pleasure is). I then consider what factors, if any, can affect how much a given pleasure adds to a person’s lifetime well-being other than its degree of pleasurableness (i.e., how pleasurable it is). Finally, I consider whether it is plausible that there is any other way to add to somebody’s lifetime well-being than by giving him some pleasure or helping (...)
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  27. The Case Against Meat.Ben Bramble - 2015 - In Ben Bramble Bob Fischer (ed.), The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat. Oxford University Press.
    There is a simple but powerful argument against the human practice of raising and killing animals for food (RKF for short). It goes like this: 1. RKF is extremely bad for animals. 2. RKF is only trivially good for human beings Therefore, 3. RKF should be stopped. While many consider this argument decisive, not everyone is convinced. There have been four main lines of objection to it. In this paper, I provide new responses to these four objections.
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  28. Against Time Bias.Preston Greene & Meghan Sullivan - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):947-970.
    Most of us display a bias toward the near: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our near future and painful experiences to be in our distant future. We also display a bias toward the future: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our future and painful experiences to be in our past. While philosophers have tended to think that near bias is a rational defect, almost no one finds future bias objectionable. In this essay, we argue that this hybrid (...)
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  29. Painism Defended.Richard D. Ryder - 2015 - Think 14 (41):47-55.
    In a previous essay, Richard Ryder argued against Utilitarianism's aggregation of pains across individuals. He continues this argument and rebuts several criticisms of his moral theory of painism. Painism not only rejects the aggregation of pains across individuals, it also questions the trade-off of pains against pleasures.
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  30. Pain, Pleasure, and Unpleasure.David Bain & Michael Brady - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):1-14.
    Compare your pain when immersing your hand in freezing water and your pleasure when you taste your favourite wine. The relationship seems obvious. Your pain experience is unpleasant, aversive, negative, and bad. Your experience of the wine is pleasant, attractive, positive, and good. Pain and pleasure are straightforwardly opposites. Or that, at any rate, can seem beyond doubt, and to leave little more to be said. But, in fact, it is not beyond doubt. And, true or false, it leaves a (...)
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  31. Whole-Life Welfarism.Ben Bramble - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):63-74.
    In this paper, I set out and defend a new theory of value, whole-life welfarism. According to this theory, something is good only if it makes somebody better off in some way in his life considered as a whole. By focusing on lifetime, rather than momentary, well-being, a welfarist can solve two of the most vexing puzzles in value theory, The Badness of Death and The Problem of Additive Aggregation.
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  32. Plato on Pure Pleasure and the Best Life.Emily Fletcher - 2014 - Phronesis 59 (2):113-142.
    In the Philebus, Socrates maintains two theses about the relationship between pleasure and the good life: the mixed life of pleasure and intelligence is better than the unmixed life of intelligence, and: the unmixed life of intelligence is the most divine. Taken together, these two claims lead to the paradoxical conclusion that the best human life is better than the life of a god. A popular strategy for avoiding this conclusion is to distinguish human from divine goods; on such a (...)
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  33. Faring Well and Getting What You Want.Chris Heathwood - 2014 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems. Oxford University Press. pp. 31-42.
    An introductory-level article defending a desire-satisfaction theory of welfare. About 5,000 words; no footnotes, citations, credits, etc.
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  34. CHAPTER 3. Knowledge and Pleasure.Kurt Lampe - 2014 - In The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life. Princeton University Press. pp. 26-55.
  35. The Asymmetrical Contributions of Pleasure and Pain to Subjective Well-Being.Adam Shriver - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1):135-153.
    Many ethicists writing about well-being have assumed that claims made about the relationship between pleasure and well-being carry similar implications for the relationship between pain and well-being. I argue that the current neuroscience of pleasure and pain does not support this assumption. In particular, I argue that the experiences of pleasure and pain are mediated by different cognitive systems, that they make different contributions to human behavior in general and to well-being in particular, and that they bear fundamentally different relationships (...)
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  36. The Asymmetrical Contributions of Pleasure and Pain to Animal Welfare.Adam J. Shriver - 2014 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 23 (2):152-162.
    Recent results from the neurosciences demonstrate that pleasure and pain are not two symmetrical poles of a single scale of experience but in fact two different types of experiences altogether, with dramatically different contributions to well-being. These differences between pleasure and pain and the general finding that “the bad is stronger than the good” have important implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. In particular, whereas animal experimentation that causes suffering might be justified if it leads to the prevention of (...)
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  37. The Distinctive Feeling Theory of Pleasure.Ben Bramble - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):201-217.
    In this article, I attempt to resuscitate the perennially unfashionable distinctive feeling theory of pleasure (and pain), according to which for an experience to be pleasant (or unpleasant) is just for it to involve or contain a distinctive kind of feeling. I do this in two ways. First, by offering powerful new arguments against its two chief rivals: attitude theories, on the one hand, and the phenomenological theories of Roger Crisp, Shelly Kagan, and Aaron Smuts, on the other. Second, by (...)
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  38. Hedonism.Chris Heathwood - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    An encyclopedia entry on hedonistic theories of value and welfare -- the view, roughly, that pleasure is the good.
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  39. Books Before Chocolate? The Insufficiency of Mill's Evidence for Higher Pleasures.Kristin Schaupp - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (2):266-276.
    Recent attempts to defend Mill's account of higher and lower pleasures have overlooked a critical flaw in Mill's argument. Mill considers the question of pleasure and preference as an empirical one, but the evidence he appeals to is inconclusive. Yet, this distinction plays an essential role in Mill's utilitarianism because Mill uses this evidence to support his argument that most people actually prefer pleasures resulting from higher faculties over pleasures resulting from lower faculties. If this proves to be insufficient, then (...)
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  40. The Two Facets of Pleasure.Laura Sizer - 2013 - Philosophical Topics 41 (1):215-236.
    Several tensions run through philosophical debates on the nature of pleasure: is it a feeling or an attitude? Is it excited engagement during activities, or satisfaction and contentment at their completion? Pleasure also plays fundamental explanatory roles in psychology, neuroscience, and animal behavior. I draw on this work to argue that pleasure picks out two distinct, but interacting neurobiological systems with long evolutionary histories. Understanding pleasure as having these two facets gives us a better account of pleasure and explains the (...)
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  41. Pleasure as Self‐Discovery.Samuel Clark - 2012 - Ratio 25 (3):260-276.
    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 (...)
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  42. No Life is Good.David Benatar - 2011 - The Philosophers' Magazine 53 (53):62-66.
    The worst pains seem to be worse than the best pleasures are good. Anybody who doubts this should consider what choice they would make if they wereoffered the option of securing an hour of the most sublime pleasures possible in exchange for suffering an hour of the worst pain possible.
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  43. No Philosophy for Swine: John Stuart Mill on the Quality of Pleasures.Michael Hauskeller - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (4):428-446.
    I argue that Mill introduced the distinction between quality and quantity of pleasures in order to fend off the then common charge that utilitarianism is ‘a philosophy for swine’ and to accommodate the (still) widespread intuition that the life of a human is better, in the sense of being intrinsically more valuable, than the life of an animal. I argue that in this he fails because in order to do successfully he would have to show not only that the life (...)
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  44. A Life Worth Living.John Kekes - 2011 - The Philosophers' Magazine 53 (53):73-78.
    To enjoy life is to be pleased, delighted, and satisfied with it; to live with relish, to savour and take pleasure especially in parts of it we regard as important, and to want the life to continue by and large in the way it has been going. The most important thing we can do is live in a way that reflects what we most deeply care about.
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  45. The Quest for Pleasure and the Death of Life.Joseph Morrill Kirby - 2011 - Cosmos and History 7 (2):94-113.
    In this paper, I present a parallel between Schopenhauer, who argues that a purely rational being would see life as meaningless suffering and therefore refuse to inflict existence on a new generation of humans, and economist Lester Thurow, who argues that it is irrational to care about what happens to the world after one's own death, even if this means the extinction of the human species. I show first how these attitudes stem from an orientation that judges life in terms (...)
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  46. On Pleasures.Olivier Massin - 2011 - Dissertation, Geneva
    This thesis introduces and defends the Axiological Theory of Pleasure (ATP), according to which all pleasures are mental episodes which exemplify an hedonic value. According to the version of the ATP defended, hedonic goodness is not a primitive kind of value, but amounts to the final and personal value of mental episodes. Beside, it is argued that all mental episodes –and then all pleasures– are intentional. The definition of pleasures I arrived at is the following : -/- x is a (...)
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  47. Better Never to Have Been?: The Unseen Implications. [REVIEW]Joseph Packer - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):225-235.
    This paper will directly tackle the question of Benatar’s asymmetry at the heart of his book Better Never to have Been and provide a critique based on some of the logical consequences that result from the proposition that every potential life can only be understood in terms of the pain that person would experience if she or he was born. The decision only to evaluate future pain avoided and not pleasure denied for potential people means that we should view each (...)
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  48. Animal Pain: What It is and Why It Matters. [REVIEW]Bernard E. Rollin - 2011 - The Journal of Ethics 15 (4):425-437.
    The basis of having a direct moral obligation to an entity is that what we do to that entity matters to it. The ability to experience pain is a sufficient condition for a being to be morally considerable. But the ability to feel pain is not a necessary condition for moral considerability. Organisms could have possibly evolved so as to be motivated to flee danger or injury or to eat or drink not by pain, but by “pangs of pleasure” that (...)
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  49. Joy.Hilary Kathleen Sloan - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (4):419-431.
    Joy is often mentioned in discussion of theories of hedonism, happiness, desire, or religion, but is rarely considered in itself. Consequently, much about the nature of joy remains unclear. Is it, for example, a distinctive state? A feeling? An emotion? Why is it experienced? Does it have a functional role? Through discussion of joy's nature, role, and importance, it will be demonstrated that joy can indeed be defined: as an intense, positively-valenced emotion, whose inherent connection to the desire for self-preservation (...)
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  50. The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure.Aaron Smuts - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):241-265.
    Most philosophers since Sidgwick have thought that the various forms of pleasure differ so radically that one cannot find a common, distinctive feeling among them. This is known as the heterogeneity problem. To get around this problem, the motivational theory of pleasure suggests that what makes an experience one of pleasure is our reaction to it, not something internal to the experience. I argue that the motivational theory is wrong, and not only wrong, but backwards. The heterogeneity problem is the (...)
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