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.
Related categories

166 found
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  1. added 2019-01-08
    Suffering Pains.Olivier Massin - forthcoming - In The Philosophy of Suffering: Metaphysics, Value, and Normativity. London: Routledge.
    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. Painisnotaspeciesofsuffering,norissufferingaspeciesof 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 are categorically distinct: pain is a localised bodily episode, suffering is a (...)
  2. added 2018-09-24
    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 (...)
  3. added 2018-05-21
    Is Pleasure All That is Good About Experience?W. J. A. Van der Deijl - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies: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 (...)
  4. added 2018-04-23
    Exceptions in Nonderivative Value.Garrett Cullity - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    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 (...)
  5. added 2018-04-15
    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.
  6. added 2018-02-26
    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.
  7. added 2018-02-19
    Review of William Kelly Wright, The Ethical Significance of Feeling, Pleasure, and Happiness in Modern Non-Hedonistic Systems. [REVIEW]Kate Gordon - 1908 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 5 (8):217-219.
  8. added 2018-02-19
    The Ethical Significance of Feeling, Pleasure, and Happiness in Modern Non-Hedonistic Systems. [REVIEW]Kate Gordon - 1908 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 5 (8):217-219.
  9. added 2018-01-29
    Summary of J. Seth, "Is Pleasure the Summum Bonum?".Ellen B. Talbot - 1896 - Philosophical Review 5:549.
  10. added 2018-01-11
    The Limits of Hedonism: Feldman on the Value of Attitudinal Pleasure.Serena Olsaretti - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):409-415.
    This paper is part of a book symposium on Fred Feldman's, *Pleasure and the Good Life*. I argue that Feldman’s defence of hedonism, although successful on its own terms, is of less significance than it may seem at first, for two main reasons. First, Feldman’s defence of the claim that attitudinal pleasures are the chief good is either implausible or crucially incomplete. Second, Feldman’s claim that hedonists can overcome the objections levelled against them while remaining pure hedonists is only partially (...)
  11. added 2018-01-11
    Review of Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life. [REVIEW]Georges Chapouthier - 2004 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 194 (3):363.
  12. added 2018-01-08
    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.
  13. added 2017-12-11
    Review of Fred Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life. [REVIEW]Roger Crisp - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222):152-154.
  14. added 2017-12-11
    Summary of F. J. E. Woodbridge, "The Place of Pleasure in a System of Ethics".J. S. - 1897 - Philosophical Review 6:671.
  15. added 2017-11-27
    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.
  16. added 2017-11-27
    Taking Pleasure in the Good and Well-Being: The Harmless Pleasures Objection.James J. 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, (...)
  17. added 2017-11-27
    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 (...)
  18. added 2017-10-08
    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.".
  19. added 2017-02-13
    Pleasure, Pain, and Emotion.Goldstein Irwin - unknown
    In this dissertation I analyse the concepts of pleasure and unpleasantness and outline an approach whereby the insights gained about pleasure and unpleasantness are applied to the analysis of a number of feeling and emotion concepts. In trying to understand what pleasure is and hew it is related to pain and unpleasantness, I tackle various basic questions about the role of pleasure, pain, and unpleasantness in motivation and about the intrinsic goodness of pleasure and the intrinsic badness of pain and (...)
  20. added 2017-01-10
    Intersubjective Properties by Which We Specify Pain, Pleasure, and Other Kinds of Mental States.Irwin Goldstein - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (291):89-104.
    By what types of properties do we specify twinges, toothaches, and other kinds of mental states? Wittgenstein considers two methods. Procedure one, direct, private acquaintance: A person connects a word to the sensation it specifies through noticing what that sensation is like in his own experience. Procedure two, outward signs: A person pins his use of a word to outward, pre-verbal signs of the sensation. I identify and explain a third procedure and show we in fact specify many kinds of (...)
  21. added 2017-01-09
    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 (...)
  22. added 2017-01-09
    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 (...)
  23. added 2017-01-09
    Review of Kurt Lampe, The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life. [REVIEW]Kelly E. Arenson - 2016 - Polis 33 (1):205-9.
  24. added 2017-01-09
    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.
  25. added 2017-01-09
    Review of J. C. B. Gosling, Pleasure and Desire: The Case for Hedonism. [REVIEW]Richmond Campbell - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (1):116-119.
  26. added 2017-01-09
    The Ethical Significance of Feeling, Pleasure, and Happiness in Modern Non-Hedonistic Systems.Frances H. Rousmaniere & William Kelley Wright - 1908 - Philosophical Review 17 (5):559.
  27. added 2016-12-08
    The Case Against Objective Values.Alan H. Goldman - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):507-524.
    While objective values need not be intrinsically motivating, need not actually motivate us, they would determine what we ought to pursue and protect. They would provide reasons for actions. Objective values would come in degrees, and more objective value would provide stronger reasons. It follows that, if objective value exists, we ought to maximize it in the world. But virtually no one acts with that goal in mind. Furthermore, objective value would exist independently of our subjective valuings. But we have (...)
  28. added 2016-08-04
    III—Quantity of Pleasure.John C. Hall - 1967 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 67 (1):35-52.
  29. added 2016-08-04
    Pleasure-Extract.Thomas Gilby - 1932 - New Blackfriars 13 (151):602-607.
  30. added 2016-08-04
    Is Pleasure the Summum Bonum?James Seth - 1896 - International Journal of Ethics 6 (4):409-424.
  31. added 2016-06-13
    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. (...)
  32. added 2016-03-07
    Precis of Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausiblity of Hedonism.Fred Feldman - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):405-408.
  33. added 2016-03-07
    5. The Worth of Pleasure.F. E. Sparshott - 1996 - In Taking Life Seriously: A Study of the Argument of the Nicomachean Ethics. University of Toronto Press. pp. 307-323.
  34. added 2016-03-07
    Is Pleasure the Summum Bonum?James Seth - 1895 - Ethics 6 (4):409.
  35. added 2016-01-27
    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 (...)
  36. added 2016-01-11
    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 (...)
  37. added 2015-05-20
    Review of Wright, The Ethical Significance of Feeling, Pleasure, and Happiness in Modern Non-Hedonistic Systems. [REVIEW]Frances H. Rousmaniere - 1908 - Philosophical Review 17 (5):559-560.
  38. added 2015-05-18
    Hedonic Sensibility and the Construction of Goodness.William Arthur Haines - 1997 - Dissertation, Harvard University
    Hedonism is the view that what ultimately matters is just how much pleasure there is; pleasure is the ultimate good. I focus on metaethical and moral criticisms of this view. I propose and defend a new version of Hedonism that addresses familiar metaethical and moral worries about Hedonism. ;Hedonism as I understand it is a promissory note for a general theory of goodness whereby goodness descends in chains from the ultimate good. To be good is to bear some transitive relation (...)
  39. added 2015-05-18
    Consonance of Welfare and Pleasure.Morgan C. Lloyd - 1929 - Mind 38 (150):207-214.
  40. added 2015-05-18
    The Rationality of Hedonism.E. E. Constance Jones - 1894 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 3 (1):29 - 45.
  41. added 2015-05-11
    Is Unhappiness Morally More Important Than Happiness?James Griffin - 1979 - Philosophical Quarterly 29 (114):47-55.
    The view that the obligation to promote happiness is, as Popper puts it, "in any case much less urgent" than the obligation to eliminate unhappiness we might call the "Negative Doctrine". I know of no plausible form of the Negative Doctrine.
  42. added 2015-05-04
    Review of Fred Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life. [REVIEW]Michael Ridge - 2005 - Mind 114 (454):414-417.
  43. added 2015-04-27
    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.
  44. added 2015-04-13
    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 (...)
  45. added 2015-04-05
    Is the Esse of Intrinsic Value Percipi?: Pleasure, Pain and Value: T. L. S. Sprigge.T. L. S. Sprigge - 2000 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 47:119-140.
    In this paper I shall speak sympathetically of a hedonistic theory of intrinsic value which, ignoring any other such theories, I shall simply call the hedonistic theory of value. How far I am finally committed to it will partly appear at the end.
  46. added 2015-04-04
    Pleasures: Higher and Lower.Robert P. Sylvester - 1975 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):129.
  47. added 2015-03-28
    On Mill's Higher and Lower Pleasures. [REVIEW]Sheldon P. Peterfreund - 1976 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 57 (4):411.
  48. added 2015-03-23
    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 (...)
  49. added 2015-03-17
    The Role of Pleasure in Well-Being.Ben Bramble - forthcoming - 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 (...)
  50. added 2015-03-17
    The Case Against Meat.Ben Bramble - forthcoming - 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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