Taking Pleasure in the Good and Well-Being: the Harmless Pleasures Objection

Philosophia 46 (2):281-294 (2018)
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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, pleasures that while not taken in something bad, are neither linked to objective goods. It is counterintuitive to say that such pleasures do not make a person's life go better, yet this seems to be what hybrid theories entail. I call this the harmless-pleasure objection. In this paper, I argue that there is no obvious solution to this objection and this result casts doubt on hybrid theories of well-being.



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James Delaney
Niagara University

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Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.

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