Happiness and pleasure

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):501-528 (2001)
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Abstract

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

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Dan Haybron
Saint Louis University

Citations of this work

Hedonism reconsidered.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):619–645.
Hedonism Reconsidered.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):619-645.
Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What's So Great about Experience?Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):371-388.

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References found in this work

Welfare, happiness, and ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
A theory of the good and the right.Richard B. Brandt - 1998 - Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.
Well-being: its meaning, measurement, and moral importance.James Griffin - 1986 - Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Clarendon Press.
Commodities and Capabilities.Amartya Sen - 1985 - Oxford University Press India.

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