The Nature of Pleasantness

Swiss Philosophical Preprints (2008)

Olivier Massin
Université de Neuchâtel
Sometimes we say that pleasure is distinct form joy, happiness, or good mood. Some other times we say the joy, happiness or good mood are types of pleasure. This suggests the existence of two concepts of pleasure: one specific, the other generic. According to the specific concept, pleasure is one type of positive affects among others. Pleasure is to be distinguished from joy, gladness, contentment, merriment, glee, ecstasy, euphoria, exhilaration, elation, jubilation; happiness, felicity, bliss, well-being; enjoyment, amusement, fun, rejoicing, delectation, enchantment, delight, rapture, relish, thrill; satisfaction, gratification, pride, triumph; good mood, jollity, gaiety, cheerfulness; relief (or at least from some of these concepts). According to the generic concept of pleasure, a pleasure is any of these positive affects. Joy, gladness, contentment, merriment, glee, ecstasy, euphoria, exhilaration, elation, jubilation, happiness, felicity, bliss, well-being, enjoyment, amusement, fun, rejoicing, delectation, enchantment, delight, rapture, relish, thrill, satisfaction, gratification, pride, triumph, good mood, jollity, gaiety, cheerfulness, relief and pleasure in the specific sense are all species of pleasures. In this thesis, I shall focus on the generic concept of pleasure, in order to address the question “what is the property of pleasantness common to all positive affects?” In order to address this question nevertheless, one need to have at least rough grip on pleasure in the specific sense and on what distinguishes it from other positive affects. I shall therefore start by hinting at the problem of the definition of the specific concept of pleasure.
Keywords Pleasantness
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