Hedonism

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011)

Authors
Dan Weijers
University of Waikato
Abstract
The term "hedonism," from the Greek word ἡδονή (hēdonē) for pleasure, refers to several related theories about what is good for us, how we should behave, and what motivates us to behave in the way that we do. All hedonistic theories identify pleasure and pain as the only important elements of whatever phenomena they are designed to describe. If hedonistic theories identified pleasure and pain as merely two important elements, instead of the only important elements of what they are describing, then they would not be nearly as unpopular as they all are. However, the claim that pleasure and pain are the only things of ultimate importance is what makes hedonism distinctive and philosophically interesting.
Keywords Hedonism  Value Theory  Well-being  Prudential Hedonism  Folk Hedonism  Varieties of Hedonism
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