Talk:Hedonism

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The author clearly is not a proponent of Hedonism, and in fact appears to hold it in disdain --User:Prospero

How exactly is hedonism classified under "philosophy of mind"? In a certain sense, all of philosophy is connected to "philosophy of mind", but relating everything to it seems to devalue the category. I believe that hedonism should be strictly excluded. It is simply a matter of ethics. --mporch 23:20, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It is necessary, in this case, to distinguish cyrenaic hedonism from epicurean hedonism in order to more fully flesh out the varieties of ancient hedonistic traditions. Also, more on materialists (communists, objectivists, utilitarianists, etc.). Hedonism may encompass more than just ethics if taken in context to how it is integral to various philosophies and systems. --User:MasonicLamb

What is "anachronistic" about the description of Jonathan Edwards's theology as Christian Hedonism? This sentence needs some expansion... 216.229.10.57 (talk) 01:46, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

The "Hedon"[edit]

I should think that a more accurate phrasing of, "One could not say, "I had a five-hedon day," for instance," would be, "It would be Inappropriate to say...;" however, I've no familiarity with the word in question and its background or history, and did not want to edit an article on presumption. I'd like to know if anyone with more definite knowledge could make the relevant edit else explain why such would be inaccurate.

first paragraph[edit]

I'm not an experienced Wikipedia user and I don't know wether my suggestion belongs here in this discussion. But I do not think that the individualistic hedonism is always conflicting with the collective hedonism, since one might get own pleasure by helping other people. I get the impression that the author of the article thinks that they are the opposite of each other, even though the reason that some people act altruistic is that their mind tells them that it is a good thing which means that they get pleasure by doing it.

Pelle


I think one could say most people feel that hedonism involves sexual pleasure and do not know the exact philosophical contours and forms of the concept. Those ignorant of the more complex philosophies of hedonism will likely view hedonism as the pursuit of traditionally pleasurable activities like eating and having sex. Most people would fall into this view. While most forms of hedonism may be non-sexual, the one form that is best known is. Or at least that's how I feel, I'll leave it to someone else to make the descision to edit this page or not. -JZT


Oyster section[edit]

What is up with the oyster section? It seems very out of place. -- Charlie

I think as this article grows (hopefully), this will make more sense. The image of the (happy, simple-minded) oyster was one used by the hedonists themselves (I think it was Mill), to describe the 'ultimate' fulfillment. Of course the oyster is probably not aware of its state, but that didn't prevent those (classic) hedonists from using that example (which might go back to plato,..) Eptalon

Expert[edit]

"This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. Please help recruit one, or improve this page yourself if you can." I enjoy life. Want me to? (Just kidding...I think.) :) --ViolinGirl 03:01, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Gourmet[edit]

Should'nt there also be a link to gourmet ?


This has nothing to do with Gourmets at all, actually.--75* 02:19, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

References[edit]

In regards to this section:

Some of Sigmund Freud's theories of human motivation have been called psychological hedonism; his "life instinct" is essentially the observation that people will pursue pleasure. However, he introduces extra complexities with various other mechanisms, such as the "death instinct". The fact that he leaves out the instinct to survive as a primary motivator, and that his hypotheses are notoriously invalidated by objective testing, casts doubt on this theory.

Can someone give references please? - taken from 142.103.168.47's misplaced statement on the article on 01:08, 26 April 2006.

The Ayn Rand Quote[edit]

Is this really relevant to hedonism?

Ayn Rand, one of the biggest modern proponents of Egoism, while rejecting hedonism in a literal sense as a comprehensive ethical system, but still viewed pleasure as the proper end of ethics:

To take "whatever makes one happy" as a guide to action means: to be guided by nothing but one's emotional whims. Emotions are not tools of cognition. . . . This is the fallacy inherent in hedonism--in any variant of ethical hedonism, personal or social, individual or collective. "Happiness" can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard. The task of ethics is to define man's proper code of values and thus to give him the means of achieving happiness. To declare, as the ethical hedonists do, that "the property value is whatever gives you pleasure" is to declare that "the proper value is whatever you happen to value"--which is an act of intellectual and philosophical abdication, an act which merely proclaims the futility of ethics and invites all men to play it deuces wild.[5]

It looks to me like an Ayn Rand zombie got here, remembered that Le Grande Dame had passed judgement on hedonism, and the world must know. For those who aren't Ayn Rand zombies, and who just want to know about hedonism, is this in any way interesting or useful?

OTOH, if you're looking for judgements passed on hedonism, there are more interesting ones out there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.69.127.136 (talk) 14:46, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with her contention that since happiness is the purpose of ethics, that it cannot be the standard. If my purpose is to get to New York for example, my standard to measure if this purpose is being met is "Am I in New York? Does this take me closer to or farther from New York?"--RLent (talk) 15:05, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with Ayn Rand's quote as well. According to Ayn Rand, happiness isn't the standard, yet the main purpose of ethics, which sounds completely absurd. It's like saying losing weight isn't the standard of exercising, but it's the main purpose. Isn't the "standard" and the "main purpose" of anything the same thing? Ayn Rand completely makes no sense here and I believe this ad hominem quote should be removed from this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.250.227.148 (talk) 18:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

20th/21st-Century Hedonism & Sexuality, Etc.[edit]

The article currently contains the folowing sentences: "Quite a few people equate hedonism with sexuality and having a very loose or liberal view of the morality of sex. As noted above, many (perhaps most) forms of hedonism actually concentrate on spiritual, intellectual, or otherwise non-sexual forms of pleasure. The pursuit of sexual pleasure can certainly be a form of hedonism, but it is not the mainstream one. However, this has become the mainstream use of the word."

However, I think the article as it currently stands dodges the connotation that, at least in English-speaking countries, has become attached to the word. I don't mean a strictly sexual connotation, but more one that, for example, might be alluded to in the pop phrase "sex, drugs & rock'n'roll." People often relate the phrase and the value system to "escapism."

Even though this "sensual and escapist" tendency or value system may not be what has been meant by "hedonism" in philosophical circles through the last several centuries, it is often what people mean by the word now. It's probably what many people have meant by the word for at least 35 or 40 years. So it should be more directly addressed.

There has been an interesting debate between those who espouse some form of hedonism in this sense and those who espouse some opposing philosophy — whether some sort of philosophy of traditionalism, "social responsibility," religiosity, or whatever. To be sure, I don't believe it is the purpose or place of an encyclopedia to decide in favor of any side of a debate, but the debate (in its 21st-Century form) isn't identified well in this article, nor can the critique(s) of the sex, drugs & rock'n'roll approach to living really be brought forward. Article seems incomplete.

Just a thought Joel Russ 04:04, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


In fact, the ancient Greek view of hedonism was of a more spiritualistic nature, a more neutral understanding that saw pursuing pleasure as sometimes good, sometimes bad. However, the Christian era changed that nuance when the Christians began writing about "hedone" as an exclusively bad, corrupt, and inferior philosophy (note: the New Testament writings never uses the word hedone in a positive manner). That Christian era connotation has remained rather firmly entrenched, even to modern society.

Wikifish7 - October 26, 2006

"the Christian era changed that nuance when the Christians began writing about "hedone" as an exclusively bad, corrupt, and inferior philosophy (note: the New Testament writings never uses the word hedone in a positive manner)."
What source did you get that from? -Pentecost 23:30, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

The understanding that the New Testament writers never wrote of "hedone" in a positive manner is commonly understood and taught by those who have studied the topic in the Greek N.T. "Hedone" is only found in 5 verses of Scripture: 2 Peter 2:13, James 4:1, 4:3, Titus 3:3, and Luke 8:14. As you can see when you look up these passages for yourself, it is never favorably or fondly accepted by the New Testament authors. For ease of reference, the following two URLs show the results of a Greek Lexicon search for "hedone," giving the same list as discussed above (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=2237 and http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/frequency.cgi?number=2237&book=lu&translation=nsn).

If Dr. Piper has found or quoted any New Testament (Christian-era) passages which speak favorably of "hedone" then I would be most interested in reading about this. To my knowledge, hedonism is not endorsed by Scripture as a godly pursuit. Thank you. Wikifish7 06:12, 8 November 2006 (UTC)



I seem to recall that there is/was(?) a "Playboy Philosophy" developed by Hugh Hefner (publisher of Playboy magazine). I believe he published a book about his philosophy. And that the philosophy started out as pretty much embracing "wine, women, and song" but transitioned into an embrace of "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll," as time went on and Hefner's tastes and crowd changed.
In any case, maybe the "Playboy Philosophy" is the cogent statement of the connotation of "hedonism" brought to mind ofr most people today.
Somehow, the article as it stands is still shying away from looking at this modern connotation in any detail. Joel Russ 16:55, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Other Veiws[edit]

I am not an expert on this subject, although it is obvious this article needs overlooking. I can suggest an existing article from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy plato.stanford.edu/entries/hedonism There is a well established definition on the word Hedonism. Kisida 04:59, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Hedonism associated to Humanism?[edit]

I seem to recall that Hedonism goes hand in hand with humanism, since the pursuit of pleasure is in consecuence, centred on your own self. I think it should be added in a line at the begining.-Pentecost 22:47, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Article still seems ivory-towerish[edit]

As good as the core work on this article is, it still seems like a museum piece. It lacks life because it isn't made sufficiently relevant to today's world. It comes off like a rather dull Philosophy 201 class, or 'drawing-room conversation'. It is historical in the sense of having a "centuries past" air about it.

Does anyone today take exception with contemporary hedonism as representing "the good" in human life? We wouldn't get a feeling for that from this article, because the subject seems rather dead (like a 200-year-old stuffed pelican).

What do today's hedonists believe? Is there any conviction involved at all, or are today's hedonists simply drawn to a magnet of sun, fun, sex and consumerism? "Health" is a big issue in the modern world. Do some people today contend that pleasure seeking is conducive to personal and/or societal health, while others contend that it is not?

In the end, we are informed rather little. There's no gritty reality for a reader to connect with in the article as it stands. Joel Russ 14:17, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

This is still a problem in the article as it stands now.
Under the "Criticism" section, we have: "It is argued that if social constructionism is going to come to grips with morality and agency it must abandon explanations that invoke the necessary causation of metaphysical abstractions such as hedonism. Hedonism lies at the core of many social constructionist accounts of human interaction, and to illustrate how it precludes an adequate understanding of agency, morality, and intimacy." Nothing incorrect about what's said, but the tone and specific language of these sentences (though modern) is Philosophy 201, and may not connect at all with the general reader who will consult a Wikipedia article.
As for "criticism" in some understandable sense: Who would criticize a "hedonistic" approach to life, in a practical sense? What about a parent who acts to curb her or his child's efforts to fill up on a diet of candy, large soft drinks, and greasy French fries? (Even though the child expresses his/her pleasure in consuming a lot of these things.) Another example: Parents with very modest financial means save money for the post-secondary education of their children, even though there is no actual pleasure in the discipline and self-denial of doing so. There have got to be some writers who could be cited for discussing just such points.Joel Russ (talk) 14:10, 11 September 2012 (UTC)



Is it worth linking to this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy#See_also which also includes discussion of how contentment affects productivity and health etc? There are many organisations today that are actively promoting happiness and how to find it. Surely those concepts align quite neatly with Hedonism?


(my response starts here. the person who commented what is before this clearly forgot to sign his comments.) In wikipedia there are criteria that suggest that articles be clear and accessible to those newcomers to a subject not having technical expertise in major academic disciplines. But the issue here as presented by these complaints seems like we should make this article more "fun", or "attractive" and "relevant to contemporary times". This is really a strange suggestion which wikipedia in general cannot be expected to satisfy. Or it might be the case that someone really interested with the relevance of hedonism in today´s world might have to go read himself/herself the contemporary self described hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray who deals with the relevance and ethical applications of hedonism in contemporary life in his many books. Another option is to ask the question "What is the real relevance of hedonist philosophy in contemporary life?" on an internet forum. I suggest this since wikipedia articles cannot be expected to provide this level of interactivity which seems to be asked from them in this request.--Eduen (talk) 19:44, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Popular culture understanding of hedonism[edit]

Where this article does describe the concept of hedonism as it relates to Utilitarianism, it seems to neglect to mention how the term 'hedonist', is generally used by laypersons. For instance, where sadism as a medical term describes gaining sexual pleasure from inflicting pain, the word 'sadist' is commonly used to describe a person with a tendency toward cruel and deragatory behavior, often in an aesthetic or otherwise nonsexual manner. Similarly, where this article presents an understanding of hedonism as the practice of seeking the greatest pleasures and avoiding pain as much as possible, the common use of hedonism in discussion seems to be largely derogatory in nature. In my interpretation, the layperson definition of hedonism seems to be persuing the largest number of pleasurable activities as possible, and is associated largely with economic materialism, consumerism, hypersexuality, and libertinism, as well as with certain individuals such as Caligula, Marie Antoinette, and the Marquis de Sade. In that regard, the popular definition is largely contradictory to the theories of John Stuart Mill and Epicurus, in that it demands immediate gratifiation of simple pleasures. I am by no means suggesting that the popular culture definition of hedonism replace the existing one, only that it be mentioned as to distinguish the deragatory usage of the word from its given meaning. 66.24.227.23 03:02, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Agreed! Like the cult of Bacchus. I don't see how Utalitarianism and Hedonism are equal or how those trump popular meaning.--Dwarf Kirlston 01:27, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes. And also, maybe in keeping with the popular (non-academic) usage, are other negative connotations, running along lines such as: hedonism is an attitude or philosophy that neglects the sometimes unpleasant discipline required to reach goals like increased skill, greater achievement, etc. Or that hedonism does not encompass the realities of duty (to society, or some sub-group within society, etc). Or that hedonism is antithetical to the needs of family, such as practical priorization and/or forms of self-sacrifice.
I don't think it's the place of this article to decide "yea" or "nay" about the validity or worth hedonism, but I do think that the article doesn't yet address the popular sense of what "hedonism" is (the way in which, say, most non-academic contemporary writers use the word) or isn't.Joel Russ (talk) 02:00, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
The article is still the barest introduction to the topic, and still tends to answer the question "what is hedonism?" in a rather stale, archaic way. However, the quote by Ayn Rand is a worthwhile addition, as it at least brings the article's scope into the thought of the 1950s.
The broadly influential ideas and activities of Hugh Hefner are very germane to the popular connotation of the word hedonism. One decent thumbnail introduction to Hefner's attitude and influence is provided at this Web page: http://www.everysquareinch.net/2007/12/blog-post.html
Maybe this article can be moved forward. Think 20th century — if not 21st!Joel Russ (talk) 18:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

template:paganism[edit]

why does the article have template:paganism at the bottom? if there are any links between hedonism and paganism, why no mention in the article or link to this article in the footer template? --MilkMiruku (talk) 01:36, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

oh and the change was made here --MilkMiruku (talk)

This article seems very similar to utilitarianism[edit]

Maybe it should be deleted and instead a discussion on the far more imoportant utiloitarian page can have a subsection about this.

its howdy doody time !!! (talk) 06:59, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Utilitarianism is a subset of hedonism, therefor it's not possible.--Tired time (talk) 17:51, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Ethical egoism[edit]

Hedonism can also be combined with ethical egoism - the claim that individuals should seek their own good - to make ethical hedonism the claim that we should act so as to produce our own pleasure.

This doesn't sound right. Maybe it should be "egoistic hedonism" instead of "ethical hedonism". Or even "ethical egoistic hedonism"...I would intuitively think that ethical egoism claims that we should act as to produce pleasure, without specifying is it just our own, or is it everyone's. Web seems to confirm it: http://www.philosophyprofessor.com/philosophies/hedonism.php, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/egoistic+hedonism But I am not sure how to correct it. --Tiredtime (talk) 14:39, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

La Mettrie should definately be on this page. He was a french philosopher. His wikipedia page talks about how he was a hedonist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Mettrie

Comparison with other religions[edit]

This section has multiple issues.

First and foremost, is it even important enough to be included in article about hedonism? Wouldn't article about corresponding religion be better place to write about religious views?

Second, if religious viewpoints about hedonism are important enough to be included here, this section should describe differences in viewpoint on hedonism between many religions instead of a detailed account about each one (currently only islam which may be considered biased). Maybe a general section describing the prevalent view shared by most religions, and then subsections describing differences from this view.

Third, there are style problems - more than half of this section are quotes, no internal links, no external links, weasel words (Islam is often defined... Islam recommends ... is frowned upon in Islamic thought ... - all without references), and the source of all quotes is quran, which isn't proper source for encyclopedia. Quran quotes would be valid only if used by third party source.

Last, even the title of this section is misleading - "Comparison with OTHER religions" implies that hedonism is itself a religion. "Religious viewpoints on hedonism", or something similiar would be more proper title.


cognates?[edit]

Just a small question. How are the words hedone in Greek and sweet in English cognates? I don't see the connection. 72.23.174.83 (talk) 01:29, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Mohism[edit]

Even though Confucianism and Mohism were competing schools of thoughts during the Spring Autumn period in China, I do not recall any accounts of the Confucians actively suppressing Mohism from the Han dynasty and onwards, because most of the Mohists were wiped out during the Qin dynasty. And so, it would be more accurate to claim that the teachings of Mozi were suppressed by the Legalists during the Qin dynasty. 24630 (talk) 01:42, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Also, Mohism is technically not hedonist, even though, like Utilitarianism, Mohism is a consequentialist. In Mohism, individual pleasure is seen as less important than state harmony, and moral goods are determined by how much they contribute to state order, material welfare, and population growth.--Theconsequentialist (talk) 23:05, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Abolitionism[edit]

The section on Abolitionism reads like an advert for the Abolitionism Society and David Pearce. It looks to be copied directly from other sources, with citations that look to be WP:BLPSPS. It needs a major and objective rewrite from someone knowledgeable on Abolitionism. -- flyingkiwiguy (talk) 18:30, 12 January 2014 (UTC)