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On Hedonism Essay

635 words - 3 pages

In his book, Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill presents his idea of happiness, which differs very much from Aristotle’s idea, in that Mill believes happiness to be pleasure in the absence of pain, and unhappiness to be pain the absence of pleasure. To a degree I believe this to be true because happiness is the only thing that has intrinsic value because for no other reason besides happiness and pleasure does one act a certain way.
An objection made against hedonism is that it creates a life fit for pigs, which is a vulgar way for one to live their life. This objection states that there is more to life than pleasure, such as knowledge. Mill responds to this objection by stating that utilitarianism is not a selfish way of thinking. Utilitarianism strongly urges us to not only take our pleasure into consideration, but the pleasure of everyone else as well. Additionally, this objection creates a low view of the human life if it consisted of laziness, selfishness, and the pursuit of pleasures. However, hedonism does not preach that the life of a pig is better than that of an miserable intelligent person. Although living the life of a pig sounds better due to having received all desired pleasures, those pleasures are not of the same quality as those of a miserable intelligent person. Knowledge is power, so glorifying the life of a pig is not the point Mill is trying to make with hedonism. Mill’s response to this objection does an adequate job of debunking the idea of living life like a pig.
Take for example, when a student takes the initiative to study for an exam instead of going to a party. This individual is making the best decision in this situation even though the short term pleasure of going to a party is being sacrificed for something more valuable, like knowledge. Bentham would argue that this is because studying for an exam results in doing well in school which will...

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