Who likes short shorts?

26 september 2009 | In Hedonism Meta-ethics Naturalism Self-indulgence Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Lately, the question ”what is your dissertation about” has become somewhat more frequently asked of me. Forthy-five minutes later, I usually get the impertinent question if I’d mind making the answer a bit shorter. Well, I do mind, but allright. So I end up experimenting with different short-versions, none of which is unqualifiedly true. But then again, to be unqualifiedly true is pretty much to ask of any theory. After all, my argument is that hedonism is true enough. Anyway: I’d thought I’d give it another go, and to give you in less than, say 200 words, the gist of my theory of value. Ready? Here we go:

What’s good? Opinions diverge, so we turn to the more basic question: What do we say when we say that something’s good? What would make that statement true? Theories are wildly at odds with each other. What to do? It seems we are dealing with different uses of the term ’good’, and we must decide how to treat this problem. The first decision is to look for their common origin, so we can say that these uses are variations on a common theme. The other decision is to treat goodness as a natural property.

Whatever value is, it must correspond to what we believe about it. We might be mistaken about it, but cannot be totally wrong. Value should fit with our beliefs about value and be part of the causal explanation of those beliefs. I argue that pleasure fits with many of our value beliefs, especially regarding how value relates to motivation, and it is universally believed to be valuable. Hedonic processes, are also a key part of the causal explanation of our evaluations, and evaluating abilities. This means that the common beliefs that the theory does not make true, it can explain away. Pleasure is value.

How did I do?


  1. you make me feel smart and stupid at the same time. smart for having you believing enough in me to think i could understand that, stupid for not at all…

    Kommentar by agnes — 02 december 2009 #

  2. What kind of a strange beast is this? A commentator? In these remote areas of the Internet? (”A Tiger?” as they say in Python ”in Africa?”).

    Kommentar by David — 02 december 2009 #

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