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Introduction to the Good Life PHIL105 – T3, 2011 Lecture 3.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Good Life PHIL105 – T3, 2011 Lecture 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the Good Life PHIL105 – T3, 2011 Lecture 3

2 How Lives Can be Good Aesthetically As an example (for a museum) Morally Causally Prudentially

3 The (Prudentially) Good Life The prudential good life = life is going well for the person living it What is the best life (generally speaking)?

4 Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Value Intrinsic value = ultimately good for you Instrumental value = good for you because it leads to intrinsic value The test

5 Is that a good theory of the good life? State what is intrinsically good for us Justify why those things (and not other things) are intrinsically good for us Test on examples

6 The Beer Theory The good life = drinking lots of beer

7 Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) Quantitative Hedonism Happiness (a preponderance of pleasure over pain) is the only ultimate good the game of push-pin is of equal value with… music and poetry

8 John Stuart Mill (1806– 1873) Qualitative Hedonism Happiness (a preponderance of pleasure over pain) is the only ultimate good Higher vs. lower pleasures better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied The test (try both)

9 Henry Sidgwick ( ) Sidgwicks Hedonism Happiness (desirable consciousness) is the only ultimate good Are consciousness of virtue, truth, freedom, and beauty good for us? Test (X without pleasure?)

10 Why We Find it Hard to Accept that Happiness is the Greatest Good 1.Pleasure doesnt cover all the goods 2.Paradox of happiness –E.g. being nice to others 3.Hedonism implies egoism 4.Is pursuit of virtue, truth, freedom, and beauty rational?

11 G. E. Moore (1873–1958) Objective list Experiences of organic wholes are the ultimate goods –E.g. beauty, friendship, pleasure, not pain the admiring contemplation of [beauty] is good in itself (Principia Ethica pp. 249–50)

12 M. K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Truth and Ahimsa Ahimsa = non-violence to all sentient creatures Ideal existence is full understanding of truth and being ruled by reason, not passions Youd never put a fellow creature before yourself

13 Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) The right to unhappiness the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow… the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.

14 John Finnis (1940) Objective list –Life (health & not pain), –knowledge, –play, –aesthetic experience, –friendship, –practical reasonableness, –Religion * Test: X is a good, in itself, dont you think?

15 John Finnis Again All 7 are equally fundamental –Each needs no justification for its value –None can be reduced to another –None seems less important than another Pleasure is not the point of it all –Without pleasure each still has value

16 Derek Parfit (1942) 3 main categories of theory Hedonistic –happiness Desire-Fulfilment –Getting what you want Objective List –Getting X, Y, Z (sometimes regardless of whether you want them or how they make you feel)

17 Parfit on Hedonism Narrow Hedonism –There is something distinctive and unifying about pleasure –But pleasures are diverse Preference Hedonism –The more pleasurable of two experiences is the one that is preferred –Your life goes well if you experience getting the things you want

18 Parfit on Desire-Fulfilment Unrestricted Desire-Fulfilment –The best life is the one that has all of its desires satisfied –But what about the patient who recovers without you ever knowing about it? Success Theory –Only the satisfaction of your desires about yourself count –Different to Preference Hedonism

19 What if your kids die? You are estranged from your kids and they go off the rails and die Hedonism –Doesnt matter as long as you never find out Unrestricted Desire-Fulfilment –Matters if you didnt want that Success Theory –Matters if you wanted to be a successful parent

20 What if you die? Can your wellbeing be affected by events after your death? Hedonism –No Unrestricted Desire-Fulfilment –Yes Success Theory –Disagreement (but P thinks Yes) –Whats the difference between death and permanent alienation?

21 Preferring Alternatives King Lear vs. party Ill prefer whatever I end up choosing (no regrets) Still, its true that I would have preferred one over the other The theory, therefore, better allow for claims about alternate choices being better E.g. Informed Success Theory

22 Parfit on Objective List Theories OLT are different to D-FT & PHT because of how they say value is created OLT: We prefer X(good) because its valuable D-FT & PHT: X is valuable because we prefer it Rawls grass-counter e.g. Sadist e.g.

23 Objection to D-FT & PHT Someone could prefer what is not best for them even if they know all of the facts

24 Combination Perhaps the best theory matches the strengths of D-FT & PHT with that of OLT A life is good for the one living it to the extent that they are willingly engaged in: –Having knowledge –Being rational –Experiencing true beauty –Experiencing mutual love

25 Objections? The combination account still has the problem of what deserves to be on the list –(what should people like and why should they like it?) If I really enjoyed counting blades of grass, I would be annoyed that its not on the list

26 Exemplary Examples Come up with new examples to endorse your theory and argue against the other theories Hedonism –Happiness/pleasure Desire-Fulfilment –Getting what you want Objective List –X, Y, & Z are the ultimate goods

27 Read for Next Time Taylor, Richard (2008). Virtue Ethics, in Happiness: Classic and Contemporary readings in Philosophy, Steven M Cahn & Christine Vitrano (eds.), pp , Oxford University Press. Nozick, Robert (1994). The Experience Machine, in Ethics, Peter Singer (ed.), pp , Oxford University Press. Weijers, Dan (2011). The Experience Machine Objection to Hedonism, in Just the Arguments, Edited by Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone, Wiley-Blackwell, pp

28 More on the Good Life PHIL105 – T3, 2011 Lecture 4

29 Richard Taylor (1919–2003) Happiness should be the main concern of all ethics Happiness consists in achieving fulfilment via the exercise of creative intelligence

30 The Nature of Happiness Important Rare Good Misunderstood Eudaimonia = happiness = lucky = flourishing = well-being????? Call no man happy until he is dead

31 Happiness and Pleasure Are not the same thing Pleasures are fleeting and specific Happiness is very long- term and holistic Can I have an unhappy lower back? –(because I can have a painful one) Hurting people gives the sadist pleasure, but not happiness

32 The Happiness of Lesser Beings Non-human animals, children, and morons can be happy… But thats not the right kind of happiness The right kind of happiness is: –the fulfillment of a person, as a person (p. 227) Would you rather be a happy moron?

33 Pleasure as an Ingredient of Happiness Pleasure is an external Externals are goods that are all or mainly outside of our control They are required for the good life/happiness, but not sufficient E.g. some people get cancer Other externals = $$, honour, youth, beauty

34 Happiness and Possessions The world is full of materialistic people Some possessions are essential for life and other for happiness But, pursuit of wealth after a point is an obstacle to happiness Its like eating food

35 Honour, Fame, and Glory All externals Often misplaced –Winning generals are honoured –Very rich honoured for ~returning stolen property The excellent personal quality or achievement are the reward –Heroism –Creating an extraordinary philosophical treatise

36 What Happiness Is A fulfilled state of being that is of ultimate value for a person Its a state (like health is) Requires life-long effort Happiness consists in the proper functioning of a person as a whole Happiness = flourishing?

37 What is Creativity? Flourishing for humans is high functioning in all areas Most important is our use of reason/intellect Observe, think, reflect, and especially create Creativity = using reason to make new things –New dance/sports/chess move –Exercise skill in farming/parenting

38 The Defeat of Happiness Disaster (externals) can ruin your chances for happiness –Stoics disagreed Ignorance of what happiness really is –E.g. materialistic people Lack of creative intelligence –Most people are sheep who only absorb the creative work of others

39 Nozicks Experience Machine

40 De Brigards Experience Machine

41 Deceived Businessman

42 The Happy Slave

43 What if I Dont Agree? Is it possible that most people are wrong? Psychology Experimental philosophy

44 Exemplary Examples Come up with new examples to endorse your theory and argue against the other theories Hedonism –Happiness/pleasure Desire-Fulfilment –Getting what you want Objective List –X, Y, & Z are the ultimate goods

45 For Next Time The meaning of life Read: –Nagel, Thomas (1971). The Absurd, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 68, No. 20, pp –Tolstoy, Leo (2000). My Confession, in E.D. Klemke (ed.), The Meaning of Life, 2 nd edition, pp New York: Oxford University Press.


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