Presentation on theme: "Defining Pleasure for Hedonism: Lessons from Science Dan Turton Victoria University of Wellington."— Presentation transcript:
Defining Pleasure for Hedonism: Lessons from Science Dan Turton Victoria University of Wellington
Plan Theory –Classical/Quantitative/Value/Default/ Benthamite/Old Skool Hedonism –Felt-Quality, Hedonic Tone theory of pleasure Problem –The heterogeneity problem Solution –Pleasure feels good –Scientific support for hedonic tone theories
Classical Hedonism about Well-Being Well-being Pleasure is the only bearer of intrinsic value in a life Opposite for pain Pleasure and pain are sensations – they have a felt quality NOT ‘folk hedonism’
Felt-Quality Theories of Pleasure Distinctive Feeling theories Hedonic Tone theories Every feeling/sensation has a valence –Positive, neutral or negative Which affects well-being correspondingly –Improves, doesn’t change or worsens Note: the hedonic tone is felt/experienced
The Heterogeneity Problem Henry Sidgwick (1907): –There is no common ‘felt’ feature in diverse pleasurable experiences E.g. sex vs. schadenfraudeschadenfraude So, Felt-Quality theories were largely abandoned The value was taken out of the sensation –Attitudinal pleasures –Motivational theories of pleasure –Preference-satisfaction accounts
The Kind of Solution Required Unify pleasure’s diversity Is useful for Hedonism –Is obviously good in itself Is compatible with folk concept of pleasure Is compatible with best science Is useful for Hedonistic Utilitarianism –Is theoretically measurable and inter-personally comparable
Motivational Theories of Pleasure – (MTP) Sidgwick, Brandt, Alston, Carson Heathwood: –A sensation is a sensory pleasure iff it is contemporaneously desired for its own sake –But, not everything that is desired is a sensory pleasure Two problems 1) How do we distinguish between pleasures and non- pleasures? 2) No role for pleasure in explaining motivation!?!
Feldman’s Attitudinal Pleasure Sensory pleasure = feeling “mmmmmm”/good –Intrinsically worthless Attitudinal pleasure = being pleased about something/enjoying it –The only thing of intrinsic value E.g. the happy accident victim
Assessing Attitudinal Pleasure Unifies pleasure’s diversity Is useful for Hedonism Is compatible with folk concept of pleasure Is compatible with best science Is useful for Hedonistic Utilitarianism ? ? ? ?
Recent Findings in Science 1 “Pleasure is never merely a sensation” –Berridge & Kringelbach 2008, p459 Reward = wanting liking & learning Wanting and liking are dissociable Wanting by itself seems a-pleasurable Liking by itself seems pleasurable
Recent Findings in Science 2 The ‘liking’ circuitry uses opioids, cannabinoids & benzodiazepines The brain mechanisms for fundamental pleasures are probably the same for higher pleasures All experiences are coded with hedonic gloss Sometimes we become aware of this
From Sensation to Subjective Pleasure Sensory input Primary sensory cortices: Cortical represen- tations created Sense organs Posterior OFC: Multi- modal integration Anterior OFC: Reward value assigned Lateral anterior OFC: Influences behaviour Medial anterior OFC: Stored for learning Mid-anterior OFC: Made available for subjective hedonic experience ?????????????: Conscious experience of pleasure
My Solution A Hedonic Tone theory A scientifically grounded version of The Feels Good Theory of pleasure Pleasure (enjoyment) = Being aware of +ve hedonic gloss Pain (suffering) = Being aware of -ve hedonic gloss Being aware Hedons –Duration –Felt Intensity (awareness * intensity)
Assessing My Simple Pleasure Unifies pleasure’s diversity Is useful for Hedonism Is compatible with folk concept of pleasure Is compatible with best science Is useful for Hedonistic Utilitarianism
Recap The Problem Feldman’s solution: –Attitudinal pleasure My solution –A Hedonic Tone theory –Pleasure (enjoyment) = Being aware of positive hedonic gloss –Pain (suffering) = Being aware of negative hedonic gloss