If all existence ends at death isn't hedonism the only logical lifestyle?

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Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 06:02 am
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:14 am
@richard mcnair,
What is pleasure? We must face the realities of life even if pleasure is our motivation. Do you do anything that is not pleasurable with any satisfaction?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:21 am
@xris,
xris;140243 wrote:
What is pleasure? We must face the realities of life even if pleasure is our motivation. Do you do anything that is not pleasurable with any satisfaction?


xris you might have to further define pleasure, because there are many different types and not all have the same impact.

I wouldn't say that pleasure is our motivation in life. However; close to it, only contentment is our motivation. People don't necessarily want to be in a blissful state for their lives, they just want to be free from worry, and feel comfort about their life. This doesn't imply that they require pleasure of any kind. There might be some who say that pleasure is necessary and that is their level of contentment, but I am trying to bring in the whole of humanity. I know there will be exceptions to the contentment rule.

Some people will find pleasure in pain and this is my example as well. How is it that one person can find pleasure in something that others find repulsive? In this case pleasure is purely subjective experience. What delights us is often so subjective that at times, it doesn't even have the same reaction. Such as repeatedly doing an act or experience back to back can wash out the experience and make it loose it's appeal.

My personal motivation in life is not to seek out pleasure, but I do acknowledge that I look for ways to break tensions with worry, animosity and pain. I understand that not everyone has such an outlook. Some people actually thrive on creating animosity and others function better when they have something to worry about.
 
richard mcnair
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:47 am
@xris,
xris;140243 wrote:
What is pleasure?


Well in my own view I believe pleasure to be the temporary satisfaction of a desire. Pain would be having a desire and not being able to satisfy it - ie the Plato/Schopenhauer idea - pleasure and pain are just the two sides of the same coin. I wouldn't count things like beauty and love as pleasures in this sense. IMO the most profound goal is desirelessness - no pleasure, no pain... but that is just my own (religious) opinion. So i think hedonism is a bad thing because if you spend your life in pursuit of pleasure, you are more than likely to end up living your life in a lot of pain.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:49 am
@Krumple,
To the extent that hedonism leads to happiness, yes. But it takes more than that.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:53 am
@Jebediah,
So we cant even agree on what pleasure actually is? We live to attain pleasure, to deny it, is pointless.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 01:32 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?


Define "convincing", "solid", and "unimpeachable", and then I might be able to answer your question. If you are wanting a sensible hedonism, I suggest:

Epicurus and Epicurean Philosophy

Epicurus' position is pure hedonism, but is not the simple-minded and stupid eat, drink and be merry sort of thing that generally leads to great pain.

But if you want something a bit more complicated, which isn't hedonism, but is not entirely dissimilar:

Online Library of Liberty - Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:28 pm
@richard mcnair,
I have found that the idea that 'I' came into existence once for all at the time of birth and will cease to exist at time of death is actually not comprehensible.

I don't claim to have lived before in the sense that the popular imagination would understand it. But I am obviously part of a process which started....well, when, exactly. And will end...well, when, exactly? A lot of what 'I am' like language, pre-dispositions, cultural attitudes, and many other characteristics, predate me. As does the matter from which this body is formed.

I think the ordinary picture of being an individual in the world is conventionally OK and true on a certain level, but it is not a final or only truth about human beings.

But I wouldn't want to force that view on anyone.

Incidentally, in the Western context, I think Stocism is highly admirable, except they are, as I understand it, materialist. But they understand the relationship between pleasure and suffering, which is profound.
 
MiseryMyMuse
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 01:23 pm
@richard mcnair,
the "healthiest" lifestyle is irrelevant. After death, your intellect no longer exists. You experience pleasure because you are capable of remembering it. After death, your life does not matter at all. So hedonism or strict organized morality, you're still dead.

Furthermore, your actions in life physically do not exist, from a human perspective. what you do exists in the memories of others who will also die. Therefore, do whatever you want - it doesn't even matter that you want it.
 
xris
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 01:39 pm
@MiseryMyMuse,
MiseryMyMuse;140988 wrote:
the "healthiest" lifestyle is irrelevant. After death, your intellect no longer exists. You experience pleasure because you are capable of remembering it. After death, your life does not matter at all. So hedonism or strict organized morality, you're still dead.

Furthermore, your actions in life physically do not exist, from a human perspective. what you do exists in the memories of others who will also die. Therefore, do whatever you want - it doesn't even matter that you want it.
I cant help asking why you are so certain? Even if or maybe it does , should not bare reasoning on your wants, your compulsion to act on your desires. Fulfilment of desires is not always pleasurable.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 03:04 pm
@MiseryMyMuse,
MiseryMyMuse;140988 wrote:
Therefore, do whatever you want - it doesn't even matter that you want it.


This is nihilism. Very popular outlook nowadays, not that it makes any difference.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 03:17 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?


In my original response, I should also have stated that an afterlife or not is totally irrelevant to the fundamental principles of ethics. If you are doing things in order to have pleasure in heaven and avoid pain in hell, and that is all that motivates you, that is hedonism.

If hedonism is all that makes sense with no afterlife, then it is all that makes sense with an afterlife. Please note, hypothetical statements do not assert that their antecedents are actually true, nor do they assert that their consequents are actually true either.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 04:22 pm
@richard mcnair,
Interesting new book out called "Surviving Death" by Mark Johnston, a professor at Princeton. It says

Quote:
Death threatens our sense of the importance of goodness. The threat can be met if there is, as Socrates said, "something in death that is better for the good than for the bad." Yet, as Johnston shows, all existing theological conceptions of the afterlife are either incoherent or at odds with the workings of nature. These supernaturalist pictures of the rewards for goodness also obscure a striking consilience between the philosophical study of the self and an account of goodness common to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism: the good person is one who has undergone a kind of death of the self and who lives a life transformed by entering imaginatively into the lives of others, anticipating their needs and true interests. As a caretaker of humanity who finds his or her own death comparatively unimportant, the good person can see through death.


Rings true to me. Will add it to the ever-growing Wishlist.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 04:28 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?
Henduism surely rely much about rebirth, but that's not all to it ..the sales speech are a bit longer than just that.
Henduism belive in superstition which I don't belive it, and can't get myself to agree with no matter the outcome.

Guess my superstition isn't great enough, nor my naivity or group think. :Not-Impressed:
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 05:55 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?
Well, it would deserve serious consideration.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 02:54 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?


This all depends on how one conceives of happiness. The hedonistic conception of happiness is pleasure in the absence of pain. By this conception of happiness the hedonist measures the good in life by how much net pleasure can be produced by their actions.

However hedonism need not be the only ethic to concede in the light of misfortune and death. I can argue that the 'logical' decision to make in light of the fact that we all inevitably suffer and die is to commit suicide. I can also say that we should silence the will and embrace asceticism in order to achieve contentment and well being.

No tautology would render such arguments false or faulty, but I disagree with them all. In my ethical worldview, suffering has positive value.
 
north
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:03 pm
@hue-man,
the problem with this thread is this ;

hedonism can be as distructive as well as pleasurable , for Humanity

so whats more important self pleasure or the survival of Humanity ?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:06 pm
@north,
north;142291 wrote:
the problem with this thread is this ;

hedonism can be as distructive as well as pleasurable , for Humanity

so whats more important self pleasure or the survival of Humanity ?


Can you please give me some examples in which hedonism would be destructive for humanity?
 
north
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:10 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;142294 wrote:
Can you please give me some examples in which hedonism would be destructive for humanity?


sex , corruption , murder , power , drugs
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:19 pm
@north,
north;142297 wrote:
sex , corruption , murder , power , drugs


You misunderstand what hedonism entails. Hedonism is the ethical theory which says that pleasure is the only thing that has intrinsic value (valued for its own sake) and that we should act to maximize net pleasure (pleasure in the absence of pain). By that ethic using certain drugs and murdering people would ultimately and almost certainly lead to pain. Therefore a hedonist could conclude that such actions should be avoided. Also, sex and power are not destructive or negative in and of themselves. Temperance and prudence can ward off the negative capabilities of these values.
 
 

 
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