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The Consistency of Qualitative Hedonism and the Value of (at Least Some) Malicious Pleasures


In this article, I examine two of the standard objections to forms of value hedonism. The first is the common claim, most famously made by Bradley and Moore, that Mill's qualitative hedonism is inconsistent. The second is the apparent problem for quantitative hedonism in dealing with malicious pleasures. I argue that qualitative hedonism is consistent, even if it is implausible on other grounds. I then go on to show how our intuitions about malicious pleasure might be misleading.

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F. Feldman , Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism (Oxford, 2004)

C. Korsgaard , ‘Two Distinctions in Goodness’, Philosophical Review 92 (1983), pp. 169–95

W. Rabinowicz and T. Rønnow-Rasmussen , ‘A Distinction in Value: Intrinsic and For Its Own Sake’, Recent Work On Intrinsic Value, ed. W. Rabinowicz & T. Rønnow-Rasmussen (Dordrect, 2005), pp. 115–30

S. Kagan , ‘Rethinking Intrinsic Value’, Journal of Ethics 2 (1998), pp. 277–97

J. Riley , ‘Is Qualitative Hedonism Incoherent?’, Utilitas 11 (1999), pp. 347–59

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  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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