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Varieties of Hedonism in Feldman's Pleasure and the Good Life


In these comments on Fred Feldman's Pleasure and the Good Life, I first challenge the dichotomy between sensory and attitudinal hedonisms as perhaps presenting a false dilemma. I suggest that there may be a form of hedonism that employs the concept of a ‘feel’ that is not purely sensory. Next, I raise some problems for several of the versions of hedonism explored in the book.

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1 Fred Feldman, Pleasure and the Good Life (Oxford, 2004). All page references are to this book.

2 See, for example, Peter Unger, Living High and Letting Die (Oxford, 1996), for highly persuasive evidence of this.

3 See Douglas Ehring, Causation and Persistence: A Theory of Causation (Oxford, 1997).

4 See Michael Stocker, Plural and Conflicting Values (Oxford, 1992).

5 When he presented this material to a graduate seminar in Syracuse, we (the long-suffering members of his seminar) asked him who, on his account of monism, the monists were. He wouldn't give us names, but he claimed they lived in Australia!

6 At the Utilitarianism 2000 conference, in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

7 For an example of the kind of argument I have in mind applied to the justification of personal commitments to people and to principles, see Alastair Norcross, ‘Consequentialism and Commitment’, The Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78:4 (December 1997), pp. 380403.

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