Pursuit of Happiness

Hedonism is a theory that denoted the Greek word, Pleasure. The theory of hedonism elaborates that an individuals goal must be the attainment of pleasure through every action or conduct. In other words, the theory of hedonism can be explained by regarding it with the philosophy stating that everything that provides pleasure to an individual is considered to be good and everything tends to increase the intensity if pain shall be considered as wrong. Let us now discuss in brief regarding the history of hedonism and how the theory of Hedonism explains pleasure and happiness. The paper also includes an example of hedonism from the present and how it can be applied to pursuit of happiness in individuals life.

Aristippus of Cyrene has been a student of Socrates who had coined the term hedonism for the first time and therefore he is regarded as the father of hedonism. Later on, the theory of hedonism was altered by Epicurus (341-270 B.C.).Epicurus added a qualitative value in the statement of the theory that pleasure of intellect and moral value should be greater than the pleasure of body. The statement was then criticized by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) in terms of prompting egoistic hedonism and stated that right or wrong should be determined in terms of most pleasure than mentioning pleasure of particular characteristic. At last John Stewart Mills further amended that pleasure must not only be taken right or wrong on the basis of quantity but also quality.

The ethical point of view of the theory could be criticized in terms of several ethical questions. The theory of hedonism does not answer the question regarding attaining pleasure for self or others, or attaining pleasure for short run or long run.

A perfect example that shows the view of happiness as states by the hedonistic theory is that one person may feel pleasure when playing piano and throwing dishes. The example shows the view of happiness but also mentions the critical claim explained above regarding what sort of pleasure of happiness should be targeted.

The theory of hedonism could be applied to an individuals life if its taken on the basis of attaining pleasure as the aim of human goals and actions e.g. practicing social work along with making money for materialistic desires.


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