Hedonism: Morality and Q. no.

Answer to Q. No. 1 Hedonism (Greek: hedone (????? from Ancient Greek) “pleasure” +–ism) is a philosophical position that takes the pursuit of pleasure as the primary motivating element of life, based upon a view that “pleasure is good” i. e. pleasure has an ultimate importance and is the most important pursuit of humanity. The concept of pleasure is, however, understood and approached in a variety of ways, and hedonism is classified accordingly.

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The three basic types of philosophical hedonism are psychological hedonism, which holds that the tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain is an essential attribute of human nature; evaluative or ethical hedonism, which sets up certain ethical or moral ends as desirable because attaining them will result in happiness; and reflective, or normative hedonism, which seeks to define value in terms of pleasure. The ancient Greek philosophers Democritus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus (341 – 270 B. C. E. and their followers developed ethical theories centered on the “good life” (the ideal life, the life most worth living, eudaimonia, happiness) and the role of pleasure of achieving it. (Ref:- http://www. newworldencyclopedia. org/entry/Hedonism) Objection against Hedonism No general code of morality could be established on the basis of pleasure. Pleasure is essentially subjective feeling, and only the individual is the competent judge of how much pleasure or pain a course of action affords him. What is more pleasurable for one may be less so for another.

Hence, on hedonistic grounds, it is evident that there could be no permanently and universally valid dividing line between right and wrong. Answer to Q. No. 2 Classic utilitarian’s held hedonistic act consequentialism. Act consequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion.

Hedonism then claims that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad. Together these claims imply that an act is morally right if and only if that act causes “the greatest happiness for the greatest number,” as the common slogan says. Classic utilitarianism reduces all morally relevant factors to consequences. They define right actions on the basis of following factors:- Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on consequences (as opposed to the circumstances or the intrinsic nature of the act or anything that happens before the act).

Actual Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the actual consequences (as opposed to foreseen, foreseeable, intended, or likely consequences). Direct Consequentialism = whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act itself (as opposed to the consequences of the agent’s motive, of a rule or practice that covers other acts of the same kind, and so on). Evaluative Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the value of the consequences (as opposed to other features of the consequences).

Hedonism = the value of the consequences depends only on the pleasures and pains in the consequences (as opposed to other goods, such as freedom, knowledge, life, and so on). Maximizing Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on which consequences are best (as opposed to satisfactory or an improvement over the status quo). Aggregative Consequentialism = which consequences are best is some function of the values of parts of those consequences (as opposed to rankings of whole worlds or sets of consequences).

Total Consequentialism = moral rightness depends only on the total net good in the consequences (as opposed to the average net good per person). Universal Consequentialism = moral rightness depends on the consequences for all people or sentient beings (as opposed to only the individual agent, present people, or any other limited group). Equal Consideration = in determining moral rightness, benefits to one person matter just as much as similar benefits to any other person (= all who count count equally).

Agent-neutrality = whether some consequences are better than others does not depend on whether the consequences are evaluated from the perspective of the agent (as opposed to an observer). The principle of utility is supposed to be used as a decision procedure or guide, that is, as a method that agents consciously apply to acts in advance to help them make choices. However, most classic and contemporary utilitarians and consequential lists do not propose their principles as decision procedures. Bales 1971) Bentham wrote, “It is not to be expected that this process [his hedonic calculus] should be strictly pursued previously to every moral judgment. ” Classic utilitarianism is epistemological. Classic utilitarianism seems to require that agents calculate all consequences of each act for every person for all time. That’s impossible. With the change of the circumstances, a decision made after carefully evaluating all possible alternatives, might appear morally wrong. Further, what might be a right for a person may be adverse against others. Eg.

If a person thinks that he should kill his starving children to save them from the agonies of being poor and not feed properly. But, this principle might appear wrong for common society. In the light of the above, it can be briefed up that even Advocates of Classic hedonistic Utilitarian’s are not sure that their morally right principles can be respected and applied under all circumstances. Due to diverse approach and need of people, Utilitarian concept will always lead to rift among masses. Answer to Q. No. 3 As defined above, the concept of Classic utilitarianism is epistemological.

Classic Utilitarian believes in greatest benefit to greatest numbers. The concept of benefit is very subjective. What may be a right for a group of people may be adverse against the interest of individuals. Even if qualitative hedonism is coherent and is a kind of hedonism, it still might not seem plausible. Some critics argue that not all pleasures are valuable, since, for example, there is no value in the pleasures of a sadist while whipping a victim. Other opponents object that not only pleasures are intrinsically valuable, because other things are valuable independently of whether they lead to pleasure or avoid pain.

For example, my love for my wife does not seem to become less valuable when I get less pleasure from her because she contracts some horrible disease. Similarly, freedom seems valuable even when it creates anxiety, and even when it is freedom to do something (such as leave one’s country) that one does not want to do. Again, many people value knowledge of other galaxies regardless of whether this knowledge will create pleasure or avoid pain. Answer to Q. No. 4 Criticism of Utilitarian: – 1. Utilitarianism gives no special moral weight to things like promises and contracts.

If the world would be a slightly better or happier place if I broke a promise, then, according to the utilitarian, I should break it. (This is true for “act utilitarianism”; in the case of a variant called “rule utilitarianism,” which holds that we should use utilitarian criteria to evaluate rules rather than individual actions, the situation is more complicated. ) A standard example to illustrate this is the desert island promise. 2. Utilitarianism seems to have no room for special moral obligations to one’s family and close friends. (Sober calls this the problem of personal loyalties. What matters is only utility; it doesn’t matter who gets it. Thus if you can save just one person from a fire, either your spouse or a wealthy philanthropist, we would normally think that you should save your spouse even if the philanthropist would do more good. But it seems that the utilitarian must deny this. Possible Amendment:- Utilitarian must take into consideration the value of One Person’s Obligations toward the society, family members, friends and associates etc. Atleast a minimum protection/support/contribution is expected from a Person.

To achieve maximum benefits to greatest numbers must not forego the One’s moral, social and contractual obligations. Such an action may have a crippling effect on the person affected. In the above case, if the obligations are recognized, then every person would be able to fulfill the promises/ obligations toward third parties/family etc. This approach would enable a person caught in fire to save her wife and fulfill his contractual obligations. Such approach will lead to peace among the human beings and society. Answer to Q. No 5 Human is a Social man.

He derives satisfaction not only from the material things, but also immaterial things such as feeling of support, togetherness, love, affection, friendship, relationship etc. These non material things/feelings help the human being to achieve material things in life. The distinction between material and non material thing is that while material things can be measured in terms of money but immaterial things cannot be specified accurately in money. Further, the need of every human being is different from other. A Person X may feel better to possess a BMW ar, while other person may feel happy if he/ she is spending time with the family. Some Economists tend to evaluate diverse need of human beings in terms of what the person is agreeing to pay for achieving the same. They often tend to use cost benefit analysis for the same. Cost-benefit analysis is an analytic procedure which esti¬mates the net economic value of a given policy or project. It converts all costs and benefits into a monetary metric and then measures whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Cost Benefit Analysis in case of Government Regulations/ Policy:-

Cost-benefit analysis for Government Regulations/ policies may be characterised by the following concrete procedures: •take most of the world as a given, and ask whether a single policy change would be desirable; •specify all relevant benefits and costs of that policy; •measure those benefits and costs in dollar terms; •take those measurements from evidence on market demand and supply functions, as given by economics; •discount future costs and benefits accordingly to their location in time, according to appropriate economic formulae; •come up with a final figure for net benefits or net costs, using the information generated.

Under the proposals considered in this chapter, regulations that did not pass a cost-benefit test would be struck down, not enacted, or at least required to undergo some further process of scrutiny. We consider these proposals by asking three questions. 1. First, does cost-benefit analysis feasibly evaluate the quality of regulations? 2. Second, does cost-benefit analysis provide a morally acceptable means of judging regulatory policy? 3. Third, is there feasible institutional machinery for giving cost-benefit significant influence over he regu¬latory process? Second Criticism of Cost Benefit Analysis:- Cost-benefit rule imputes little value to democratic processes of decision making, preferring calculation to consent as the basis of public choice. It ascribes no special importance to the ideals of democratic freedom and justice, reserving ideal status instead for the purportedly objective and efficient decision. Ultimately it is right reason, not democratic participation or values, that is cherished and nourished under cost-benefit government. Answer to Q. No. 6

Positive Rights are those rights which permit or oblige action, whereas negative rights are those which permit or oblige inaction. These permissions or obligations may be of either a legal or moral character. Likewise, the notion of positive and negative rights may be applied to either liberty rights or claim rights, either permitting one to act or refrain from acting, or obliging others to act or refrain from acting. However, this article and most literature discusses them as applied to the latter sense. Difference between Positive and Negative Rights:-

To state the difference more formally: some party ‘A’ has a negative right to x against another party ‘B’ if and only if ‘B’ is prohibited from acting upon ‘A’ in some way regarding x; and likewise, ‘A’ has a positive right to x against ‘B’ if and only if ‘B’ is obliged to act upon ‘A’ in some way regarding x. For example, if ‘A’ has a negative right to life against ‘B’, then ‘B’ is required to refrain from killing ‘A’; while if ‘A’ has a positive right to life against ‘B’, then ‘B’ is required to act as necessary to preserve the life of ‘A’.

Why each example is indeed an example of positive or negative right? Every right vested in one person imposes responsibility/ obligation on the other party. A right cannot be enforced unless it assumes responsibility in the other. A right which cannot be enforced is in pure sense, not a right. The Right vested in some person is known as positive right while an obligation imposed on other person is treated as negative rights. Both rights co-exist.

In the example given above, A has a positive right against B to ensure that his right to life is preserved and B has negative right to safeguard A’s Life. Thus, every example is indeed an example of positive and negative rights. In some case, the rights may not be explicit but it may be inferred from the conduct ofparties. Answer to Q. No. 7 The right to form association, to express or voice your views, to participate in political associations and to claim redressal of grievances through legal system are effective means of protecting the environment.

We shall discuss how each right help us to protect the environment:- •Right to Express:- This right enables us to share our views with the Common public to make them aware about environment protection. It provides an excellent platform to share views and devise new ways to protect the environment and conserve its resources. •Right to Association:- Right to association enables us to form a group and make collective efforts for representing before various Tribunals, Authorities, Courts, Government etc. Political Participation:- This right enables us to form a political party or to work with political associations for awareness of environment protection. This right enables us to be a part of government and take decisions for environment conservation at the highest echelons. •Right to legal redress:- Right to legal redress enable us to approach the Courts/Tribunals/Forums etc. to prevent other people who are polluting the environment from their activities. Thus, these are very valuable rights for the Protection/Conservation of Environment.


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