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Postby amj » Wed Dec 11, 2002 5:34 pm

Hi, this is my first time posting. I am writing an essay on Mill's claim that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and valuable than others.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

thankyou in advance for any help
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Postby Qzxtvbzr » Wed Dec 11, 2002 5:57 pm

There are two types of pleasure I have to far realized... pleasure without guilt and pleasure with it; rational pleasure and irrational pleasure, respectivly.

Of course no one wants to do something and then go out and feel guilt about it; this means in my mind, at least that rational pleasure is more desirable than irrational.

I call rational pleasure so because it is irrational and contrary to human nature to cause harm or distruction to oneself or to another. When you find a pleasure that does neither of these things it can be experianced guilt free. However, if pleasure is derived through a destructive means guilt is almost assured, unless one has become morally numbened or has a contrary set of personal values.

I don't know about you, but I don't like guilt. Thus I say that guilt-free pleasure, or rational pleasure is more desirable than any other kind.
No paragraph breaks in your post? tl;dr.
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Postby TheIdiot » Wed Dec 11, 2002 8:18 pm

What about hedonism? i feel like if i want to do something, i will do it, regardless of the effects. if i want to sleep with a married man, i will. It is not my place to care for the morals of others. It is not me that makes the wife unhappy. She does this to herself. She is in control of her emotions, not me. Therefore, i completely disagree with your pleasure/ guilt stuff. The 2 are not tied together unless you make them that way. It is not a universal truth, it is a personal choice on your part.
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Postby Qzxtvbzr » Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:23 pm

of course what give pleasure is subjective to the subject. One must get inside the head of the subject. I do not know amj so I was speaking from personal experiance. For people who live by the traditional code of morality, however my point is true.

There are misguided people out there who claim that all pleasure is sinful. I was poking a ray ofl ight into this. Pleasure without sin or guilt is possible, but by being rational is it only possible. That; however, is another topic for another day.
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Postby Matt » Thu Dec 12, 2002 7:10 pm

lol, I remember doing an essay on Mill's types of pleasure when I first started doing philosophy.

If I remeber right he had to explain what was the "most" utility, or most good. He suggested the pain/pleasure distinction, but then had to explain how to measure it. Think I concluded that it's a nice idea but very unworkable, much like his utility principle.

Lemme think, I used this example: You can either be an oyster that sat there on the bottom of sea bed for a 1,000 years feeling constant pleasure at the sea rushing past (never got bored of it, etc.) or you could be Jimi Hendrix for however long he lived (say 30, I can't remember off the top of my head). So the question is do you choose a very basic but constant pleasure or an extremely intense pleasure of writing these fantastic songs for only 30 years. Mill argued that there is a distinction between higher and lower pleasures, and that any sane person would choose to be Jimi because the pleasure of creativity is intrisically better than the pleasure of warmth (for example). I can't remember whether he argued that no lower pleasure could beat a higher one or if he was suggesting a weighting system, but I suspect he was arguing the (stronger claim) that no amount of lower pleasure could beat a higher one.

My counter argument was this (cut from my essay, so it was a bit simplistic back then):

Take this example, a slave owners family and several families of slaves populate a forgotten island. As the owner does not need to work he devotes his life to painting beautiful pieces of art. If the slaves were freed and everyone did equal work the slave owner would not have time to do any art and the freed slaves wouldn't have time either to create the higher intellectual pleasures either. So should the slaves be freed or not? Is their freedom (a lower pleasure) worth the loss of the higher pleasures the slave owner had ? Where would Mill have drawn the line?

Actually quickly scanning Mill, I see a quote of his "And there needs to be less hesitation to accept this judgement respecting the quality of pleasures, since there is no other tribunal to be referred to even on the question of quantity" ((2:8:6 for those of u that have his book Utilitarianism), which shows he was definatly for the stronger claim. The weaker one doesn't work anyway, suffers from all the counter arguments that he himself thought of which is why he suggested the pleasure principle in the first place.

If you look around on some of the older posts me and JP had a big talk about morality, he was against the utility principle I seem to remember and the pleasure principle might have been touched on, but I'm not sure it actually ever did and certainly can't b arsed to trawl through the old posts to find it :-).

I usually wouldn't tell people what they need to write an essay as you've been very lazy as you've not even explained the problem, but I'm particularly bored with an essay I'm writing at the moment on Sartre and Nothingness, not that's it's not interesting, just that I've had enuff of writing essays. This is my 6th in 6 weeks ffs. And the pleasure/pain principle is one of the bases for my view on morality so I always like hearing any other arguments people can come up with, so please do add more if you think of it!
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