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Well Being Not Es Notes

Philosophy Notes > Ethics Essays

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What makes a life go best?
I will argue that what makes one's life go best is a combination of things, ranging from the attainment of knowledge, and engagement in rational activity, to awareness of aesthetic merit, the experience of mutual love, and involvement in pleasurable activity. What is important, I will claim, is that one is involved in these kinds of things while strongly wanting to be involved in them. 3 broad theories of well-being known as 'self-interest' theories;

1. Hedonism

2. Desire-satisfaction

3. Objective-list HEDONISM

1. Narrow hedonism - what determines one's well-being life is the attainment of pain rather than pleasure. PROBLEM - takes pleasure and pain as completely distinct kinds of experience. WRONG. Loads of different kinds of pain. Nothing intrinsically common. Even less in pains and pleasures. Reject narrow hedonism

2. Preference Hedonism. Instead compares pain and pleasure in terms of their common relation to our desires. Pain is experienced unwanted; pleasure is experienced wanted. Parfit; "one of two experiences is more pleasant if it is preferred". MORE PLAUSIBLE. PROBLEM. James Griffin - one can prefer to be in pain and rational, rather than euphoric and dim-witted. (Freud example) SOLUTION? Perhaps Freud's life went better just if it went as he'd prefer it to go. Desire-satisfaction?
DESIRE-SATISFACTION

1. 'Unrestricted theory'. What's best is that which best satisfies all desires across one's life. PROBLEM. Suppose that I am on my way to be supervised and I notice a bus shelter that has been smashed in. I develop a desire that the bus shelter be repaired at some point. However, I never walk that route ever again, and so, as it happens, never come to find out whether or not that bus shelter was ever repaired. As it happens, it does

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