<epicureism, ethics> the view accordin to which the fundamental standard of ethical judgment should be pleasure (see also sensualism). While nowadays hedonism has connotations of total pleasure-seeking and emotionalism, it was not always so. For example, although Epicureanism was one of the original hedonistic theories in ethics, it is quite strict as to what true pleasure really is (being a kind of naturalism), so that it is often described as a variety of "enlightened hedonism". While hedonism is usually a species of individualism, this is not always the case; for instance, the ethical standard of utilitarianism, which is a form of altruism, is "the greatest pleasure for the greatest number" - which could be construed as a kind of universalized hedonism. (References from Epicureanism and sensualism.) Recommended Reading: F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967); The Essential Epicurus, tr. by Eugene Michael O'Connor (Prometheus, 1993); Lionel Tiger, The Pursuit of Pleasure (Transaction, 2000); Fred Feldman, Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert: Essays in Moral Philosophy (Cambridge, 1997); Rem B. Edwards, Pleasures and Pains: A Theory of Qualitative Hedonism (Cornell, 1987); and Kate Soper, Troubled Pleasures: Writings on Politics, Gender, and Hedonism (Verso, 1991).

based on: [A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names], [The Ism Book]


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Nearby terms: Hayek Friedrich August von « Hebbian « hedon « hedonism » hedonistic » Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich » Hegelianism