Hedonism comes from the Greek word ‘Hedone’ which means to seek pleasure. In English, the term is used to describe the desire to gain pleasure while avoiding pain. There are various theories that explain hedonism as phenomena in human life. Such theories describe the origin of hedonism to be either hurt or satisfaction. From the point of view of hedonists, life should be painless but full of pleasures and everyone should be capable of recognizing the pleasures of life.
The view about Hedonism is varied, with proponents claiming it is natural to seek pleasure and avoid pain while the opponents argue that hedonism is overindulgent. However, the opposing argument cannot be completely said to be true based on the consideration of the Cyrenaics who were hedonists yet still vibrant and honorable although they sought physical rather than intellectual pleasure (Fieser, 2011).
Various types of hedonism exist depending on the perception of different groups of people. For instance, hedonistic utilitarianism is one of the rarely endorsed types of hedonism since it provides the proposal that hedonism is good as long as pleasure is not gained through making others feel pain, without giving concern to moral values associated with hedonism. Another type is folk hedonism which is characterized by lack of forethought in the argument that hedonists do not care whether they cause pain as long as they gain pleasure.
Value hedonism argues that even though it is impossible to create happiness for all, pleasure is essential and it should be the aim of everyone to achieve as much pleasure as possible. Motivational hedonism claims that people are guided by their behavior to seek pleasure and not pain while hedonistic egoism drives people to achieve pleasure at whatever cost, even if it means hurting others. Hedonism is thus characterized by sincerity in the desire to gain pleasure (Veenhoven, 2003).
Fieser, J. (2001). The Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. University of Tennessee.
Veenhoven, R. (2003). Hedonism and happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies,4(4), 437-457.
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