Kinds of Pleasures

Thomas Hurka is one of my favorite moral philosophers.  His essay on Nietzsche found in the compilation Nietzsche and Morality is meaty and challenging both as a stark reading of Nietzsche and as a strong perfectionist view of ethics, developed on Nietzsche’s behalf.  I’ve also read most of his first book, Perfectionism, which was excellent. [Read More...]

Testing the Effects of Meditation on Pain Experiences

In The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (Kindle Locations 940-956), Oliver Burkeman discusses research about the effects of meditation on the brain’s subjective perception of pain. [Read more...]

What Does It Mean For Pleasure And Pain To Be “Intrinsically Instrumental” Goods?

In reply to my post, Pleasure And Pain As Intrinsic Instrumental Goods, James objects: You are defining pleasure as intrinsic instrumental good. This is obviously not intrinsic goodness as I define it at all. Instrumental goodness is not intrinsic goodness. A successful pleasure instance is an intrinsically good instance of pleasure in-itself and for-itself, just for being [Read More...]

Pleasure And Pain As Intrinsic Instrumental Goods

In recent posts I have been arguing that there is one sense of the word “good” which can be analyzed in terms of facts and that this is the kind of “goodness” which we can consider a real part of the world.  This real, intrinsic, factual sense of goodness is its meaning as “effectiveness”. We [Read More...]

TOP Q (6): Why Should Pleasure And Pain Matter Morally?

I have already begun to explain my own view of the nature and limits of the ethical value of pleasure and pain (and I’d pleased if you considered my views there and, admittedly, a bit pained if you do not bother to!)  But I would like to throw this out as today’s open philosophical question: [Read More...]

My Perspectivist, Teleological Account Of The Relative Values Of Pleasure And Pain

With Sam Harris doing the rounds promoting a utilitarianism that seems to take the pleasures of sentient beings to be the good to be maximized, it’s as appropriate a time as ever to flesh out my objections to prioritizing pleasure and pain as the central goods in life.  More specifically, you can read my already [Read More...]

Cursing Is Therapeutic

Scientific permission to do what comes naturally: we swear not merely as a reaction to pain, but because it can actually reduce our sense of pain.The new finding comes from research that tested the hypothesis with a bunch (67) of college students and some ice cold water. Students were given a choice when they plunged [Read More...]


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