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The Hedonist's Dilemma

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

In this paper, I argue that hedonism about well-being faces a powerful dilemma. However, as I shall try to show here, this choice creates a dilemma for hedonism. On a subjective interpretation, hedonism is open to the familiar objection that pleasure is not the only thing desired or the only thing for which we possess a pro-attitude. On an objective interpretation, hedonism lacks an independent rationale. In this paper, I do not claim that hedonism fails once and for all. However, this dilemma illustrates a serious problem for hedonism, the solution to which is not immediately obvious, and which must be addressed if hedonism is to be considered a serious competitor for the true theory of well-being.


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