, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 277-291
Date: 13 May 2011

Extrinsic attitudinal pleasure

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Abstract

I argue for an alternative interpretation of some of the examples Fred Feldman uses to establish his theory of happiness. According to Feldman, the examples show that certain utterances of the form “S is pleased/glad that P” and “S is displeased/sad that P” should be interpreted as expressions of extrinsic attitudinal pleasure and displeasure and hence must be excluded from the aggregative sum of attitudinal pleasure and displeasure that constitutes happiness. I develop a new interpretation of Feldman’s examples. My interpretation is plausible in its own right. Moreover, it is significant within the context of the debate. It allows the attitudinal hedonist to preserve the initial understanding of happiness that Feldman believes is open to counterexample: that happiness is the sum of attitudinal pleasure minus attitudinal displeasure and that all attitudinal pleasure and displeasure counts equally in the aggregation that constitutes happiness.