Pleasure would seem to be something whose value is unmistakable. Experiencing pleasure seems to be the experiencing not of a thing which is good but of good itself. The value of other things may require discernment and inquiry; the value of pleasure appears as an immediate quality of the pleasure, no more capable of being overlooked than the extendedness of color. However, there is another fact which seems to conflict with this. This fact is that we regard some pleasures as bad. There are several possible ways of attempting to reconcile these two facts. One, which is that of the Hedonist, is to say that pleasure is the sole good, but that we call particular pleasures bad when they lead to future pain or to a reduction of future pleasures. A second, which I shall label Kantianism, asserts that any appearance pleasure has of being good is a deception; for pleasure is not good by itself, but only when joined with virtue. Finally one can hold, as I shall, that pleasure is one of the things which are good, but not the only one; and that when we call certain pleasures bad we mean that though the experience has a good feeling it involves a bad act or character or life. This last view is a compromise between the Hedonistic doctrine that nothing is good except pleasure and the Kantian doctrine that pleasure is not good at all.
KeywordsGood Thing Happy Life Pleasant Experience Good Feeling Virtuous Character
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