The greatest happiness principle

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Zylark, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. Spawned a bit off the "End justify the means" thread. Simple concept really, and pretty self evident from the title of the thread. Good is what brings the most happiness. One could add "to most", but then we really walk down the path of minimum common denominator. A loathsome concept that spells dullness in the extreme. I think that is where marxism got it wrong really.

    Some might argue that the greatest happiness principle is just another way to spell hedonism, but hey, what is bit of hedonism amongst friends? Pure fun! :D

    The greatest happiness principle is only moderated by the harm principle, that states according to J.S Mills "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.".

    Ofcourse this spells libertarian politics, at least in the social sphere. the economic cannot be libertarian, it must be centered around social-democratic models in order to ensure the harm principle is enforced, and also that whatever means are gathered by the state, go directly to the situational betterment of the populace. Like say universal health benefits for all, free education, welfare systems, infrastructure.

  2. Excellent posting. Hmmmmm...

    Plato said something like, 'Pleasure is the greatest incentive to evil...'

  3. Pfff, Plato, elitist dictator-by-committee wannabee :D

    Pleasure is not the root of anything but having a good time. Not necessarily defined by physical pleasure (sex, drugs and rock'n'roll), but also from understanding, merit, self-determination.

    What Plato describes leading to evil, shouldn't so much be referred to as pleasure, but bloated ego, powermongering, sadism. Thoroughly negated by the harm principle.
  4. i like this idea of social-democratic over democratic-economics. i don't see how anything driven by money or the pursuit of money can really bring out the best in any individual or community.

    i'm interested in more discussion about the idea of only limiting freedom where there is potential harm to others. i've always been a bit unsure where i come out on laws against harm to self.

    ...and who gets to define harm?
  5. The pursuit of money (or more correct, status), is not bad in and by itself. It is only when that pursuit becomes a hazard to society it should be considered immoral. Take the US health care system as an example. Health insurance companies do as all companies do, minimize risk, maximize profit. All well and good if you were selling sneakers, but not that great when your customers depend upon your product to live a full life.

    The obvious choice then, within the principle of greater pleasure, is to make damn well sure all got the same access to healthcare, regardless of other factors.

    We are all familiar with cost-benefit analysis when it comes to strict commercial interests. The principle here is to cast the net wider. Not just singular companies, not even commercial sectors, but society as a whole.

    Sure one can make a killing dealing in say oil. But those profits should not just fall into the companies that extract the oil. There are other considerations. For example the immidiate environmental impact oil extraction have, and the risks involved. Thus a chunk of the profits should be set aside to handle minimizing the impact, and for emergency cleanups in case of a mishap. Next there are the mid to long timespan horizon, where another chunk should be set aside to dismantle the oil-installations when they are non productive, and recycle them in a productive manner. Also funding of research for when either oil demand outstrips supply (alternative energy) and limiting the emissions and ultimately removing the effect of those emissions from our biosphere.

    Todays stock and corporate economic models are dangerously myopic and narrow in definition.
  6. The pursuit of money is bad, money is a shitty and flawed concept to begin with. :)
  7. Only if you step over anothers body to get at it.

    I like money. Just a shame they don't like me. They seek a divorce as soon as they land in my (presumably) uncomfortable bank-account :D

  8. yeah, plato was an utter dick tho. i cant think of any other philosopher who i spit more hateful venom towards than he. infact, he's the only one i give a good verbal bashing. wasnt he the twattfacedpigfucker who ran his mouth off about the imperative of the "noble lie"? ugh.

    now the hedonistic imperative... mmm. there's something tangible that can be seen, in many an instance, to yeild some really massively beneficial results that ripple out way beyond the nice chemical tickle inside a participants brain.

    a couple friends of mine, brothers, share a notion that i find utterly backwards. the eldest of them, married, tokes, takes E, is into ensuring everyone is having a good time, and generates alot of communal high spirits, rides a motor bike. the other, the younger of the two, doesnt take any drug except alcohol, is into aggression, warhammer and D&D, violent righteous vigilantism, and to rule by tyranny with a shotgun. the strange notion they share is that it is the eldest who is the more "evil". their reasoning for this? he's into "debauchery", and the younger, has "morals".
    riiiiiight. [/sarc]
    maybe they just interpreted the beatles lyrics "... is a warm gun, bang bang shoot shoot" differently from each other. hehe. ;)

    just who was it that started the fucked up idea that because we had fuckin extra terrestrial lizards (and others) fuck with our evolution and genetics, that we were "created from sin", that we should be misserable and punish ourselves to be "good" and accepted into the good graces!? it's delusional to think that arbitrary sacrifice will yeild any beneficial results at all. sure, relevant sacrifice, but sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice just aint gonna win any cosmic coupons. we can have "the best of both worlds". win win.

    selling your happiness for some reward that's supposed to lead to happiness is as stupid as selling your freedom for some reward thats supposed to lead to freedom.

    keep your happyness, let it grow, watch it attract more.
    keep your peace, love, understanding, freedom, etc... they all work pretty much the same. appreciate.
  9. Great example with those two brothers Digit :)

    Hell, I even liked the notion they both had, that the free-spirited one was "evil", whilst the more alco'n'aggro is the lesser of two evils. To the extend of being "normal".

    What a twisted world we inhabit. Sex and drugs (even Rock'n'Roll I've heard) is bad, m'kay. Not saying tragic stories do not exist, but it is hardly the norm. And however do get hurt, is themselves. Not others.

    I often go by the more busy areas of nighlife in my hometown. And on fridays & saturdays, police and ambulances are not that uncommon. And those involved, the victims and the perps, they've been binging alcohol, at extreme prices, which you would think would get people to drink less?! That's normal...

    A dangerous drug fiend however, that is at home, having a nice little chilldown after a week of work. Never hurt anybody, and is numb after the x'th bowl, so numb that both women (paid or not) get multiple orgasms, in two acts, before himself hitting the pillow with a satisfied grin and usually a perfect conscience. He is evil. He must hang for his immoral behaviour...

    I'll tell you what it is, jealousy. "We live a boring life, so so must you, you, nnnngh, freak!" :D
  10. ya, the slip towards saturation of novelty [("into the zero")], can be a little too scary for some folks if it seems to be going to steeply for them, some manage to carry on at such a weird coil you have to wonder how long it will be before it all snaps back (at them?).

    normality can be so incideous with it's seemingly benign comfortingness.
  11. *blatant bump*
  12. a well desereved bump. of course the path to happiness is through love, but would it be safe to say that one must have experienced evil to know and appreciate love?

    in the First Age (The Golden Age) wouldve been the age of love, and the Fourth Age (the current age aka The Iron Age) is the age of materialism, greed, and of course evil. with the coming of the Golden Age in 2012, the inhabitants of the planet would much appreciate the less dense, more 'magical' times with more room for self expression. kind of like stages of humanities 'evolution'.

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