Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. This is often used as a justification for evaluating actions in terms of how much pleasure and how little pain (i.e. suffering) they produce. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize this net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).
Pure altruism is giving up a value (a reward or benefit) with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect (for instance from recognition of the giving).
X who dies to save Y's life is a hedonist because knowing that Y will live brings X more pleasure in the remaining time of his life than living a life without Y. This is even more clear if Y is in the same position as X, if Y is thinking the same thing as X.
- Are X and Y true hedonists? Are they also altruists?
- Do altruists really get nothing in return for their actions?
- Is there such a thing as "not being a hedonist"?
- Is altruism also a form of hedonism?
We could say that the only difference between people regarding hedonism is how much of a rational hedonist someone is. What I mean is that someone might not do something because he/she beliefs that doing it will bring him/her greater pain while in reality doing it will bring him/her greater pleasure.