14

Does every code of behavior you can think of for a robot boil down to maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain? Clearly not! We can give the robot rules for what to do in certain situations that are independent of any reward signal. We can give it rules like, "When you detect an unauthorized passerby, close the gate." We don't reward the robot ...


11

It occurs in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, here it is in context (from 4:418-19, p.29 in the Gregor's Cambridge translation): "He is not capable of any principle by which to determine with complete certainty what will make him truly happy, because for this omniscience would be required. One can not therefore act on determinate principles ...


11

In the proposition IX, part III of Ethics, Spinoza operates the following reversal of concepts: it is not because we judge that something is good that we desire that thing, but it is because we desire it that we judge it to be good. In Spinoza's philosophy, our judgement as well as our actions are entirely determined, based on what information and experience ...


7

Ahh, you are where I was a few years ago :) .. A good way to deal with nihilism would be to contrast it with the diametrically opposite possibility. A situation where there is perfect meaning to life, with perfect happiness, no sorrow or injustice, and where the progress of nature ensures this in every way. If you see the psychological issues humans would ...


6

The natural rebuttal to Russell here is that he has misunderstood the Stoic understanding of Happiness. In choosing their actions and goods in a principle of "Rational decision in accordance with nature", Stoics do not deny what would make them happy. Happiness for the Stoics just is making that choice willfully. Perhaps Russell might be right were he to ...


6

I wouldn't say there are "widely accepted (precise) definitions" for the two terms you mention. I would say there are several different well-known accounts that deal with relationship. The first one I would recommend is from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. For Aristotle, the end goal of life is eudaimonia -- a word that can and has been translated as "...


6

I think the reason you find the connection so strong is that humans tend to embed utilitarianism in their logic. However, this does not mean the system of ethics is maximizing pleasure/minimizing pain. On a recent question I asked, I came across this phrasing from the Taoist concept of Tao: [Tao] means a road, path, way; and hence, the way in which one ...


5

You will need to strike a balance. If you can't enjoy today, or tomorrow, or they day after that, or the day after that, ... you can't enjoy anything. You should think about foreseeable long term consequences of your actions, so that your actions today don't negatively affect your happiness tomorrow. But there are many things that you can't foresee - it'...


5

It seems, that your problem with well-being is that there are hardships. So if there were no hardships I suppose you'd be well by you definition. Hardships are a severe difference in what you want and what you have. There is a notable philosopher, that worked on that precise front: Diogenes of Sinope. He proposed not working on the "having side" but on the "...


5

St. Thomas Aquinas, who was a follower of Aristotle in many things, has 32 questions on happiness (felicitas) in his Treatise on Man's Last End (Summa Theologica I-II qq. 1-5) or purpose, which he says is twofold: to attain happiness, which is "the acquisition of the last end" or purpose (ibid. q. 1 a. 8) and happiness itself, which is the last end. cf. ...


5

The work of the thinkers and writers we typically classify as "existentialist" (although few of them loved the term), Kierkegaard, Sartre, Dostoevsky, Camus, de Beauvoir, and so forth, can be viewed as collectively comprising responses to the conditions of life and the basic metaphysical assumptions that otherwise lead to nihilism. So if you want to start ...


5

Glückseligkeit nicht ein Ideal der Vernunft, sondern der Einbildungskraft ist, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten Kapitel I


4

A person who managed to become rich and therefore happy hasn't bought happiness. "Buying happiness" would mean giving away money in exchange for happiness. This person hasn't been giving away money in exchange for happiness. And a person who has only one goal in life wouldn't be automatically considered a happy person when that goal is achieved. They would ...


4

You my friend, are not alone! And I for one congratulate you for seeking answers. You're also seeking answers in the right place. I had exactly the same experience and to some extent I still do, probably always will. But so do countless millions of others. Though this feeling is more common now (in fact it used to be called 'the modern disease') humans have ...


4

Although Aristotle's eudaimonia is often loosely translated as "happiness" the meaning is quite different from the modern, subjective and emotional, idea. Aristotle's eudaimonia is objective and teleological, the human happiness is in fulfilling the function of a human being, which is, to Aristotle, living life guided by reason according to virtue....


4

Plato held that the Form of the Good was the Form over all the others. It would function as the Form of Forms, then, giving them their being and intelligibility. On Aristotle's view, then, if there is no category over the other categories, then if a universal standard of good ranged over the categories, this standard would be a category over the others; ...


4

Maximising wellbeing and avoiding suffering are just subjective heuristics required for evolution of replicating genes. A great deal of research shows things like having a job with autonomy is more important than higher pay, that a meaningful life connected to others is far more important than pleasure or suffering. We can relate moral progress to going ...


4

Consider this inexhaustive list of ethical types, (from: Ethics). Supernaturalism Subjectivism Consequentialism Intuitionism Emotivism Duty-based ethics Virtue ethics Situation ethics On the surface, it may seem as though some of these are explicitly not reducible to the maximisation of pleasure. For example, duty-based ethics seems to be about an externally-...


4

Systems of ethics are axiomatic You can reduce other ethical systems to maximizing pleasure and/or minimizing suffering if and only if you make some assumptions that are essentially utilitarian. However an ethical system generally includes their own set of axioms that would contradict those assumptions. A description of an ethical system would usually make ...


3

According to utilitarism your last implication is right "If surveillance doesn't increase happiness of the public, then it would be immoral." But the problem is to determine which kinds of surveillance are to be considered and which additional effects - possibly increasing security - also result from surveillance. Not until answering these questions one ...


3

Confucious Philosophy to be of any value must take root; froom the Analects of Confucious: Confucious: Junzi works on the root; once the root is planted the dao is born. Filiality and respect for elders are these not the roots of ren? Where the untranslated terms mean: Ren - virtue: benevolence, humanness, goodness Junzi - ethical and capable Dao - an art,...


3

Nietzsche does not provide an answer because he does not draw a distinction between joy (Lust - I think 'pleasure' would be a better translation) and happiness (Glück). At least he makes no distinction in the note (German source: NF-188 14[121]) you quote from, as he says a few sentences earlier: Daß es eine bedeutende Aufklärung giebt, an Stelle des ...


3

Based on Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind”, when we “philosophically align with nihilism” we have made an intuitive decision to accept nihilism and then task our brains to rationalize that decision. The reasoning process may alter the decision somewhat but the intuitive decision is non-rational. See YouTube for some of Haidt’s views in particular “...


3

I think the necessity of practicallity overcomes nihilism rather well. If you leave a general skepticism aside, you are a being in time, in the world. The passing of time itself creates a necessity to decide upon actions that lead to different possible worlds. The not doing anything is itself one possible option of infinitly many. Therefore deciding to do ...


3

"We swim in a sea of generosity, of many daily acts of consideration, reciprocity, benevolence, compassion, kindness, helpfulness, warmth, appreciation, respect, patience .." - Rick Hanson, "Just One Thing" p.168. Possibly it's not philosophy but its empirical evidence. We tend to notice the one thing that goes wrong rather than the 50 things that go ...


3

I suspect that happiness is pretty much what you get when you have good relationships with other people, including any people having power or authority over you. To the extent that people isolate themselves with technology, I would say that "Yes, modern technology makes us unhappy." But I would not say that this is a purely up-to-date modern thing; after ...


3

We don't know how far the 'Socrates' of the Republic, or of other Platonic dialogues represents the historical Socrates. Only saying. As to the substance of your question, no-one leads a lonely and impoverished life in the Republic. There are three social classes (Rep. IV. passim): (1) the commercial and labouring class, who enjoy all the normal amenities of ...


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