Hawkins, Jennifer. The subjective intuition
2010, Philosophical Studies 148 (1):61 - 68
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Lizzy VenthamAbstract: Theories of well-being are typically divided into subjective and objective. Subjective theories are those which make facts about a person’s welfare depend on facts about her actual or hypothetical mental states. I am interested in what motivates this approach to the theory of welfare. The contemporary view is that subjectivism is devoted to honoring the evaluative perspective of the individual, but this is both a misleading account of the motivations behind subjectivism, and a vision that dooms subjective theories to failure. I suggest that we need to revisit and reinstate certain features of traditional hedonism, in particular the idea that felt experience plays a role that no theory of welfare can afford to ignore. I then offer a sketch of a theory that is subjective in my preferred sense and avoids the worst sins of hedonism as well as the problems generated by the contemporary constraints of subjective theorists.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Hewitt, Sharon. What do our intuitions about the experience machine really tell us about hedonism?
2010, Philosophical Studies 151 (3):331 - 349
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Lizzy VenthamAbstract: Robert Nozick's experience machine thought experiment is often considered a decisive refutation of hedonism. I argue that the conclusions we draw from Nozick's thought experiment ought to be informed by considerations concerning the operation of our intuitions about value. First, I argue that, in order to show that practical hedonistic reasons are not causing our negative reaction to the experience machine, we must not merely stipulate their irrelevance (since our intuitions are not always responsive to stipulation) but fill in the concrete details that would make them irrelevant. If we do this, we may see our feelings about the experience machine becoming less negative. Second, I argue that, even if our feelings about the experience machine do not perfectly track hedonistic reasons, there are various reasons to doubt the reliability of our anti-hedonistic intuitions. And finally, I argue that, since in the actual world seeing certain things besides pleasure as ends in themselves may best serve hedonistic ends, hedonism may justify our taking these other things to be intrinsically valuable, thus again making the existence of our seemingly anti-hedonistic intuitions far from straightforward evidence for the falsity of hedonism
Comment: I always use this alongside the original Nozick discussion of the experience machine, and always when I'm discussing hedonism or theories of well-being. Hewitt examines the experience machine thought experiments in a good level of detail and provides some interesting arguments as to whether we should take our intuitions about it sincerely.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
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Comment: I use this text whenever I'm teaching on well-being, including to introductory first year classes. Hawkins gives a nuanced account of what it means for theories of well-being to be objective vs subjective, and gives a range of helpful examples. She offers objections to a number of views and offers her own theory that avoids these objections.