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Hedonism: Normativity Begins

Conference contribution
Authors David Brax
Published in The Oxford Hedonism Conference, 6th-7th of March 2014, Ertegun House
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords Hedonism, Meta-ethics, Naturalism
Subject categories Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, Ethics


In this paper I propose what I take to be the most far-reaching, and simultaneously most plausible version of hedonism. Hedonism, I argue, should be understood as an explanation of normativity. Hedonism in this way has a wider grasp than mere substantive ethical theory, indeed, it’s ambitions are primarily meta-ethical. The case for hedonism goes, as it has always done, via the psychological role of pleasure. For this reason, the meta-ethical ambition of hedonism is tied to the wider project of meta-ethical naturalism. It does so by being both a suitable referent for terms like ”value”, and ”the good” - understood through a ”network-analysis” - and as being part of the best explanation of why we have concepts like that to begin with.

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