short writing essay 7

Please answer your assigned question as thoroughly as you can. A good SW will almost never be shorter than half a page and they will usually be about a page long. No heading other than the number of the question that you’re answering is necessary or useful. You need not and should not paste the question onto the page. These are supposed to be thoughtful responses to course material, not final term papers. They should be clear and not ornamented with English-paper nonsense. Just come to the point and stick to it.

What is pleasure? How does a human being have or acquire the concept of pleasure? (I mean: how do children get the concept of pleasure, or come to know what pleasure is; I don’t mean: how do we get pleased?)

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What, if anything, is the difference (or are the differences) between pleasure and happiness?
Utilitarianism (the view Bentham offers) urges that we should seek to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. But to maximize something, one has to be able to count it: if I can’t count the pleasures in two situations, then I can’t tell that I maximize pleasure by bringing about one of them but not the other. So how could we count pleasure? (Bear in mind that we must also be able to count pain, so that we can subtract pain from pleasure.) What sort of units or comparisons or metrics could we employ, and how?
As if counting one’s own pleasures weren’t hard enough, how could we compare different people’s pleasures and pains to allow an overall count? For instance, how could we tell whether I am pleased by eating bacon more or less than you are pleased by eating ice cream? Some cases seem easy (e.g., I am more pleased by eating bacon than you would be by burning your fingers), but others seem hard (e.g., am I more pleased by a well-crafted horror movie than you are by a decent entry in your favorite kind of movie?). Discuss whether interpersonal measurements of pleasure are possible, if so how and why, and if not, why not.

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