Monday, January 31, 2005

The Good and The Bad

MelbournePhilosopher

When it comes to the good and the bad, a lot of people are really talking about good and evil. Used to be, the good was just referring to well-being, and the bad was referring to impoverishment of lifestyle. Then religion happened, and the words were usurped to refer to this whole new kind of division. But there's still plenty of senses of the words "good" and "bad" left unexplored - not least psychological ones.

"Psychological Hedonism" is something that is often referred to when trying to explain human action. Hedonists said that we should just try to fulfil our desires as best possible - psychological hedonism is the idea that our whole system of motivation, morality, the whole swag, is just coming from pleasure fulfilment. So what does this mean for good and bad?

It's Plato's famous "Euthyphro" (sp?) dilemma - do we seek the good for its nature, or is something good because we seek it?

But if psychological hedonism is the case, and our system of values is the result of our desires, then what role does evil play? Something is clearly bad if it results in our having less-fulfilled desires, but what if anything is evil in this situation?

-MP

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