In the following paper I will compare and contrast how Epicurus and John Stuart Mill would evaluate Peter’s claim. Peter says that pleasure and only pleasure is what makes life worth living, therefore, he is going to eat, drink, and have sex all day, everyday.
Although Mill and Epicurus might agree that pleasure and only pleasure is what makes life worth living, I don’t think they would completely agree with his new lifestyle Epicurus is a hedonist, which means that he believes that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable, valuable for its own sake Epicurus states that everything we do, we do for the sake of gaining pleasure or avoiding pain for ourselves He says that happiness comes from pleasure, and pleasure is the absence of physical pain and mental distress.
I think that Epicurus would agree with the statement that pleasure and only pleasure is what makes life worth living because he thinks that happiness (or pleasure) is the highest good I do not, however, think that Epicurus would agree with Peter’s choice to eat, drink, and have sex all day, According to Epicurus, the duration of a single pleasure is more important than the intensity of that pleasure, so things like eating, drinking, or having sex are not considered highly valuable pleasures, Because of this, Epicurus says that mental pleasures are more valuable than physical pleasures.
He also believes that pursuing a pleasure is not as enjoyable as avoiding paini For example, eating a delicious dessert when you are not particularly hungry is less pleasurable than eating something bland when you are starving, This is another reason that I believe Epicurus would say that eating, drinking, and having sex is not the way to maximize pleasure.
Lastly, I think that Epicurus would disagree with Peter’s new lifestyle because Epicurus says, “the agents that produce certain pleasures bring about vexations that outnumber the pleasures themselves” (52). Eating and drinking all the time might lead to negative health effects such as obesity, heart failure, diabetes, low self esteem, inability to do physical tasks and many more, I think that Epicurus, and most people, would agree that these negative consequences outweigh the immediate pleasure of eating or drinking. Mill’s ethical theory of utilitarianism is rather similar to hedonism except that it is focused more on society and the happiness of everyone.
Like Epicurus, Mill believes that pleasure is good and pain is evilt He believes that true happiness comes from maximum pleasure and the absence of pain, and he believes that pleasure is what drives us. He also supports Epicurus’ theory that there are higher (mental) pleasures and lower (bodily) pleasurest Although Mill defends and mostly agrees with Epicurus, there are some dissimilaritiesr Unlike Epicurus, he says that happiness for oneself is not enough and that we should also try to maximize happiness for as many people possible He believes that we must pursue happiness as well as avoid pain. Mill also believes that the quality of a pleasure is more important that the quantity which differs from Epicurus’ believe that the duration of a pleasure is more important than the intensity I think that Mill would be more inclined to agree with Peter’s claim as a whole than Epicurus.
He would agree that pleasure and only pleasure is what makes life worth living because Mill thinks that pleasure is what drives us and leads us to happiness as a single human and as a society. Though unlike Epicurus, I think that Mill might agree with Peter’s decision to eat, drink, and have sex all day, every day. One might say that I am wrong thinking this because Peter is only concerned with maximizing his own pleasure and not the pleasure of society as a whole To that I say that yes, Peter may only be thinking about his own pleasure, but Mill claims that by pursuing personal pleasure we are contributing to the pleasure of society Because society is made up of individuals, the pleasure of those individuals makes up the pleasure of society If Peter is happy, than he is contributing his happiness to society’s. Mill also believes that the intensity of a pleasure is more important than the quality, so he might say that eating and drinking and having a lot of sex will help to maximize Peter’s pleasure.
The only objective Mill might have to Peter’s new lifestyle is that all of the things Peter is planning on spending his time doing are lower pleasures. Mill would tell Peter that eating, drinking and sex are good ways to pleasure himself, but that maybe he should also do things that result in mental or emotional pleasure.
Overall I think that both Mill and Epicurus would say that there is flaw in Peter’s understanding of pleasure and how to maximize it, but I think that they would disagree as to the degree in which Peter’s understanding is flawed and what he should do to maximize his pleasure.