Analysis Of The Paradox Of Hedonism

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The First problem that Railton address is alienation from one’s own morals. Bernard Williams raises the problem that being a consequentialist can result in being alienated from others around you and from your morals and beliefs. He provides the example of a man named George. George holds a PhD in chemistry, but his health prevents him from being able to obtain a job, so his wife must join the work force leaving him to watch the children. His health makes this hard and the children suffer. Another chemist who knows George offers him a job at a laboratory. However, this laboratory focuses on chemical and biological warfare, so George refuses because he disagrees strongly with such things (Williams, 2008). Williams argues that if George was a …show more content…
The paradox of hedonism states that to maximize happiness, sometimes is seems that a hedonist, should not be a hedonist. This is because if someone’s ultimate goal is to maximize happiness, they may look around and notice that people who are not following a strictly consequentialist lifestyle are in fact, happier than they are. They notice that others are engaging in relationships and commitments that create happiness. Railton provides a solution to the paradox of hedonism by once again differentiating between subjective and objective forms. Subjective hedonism always attempts to choose what will bring the most aggregate happiness about. Objective hedonism attempts to increase one’s own happiness even if it conflicts with a strict hedonistic view point. Railton provides an example featuring a man and his significant other. While this man may not have entered this relationship specifically because he thought it would bring about the most happiness, he finds that supporting and loving the other provides external happiness and satisfaction with in him. This example shows that by being what Railton refers to as a sophisticated hedonist, or one that pursues an objective hedonistic lifestyle, you may also bring about happiness both internally and externally. The man has increased his overall happiness, his happiness, and the significant other’s happiness, but his motives were …show more content…
a Railton first defense is that sometimes this alienation from others is necessary. His first argument for alienation is that a certain amount of alienation between one’s sentiments and moral considerations should exists. There needs to be a balance between alienation and authenticity. By allowing there to be some alienation it prevents consequentialists from performing tasks such as buying a gift for a significant other simply because they believe it is their moral duty and prevents the romanticisms of authenticity. Next, he describes how trying to completely avoid alienation can stop goals such as autonomy. Railton explains how to maintain autonomy, you must examine your own commitments and a certain amount of alienation allows you to look at them without the biases that would normally be there. His final argument is that without some alienation and inauthenticity, relationships would not be sustainable, because being too authentic with other leads to many

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